The personal collection of specimen catalogs, periodicals, and ephemera belonging to the multi-talented Nicholas Joseph Werner (1858–1940) is held by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at St. Louis Public Library in the Nicholas J. Werner Typographic Collection. Werner began his work as a printer in 1873 in Atchison, Kansas at the age of fifteen. He became a compositor at the Central Type Foundry in St. Louis in 1882 and […] Read more – ‘The Nicholas J. Werner Typographic Collection’.
George Case Setchell was born December 17, 1838 in Norwich, Connecticut to William Kelly Setchell and Maria E. Case. He was a skilled type cutter and a keen inventor, who perfected the die-cut method of wood border manufacture in the late 1870s, and, in collaboration with William H. Page, the die-cut method of wood type manufacture in the late 1880s. Setchell spent his childhood and most of his adult life in […] Read more – ‘George Case Setchell’.
Ebenezer Russell Webb was born October 10, 1811 in Onondaga, New York—just south of Syracuse—to Judson Webb & Jerusha Truesdell. E.R. Webb married Charlotte Castle (c1812—1899) on May 23, 1832 in Syracuse, New York. The couple had one child, a daughter, Mary E. Webb [Bunker] (c1833–1912). The family lived at 247 Bridge Street in Brooklyn for nearly twenty years starting in 1843. Webb worked as a printer in his […] Read more – ‘E. R. Webb’.
A previously unrecorded Hamilton & Katz catalog Specimens of Holly Wood Type, Borders, Reglets and Furniture was donated to the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection in March, 2014 by William Andrews of the Challenger Press in Brockport, New York. Before this new catalog came to light there were only two known and recorded Hamilton & Katz type specimen catalogs held in American archives. In the best of circumstances a specimen […] Read more – ‘Upon discovering a new wood type specimen catalog’.
William Thomas Morgans, was one of the dominate producers and innovators of wood type in American in the late 1870s, competing successfully against William Page, Vanderburgh, Wells & Co and Charles Tubbs. He was born July 2, 1844 ((Rob Roy Kelly indicates Morgans’ birth year as 1843 in American Wood Type, 1828–1900: Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types and Comments on Related Trades of the Period. New York: Van […] Read more – ‘“Billy Morgans—the boss typo of the County…”’.
A recent visit to the Kembel Collection at the California Historical Society in San Fransisco allowed for a perusing of issues of The Printer and Bookmaker. This examination led to serendipitously stumbling upon an obscure reference, which led to a fortuitous Google search, offering up a typographic curiosity. It should be noted that research is often most fruitful when performed tangentiality. The following was published in the May, 1897 issue of The Printer and […] Read more – ‘Glass type’.
The following entry was originally published in the May, 1897 issue of The Printer and Bookmaker ((The Printer and Bookmaker (New York: Howard Lockwood & Co, 1897), vol 24, no 3. “Patent Leather Type.” p 117–118)). The letter to the editor from a Mr George Jacobs describes a unique method of producing large scale printing type. Though patent leather was invented in Brussels in the late 1700’s and commercially produced in America starting […] Read more – ‘Patent Leather Type’.
On January 2, 2014 Jim DeLittle passed away peacefully at his home in Fulford just south of York, England after a long illness. He was 78. Mr DeLittle, grandson of the founder, was the last owner and operator of the last wood type manufacturer in England. The DeLittle company was founded in 1888 by Robert Duncan DeLittle as the R D DeLittle “Eboracum” Letter Factory. The wood type manufacturer was […] Read more – ‘Robert James DeLittle’.
Heber Wells, born January 25, 1835 near Bleeker Street in New York City to Darius and Almira Waters Wells. Heber was the youngest son of Darius Wells—the first manufacturer of wood type. He was also an industrious and honest business man, a courageous soldier in the Union army and an active philanthropic member of his community. Though born in New York City, Wells spent most of his life in Paterson, New […] Read more – ‘Heber Wells’.
