Friday, April 23, 2010

Blue Pencil Comments no. 2—Marian Bantjes

Marian Bantjes has responded to my posts about her Saks Fifth Avenue heart. Here is here comment and below it my response.

Marian Bantjes 4/4/10

Paul, for you to use my Saks heart as a comparison to a Spencerian script is madness. It bears absolutely no relation to a formal script (the first clue being that it is a monoline), nor was it meant to. The letters do not flow properly from one to the next because I didn't want them to. The letterforms in the heart are forced (yes, forced) into hiding by an abstraction of curves and lines. It is not a series of scripted words with flourishes which happen to make a heart, it is heart made of curlicue shapes in which letterforms are hidden. It combines rounded and angular forms on purpose ... in fact, that is what I *do* in much of my work, is break the forms. You have one or two valid points (eg. about the “ki”), and you are certainly allowed to dislike the piece, but to use it as an example of “how not to do Spencerian script” is akin to critiquing a pie for how not to bake a cake.


My comparison is not madness. I am not criticizing your work for not being Spencerian or looking like formal script. I am criticizing it for the quality of its curves. It does not matter if the curves are swelling as in Spencerian or monoline as in your work. There are beautiful curves and there are awkward ones. I understand that your work is often built on the collision of curves and angles—and that is what I frequently like since it takes your work out of the realm of the precious or the historicist—but in this instance the combination does not always succeed. It works best along the edges of the heart but not within where you are dealing with letters and words and not just pattern. The problem is not that you have baked a pie instead of a cake, but that your pie is half-baked.

Since you do not want to be compared to “professional” letterers I thought I would look at your curves, especially your monoline ones, in comparison to decorative work in architecture, especially wrought iron. (The image at the top is from the door to a church rectory on Pacific Street in Brooklyn.) To see what I consider to be gorgeous, dynamic and organic curves look at the work of the Belgian architect Victor Horta (1861–1939), especially in the Maison Horta (1898–1901) and the Hôtel Tassel (1893–1895), both in Brussels. The image above is from the Maison Horta. It is a painted mural at the base of the staircase. (See p. 120, Musee Horta, Bruxelles Saint-Gilles by Françoise Dierkens-Aubry (Brussels: Credit Communal, 1990). Also see examples of curvaceous designs in metal, stained glass, wood, tile and stone from the house on pp. 41, 84–86, 92–94, 102–103, 112, 114, 121, 122, 124; and p. 38 for the Hôtel Tassel.) This particular detail shows curves that abruptly change direction as well as others that grow in a Fibonacci manner. It seems somewhat akin to your attempts to combine angles and curves in the Saks Fifth Avenue heart. But I believe that Horta creates a more successful whole from his kit of parts than you do. His design has a better balance of negative spaces and a more satisfying line quality, one that caresses the eye. Of course, he is not integrating letters into his designs and so a direct comparison is not possible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blue Pencil no. 9—Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles vol. 2 1901–1938

Blue Pencil no. 6 (1 October 2009) was devoted to Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles vol. 1 1628–1900 edited by Cees W. de Jong, Alston W. Purvis and Jan Tholenaar. The companion volume was published in February 2010. It was obviously already edited and prepared for publication when my comments were posted as many of the same problems that plagued the first volume are still present in this one.

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles vol. 2 1901–1938
Cees W. de Jong, Alston W. Purvis and Jan Tholenaar, eds.
(Köln: Taschen, 2010)

the design is by Sense/Net (Andy Disl and Birgit Eichwede)

the material in the book is from the collection of type specimens owned by Jan Tholenaar, Reinoud Tholenaar and Saskia Ottehoff-Tholenaar

[As with the first volume the basis for this book’s book is insufficiently explained. Who was Jan Tholenaar? He is described only as a Dutch book collector. How did he come to collect type specimens? What was his collecting strategy? What is the explanation for the gaps in his collection?—lack of money, availability of items, personal preferences, etc.? In volume 1 Tholenaar talks about his love of decoration and metal type so we understand why there are no specimens of phototype or digital type in this second volume, but the era of metal type continued into the early 1970s and a number of important and beautiful type designs were done after the Second World War. Yet, this volume ends in 1938. Perhaps a third volume is planned?

