Memorial Designer & Date?

I could not find this face in Loy, but it may be there. It is shown in early ATF (1898 Desk Book, Boston pin-mark) specimens. It is shown on page 631 along with Medieval and has some similar lower case (a,f). It is cast on a 21.5-point body (pre-standard mold). I suspect that it could be by Ihlenburg, about the same time, but want proof.

Dave Greer

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Looks like it’s John K. Rogers of the Boston Type Foundry according to design patent 12,121 issued January 11, 1881 (application filed September 23, 1880).

Where does one lookup design patents and dates? The usual internet searches don’t seem to be working for those terms.

Thank you for that information and I would also like to know what your source of the information was. I had some of the Design Patent dates, when I had Jane Roberts’ research papers, while Steve Saxe was editing Loy’s book, but John Rogers (APA member) has them now.

Dave Greer

I got the spreadsheet of the Jane Roberts research from David McMillan’s site:

Much of the patent information in this file is a row or two off the correct patent number. I had already downloaded pdf files of all the design patents listed and am working on a project to compare them to the spreadsheet and get the patent numbers aligned with the correct information with the intention of forwarding this to McMillan when complete.

I found the patent number by looking up “Memorial” in the partially corrected spreadsheet, then verified that the specimen in the patent matched your proof, and took the name and dates from the text of the patent.

image: USD12121p1.jpg


Thank you for that information. It was noted by Steve Saxe that John Rogers was a “principal” of the Boston TF and was not listed as a designer, in the Loy book. I am thinking that John Cumming may have actually designed Memorial—just a thought, since his name was only on three of Boston’s patents..
Dave Greer

Here is another good on-line resource for researching nineteenth century typographical design patents. It’s related to the Jane Roberts/Steve Saxe information mentioned above. There may be a few errors, but an excellent quick source for the patent records:

The “” link for the database that MaynardNews cites is actually a link to a PDF on my image/data server. It would be better to cite a link to the actual page at presenting this database, because that page also includes some of its history:

As it exists now, the database is a palimpsest of generations of scholarship too frequently corrupted by technological problems. Jane Roberts began it as a handwritten 32 page document. Steve Saxe augmented it and transcribed it to his computer. That computer crashed and the electronic form was lost. Steve had a printout of it, which he scanned and OCRed. But the OCR made a huge mess of things. I managed to help Steve sort it out, mostly, but I am not at all surprised that MaynardNews has discovered errors in it. I would be happy to put online a corrected version! Steve would have appreciated it.

The version was derived from Steve’s reconstructed spreadsheet by Lars Schwarz. It is a great resource, but it is even more fragile (as it is susceptible to third-party changes in software).

In the end, it’s hard to beat real print.

David M.

It looks to me like the OCR got some of the dates wrong, then the spreadsheet was sorted by date—but only the columns to the right of the patent numbers. If we had Jane Roberts’s original (or a scan or photocopy of it), we could make short work of it.

Besides the three obviously mismatched patents listed last in the pdf, I have found eight 1881 patents with dates wrongly changed to 1891, so everything from early 1881 to mid-1891 is mismatched. Possibly there are other similar errors in later years that I haven’t found yet.

The patent database represents far too much work to give up on getting it straightened out. The errors related to Steve’s computer crash seem to be systematic, so not beyond solution for a former computer programmer. I will email you (David McMillan) a copy when I’m finished and let you decide what to do with it.

I thank everyone for their input. I have been going through my card file and noting much of the information. I had a personal insight into Jane Robert’s working habits and knew that she made many trips to the US Patent Office and made copies of available patents. One of her problems was that she made copies that were barely readable, with age, so her personal notes were very important.
As I mentioned, all of her original notebooks are in the possession of John Rogers, who has a new e-mail address.
Dave Greer.