“Paragraph style” wood type

Has anyone seen wood type cut in what Hamilton called”Paragraph style,” where the lower case characters with descenders are cut on the same size body as the other characters, where 4 line type would be cut on 5 line bodies,etc.? Seems like it would have been much easier to set up, especially on platen presses.

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It’s funny - I just happened to be reviewing the Hamilton 17th Edition specimen which mentions this on Page 35. Otherwise I might not have known what you were talking about. To quote for those unfamiliar: “Any style or size of letter shown in this catalog, can be furnished in the Paragraph Style. This means all letters in the font, including the descending letters of the lower case, are cut on uniform bodies. For schemes of large paragraph fonts see Page 5.”

We have one font that is cut this way. It’s a large font - 25-line Post Condensed (same type as the ad on Page 35). The “paragraph style” does make it easier to set lines with lowercase - but it comes at a cost. If you’re using only capitals or have words with no descenders, you can’t get a tight line spacing. There’s a lot of dead space on the bottom of each letter. I have actually thought about cutting off the dead space on the bottom of the capitals, but ultimately the purist in me doesn’t want to hack up what’s otherwise a very complete and stylized font.

I posted a photo of the type here: https://goo.gl/photos/Ao1Zfwn7b9f9bBqDA

(apologies on linking the photo but I’ve maxed out the photo limit on my Briar Press account).


Thanks, Mike. It is interesting that it is exactly the same typeface as the in the specimen. It makes you think that, perhaps, they didn’t cut much of it.

Here is another face that was cut on “Paragraph” blocks.

It was cut by Morgans & Wilcox. It must have saved time setting these, when the headline involved a descender. This was the only font of this kind, in my collection, which is now with John Horn.

Dave Greer

Dave, thanks! I really enjoyed flipping through all the pages of your type specimen. Jon

I seem to recall curved wood letter, to be used on some sort of cylindrical printing machine specifically to print news vendors bills, worn apron style, typically saying ‘Horrible Murder’ and the like. Anyone else met this curved body woodletter?. I only saw it once in sixty years or so.

I believe that this is an example of a wood-letter, cut for use on some sort of cylinder press. It is a veneered, condensed, sans serif face, letter ‘H’ which was in my display case. I imagine that the grooves were intended to hold-down the piece, along with any others. This probably was cut by Hamilton, since they were the only ones that I know-of that cut veneered type, so more information may be at the Hamilton museum.
Dave Greer