What are these letters?

Can anyone tell me what these are? The ornate letterforms are metal, inserted into a wooden base. They are not printing types - the height to paper is just under two inches. They are most likely for stamping on something; the wooden base acts as a handle. I suspect that they originated in the UK, but don’t know for sure.

image: stampingletters.jpg


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Seems to me there was something like these posted some time ago, and the idea then was they were used to print on fabric for bags for food items like grains. As I recall they were dipped in a shallow tray of paint or ink and pressed onto the fabric by hand. I guess they could also be used to print a cloth banner with a message. I’m not clear how they could be inked with a roller unless one had a special setup for that. Since these are mostly the same design of letter I’m guessing they were used for a product or producer name.


Hi Steve,

I too remember a thread about this, and it has been a while, but it was here so maybe scrolling back a ways can retreave it. I seem to also remember that someone might have posted that these were used to stamp at the ends of bolts of fabric with a name or code and that the very stylistic designs of these letters themselves indicated who the maker/printer was within the trade.


Hi again Steve,

I spent a few minutes and went trolling backwards and found an entry titled Hybrid wood/metal type - French? The discussion is dated 14 Aug 13. But I also suspect that there may have been an even older thread buried in the archives also.


Thanks, Bob and Rick. The “Hybrid wood/metal type” is very similar. The letters remind me of the Indian carved wooden blocks used to stamp designs on fabric. But for those the aim was decoration, and although these letters are ornate, decoration doesn’t seem to be the aim. At this point all I feel sure about is that they were used for stamping on something.

how about pressing into eg clay of some kind, then a coloured slip floated over to go into recesses , surplus removed then fired as ceramic tiles?