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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3

Recent Specimens

page 89

It is our object, in this department, to critically note every new and original design in types, borders, combination ornaments, and initials. Without specimens, however, such an article is little more than a catalogue of names. New faces can only be described by comparison with previously-existing patterns—it being impossible to convey by description an idea of the essential characteristic of any given design, that being precisely the quality in which it differs from all others. Typefounders are invited to send us specimen letters or lines of original faces, which can be readily and cheaply done by parcel post. (Types from the continent of Europe should be to English height.) We insert snch free, finding our recompense in the additional interest this column would possess to our readers. Many of the beautiful styles we describe from month to month would be irresistible to colonial buyers if once seen, and those we criticise unfavorably might commend themselves strongly to printers whose tastes differ from our own.

Recent Specimens.

In the new specimen-book to band from Messrs Barnhart Bros. & Spindler, of the Great Western Typefoundry, Chicago, we find many useful hints to printers, a carefully-compiled price-list of job-work, and other valuable matter. In the specimens of body-founts, an outline profile figure of the type, showing the nick, is exhibited with each fount. It is not long since we received from this firm their small book of original styles, and most of their novelties have been noted in these pages from month to month. One job-face only is new to us—a pretty condensed eccentric with lower-case, entitled « Asteroid. » The present book contains some choice series of book-and news-founts, both modern and old-style, from 5- to 18-point, cast in copper-mixed metal.—We have also, from the same enterprising house, No. 22 of the Typefounder, showing a useful and durable wide and somewhat heavy « Inclined Lining Gothic, » caps only, in seven sizes, from 6- to 12-point. The « Dearborn » initials, cast on L-shaped bodies, with long flowing processes from head or foot, are distressing. Most of these letters would be vastly improved by simply chiselling away the streamers. The O, for example, is a Q, a monstrous tail at top instead of bottom, and the I is an exaggerated Greek r. The device of L-bodied letters so far has been productive of mischievous rather than of useful results. « Phantom Ornaments, » 5 characters, are streaky and scrolled designs in tint, resembling, at first sight, the mark of a half-inked quad, that has risen at press.

The Union Typefoundry, Chicago, send us a card showing a neat Latin Antique, with lower-case, on 5-point—the same face cast also on 6-point if required. The cap I is rather light and insignificant, and beside the O, which is very wide and heavy—too much so—looks like a wrong-fount letter.

The Boston Foundry sends us a sheet of their latest novelty « Samoa, » a very peculiar and eccentric, but strikingly legible job style, with lower-case. That the fount embodies some original notions may be gathered from the manufacturers' note at the foot: « The lower-case letters b, d, h, m, n, p, q, and y can be used to represent q, p, y, w, u, b, d, and h; capital M makes W; figure 7 makes L, and figure 6 makes 9, by merely inverting them. These are important items for the consideration of the printer when short of sorts. The letters line both ways. » A new idea, saving loss and trouble both to founder and printer, and deserving of commendation. If you had sent us some sample types of this style, gentlemen—if it had been only a line 20 ems long,—we would have shown them, and you would have found some of the New Zealand and Australian printers asking for « Samoa. » It is cast to 18-, 24-, and 48-point.

Messrs Sohelter & Giesecke send us some sheets of a small and very neat specimen-book, in which their original borders, &c, are shown in a very compact form. We note some very pretty groundwork patterns, which are further illustrated in some beautiful specimens of job-work. We notice some large scroll end-pieces which are used with fine effect, greatly enforced by the use of tint-grounds. Another novelty is a series of ragged and torn corners.

Some fine « Renaissance-Kanzlei » initials, in five sizes, are shown, with accompanying lower-case sorts, and a series of appropriate ornaments. A number of fine specimens, showing types and groundworks in actual use, are enclosed; and one of these—Messrs S. & G.'s own letter-head—is a triumph of delicate typography.

Herr Poppelbaum sends us No. 8 of his Neuigkeiten. A double-page in the centre shows some pretty new corners; also a tricolor border—a very old friend. We have known it in Caslon's collection for many years. This differs from Caslon's, not in design, but in the absence of the third and fourth forms shown above, for printing leaves and flowers in different colors. Their place is taken by a piece which we cannot show—the whole design in solid tint, an exact counterpart of the second piece. The rest of the number is occupied with excellent plain job founts, German and Roman.

The Patent Typefounding Company, London, send us specimen sheets and a neat card in colors, showing their well-known pica combination in the form of handsome groundworks. We expect to be able to illustrate some of the specialties of this firm in our specimen column at an early date.