Hamilton Wood Type Specimen Book

Hi Everyone,

I recently came across an oversized Hamilton Wood Type Specimen book at a local antique store. The owner is selling the book page by page for $45 a pop. I’ve tried to purchase the entire book from him, but he wants nothing less than the per page price (there’s over 200 pages). I’ve also tried to convince him to let me scan it, but he is unwilling. It breaks my heart a little.

So, I have one idea and I wanted to gauge interest. I’ve thought about creating a kick starter to purchase the entire book from him. The $45 donation would be to purchase a page from the book. He is parting it out anyway and I’d rather it go to letterpress printing enthusiasts. They make beautiful posters for your shops. After purchasing the book, and before I ship the pages, I’ll scan each page and create a pdf of it to give away to the briarpress community.

Of course, if someone has the funds to purchase the entire book, please contact me.

Please let me know what you guys think.

image: HamiltonSpecimenBook.png


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The best Kickstarter for this would be a hard kick to his shin and then a run for the door with the book in hand!


Hah, no kidding. I just wanted to make the best of a bad situation. Well, I guess I’ll have to let this one go. I’m not sure this follows the rules of Kickstarter any way.

Silly Thought, but is it remotely possible that, (As here in the U.K.) Archive Material and Records have been, either Handed down, Re-acquired, Donated for posterity, etc etc And may stiil be traceable??
When was the demise of Hamilton, (If Any), who carried the torch, was any archive Records/Material donated to Print Museum(s)
For Example, Your Museum of Print, North Andover Mass.? Looked it up Several times, (Very Impressed, Thank You), and quoting, just 2 examples, Currently 5,000 Volumes in the Library, and Counting!! + 300,000 drawings apertaining to the Merganthaler, (Linotype) archives. Surely They must posses one copy of the Hamilton Catalogue, if so (possibly donate to the Museum funds,) Photocopy, ETC. . Just possible options? Apologies for Rubbish.!

I like Dan’s idea.
Barring that, have you tried to connect with the Hamilton Type Museum, or putting the intransigent seller in touch with them directly? Perhaps they would have the means to acauire it or the gravitas to convince the seller to do right.
It would be a pity for this to go in a million different directions or end up decoupaged to a cigar box or something.


I like Dan’s idea.

Barring that, have you tried to contact the Hamilton Type Museum, or maybe put the intransigent seller in touch with them directly? They might have the funds to purchase it or the gravitas to convince the seller to do the right thing.

Seeing this treasure pieced out, going in scores of directions, or worse, being decoupaged to a cigar box or something, is a crime.

For the cost of less than one of these sheets, one could purchase John Horn’s facsimile reprint of the Hamiltons Specimens of Wood Type Faces, c. 1907. The price is $40.00 postpaid to Shooting Star Press, P.O. Box 17252, Little Rock, AR 72222.

Dave Peat has produced reprints of Specimens of Holly Wood Type manufactured by Hamilton & Katz, Two Rivers, WI, c.1884 and also a reprint of Specimens of The Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co. 1888. To find out the cost and availability of those titles contact Dave Peat, 1225 Carroll White Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46219.

Scott Moore made facsimile copies of Hamilton’s Wood Type, Catalogue No. 14, 1899-1900 and facsimile copies of Morgans & Wilcox Wood Type Catalog 1890. I don’t remember what the cost is or if he has any left, but you can contact Scott at Moore Wood Type, 828 Oaktree Ct., Lebanon, OH 45036

These are all great reference books to have around.


My current address Is:

John Horn
24300 Chenal Pkwy. #71
Little Rock, AR 72223

And I still have copies of the 1907 Hamilton reprint for sale. However, it is not this oversized specimen under discussion. So how much does the seller want for the entire specimen book and how many pages have already been removed?

Of course having an original wood type specimen book in your hands is best. Second best would be to have a copy of John Horn’s excellent facsimile copy.

Third best would be to download a copy of the most spectacular wood type specimen book ever printed:
“Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders, etc. manufactured by Wm. H. Page & Co. (1874)” You can read it online, or download it as a PDF here:

If you download it as a PDF, you can print out a page of your choice in full color on an inkjet or color laser printer.

I’ll post a sample page below, for anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating.

image: Page Chromatic Wood Type 1874.gif

Page Chromatic Wood Type 1874.gif

Magnificent!!!!! Now there’s a selection to print-out and frame!!!!!!! Page’s chromatic book is absolutely the best imagery. Simply stunning.

Steve is right about ideally having the original copy. I have an original copy of Hamilton’s 1907 book for instance, but it is brittle and fragile, so I also have John’s reprint which is perfect for using as a working reference book.