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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 6

Type Specimens

page 86

Type Specimens.

Changes innumerable are rung on familiar styles of type; but novelties are rare. We look with interest on every effort to improve our standard character either in the direction of beauty or legibility. In the first respect, we scarcely expect to see the modern roman surpassed — as regards legibility there is room for improvement. We have already considered at some length the merits and defects of two bold attempts at reform—French and German: the roman of M. Claude Motteroz, and the Danziger-Schrift. Mr William Morris, of the Kelmscott Press, London, the well-known author and poet, has also designed and cut a reformed letter, bearing a general resemblance to old-face. We have seen some of his books, but have not been able to give the type such close examination as it deserves. We are under the impression that Mr Morris was guided more by æsthetic considerations than the more practical object of legibility. It would be interesting to compare his work with that of the other reformers we have named. Now the United States has produced a reformed character, the Cushing Monotone Roman, « suggested by Mr J. S. Cushing, of Boston, and endorsed by Mr Theo. L. De Vinne, » and cut by the Central Foundry. The founder's description cannot be greatly improved: « This letter has neither hair-lines nor heavy strokes; the line is uniform, as the name implies. It is far more readable than the ordinary Roman, will stereotype and electrotype better, and, having no hair-line, will prove more durable. » Absolute uniformity of line has been repeatedly attempted in job-faces, but never before, so far as we know, in a body-letter. The advantage of this style in stereo work is manifest; and its durability must be much greater than that of the standard face. But we cannot say that it is more readable. Judged by the optician's test—that of distance—it can be read just as far from the eye and no farther than the standard face of the same body shown beside it for comparison. Therein it falls far short of both the French and German reforms. The contour of the letter is modern, with the exception of the R, which is on the old-style model. We cannot « endorse » the new letter. It lacks the relief of light-and-shade to which we are accustomed—as its name implies, it is monotonous almost to a painful degree. It only wants a hair-space each side of the thin letters to look just like type-writer work. It may be that the accepted character « must go; » but we do not think that the Cushing Monotone will take its place.

The Election Signs shown in various sizes by Marder, Luse & CO., are an enigma to outsiders, though we read that in certain States their use is compulsory. There are 14 characters: « dem, » « rep, » « prohi, » « peop, » in squares, are intelligible; but the × by itself and within a circle or square, and the ○ and □, require explanation. The biggest of all is a heavy circle on 72 · body, surrounded by the legend « For a straight ticket mark within this circle. » This latter sign seems to be confined to the state of Ohio, while the lettered squares are used in Indiana; the blank squares in Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Michigan, and the cross, by itself, and in conjunction with circle and square, in Illinois and Iowa. Assyrian, an ornamented Latin with lower-case, is, we think, a new style. In five sizes.

A specimen sheet of business cuts in the heraldic style, and some very good vignettes, reaches us from H. B. Albrecht, Leipzig. The larger series of cuts are supplied with or without open tablets for letter-heads. They are original and artistic. We see none in the series appropriate to the printer's craft.

Messrs Kramer & Fuchs (Bauer Foundry, Frankfurt), a series of whose job faces we showed in our last volume, have brought out, under the name of Enge Antiqua, an « albion » or « elephants » roman the narrowest we have so far come across. In fact, were the letters thinner, they would scarce be legible. The specimen line, about exactly the measure of this column, of the 8 · or « petit » size, about equal in body to bourgeois, contains 86 letters and 12 spaces, or 98 types in all. This style is valuable where many words have to be compressed into one bold line. The series is a very complete one— fourteen sizes, ranging from 6 · to 84 ·.

New to us is the name of Paul Leutemann, Leipzig. From his house we have a sheet, printed in a rich brown, showing as beautiful a collection of head and side-pieces as we have seen. The two side-pieces represent flowers in vases. The head-pieces consist of six large and fine animal subjects, with appropriate landscapes. Two alpine subjects are particularly striking—a group of chamois on a rocky summit, and an eagle on the bough of an ancient forest-tree, waking to the rising sun. There are four beautiful flower subjects, No. 5083 in particular, being fairy-like in grace and delicacy. Four landscape subjects complete the series on this sheet. The details of the work seem almost too fine for ordinary wood-engraving, and we imagine that they are reduced by process-work from larger studies.

The Caslon foundry show in their Circular, No. 62, the smaller sizes completing two very useful series—the Quill Pen heavy script, down to great primer, and Atlas, a very useful style for heavy job-work, down to long primer.

From Messrs J. John Sohne, Hamburg, comes a preliminary specimen of Fette Cursiv Grotesque, a sloping form of a very heavy sans, with lowercase. The upright style has proved a very useful and effective letter; and the new face will be a valuable adjunct. It is perfectly plain, very legible, and of course will work in harmony with other sloping faces. Five sizes are shown, 16 · to 48 ·.

Herr C. Ruger, of Leipzig, brass-rule maker, shows curved ends for brass rules. 1 · body, fine and heavy face; also an assortment of the crescent-shaped brass-rule curves, now so much in vogue.