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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Recent Specimens

page 39

Recent Specimens.

One of the choicest periodicals representing a type-foundry is Wiener Typen, No. 1 of which has just reached us. It is published by the famous house of Brendler & Marklowski, the oldest typefoundry in Vienna. In original body-founts it shows a beautifully-cut series of old-style italics, and a « halbfette » (moderately heavy-faced) old-style roman. The latter is beautifully legible and symmetrical, and is a model of fine punch-cutting. It is shown in fourteen sizes, 6- to 84-point, no lower-case being shown to three of the larger sizes. With the exception of the pretty « Renaissance-Gothisch » (which we think we have seen before) all the ornamental styles of letter are English or American. There are several series of the vignette corners now so fashionable—chiefly hunting subjects. We prefer those of Caslon, from whom probably the idea was taken. In border combinations, we have two series of the « Mäander » border, a Greek fret, upright and inclined, with floral adornments. Series 1 contains 15 characters; Series 2, 17 characters, is larger, with a greater variety of corners. « Leaf-borders, » are five patterns, three characters each, representing oak, ivy, and vine leaves in silhouette, and are simple and graceful. Two of the borders are on 12-point, and three on 24-point. « Flower-borders, » also three characters each, eight borders on 20-point and eight on 36-point, are all weak and straggling. The gem of the collection is the magnificent classic series of « Olympic » initials, in two sizes. The initials themselves are plain roman, rimmed, with curved brackets to the serifs. The smaller series is two inches in depth; the larger three; the initials themselves (at the upper part of the design) being just half the depth of the vignette. Each initial is adorned with a beautifully-drawn figure of a nymph or goddess, with an appropriate landscape background. This is the finest series of ornamental initials of this class that we have seen in any specimen-book. A good series of original calendar vignettes completes the number. We have had Brendler's « Pompeii » combination in our office for years; but have never before seen any specimens from his house.

Messrs V. & J. Figgins have sent us a batch of specimens showing their latest productions. In face of the storm of criticism to which English founders are subject on account of the comparatively few novelties they introduce, it is only fair to say that they do not produce abominable monstrosities, and that their new designs are such as « come to stay. » First we note « Memorial, » a series in nine sizes, long primer to two-line double pica. The long primer size has caps only; all the rest caps and small-caps. It is a graceful style—a compromise between the roman and the missal, and would be well suited for ecclesiastical work. « Old-style Sanserif, » brevier and nonpareil, is a sans with an element of eccentricity introduced, something after the American fashion. We decidedly prefer the plain style. « Sanserif No. 7, » pica to nonpareil, with small-caps and lower-case, is one of the neatest and best styles of this standard face. « Condensed Italic, » a plain and somewhat heavy letter with small-caps to all but the smallest size, is an excellent style. The figures are to en set. It appears to be designed partly for departmental heads in newspapers, for which it is well adapted. It has no lower-case, and we do not know that it corresponds to any roman fount. No office could go wrong in adding this series to stock. « Ornamented No. 4, » two-line great primer, is very suggestive of the Dickinson Foundry's « Karnac, » though no one letter is precisely the same, and the two-line great primer initials shown on the same page greatly resemble the caps of MacKellar's « Fancy Celtic. » Two sizes of a new ronde are useful, legible, and effective. A series of eighteen index corners, various sizes, are not, to our mind, as good as those of MacKellar and Berger, already noted in our pages. The drawing is harder and not so free. A batch of Paris Exhibition medals is also shown. « Artistic Corners » is the name of a novelty suggestive of recent series by Caslon and Reed. The subjects are much the same, but the designs are quite original. Altogether there are 44, but some of the smaller ones are repetitions of the larger. We greatly admire the large antique subjects, 1 to 4, the floral pairs, 27-28 and 33-34, and the medallions 7-8. The landscape sketches 43-44 are pretty, but scratchy, like a zincograph. Messrs Figgins remark that for years past they have issued their specimens on sheets of uniform size.

Caslon's Circular (No. 52) shows a « Mural » and « Mural Compressed » down to nonpareil. « Figaro » script, three sizes, is a bold backhanded letter, very like manuscript. In a supplement of four pages, the four sections of border 17 are tastefully displayed.

We have written in terms of high commendation of some of the late styles of the Central Foundry, St. Louis, though individual letters in such founts as the « Washington » and « Atalanta » are open to unfavorable criticism. It is therefore with pain that we note the latest novelties of this enterprising house. « Eccentric » is a condensed ragged style of inconceivable ungainlmess; and « Quaint Roman » seems the outcome of acute delirium. No child with the feather-end of a quill pen ever succeeded in drawing worse letters. At present, one size only of each is shown; but we regret to say that a full series is in preparation.

The Lindsay Foundry, New York, show a sloping style in two-line pica entitled « Almah. » It can scarcely be called original, as with the exception of being cut solid instead of face-tinted, it is a close copy of the Johnson Foundry's « Crayon. » The latter letter looked so pretty in the specimen-book, that it was bought by printers everywhere; but in use it has not been a success. We have seen it in scores of jobs—but never once did it look well in use. Perhaps the solid face may succeed better; but we are doubtful of its utility.

Messrs Wright, Barrett, & Stilwell, of St. Paul, Minn., send us a pamphlet showing specimens of Benton, Waldo, & Co.'s « self-spacing » types, modern and old-style. We have already expressed our ideas as to the advantages of the system. We have only to add that the cut of the type is excellent. When we get in a new fount of pica, we will be inclined to choose their modern No. 31—a fine letter. We see some breakage of kerns in the italic.

Farmer, Little, & Co. show in eleven sizes an old-face entitled « Cadmus Title. » It is bold and legible, and is suggestive of some of the old French faces.

Schelter & Giesecke have brought out some bold wavy ornaments (27 characters) silhouette and open, in the American style, a set of four curled-up corners on a black ground, busts of Gutenberg, and a batch of fancy dashes.

Herr Poppelbaum has produced a series of large gothic initials, in square frames, for one or two colors. The groundwork patterns are graceful and beautiful in the extreme. That the letters themselves are well-formed we need scarcely add. The same founder shows some large and sketchy vignette ornaments for head- and side-pieces.

In one of our German exchanges, J. Ch. Zanker, of Nüremberg, shows a large sheet of admirably-engraved carnival cuts. There must be a great demand for these peculiar ornaments among the printers of the Fatherland.

Will our friends in this colony and in Australia send us cuttings of press items, with authority and date appended? We are burdened by a continually-increasing pile of unopened exchanges. Nearly every one of these would be available for general news purposes—it is a poor sheet that cannot yield a single item—but we often go through twenty without finding a paragraph bearing directly or indirectly on matters concerning the Craft. If we had nothing else to do, we could just manage to go through all our newspaper exchanges—as it is, we necessarily overlook items that our readers may reasonably expect to find recorded in our columns. Will they co-operate?