Lost or forgotten type?

The fonts 1-3 & 5 shown were cast exclusively for an ad agency for use by their customers ca.1906-28. They do not appear in any foundry specimen book or sheet that I or others have found. Their names as used by the agency are unknown. They were all cast in a single size, in various sizes.

The first, second and fourth ones are already known to be in collections. The first one was named “Buster Brown” by the collector because it is based on the cartoon strip lettering of that name and is 12 pt.; the second one is 16 pt. but has no name yet. The others will be of similar size because all were designed to be used in small-format advertising. The pic doesn’t reflect their true sizes relative to each other.

Before anyone mentions it, and to correct the story about the Buster Brown font: research shows it had absolutely no connection at any time to the Brown Shoe Co. of St. Louis who made and sold the popular Buster Brown shoe line. They had a license for the cartoon characters and the name only for their shoe ads. All use of the type was by the Buster Brown Company in Chicago or Outcault Advertising Company, both of which were owned by Richard Outcault, the original cartoonist.

[edit] The fourth font is now identified as likely BB&S’ Hazlett Script, used without the connecting stroke which was a separate character. The remaining three fonts are yet to be named.

I am hoping someone has these fonts in their shop or perhaps has more information about them. It would be good to get them documented in a future edition of McGrew’s book if another is published. If that isn’t possible then I will open-source a PDF and place it online.


image:  Composite.png


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Hi George,

I own a set of Buster Brown type, it came from the Conway Springs Star newspaper in Kansas.

I have included a picture of some type that I set plus part of the proof and an original postcard printed with Buster Brown type.

I know that Skyline sold a few sets of Buster Brown type several years back.

image: Buster.jpg


Hi sashabetty,

Skyline is where I got my Buster Brown set, and it is what started me pursuing this research. I wanted to determine if Outcault’s companies ever had their own name for it. So far there isn’t anything in archives that reveal it — so Buster Brown is quite appropriate for it.

Finding the other four fonts was a big surprise and caused me to expand my research into the bigger puzzle.

Thanks for the image; 1926 is the latest date I have seen so far of any of the five fonts in use. Good info to have; it helps in my effort to piece the puzzle together.


The font in the second line has a BB&S pin mark on the type.

Hi Dan:

Good to know; that is the same as the Buster Brown font. If the others are ever found I suspect they will too.

So you have a set of the font? Does it have a name that you are aware of?


I have a full font, I believe Rick von Holdt has some too; It is 16 pt, I have always called it “Sparks” for the shop in Georgia where my Dad found it.




Does your font have a lowercase?