Ephemeral remains of Stephen Coles.
Writer, editor, typographer.
Oakland and Berlin.

Background image: BonBon Kakku
Title typeface: Times New Roman

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Posts tagged 1800s

Stigmatypie: 19th-Century Dot Matrix Printing

Tonight I found an odd bitmappy portrait of Gutenburg (top) in a fold-out spread of Harpel’s Typograph, a type specimen from 1870. “What is a stigmatypie?”, I wondered. Some cursory research reveals it was a pioneering, but seldom used, technique for producing halftone images with very small type. It was developed around 1867 by Carl Fasol of Vienna.

Stigmatypie is described in the American Encyclopaedia of Printing (1871):

Pictures made with tiny periods of metal type! Not only was this a Victorian precursor to dot matrix printing, but also (in a way) ASCII art.

Read more from John McVey and Peter Fasol (Dutch), who is the source of the other images above, from Carl Fasol’s Album der Buchdruckerkunst.

There was plenty of work for a sign painter in 19th-century New York.

Lower Hudson Street, Numbers 2, 3, and 5, ca. 1865. Photograph by Marcus Ormsbee, New York Historical Society.

GRUMBLING Jawtickler Curatives, CHILD Spankers

Ronaldson Title Slope in “Specimens of Printing Types”, MacKellar Smiths and Jordan, 1897

Fifteenth Book of Specimens (Compact Edition), Cincinnati Type Foundry”, 1882

Some really nice lettershapes in the Mezzotype design. The logotypes are typical Victorian splendor.

Posters promoting the magician Harry Kellar, ca. 1894–1900. Happy Halloween.

Produced by Strobridge Litho. Co. Found at the Library of Congress.

Specimens of chromatic wood type borders etc. manufactured by Wm. H. Page & Co., 1874 (via Columbia University Libraries)

Thanks,  Jesse Ragan

Monkey Brand Soap Advertising, ca. 1895 (via Wayside Mews Collectables)


Scurvy (1859)

“A remarkable atlas with portraits of patients suffering from various diseases. Baumgärtner, professor of medicine in Freiburg, taught it was possible to make a correct diagnosis with accompanying medical treatment by studying the patient’s physiognomy, the expression of the face, the colour of the skin, the eyes, the lips, etc.” — Wunderkammer)


Neon moiré. 

From Bicycle Kodaks (1897). Original from Harvard University. Digitized July 5, 2007.

I know it doesn’t look very strong, but someone should reproduce this bicycle … down to the seat spring.


Newspaper clipping pasted in.

From the back matter of A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens (1845). 

Cadence, a pattern typeface by Jonathan Perez

This typeface is a revival of an ornamental metal type font, which comes from a French type specimen of the nineteenth century. I do not know who is the author of the original ornamental design. This work is not a strict revival of the original design: the main thing was to retain the strong aesthetic and conceptual bias, while making the system evolving, notably because of the evolution from metal typesetting to digital typesetting. Cadence is remarkable for its process of construction: contrary to a classic ornamental font combining a lot of simple geometric elements, this one combines a few number of highly-complex non-geometric elements.

Cycles Gladiator. Circa 1895.
38 1/2x53 inches. Printed by G. Massias, Paris.

The following description is from Swann Galleries who put one of the few existing original posters up for auction in 2006. It attracted 15 bidders and sold for $26,000:

During the 1890s when bicycles were one of the most advertised products in the poster world, the fantastic concept that a bicycle was powerful enough to propel a rider into space was used surprisingly frequently (see Swann Auction #1945 lot 59, Swann Auction #1991 lot 41). This is the most spectacular of all the posters mixing science fiction with turn-of-the-century eroticism, showing naked, beautiful woman (one can’t help but wonder where the censors were when this project was proposed!) with extravagant red hair being pulled through the cosmos by her bicycle. The spokes sparkle like stars and two little wings on the bicyle pedals add to the kitschy charm and surrealist nature of the image. Although the poster is signed “LW” it is still considered anonymous, as the only possible LW is Lucein Weiluc, and this does not appear to be his work. Dodge p. 117, Voici p. 11.

A California winery has adopted the name and the art for its bottles (which were banned in Alabama for displaying “a person posed in an immoral or sensuous manner”):

Cycles Gladiator symbolizes a celebration of the freedom and happiness that pervaded Europe in the late 19th century—an era known as the Belle Epoque. This era marked many notable inventions and improvements to daily life, not the least of which was the modern bicycle or Le Bicycle Velocipede.

Started in Paris in 1891 by Alexandre Darracq (an eccentric, who would later become famous for manufacturing automobiles), Gladiator was one of the dozens of bicycle companies that saturated the market when the cycling craze boomed. The Golden Age of cycling reached its pinnacle in 1895—and that same year printer G. Massias unveiled one of the great Parisian advertising posters. Only four of these original posters exist today.

The famed artwork that once showcased the stylish Cycles Gladiator now graces the bottles of our classic wines from California’s Central Coast. The mythological image of the nymph riding her winged bicycle captures the grace and uninhibited beauty of our hillside vineyards.

AllPosters.com sells reproductions at sizes up to 60 x 44 in.
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