1 May, 2013
H&FJ Supports Hamilton
In support of their unique work to both safeguard and celebrate American wood type, H&FJ is proud to announce the donation of a $10,000 Sustainability Grant to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum of Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Wood type is a vital part of our visual culture. Its riot of technological and typographic innovations remains as relevant as ever to modern typographic practice: whether your favorite font comes in multiple widths, or features chromatic layers, it owes a considerable debt to its wood type forebears. H&FJ has always believed that the preservation and study of historical typography serves even the most progressive experiments, so we’re proud to support Hamilton, not only in its curatorial mission, but for the relevant and exciting programming it provides to both the community in Two Rivers, and the design community at large.
H&FJ’s Sustainability Grant kicks off a new fundraising chapter for the museum, to help secure the future of its new home at 1816 10th Street. If you love typography, we hope you’ll join us in supporting their wonderful work. —JH
17 March, 2009
I have for exactly one year been waiting to open up the monumental copy of Ornamented Types of L. J. Pouchée that we have in the office, to find the example of the delicately curlicued shamrock type that historian James Mosley attributed to an unknown punchcutter he designated "Master of the Creeping Tendril," and to post it here.
This is not that type. It turns out that Pouchée never made a shamrock type: what I was remembering was this, the Eight Lines Pica Egyptian Ornamented No. 2 of Bower & Bacon (1826), illustrated in Nicolete Gray's Nineteenth Century Ornamented Typefaces. It is surely not the work of any Master, though perhaps it lends credence to the widely-circulated tale which holds that Mrs. Gray illustrated parts of her book by hand, rather than reproducing the work photographically. I've never heard an explanation for why this should be so, but there's no denying that the bluntness of these forms suggests the pen more than the graver.
If you want to see the actual work of the Master, follow the jump...Continues...
3 December, 2008
His Name Was Almost Legion
Typeface: Great Primer Uncials
James Mosley shared with me this striking photograph of some of the world’s oldest type-making material. These brass matrices, made by a Dutch punchcutter in 1508, are now in the collection of the Enschedé Museum in Haarlem. It’s remarkable that they’ve survived long enough to celebrate their 500th birthday.
Especially enthusiastic type buffs might recognize these as the Great Primer Uncials that we adapted for our Historical Allsorts collection, but even the most devoted connoisseur is unlikely to know the name of the man behind them. It’s amazing that we don’t, given his significance: historian H. D. L. Vervliet identifies an entire historical period with the designer’s name alone, noting that as many as half of all books printed in Holland in the first half of the sixteenth century featured this one man’s typefaces. This was an extraordinary achievement for a man less famous than his contemporaries Garamond, Granjon or Plantin, so we have to ask — doing our best Graham Chapman impression — why is it that the world has forgotten the name of...Continues...
31 July, 2008
Type Night at Delta House!
In a description of how type is made using the sand casting method, author Rob Roy Kelly quotes the eighteenth century printer Christian Friedrich Gessner as follows:
“The ingredients of casting sand are fine sand, to which is added calcinated baking-oven glue, the redder the glue the better. This mixture is finely pulverized and passed through a mesh sieve. Thereupon the mixture is placed upon a level board. The center is hollowed out and good beer is poured into the cavity — much or little according to the sand used. This is well stirred with a wooden spatula.”
Both H&FJ’s recycling bin and our expense reports are testament to the importance of “good beer” in the type design process, but to have this connection documented in the literature? The potential tax write-offs are positively off the chart. —JH