Cincinnati Type Foundry - Barth Family History

Hello there! Although I am not necessarily an avid printing enthusiast, and probably can’t contribute much to your discussion, I do have a sincere interest in learning more about the industry, such as it was. And I must say that I am a bit sad that digital text has caused the inevitable demise of the print industry. I do love using a computer, however, even for the very purpose at hand. Each of you have my admiration for your contribution toward keeping this history alive. I must confess that I do have an alterior motive for posting to your discussion board. I am a semi-retired age, great-great granddaughter of Henry Barth, president of the Cincinnati Type Foundry in the late 1800’s, and I am hoping you might be able to help point me in the right direction as I attempt to procure and document bits of printing history to pass along to Henry’s posterity. When Henry Barth was in his twenties, he apparently helped to develop some fonts as an apprentice to a machinist at Schelter & Giesecke in Leipsic, Germany before he immigrated to the U.S. in 1849, where he settled in Ohio and was soon employed by the Cincinnati Type Foundry. (Quoting the Inland Printer, August 1924, p. 764) “He became mechanical superintendent, and developed as an inventor. He made the first cylinder presses in the West. He invented a number of special machines for a Cincinnati manufacturer of playing cards, which aided in making Cincinnati the center of that industry. In 1861 he was elected president of the company. In 1870 he invented and put into use the double casting machine. His attention continued to be directed to the improvement of the typecasting machine until 1855 when he patented his highly successful automatic typecasting machine. Barth was also the first to make a lead-shaving machine and to sell shaved leads. [He also] made offset printing presses to produce cheap American flags by the millions. During the [Civil] War he invented a machine for casting bullets and received large contracts for supplying bullets. He also invented and made the famous Army Press, which was used at all quarters of the federal armies, and was afterwards used extensively by publishers of small weekly newspapers. The Cincinnati Type Foundry became part of the American Type Founders Company, which thus became owner and exclusive user of the Barth patents and secured his services as a director and expert. He excelled more as a machinist than as a typefounder. As a typefounder his best achievement in types were the extremely useful and beautifully designed Cincinnati borders on half-nonpareil, non-pareil-and-a-half, and pica bodies. These borders had solid corners, (unreadable)-corner quads are cast, this being the first use of that in borders.” So my questions to you Briar Press folks are: Do you happen to know of any other information about Henry Barth and his inventions? Can you tell me how I might go about researching his old patents? I would also like to learn more about any fonts or printing styles he developed (especially those that might still be in use today). And do you happen to know where I might be able to get a really good photo of both the Barth type-casting machine and the Army Field Press? I found some information about the Army Press at and have sent emails to persons mentioned, but have not, as yet, received a reply. I look forward to any information you may be able to send my way.

image: Drawing of Barth Army Field Printing Press.jpg

Drawing of Barth Army Field Printing Press.jpg

image: Henry Barth Encyclopedia Brittanica 1940.jpg

Henry Barth Encyclopedia Brittanica 1940.jpg

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There are sixteen Barth casters still in use at the Dale Guild type foundry in Howell, New Jersey. Theo Rehak is the proprietor. I have a feeling he’d love to hear from you.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

PS- You can look up the patents on Google Patents Search. Here’s one:

image: barth2.jpg

image: barth.jpg

I suggest you also get in touch with Steve Saxe.
[email protected]

He has an incredible collection of type books with history of most of the foundries.

Wow! Thanks for the leads on information. So, are the photos above of the Barth machines?… and if so, which ones?

I have already received so much information… thanks! Steve Saxe sent drawings, and I have looked up several of the patents on the google-patent site.

I attempted to send emails to Mr. Rehak at the Dale Guild Type Foundry, but they were rejected with the message “not a customer”. Perhaps some one of you whom he knows could give him a heads up to allow a future email with Barth in the subject line, or refer him to my earlier post on this site.

Thanks again for your support thus far.

Last year I posted a pic of the Adams Cottage Press now at Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas. I didn’t make it clear that I knew it is an Adams Cottage Press. You were kind enough to confirm that fact. There are distinct differences between the Adams and the Cinncinati Army Press. I think the CAP was more popular and stayed on the market longer than the Adams. I have some 1890’s catalogues that still list the CAP. I think the Adams press essentially ceased to be available in the 1870’s, maybe the 1880’s. In the Adams ads it definitely took a back row seat. Both presses seem to have gotten lots of use during and after the Civil War. I have a good sized collection of ads and articles about the Adams. I’ll be glad to furnish copies or references to the Adams. I have only located about six of the presses. There were some small technical changes in the Adams. Our Adams at the top of the pictures of presses in the “Presses—Other” section of the museum is the later version—about 1864—as is the other Adams in the same section..

Sorry I didn’t respond sooner—-been through a bunch of surgery, etc. But I’m back and will be glad to hear from you if there is any info we should share.

Sam Lanham

That is a very interesting summary of Henry Barth’s contributions to CTF and the printing industry. I believe he also designed the Nonpareil line of job printing presses made by CTF; I used to own one, a very fine press. Perhaps he also designed the very ornamented Washington hand press that CTF issued about 1876 (I think), of which I own an example.

Dave Clinger has what I believe is a CTF Army press, though his was missing the crank handle. Steve Pratt in Utah made a couple of copies of one a few years ago and I believe they are in use by the National Park Service.

I hope you can make available the results of your research, as such compilations of printing technology history are important to preservation of the historical craft.


Thank you Bob, I will share anything that I learn. And thank you for the recent lead to the Army Press information on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History website.

I have been researching the press I pulled out of a barn and cleaned up. I am pretty sure this is what you are talking about.
Jon Drew, 612-270-6449

image: army prf press.jpg

army prf press.jpg

Jon, though I can’t see all the name of the maker, that they were on Vine St in Cincinnati it has to be Cincinnati Type Foundry. It looks very nice. Does it have the tympan attachment? If you think of selling it I’d be interested to know the asking price.


I am a great grandaughter of Henry Barth. Is there a way to be put in touch with the Barths _ggdaughter who wrote this story? I’d like to compare our relatives!

If you click on the green name you will be taken to their profile page. You can contact them through that page. But as she was last active on here 7 years ago you might not be lucky.

You may also try contacting Steve Saxe because I know they were also in direct correspondence.