wood type id

Do you recognize this wood typeface? It is stamped William Page on the A.

It has been classified as 12 pica Ornamented and Lined Gothic Condensed X Expanded.

I feel like there’s some Tuscan in there, and I am not so sure about the X on the Expanded.

I have printed specimen sheets to take to the Hamilton Wayzgoose next weekend (www.woodtype.org) and would like to be able to label them before I go with the most accurate name …

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Here’s a picture of the type.

image: mysterytypea.jpg


I’ve posted a bigger picture over on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/47506789@N00/4101561004/ Sorry for the extra postings!

WOW! How fantastically bizarre!!!! It almost defies classification. I don’t think I have ever seen this font anywhere before. I can tell you that it does NOT appear in the 1888 catalog of specimens from Page.

These are absolutely gorgeous and what they lack in legibility is more than made up for in their shear beauty.

There is nothing “Gothic” about this font and “Condensed X Expanded” is an oxymoron. There is nothing condensed about it either.

It is stunning and I hope that someone can come up with a valid I.D. for it. I am hoping that it doesn’t simply have a “number” designation. That would truly be a shame.

it looks like the type face used on monty pythons flying circus just before the big foot comes down. a brittish typeface i presume. Todd

Very unusual, especially since it is a chromatic typeface. It appears that the character in the Y space is an exclamation point. Someone in APA printed a wood type broadside recently with the motto “legibility is overrated” which applies even more in this case.

This font was cut in the United States since it has been stated that William Page is stamped on the A. The company used a series of different stamp designs over the years.

The oldest shows “PAGE & Co.” in an arch over a straight “GREENVILLE” with “CT.” centered under that. This mark appeared between 1857 and 1859.

The two-line mark “Wm. H. PAGE & Co.” followed by “GREENVILLE Ct.” was used in 1859.

The one-line mark “Wm. H. PAGE & Co.” was in use in 1870.

An arched “PAGE W.T. Co.” was used between 1876 and 1891.

It sounds like your type may have been cut in the early 1870’s, unless the mark you describe more closely matches one of the others above.

You can see these styles on page 61 of Rob Roy Kelly’s book “American Wood Type: 1828-1900.”

Where’s the picture of the actual type and the stamp on the side? This is amazing and rare stuff. Take care of it!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for all the great discussion! I am relieved to have confirmed my thought that the Condensed X Expanded did not really make sense. And that it’s not Gothic (unless it’s Gothic Tuscan).

I cannot recall exactly which mark it is, but I will check this week, and see if I can make a rubbing of it (or take a photo). I will post it for you to see.

Indeed, the set lacks Y’s, so I used an exclamation point for it. And, as I look at the specimen sheets I printed, sometimes I can see the letters and sometimes all I see are these fantastic flourishes and lines — it’s like an optical illusion!

Another fellow mentioned that it could be die-cut (or punched?), which makes sense — each overlay (the top color) is very very perfect.

I plan on taking some sheets to the Hamilton Wayzgoose this weekend, so I hope to get further clarification there - I will post what I find out. And maybe I will see you there!

I won’t be able to get to Two Rivers this coming weekend, but I did print a keepsake for the print exchange and mailed it up there. It sounds like this is going to be a fantastic weekend and lots of fun at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum. Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick von Holdt

I will miss seeing you there, Rick, but do look forward to seeing what you printed! I will post some info about how it’s going and photos on flickr, etc. too.

I am really looking forward to it.
Cheers, Celene

The mark is Wm H Page and Greenville, CT in two straight lines … this picture is quite out of focus, but there it is.

So, 1859!?!?!

image: Pagestamp.jpg


I’ve got it. It’s MEXICAN, as shown in the 1867 Wm. Page specimen book. It is shown in both 12-line and 10-line in the back of the book under “Chromatic Type and Borders.”

The 12-line specimen reads “BRIDLE,” and it is shown printed in two colors, like your sample. Next to the specimen is printed “Outside, H” and “Inset, B” which is the price code for the two colors — 22 cents for the the outside, and 12 cents for the inset. I assume the price is per character.

The 10-line specimen reads “MADPEN,” and is shown in a single color (the outside). The price for the 10-line outside is 20 cents, and the inset 10 cents.

Here are photos of the 1867 specimen book and the page showing the 12-line type. Enjoy!

—David Smith
Smythe Productions, Ltd.

image: 12-line specimen of MEXICAN

12-line specimen of MEXICAN

image: 1867 Wm. Page specimen book

1867 Wm. Page specimen book

Thanks David. Nice sluething. I figured that it would show up in an earlier Page catalog.

And Celene, this fits in perfectly with your mark which places it between 1859 and 1870 in origin.

I hope that everyone picked-up on how clever the showing is in the Page catalog. Being only a chromatic 2-color set, they have managed to give it a 3-color appearance by making sure that the two colors used created a third color where they overprint each other. An absolutely fantastic effect!!!!!!!

Mr Smith

I am most intrigued by the images of the Page specimen book from 1867. In my cataloging of wood type specimens I have not come across this one (and showing chromatics no less). Is this part of a personal collection or is it held in a particular archive? My current—though admittedly incomplete listing of known wood type specimen books—built ,of course, on Mr Kelly’s pioneering work ( http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/a_ah/rrk/lnl.php ). Any additions you could make to this list would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve also included an image of Page’s showing of the Mexican in the May, 1867 issue of the /Typographic Messenger./ This may or may not predate the specimen book you show.

image: P1080395.JPG


This type is in the collection of Columbia College Center for Book & Paper in Chicago. I’m very glad to have one of these prints. Nick Sherman carried it back from the Wayzgoose at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum.

But I too am curious to hear more about Mr. Smith’s specimen book!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY