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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Design in Typography. Klinkhardt's Ribbon

page 85

Design in Typography. Klinkhardt's Ribbon.


Until 1881, no original Ribbon combination, except Rohm's, had made its appearance in Germany. The only design at all approximating was the « Shield » of 79 characters, already mentioned in these articles, but of which we can give neither the name of the designer, the ori-ginal founder, nor the precise date of its appearance. In 1881, the house of Julius Klinkhardt produced a Ribbon which, while reverting in many respects to Stephenson & Blake's original series, was remarkably elaborated in true German style. In the four faces of accessory brass-rule, the English model was closely followed. The chief difference was in the shaded end-pieces, which, in the German combination, are made to join up to the brass rules at top and bottom, instead of, as in the English design, coming in between. As will be seen in the synopsis, the design provides for ribbons of four different widths. There are 63 characters in the combination, arranged as follows:

There is the characteristic German thoroughness in this fine combination; and the large specimen-sheet, where it is exhibited in sloping and curved lines, and brought up with tint-work, is a superb piece of typographic decoration. There is one oversight, however, which is soon detected by the compositor—the pair of widening pieces, numbered 51-52 in the book, are cast for the bottom of the ribbon, and there is nothing to correspond for the top. The chief merit of the combination is, the great variety of designs, symmetrical and un-symmetrical, which it is capable of producing. Its formality and occasional stiffness is a defect inherent in type-ribbons of every description. It also possesses the fault—common to most designs of the kind—that it admits only a very small line in proportion to the space occupied. There are some very large pieces in the combination; but the largest ribbon will only take a pica-two-line.

We have seen three other Continental ribbon combinations in use, somewhat similar; but we have no knowledge of their origin or the number of their characters. One (by Woellmer?) so closely resembles Klinkhardt's in general style that it is quite likely the two would work together almost like one combination. Another, with a peculiar curved folding end-piece, we have seen in a French exchange, and another in our Roumanian contemporary; but they do not seem to possess any practical or artistic features distinguishing them from other designs of the kind. In its particular line, Klinkhardt's design, for variety and artistic execution, has not yet been surpassed; but its field of usefulness is necessarily a narrow one.