Europeen Wood Type Ornements

Hi folks,

I am trying to identify the typefoundry of these magnificent wood type ornements. I am pretty sure they originated from France. But then again they could also be from Germany.

Anybody out there with a French or German type specimen book or leaflet ?



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I’m still curious about the origins of these. Does anyone have European wood type specimens to reference?


To track their origin it would probably help to know sizes: picas, ciceros?
Also type height: .918, .937 or?
Whatever they are, they’re beautiful!

They are right around .925. Hamilton cut wood type to .921.


To Dan

I am confused. Why would Hamilton, an American company, cut their type to anything other then the common type-height?

Because it is made out of wood. My guess is they found it was far easier to get it to behave on press if it was consistently just marginally higher than any metal in the form. This is only .003 we are talking about- half the thickness of a piece of tympan.



In that same 1908 Hamilton catalog, the body copy also states that “Previous to January 1, 1906, Wood Type has varied in height from five to fifteen-thouandths of an inch”. It might be assumed that they are only speaking of their own wood type (though that is not entirely clear). This also appears to be the only catalog produced by Hamilton that specially states this particular measure of type height.

By the mid-1930s Hamilton explicitly states type-high as 0.918”. It might be a question of by when was .918” generally accepted as type-high in the US.


Thanks for this clarification. For curiosity’s sake I am going to measure some of the unprinted V and Z characters I have in various wood fonts of different manufacture and see what I find.

Any guess about the origins of the ornaments?


Just came across a March, 1891 article in The Inland Printer article about wood type that states “type high, which is .921 of an inch.”

So a bit more info about the measue of type-high in the US.

But, I have nothing to report of the origin of the ornaments, apologies to Alain and Dan.