@ symbol in lead ??

Ok so is there somebody producing the @ symbol in lead? Or is there an alternative people are using for email addresses that are hand set?

Log in to reply   13 replies so far

M & H Type Foundry in San Francisco has handi-fonts of @ signs in different sizes on page 99 of their .pdf catalog.


I would imagine that they are available from Quaker City Type Foundry in PA…as well.

I ordered a set and they look great! Came well packaged and quickly. The company made a great impression with me.

Mr. Nelson
Chili, Wisconsin

Seawolf, the @-symbol is nothing new, it’s been around for ages in lead. Just check some earlier posts on this subject.

The Happy Dragon’s Press have them here in the UK also:



We have them too; we also put a few in with every composition size fount of type. Just so you know :)


Thanks everyone for the tips.

I didn’t think this was new, in fact I did a search using a combination of key words like @, at, symbol, sign but came up with no results (which is why I asked). I would love to look at some earlier threads Mr Gravemaker, could you point me in the right direction?

About half a year ago, a discussion was held here on Briar Press. The @ symbol is a very old symbol called ‘arroba’ (of Arab origin) and is used in Spain to indicate a weight or a volume. A bit like the pound, the kilo etc. When you look in older type specimen, you’ll find the @ symbol, it was used in the USA as well. Example: 4 pairs of socks @ $3 = $12. Try to search here on the site, and I reckon you’ll find some more information.

Also be aware that during the heyday of lead type it was a little used symbol (at least in the US). Specimen books refer to it as a “commercial at” symbol used as Thomas describes. Often foundries didn’t produce them as part of a font — they were purchased as sorts. Ludlow (not strictly a foundry, but somewhat representative) made two styles, a gothic and a serif and that was it.

For some examples of the “commercial at” sign as available in the 20th century, see…

The 1955 ATF Typographic Accessories catalog, page 14, under “Side Sorts”:


The 1929 Baltimore Type (later Baltotype) specimen, page 112 (their Handy Box No. 45):


Or for matrices for (hand) composition, Ludlow Typefaces (edition D), p. 219


(all page references to the original pagination, not the page counts of the PDFs).

This is just a quick, random selection; you’ll find it in many of the type and matrix specimens of the era.

David M.

I sell fonts of both serif (Century) and sans serif (Gill) on eBay. Cast on 6-12 point with smaller sizes on larger bodies.


image: P@s @s-serif-type.jpg

P@s @s-serif-type.jpg

After having looked for many years, I don’t know of anyone else in the US who casts and sells smaller @ signs on larger bodies of type. Highly recommend and have purchased a font of both styles from Pat.

Link to prior discussion and another caster in the UK:


The name originally used for the ‘@ ’ symbol in the central London print trade was ‘rate’, and any compositor setting financial matter in that ”City of London ” financial district would know what you meant.
Hint: it always looks far better if set at least one size smaller than the rest of the line, even tho’ this will mean fiddling about with bits of one point lead.