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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 6

Type Specimens

page 12

Type Specimens.

A Beautifully-Bound large octavo volume, with deeply-embossed cover, reaches us from Wilhelm Gronau, of Berlin, and represents, in compact form, the products of an old-established foundry—one of the largest in the German empire. The book has been very recently completed, bearing date 1891, and the portion appropriated to type specimens and ornaments occupies nearly six hundred closely-printed pages. It opens with a fine display of Germans, plain and fancy; some of the latter having been very recently engraved; and the first department closes with appropriate initials. The second section includes a choice and varied collection of roman faces, the first page of which at once arrests attention. It is headed Mikroskop-Schriften, and displays three minute faces—German, Roman, and Italic, the face about 2·, but cast for convenience on diamond body (4·), and sold at the rate of about thirty shillings a pound. The face is only a shade larger than the wonderful « non plus ultra » of the Enschedé foundry. The German face is, we think, the smallest ever engraved of this character. We should be sorry to have to read much of it. There is little to be said of the tine collection of plain and job roman faces, antiques, &c., except that here and there we see good styles that we do not remember having met with elsewhere. Of ornamental letters there is a very interesting collection, including, besides novel forms, many curious faces of a kind that have long since dropped out of English books. Examples may be noted on p. 219— the second line in particular, a shaded antique, being counterchanged —the top half white with solid black blocking, the lower half black with white blocking. Pages 226-230 show a large variety of open and grounded styles for cheques, some curious and old-fashioned. Some good series of initials for one and two colors close this section. The third part is devoted to italics and scripts, and leads off with a novelty, an old-style italic antique, in seven sizes. The only other series of the kind we know—a very useful class of letter—is by Genzsch & Heyse, and we cannot say which came out first. We can only say that last year, at the very time we were writing to an English founder suggesting that such a style would fill a useful place, the specimens from Messrs Genzsch & Heyse were on their way to us. There is a very choice collection of scripts and rondes, and two faces, each in two sizes, of the German national script. There is a large collection of Greek and Russian faces, the latter being adapted to the Old English style, in which some of the characters appear as anomalous as those of the English Phonetic when similarly treated. There is a very large collection of signs, astronomical, arithmetical, &c., as well as two series of old-face figures, surmounted with the long and short quantity-marks _ and ˘, the purpose of which we confess we do not understand. The figures being old-face, some tall and others short, the « accents » do not line, and the effect is not good. In the chess type there is a font new to us—Arabic chess, in which the rook is represented by an elephant's head. Instead of the six pieces with which we are familiar, there are only three in the Arabic font, besides a three-pointed character (…) which is only shown on the black square. There are also cards, draughts, dominoes, embroidery, and music types, besides brass rule in various styles. There is a profuse collection of beautiful running and ornamental borders, old and new; among them the well-known « ribbon and flower, » which we take to be an original production of the house. The asterisk, indicating original faces of type, is not used in the border section, so we cannot be certain. The borders, flourishes, &c., fill nearly 120 pages, and are followed by bookwork vignettes, corners, &c., in the modern style, many of which we have already noted. Headpieces, tailpieces, ornaments, and cuts of all kinds fill another 130 pages, and an appendix contains some well-displayed advertisements. A separate price-list accompanies the book, which takes an important place in our library of founders' specimens.

The « festive season » of Christmas and New Year has decidedly made its mark on the last specimens to hand. Sheets of art vignettes, Christmas pieces, greeting devices, and birds and butterflies innumerable come to us from various quarters, in almost perplexing variety, so that we scarce know where to begin. We will take first the energetic and artistic firm of Ramm & Seemann, Leipzig, who send us four large sheets of vignettes, numbered 8 to 11. Sheet 8 contains twenty large and beautiful floral side-ornaments, four floral corners, a little vignette, and a 12· border. Sheet 9 contains 29 corner-ornaments and headpieces. Sheet 10 is filled with sectional ornaments, side ornaments, and vignettes, 43 in all; and sheet 11 contains 40 subjects—swallows, frogs, dragon-flies, summer and winter pieces, sectional ornaments, &c. In fact, the four sheets just to hand show enough art material for two or three job offices of the most advanced order, and the artistic beauty of the designs is not less remarkable than their cheapness.

