Help in identifying a type face


I have recently acquired a wood type font, but have not been able to identify. I have checked my usual sources of Rob Roy Kelly, Greg Ruffa, a reprint of Hamilton’s Specimens, even dug through MacGrew’s Metal Type face book, all to no avail. The cap “A” in this font is stamped “Thosgreaves & S. Mason London” on the bottom. Any information about this face would surely be appreciated! Thanks.

image: Woodtype.jpg


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Some *partial* information…

This face appears in the “chart of ornamented typefaces” in the second edition of Nicolete Gray’s “Nineteenth Century Ornamented Typefaces” (Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press, 1976) as No. 418. She doesn’t have much to say about it, unfortunately. She identifies it as by “Harrild, c. 1895; Flinsch before 1890” Her specimen for Harrild is “Catalogue of Printing Machinery and Materials with Selected Type Specimens” (London: Harrild & Sons, n.d. [but she guesses 1895/6)].

Elsewhere she says that Harrild at this time was offering primarily copies of “foreign” (non-English) faces. Schriftgiesserei Flinsch operated in Frankfort am Main from 1859 to 1916 (acquired by Bauer).

I believe that the Harrild type she shows is metal, though, not wood.

The specimen she shows says “Mikado Japan” and is, so far as I can see, identical to yours. That doesn’t necessarily name it, but…

There are photographs of an apparently related metal face, “Mikado Fett” (Fett = “fat”) online on the flickr pages of Jens Jørgen Hansen (bogtrykkeren):

and it is pretty clearly a “fattened” version of your type.

As to the cutting your “Mikado” (if that is indeed its name) in wood, I’m afraid I can be of no help.

David M.

Hi There,
Had a look through some old specimen books and found ‘Japanese’ by Day and Collins in my 1897 specimen. It is similar but not the same. However a poke around on the net found this:
Which is a small column ad explaining the dissolution in 1894 of Thos. Greaves and S. Mason - not Thosgreaves. I suspected as much as it is the Victorian shortening of the name Thomas.
I have never heard of them till now. Other early wood letter cutters in UK were Bonnewell and Gould and Reeves.
Best Wishes,

I have one font in my collection stamped Thos Greaves & S Mason - attached is a picture.

Thanks Jeremy for that piece of information. Any idea what the LEE might mean?


image: GreavesandMason.jpg


Lee is a district in London. See the Wikipedia entry on it at:,_London

Attached (I hope) is an ad for Thos. Greaves & S. Mason (note ‘s’ in Greaves) from The British Printer, Vol. 6, Whole No. 36 (Nov/Dec 1893), in a Google Books scan.

David M.

image: Greaves and Mason ad from The British Printer, 1893.

Greaves and Mason ad from The British Printer, 1893.