To call this book a history is misleading since many crucial typefaces, type designers and type foundries are missing. I assume they are missing because Tholenaar either did not want to collect them—for whatever reason—or was unable to—also for whatever reason. But the reader needs to know the reason. The result is “history” that is at the mercy of one man’s collecting tastes, opportunities and luck. Some of the things that are missing which I believe to be critical to a true history are:

• specimens of the work of Morris Fuller Benton, Alessandro Butti, Warren Chappell, Oswald Cooper, W.A. Dwiggins, Otto Eckmann, Frederic W. Goudy, George W. Jones, Heinrich Jost, Robert Hunter Middleton, Imre Reiner, Paul Renner, S.H. de Roos, Jan van Krimpen, Walter Tiemann, E.R. Weiss.

• 1906, 1912 and 1923 specimen books from American Type Founders; specimens of ATF’s revivals (Bodoni, Cloister, Baskerville, Garamond, Bulmer); specimens of ATF’s faces by Lucian Bernhard; ATF’s famous Goudy family specimen; specimens for Century, Century Oldstyle, Century Schoolbook, Cheltenham, Franklin Gothic, News Gothic, Stymie; ATF’s rash of Art Deco specimens issued 1927 to 1930 (e.g. Broadway, Parisian and Chic)

• specimens for any of the Monotype Corporation’s revivals (Poliphilus, Fournier, Baskerville, Garamond, Bembo, Bulmer, Centaur and Arrighi, Van Dijck, Ehrhardt); specimens for Imprint, Plantin, Pastonchi and Perpetua

• specimens for several of Rudolf Koch’s principal typefaces: Eve Antiqua (also known as Koch Antiqua), Wilhelm Klingsporschrift, Wallau, Jessen, Claudius

• Mergenthaler Linotype’s Big Red Book (c.1937) with Metro and Electra by Dwiggins as well as several of the Legibility Group of typefaces by C.H. Griffith and Bell Gothic

• specimens from Ludlow Typograph, especially Eusebius, Garamond, Stellar and their Art Deco faces from the late 1920s (e.g. Boul’ Mich)

• specimens of Venus Grotesk, Bauer Bodoni, Bernhard Fraktur, Futura, Legende, Schneidler Medieval and Zentenar from Bauersche Gießerei; Unger Fraktur, DIN, Janson, Stempel Garamond and Gilgengart from D. Stempel AG; City and Ganz Grobe from C.E. Weber Schriftgießerei; Akzidenz Grotesk from H. Berthold GmbH; Torino from Fonderia Caratteri Nebiolo; Auriol from Fonderie G. Peignot et Fils; Granby from Stephenson, Blake; Lutetia from Joh. Enschedé en Zonen; Nobel from Lettergieterij Amsterdam

• 1932 Anwendungsprogen der Schönsten Drugulin Schriften from Offizin Haag-Drugulin; and its 1936 specimen

• 1937 centennial specimen from Bauersche Gießerei

• 1924 specimen of Caslon Old Face Roman and Italic designed by George W. Jones

• specimens of schaftstiefelgrotesk faces such as Element, Tannenberg and Deutschland


“Highlights in Letterpress” Cees W. de Jong p. 7

[throughout the book there are no fi or fl ligatures]

p. 7 “Individual preferences set the tone. Jan Tholenaar (1928–2009), who died a few months before the book was completed, amassed one of the greatest private collections of type specimen proofs. For Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles vol. 2 1901–1938, Tholenaar and I focused on type specimens produced in the first 30 years of the 20th Century [sic]. We present typefaces and type specimens demonstrating the highlights of letterpress and the art of printing, with designers credited by name.
[this is the closest the authors come to explaining the criteria behind the selections that make up Type: A Visual History, vol. 2. But their individual preferences are not detailed. The book both in title and content goes beyond 1930 and many of the highlights of the period 1900–1938 are not here.]

p. 7 “The Futura [sic] from Paul Renner was a constructive solution [to what is not entirely clear], equally at home in classical and modern design, combining personal style with the abstract strength of form.”
[despite this, Futura is not included in the book.]

p. 7 “The highlights of the years 1900 to 1930 include extremely diverse typefaces and ornaments—all in letterpress!”
[Why the exclamation point? Letterpress was the dominant technology of those years.]

p. 7 “In 1889, for the release of the Golden Type, a Jenson-like gothic ornamental typeface….”
[William Morris created the Golden Type in 1890. It was cut by Edward Prince and first used in The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine (1892), from which it took its name.]