Bauer & Co., Stuttgart, send us a single sheet about the same size as those just noted, containing 22 Christmas vignettes beautifully designed and executed, and in great variety of size and style.

Hr. Julius Klinkhardt also sends a large sheet, somewhat different in style. It contains about fifty admirably drawn but very grotesque carnival figures, in strong contrast of black and white. Nearly all the subjects are supplied in three sizes.

Quite a pile of sheets—single, double, and quadruple—have reached us from the Actiengesellschaft, Offenbach. First we note a new series of Script, in four sizes, bearing traces of the American style. A handsome series of running borders, No. 73, is in four sections, of 3· 6·, 12·, 18·, and 24· respectively, and contains 136 characters, including 8 2-color sorts for the larger size. The 3· series is one of those minute combinations in which German printers take delight. There are 49 characters, 20 of them 3· × 3·. The effect of the combination displayed in color is very fine, and some of the characters are well adapted for groundworks. A full font of the series weighs nearly a hundredweight. Another sheet is devoted to Trauer-Vignetten and Trauer-Einfassungen = Mourning vignettes and borders. The vignettes are pretty, and some of the borders are really good, unpromising as the subject is. Another sheet displays a light series of line ornaments, 50 characters, in which we again trace the influence of American models, and a very pretty light series of card ornaments, containing 12 characters. Two useful and artistic original combinations occupy another sheet, the Swallows and the Card-stand. There are 22 birds of various sizes, so that the printer can arrange a whole flight, ill good perspective, on any unoccupied part of his work. The card-stand gives three devices —an easel and four patterns of clips, and contains only 9 characters. Every job printer should have it. A page of the endless Carnival-vignettes and another of pretty greeting-cards completes the batch.

The Inland Printer for December contains some pretty original initials and book ornaments. The scroll-work in some of the latter, as in the new monthly half-title, is very like the Polynesian design in wood-carving.

The Flinsch Foundry, Frankfort, show a beautiful series of script, kerned on quite a new principle, which appears to give the greatest possible amount of strength.

From Nops' Electrotype Agency, 19 Ludgate Hill, we have ten sheets of fine-art electrotypes, about eighty in all. There are some beautiful bird subjects, charming bits of landscape adapted for corners, centres, or headpieces, floral subjects in great variety, humorous advertising blocks, and a very fine set of calendar cuts.

page 13

Barnhart Bros. & Spindler show Argus, a fancy sans with lowercase, the limbs of some of the letters curiously bent and twisted. Five sizes, 12· to 48·. West Old-Style is a kind of « Ronaldson, » with slightly heavier lines. In seven sizes, 18· to 72·. Tasso No. 2 is a light fancy sans, 6· to 12·, four sizes. It is merely the Tasso No. 1 with the addition of lowercase.

From Messrs Schelter & Giesecke we have No. 13 of the Typographisehe Mitteilung—the first part of vol. iv. Our file of this periodical is complete, and we cannot fail to note the marvellous advance in typefounding since No. I was issued sixteen years ago. Among novelties we note a page of new heavy-face scripts for emphasising words in ordinary script. The new Circular Italian script, with plain and decorated caps, is also a good style—very free and legible. Four sizes, 12· to 36·. A double page, finely printed in colors, shows the beautiful new Gothic Leaf border, 20 characters, for one, two, or three colors, and the two-color Gothic Initials and Aurora series of letter noted by us before. An excellent new condensed job-face is the Lincoln, 7 sizes, 12· to 60·. A variant on this is the Astræa, already noted, with a fine outline and lightly decorated caps; Snowflake is a similar style, open and heavily shaded, 36·, 48·, and 60·; and Urania is the same letter with solid ground for two-color work. There are four sets of Gothic Corners for one, two, and three colors, and three sizes of simple two-letter monograms. The rest of the number is occupied with numerous art vignettes, landscape, sporting, greeting, &c., many of which are of great beauty.