George Fash Nesbitt was born January 13, 1809 in New York City to James Nesbitt and Maria Carolina Fash. Nesbit apprenticed as a printer under his uncle Joseph C Spear. Upon his uncle’s death in 1828, George Nesbitt assumed control of his uncle’s thirty-three year old printing business. By 1831, the business was operating under the name of George F Nesbitt at 117 Water Street in New York City, and […] Read more – ‘George F Nesbitt’.
Spending the week at libraries tracking down American wood type manufacturer’s specimen books. On the docket are Houghton Library at Harvard University in Boston, the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, and the Connecticut Historical Society Library in Hartford. All archives seem promising with previously unrecorded specimen materials. To-date there has been no comprehensive listing of all wood type designs manufactured — or a bibliography compiled of manufacturer’s catalogs — over the […] Read more – ‘A week at the library’.
The following entry was originally published in the 1889 edition of Johnson’s (Revised) Univeral Cyclopædia: a scientific and popular treasury of useful knowledge ((Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard and Arnold Guyot, eds., Johnson’s (Revised) Univeral Cyclopædia:a scientific and popular treasury of useful knowledge (New York: A.J. Johnson & Co, 1889), 6, s.v. “Printing–Wood Type.” p 440)). The last sentence of the entry is most curious in that it describes an apparently efficient—if utterly unique—process of wood […] Read more – ‘A most curious process’.
American Wood Type Mfg Co published it’s Catalog No 36 in 1936. Their primary business address was listed as 270 Lafayette Street, New York and the secondary address listed as 608 Dearborn Street, Chicago. The specimen book interior is printed in black ink on off-white uncoated stock, with a 2-color cover that is slightly heavier than the interior stock. The catalog measures 10¼ × 13¾″ and is thirty-six saddle-stitched pages […] Read more – ‘Catalog No 36’.
On page 62 of American Wood Type 1828–1900 ((American Wood Type, 1828–1900: Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types and Comments on Related Trades of the Period. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1969.)) Rob Roy Kelly makes a passing reference to the existence of several wood type manufacturers using the name American Wood Type. Kelly’s text only detailed the one manufacturer working in the 19th century. The nineteenth century American […] Read more – ‘American Wood Type Mfg Co’.
Rob Roy Kelly’s seminal American Wood Type 1828–1900 ((American Wood Type, 1828–1900: Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types and Comments on Related Trades of the Period. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1969.)) focuses solely on the nineteenth century. Other than a sidelong reference to Allied Wood Type Mfg Co in incorrectly attributed images on pages 160 and 161 and a passing reference to the American Wood Type Mfg […] Read more – ‘ACME Wood Type & Mfg Co’.
On page 160 and 161 of American Wood Type: 1828–1900 Rob Roy Kelly shows types attributed to Allied Wood Type Manufacturing Company. The samples show cropped specimens of Mode, Stymie, Corvinus Skyline, and Fashion Gothic though all are unfortunately mislabeled and Kelly includes no further attribution or date information, nor does he discuss Allied on any of the corresponding pages. In the 2007 New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital […] Read more – ‘Allied Wood Type Mfg Co’.
James Edward Hamilton was born May 19, 1852 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin to Henry Carter and Diantha Smith Hamilton. He established the Hamilton Holly Wood Type Co in 1880, the same year he married Etta Shove, who helped develop the wood type business after their wedding on August 5. Hamilton developed a method for manufacturing wood type that came to been known as the veneer method. Cutting the letter design from a thin […] Read more – ‘J E Hamilton’.
In American Wood Type 1828–1900, Rob Roy Kelly writes the history of the major American wood type manufacturers of the nineteenth century. He describes James Hamilton as an “aggressive businessman” buying out his competition starting with the William H. Page Wood Type Co in 1891. While true—the sale was finalized on January 4, 1891—Kelly simplifies the subtleties of the situation. Hamilton started his business in 1880, and by 1887 was undercutting the competition […] Read more – ‘“The Wood Type business should go West…” An 1887 letter from William H. Page to W.B. Baker’.