p. 7 “19th-Century” and “20th Century
[odd capitalization like this continues throughout the volume as does some poor hyphenization. This is probably because the book was prepared in Germany.]

p. 7 “…Neo-Grotesk and Fraktur typefaces…”
[it should be “Neo-Grotesque and Fraktur typefaces”]


“Type Foundries: The Golden Age” by Alston W. Purvis pp. 10–21

[Purvis’ essay spends only one page discussing type foundries in the first three decades of the 20th century, the ostensible subject of the book. The other ten pages are taken up with a history of type design from Gutenberg to William Morris.]

p. 11 “After the 1930s the golden age of type-foundry specimens came to an end, and the appearance of new specimens was reduced to a trickle.”
[this is not true. Type specimens were not as elaborate in the post-World War II years but they continued to be issued in large numbers by all of the major foundries. Many of the most important typefaces of the 1950s and the 1960s had beautifully designed specimens: Palatino, Melior, Optima, Diotima, Helvetica and Syntax from Stempel; Clarendon, Profil and Neue Haas Grotesk from Haas; Univers and Meridien from Deberny & Peignot; Trump Medieval, Schadow, Codex and Delphin from C.E. Weber; Vendôme, Mistral, Antique Olive and Calypso from Fonderie Olive; Microgramma, Eurostile, Recta, Estro and Stop from Nebiolo; Folio from Bauer; Craw Clarendon, Craw Modern and Ad Lib from American Type Founders; and more.]

p. 11 “15th Century” and “17th-Century historians” and “15th and 16th Centuries”

p. 11 “After moving to Rome, they [Sweyheym & Pannartz] designed an alphabet that became the prototype of our current roman typeface.”
[this is a contentious claim as most authorities describe the Swenheym & Pannartz typeface as a gotico-antiqua rather than a roman, usually according the honor of being the first roman face to Nicholas Jenson.]

p. 12 “His [da Spira’s] roman type had few of the gothic traces still evident in the fonts of Sweynheym and Pannartz.”

p. 15; and caption, p. 12 “The thin strokes of the Bodoni [sic] were made the same weight as the serifs, creating a dazzling contrast.”
[this sentence is in the text on p. 15 and in the caption on p. 12 accompanying images from Bodoni’s 1818 Manuale Tipografico shown on pp. 10, 12–22, 24–25. This is a ludicrous statement since it does not specify which of the 300+ typefaces shown in the Manuale it is referring to. Furthermore, many of Bodoni’s roman typefaces have slightly bracketed serifs making it difficult to discuss their weight vis a vis hairline strokes.]

p. 12 “Using pre-Carolingian sources, Griffo designed a type that rivaled Jenson’s designs and is known today as Bembo.”
[what pre-Carolingian sources? The only minuscules that existed prior to the development of Carolingian were half-uncials which bear no resemblance to Griffo’s type. But then again, neither do Carolingian minuscules. If Griffo was looking at manuscripts for inspiration they would have been contemporary Humanist ones such as those done by Bartolomeo Sanvito.]

p. 12 “Employing capitals designed by Griffo and the Bembo lowercase, Manutius brought the incunabula period to a close with the 1499 publication of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.”
[this is a strange sentence. Does “the Bembo lowercase” refer to the lowercase used in De Aetna (1495) or to the 20th c. typeface issued by Monotype? What it should say is that the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili uses the same lowercase as the De Aetna but with lighter and smaller capitals.]

p. 12 “In 1501, Manutius produced the prototype of the pocket book, an edition of Virgil’s Opera set in the first italic type.”
[there is no mention of Griffo’s role in the design of this important typeface which was completed in 1500 and made its first appearance in January 1501 in the frontispiece to an editions of the letters of St. Catherine of Siena.]

p. 12 “type designer and punch cutter Claude Garamond (ca.1480–1561)”
[Henrik Vervliet has changed the dating of Garamond’s life to c.1510–1561. See “The Young Garamont: Roman Types Made in Paris in the 1530s” pp. 161–214 (specifically pp. 16167–171) in The Palaeo-Typography of the French Renaissance: Selected Papers on Sixteenth-Century Typefaces, vol. 1 (2008).]

