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

Cheque, from the Boston/Central Type Foundry catalog, 1892

A lot of the ornamental typefaces from the Victorian era were pretty wild, but I’ve never seen anything quite like Vassar, found in the specimens of Farmer, Little & Co. back to about 1886. Nick Curtis digitized the face and released it as Foxcroft NF in 2005. It’s certainly not a complete revival, as its missing stuff like the alternate ‘S’ seen in “VASSAR” at 36pt in the first specimen above.

I’d like to see Rian Hughes take a crack at this — in his own devious way of course.

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.
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