European typeface ID (ca. 1909)

[crossposted to LETPRESS]

I just received a query from a Finnish graphic designer now in
in The Hague ( ) who, as a part of his
M.A. program, is studying and digitizing a typeface which appears in a
1909 edition of _Tartuffe_ published in Amsterdam.
I suspect that it is from a European source, and almost all
of my materials are American, so I’m unable to help him
identify it. Perhaps someone here can?

Here’s a scan of a spread from the book:

and a close-up:

It is an Egyptian, not unlike (but not quite the same as)
Lanston’s No. 76, “Modern Antique Condensed”:

Would it be fair to assume that by 1909 a book such as this would
have been machine-set?

David M.
Dr. David M. MacMillan

Log in to reply   3 replies so far

It is not Lanston’s No. 76. Compare the lowercase ‘j’ and you will see the difference. It is a shame that someone is actually spending time to digitize this awful typeface.


It’s more an “antique” than an “egyptian”. Almost all foundries on both sides of the Atlantic had variations of this basic design at that time. Most likely a European font because of the accent over the “e” and the “ij” ligature.

Handset or machine set????? To look at the printed sample there is little consistancy in lots of the letters. Just start concentrating on any one of them and see how poorly it remains identicle on that page. Either its worn foundry or worn mats on a machine. Just how do you even pick out the “ideal” of any character to even start with?

And….as Paul points out… what a crappy face to even try to clean up and digitize. The letterspacing is also piss-poor on that page.



You might want to try the folks over at Typophile. They love this identifying kind of stuff. Especially anything retro or emerged from the past. They are eagerly awaiting to scrounge through the specimen books.

From the way this is set I’m guessing this is foundry. Also, partly by the date. There was some resistance to machine setting, even at this late date. Old timers don’t give it up easily. Heck, it took the photopolymer plate process well over a good decade and a half to take over the contemporary letterpress crowd!