Where are actually the Tri-Arts Press collection?

Someone knows where are actually the Tri-Arts Press collection? This printshop has (I don’t know if it exists yet) the heritage of the “Frederic Nelson Phillips Collection of Antique Typefaces”. I am searching information to contact the actual owners of this collection… all the best for my colleagues…

Log in to reply   12 replies so far

Bowne & Co. Stationers here in NYC own that collection.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thanks so much, Daniel. I will try contact them using their own link message here at BriarPress. Do you think which this link contact works well?

There’s contact info for Bowne on their website: http://www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org/index1.aspx?BD=9147

Thanks Jonathan. After message from Daniel Morris, I find the site which you says, and did sent a personal message. I am searching original ancient type to digitize. all the best
Paulo W
Intellecta Design

Hi Paulo,
If you are inquiring about digitizing fonts then please don’t drop my name. I’d prefer they not hate me… ;)



How does ownership/copyright work for a digitization of a wood or metal typeface? Does that just make it a revival and fair game or does the owner of the physical type have rights? I’m curious b/c of your above comment and a similar instance I ran into a number of years back. I was taking a workshop and wanted to print a small portion of a wood face. The shop owners got nervous about me trying to digitize and sell an alphabet b/c they felt they owned the rights to do such a thing. I’m not contradicting that they didn’t, just curious about the legalities.


An owner of old metal type certainly doesn’t own any rights over the design, but if they don’t want a person to digitize it then they don’t have to grant access to it.

Many that own rare type collections are weary of being asked these questions- they probably are proud of the fact that they have faces not available in a digital format. Why destroy that?

As far as 19th century designs are concerned there is no protection over the design. It is all fair game. You should be more concerned about not NAMING the digital face the same thing as a pre-existing digital typeface on the market, even if the name you want to use was the original name of the face. This is where you can get yourself in trouble.

If you have more questions regarding this I would suggest posting them in the typophile.com forums. The one linked below is specifically for trademark and release related topics.

Oh, and on an only slightly connected topic- Steve Saxe will be giving a talk on 19th Century type foundries and their specimen books this Monday as part of the type design program at The Cooper Union where I teach.

More info on that here:

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thanks for the clarification, Daniel.

I wish I could attend the lecture Monday. I’ll be sorry to miss it.

The people who have currently custody of the old antique designs do not have any right to the designs, BUT they can hold a lot of power over whether or not they would choose to proof and release a complete specimen of their type for digitalization. The old catalogs, as a general rule, do not show a complete specimen of each face. To get all the characters (punctuation, numerals, etc.) to would really need a printed proof of the entire font.


…no problems, Dan, I will not make mention yor name

“but if they don’t want a person to digitize it then they don’t have to grant access to it.”

But, it is the same which no print nothing more, in any case. Can one printer avoid the use of the some letters from their rare alphabets in a newspaper, or in a book, to a customer? It’s ridiculous. A printer is a profesional payd to print letters in a paper surface (almost ever), since Gutenberg times. In fact, a digitization of an rare alphabet is a warranty of eternal life to that alphabet. Gutenberg and his heritage did has the same problem, with the monks who did make the old manuscript books. The progress of the technics of typography and print and the own humanity walks side by side.

“Why destroy that?”

The printing using the leterpress is a special thing, a state-of-art craftwork, which don’t have in the digital fonts and laserprints a enemy.

The project which I has in mind is to print a limited and numerated edition of a folder with the history of the alphabet (plus the entire alphabet like a type-specimen) and digitize it. After this, to sell the digital version with the printed version like a bonus, to collectors. In that folder I will add informations about the leterpress partner who own the original alphabets. The customers can be contract the leterpress, if they want, to contract alternative and “original” services with the font, or another from the leterpress collection. Well, that is the idea, now I need work to find original alphabets and partners, off course

One of the things that can make some of us cringe is the digitalization projects produced by amateurs that pretty much butcher the original design in the name of a quick-fix to sell and market the face for themselves. It takes a whole lot more than just the technological capability of doing such work. There is a great deal of knowledge and aesthetics which I cannot even begin to go into detail about that would be a prerequisite for producing a competent job of it.


To see and be able to use a near perfect made digital Font, see the Work of Monotype and Teff.nl.

And than just look at the stuff canned on overloaded CD’s with Fonts for sale or the junk you can find for free,