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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Recent Specimens

page 75

Recent Specimens.

Our old friend the Typographic Advertiser, from the Johnson Foundry, Philadelphia, is again to hand. It contains a portrait and obituary notice of the late John F. Smith, one of the partners of the firm, who died 1st November, 1889, and of whom the Associated Typefounders of the United States have recorded that they « have lost a faithful friend and an honorable business associate, and the poor of his city a philanthropic and cheerful giver. » Our file of the Advertiser for the past fourteen years is unbroken; but this is the first number we have seen in which colored lines are introduced. Five sizes are shown of « French Script » —a Parisian face, partaking much of the qualities of italic. It is useful and durable. « Jenson, » in seven sizes, is a modification of the Central Foundry's « Art Gothic, » and is a much heavier style than the model. « Stipple » and the combination border No. 98—the chief feature of the present number—are practically one series, just as the « Arboret » founts work with combination No. 95. The border is in three sections, and is an improvement on the idea of the Cleveland Foundry's « Ragged Edge » combination. Instead of the solid background, the three sections of the new combination have an ornamental ground. In §1, 21 characters, the ground is composed of short lines, laid at different angles (exactly like an old and once-popular groundwork by Derriey); in §2, 14 characters, there is a rich pattern as a background; and in §3, 17 characters, the ground is a basket-work design. « Stipple » is a very good letter, on the same ground as §1, with ragged-edge outlines; but reverses the usual rule: instead of the letters being on the torn sheet they appear on the background, apparently showing through a ragged hole in the paper. This series is one more example of the strange taste which—particularly in the United States—recognizes nothing as artistic unless it is distorted, unsymmetrical, or untidy. We see no decorative beauty in rags and tatters. To our mind they are a sign of poverty—of invention. The groundworks of §§ 1 and 3, without the ragged outlines, are pleasing to the eye. They would be a useful acquisition to the printer; and of course could be separately supplied if required. For this purpose larger pieces than a pica em would be useful: it would be well to cast them also to 24-point square, like the groundworks in the Japanese and Chinese series.—We do not think that the « Stipple » could have been designed by a practical printer. It will share the fate of « Relievo » 1 and 2, and « Arboret » No. 1. While it is a novelty, it will be occasionally, and generally inappropriately, used—then it will lie untouched for months or years, accumulating dust. Yet a slight change in the direction of simplicity would have made it the most valuable fancy letter that has apppeard for years. Let the founders bring out the same (or some equally good) face, on the same background, without any old rags, tattered end-pieces, or other decoration —not even a boundary-line. Let each letter be cast setwise to point-system, the unit being 3-point, and add justifiers of 3-point. The result would be a letter which would unite with any combination on the point-system, and form a part of the general design, instead of being limited in its use to one combination, and that in very doubtful taste. So far as we know, only two styles have been cast upon the principle we have indicated. One is the German « Shieldface » —and how beautifully it combines with any of Schelter & Giesecke's borders! The other is Bruce's Style No. 1083—the defects of which are that it is not to point standard, and that it is cumbered with heavy and unnecessary borders of its own. But in conjunction with Brace's rules and pica borders, it has fine possibilities. The « Shieldface » is so elaborate, and has such a multiplicity of beautiful adjuncts, as to place it beyond the reach of ordinary printers; but such a letter as we have indicated could be produced (including extra groundwork), at five or six dollars, would never be out of date, and—greatest advantage of all—would combine with the printer's brass rule, borders, and line-ornaments already in stock. Will the founders take our friendly hint? It would pay them well to do So.

« Ebony, » by Marder, Luse & Co., was shown in some of our American contemporaries two or three months ago. It is a development of the « Art Gothic » design, but much heavier, and with greater uniformity in the figures.

Barnhart Bros. & Spindler show « Climax, » another very eccentric style. It is much the same as « Solar » by the same house, the ornamental dots being omitted. The insertion of these ornaments was judicious, as, like all those other series in which the central lines are carried as near as possible to the top, « Climax » has great unsightly gaps in the F H, and other caps. It is shown in six sizes. We do not think that at the proper time we noted « Tasso, » which has now been out for some months. It is a light and somewhat eccentric sans, in six sizes—a useful and quaint, but not too cranky letter.

The young and enterprising Keystone Foundry, of Philadelphia, sends another batch of specimens, including a neat little book in which adaptations of their novelties are shown. All the new faces were noted in detail in our March issue. If the foundry sends us a few sample lines—actual type, not electrotyped—we will be glad to show them in our specimen column.

Farmer, Little, & Co. show four sizes of « Doric Condensed, » a heavy thin clarendon—very much in the German style.

We have more than once referred to Klinkhardt's splendid « Ger-mania » architectural combination, of 413 characters, designed by Professor H. Ströhl. Messrs Seegner, Langguth, & Co., the New Zealand agents of the firm, have favored us with a copy of the founders' pamphlet describing the border and illustrating its adaptations. It is a fine example of German thoroughness, containing 20 imperial quarto pages, besides a large folding sheet in colors. An elaborate dissertation explains not only the border, but all the architectural forms it embodies; the characters are classified, and a vast number of their applications and combinations exhibited. Some such index is almost indispensable in the case of a combination of so bewildering a variety of pieces, and requiring so much special knowledge to use it aright; but how many founders would go to the expense of providing such a key?

Messrs J. John Söhne, Hamburg, send us specimens of Mediæval-Antique No. 2, original body-founts, after the Elzevir style, but very thin and light-faced. The proportions of the letters differ somewhat from the usual standard: thus the G is wider than the H, and the o, e, and c are rather wide, while the I, f, i, and 1 are very thin. The figures are ordinary old-style, lining head and foot with the caps.— the 1, 2, and 0 being modified to range with the rest. The founts are shown to 8, 9, 10, and 12-point, and will be highly appreciated by book-printers who share in the present taste for quaint, light, and characteristic styles. For newspaper work the letter would be altogether unsuitable. We note that the specimen-pages sent to us are all in English.

Does protection protect? Colonial protectionists first tried fifteen per cent.—now, with nearly thirty, and trade crippled, they clamor for more! At Dunedin they have solemnly resolved « That protection is absolutely necessary to promote the industries and develop the natural resources of New Zealand, inasmuch as the long hours and cheap labor of other countries enables foreigners, under the present Customs tariff, to take possession of our own markets, to the exclusion of our own manufactures. » Protection, then, does not protect.