Mystery type face

I need a positive i.d. on a face I acquired as Metropolis Bold. I was just getting ready to get it stored in my shop, when I noticed that it really is not Metropolis Bold. My next guess was Wide Latin, but it isn’t that either.

In looking through my library, I did find it shown as Primus (page 38 of the A.T.A. Type Comparison Book) and that it is a foundry face.

When I then go to the Encyclopedia of Typefaces, I find Primus shown on page 186, but this is NOT the face that I have.

The font is definitely foundry cast, but there is no pinmark whatsoever on it. It is very close to Wide Latin but it is even wider and heavier than that.

Any clue as to what this face may be and the foundry of origin would be greatly appreciated.


Rick von Holdt
The Foolproof Press

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Could you post a picture? I don’t have the books you reference, but have several others which might shed some light on the situation.

Hi Geoffrey,

I am a complete Luddite when it comes to scanning and posting an image. Wouldn’t have a clue as to where to even begin.

I am almost positive that this is a European face. I only have a few European foundry catalogs and I will try to look through them tonight, but I don’t think my chances of finding it in my books will be too good because I have less than a handfull of them. I also suspect that it may be a mid-20th century design so even the few catalogs that I do have may to too old to i.d. this face.



If you don’t know what it is, I wonder if anyone could figure it out…

Best of luck though; I’ll be following this thread..

Hello, Rick

Too bad this hadn’t come up last weekend when I visited; I could have snapped a picture and posted it!

Do you think it’s a face from Stempel? A nice mystery. Good luck!

- Denis

P.S. The Missal Initials have already been put to use. Thanks again.

I’ve spent additional time looking through more of my reference books and still am coming up empty on any specimen to match my font (other than the ATF Type Comparison Book).

It is most likely German. It includes ‘chevron’ design quotation marks. This could possibly be a design from the 1960’s or early 1970’s so it could have come on the scene very late in the game for a metal typeface (and a good reason that it is an ellusive specimen).

I did find an obscure reference to the graphic and type designer Karl-Heinz Lange, who passed away last year at the age of 80, which listed the fact that he had treated the metal typefaces Magna, Primus and Super Grotesk for photocomposition.

The mystery continues…..


I am still frustrated trying to get an originating foundry of origin for this face. I did find it shown as Primus today in an old phototype catalog from Facsimile Phototype in Los Angeles. This is a catalog that I picked up when I was in college around 1970. So that tidbit in the previous post about this foundry type having been converted for phototype composition has been verified. I have a feeling that this face originated as foundry type sometime in the late 1950s or in the 1960s.

The mystery continues….