p. 12 “the Parisian type designer [and punch cutter?] Robert Granjon (d.1579)”
[The correct dates for Granjon’s life are 1513–1590. See “Roman Types by Robert Granjon” pp. 215–242 in The Palaeo-Typography of the French Renaissance. ]

p. 15 “Inspired by Garamond, Granjon designed italics with elegant capitals and swashes, and for 200 years many type designers followed him by producing versions of Garamond types.”
[this is a garbled and misleading sentence. Granjon designed more than italics. His romans (one of them the basis for Matthew Carter’s Galliard) and his civilités are also important. His italics are detailed in “The Italics of Robert Granjon” pp. 321–364 in The Palaeo-Typography of the French Renaissance, vol. 2. It is his St. Augustin italic of 1543 with sloped capitals that revolutionized the style and laid the groundwork for our contemporary notion of what an italic should like. According to Vervliet (p. 323) Granjon’s italic capitals were not inspired by Garamond’s but were an autonomous invention. Modern “Garamond” types are mainly derived from the types of Jean Jannon and have nothing to do with either Granjon or Garamond. But Adobe’s more accurate Garamond typeface does mix a Garamond roman with a Granjon italic.]

p. 15 “17th Century” and “19th Century”

p. 15 [The discussion of Dutch types jumps from Christoffel Van Dijck to Enschedé & Zonen to the Enschedé Font Foundry without mentioning such significant punchcutters and type designers as Willem Blaeu, Dirk Voskens, Miklos Kis, Johann Michael Fleischmann, Jscques-François Rosart or Jan van Krimpen.]

p. 15 “In England, William Caslon (1692–1766) introduced Caslon Old Style in 1722….”
[The roman that Caslon introduced in 1722 was not called Caslon Old Style. That is a name assigned to it much later. This is a common conflation of historical and modern names. See Bembo earlier.]

p. 15 “With a refined elegance and increased contrast between thick and thin strokes, his [Baskerville’s] designs represent the zenith of the transitional style between old-style and modern types.”
[This is a misunderstanding of the concept of “Transitional” style as a classification category. It is a way of grouping disparate designs in the period 1720–1770 that are neither clearly old style nor clearly modern style. These designs include the work of Pierre-Simon Fournier le jeune, Johann Michael Fleischmann, J.F. Rosart and Johan Michael Smit as well as those of Baskerville. Given that the category is defined by the concept of change it is difficult to describe a single design as representing the zenith of the style.]

p. 15 (twice) “Fournier le Jeune”
[should be “Fournier le jeune”]

p. 15 [The discussion of Bodoni’s typefaces completely ignores the variety in his oeuvre and the fact that much of his work was not “mathematical and geometric” in appearance. See my earlier post showing several samples of Bodoni’s types from his 1788 specimen.]

p. 15 “Similar to those of Bodoni, fonts by François-Ambroise Didot (1730–1804) took on a lighter and more geometric quality after 1775. Although Bodoni and the Didots were competitors, they influenced one another as each attempted to push the modern style to new extremes. A year after the Manuale tipografico appeared, the 1819 Spécimen des nouveaux caractères… de P. Didot l’aîné was published.”
[This discussion of the Didot typefaces wholly glosses over who properly deserves credit for the Didot types. The 1775 font was not cut by François-Ambroise Didot but by Pierre-Louis Wafflard (sometimes spelled Vaflard) and the faces which subsequently made the name Didot famous were cut by his son Firmin Didot. Firmin’s types were used by Pierre Didot. The types issued by Pierre Didot in 1819 were cut by M. Vibert under his direction. (Vibert’s first name seems to be unknown.) See the entries on the Didot family in A Bibliography of Printing, vol. I compiled by Edward Clements Bigmore and Charles William Henry Wyman (1884), The Didot Family and the Progress of Printing by Albert J. George (1959) and Les Didot: Trois siècles de typographie & de bibliographie 1698–1998 edited by André Jammes (1998).]

p. 15 “In 1785, François-Ambroise Didot modified Fournier’s type measurement system and arrived at the current point method. The Didot system was accepted in Germany when Hermann Berthold revised it in 1879 to conform to the metric system. In 1886, it was accepted by American typefounders, and England followed in 1898.”
[The Didot family unit was based on the pied du roi (.376 mm). The term “point”, which they never used, was coined by later typefounders who adopted their system. See for more details on the history of type sizes and nomenclature. American typefounders never used the Didot point system and neither did British ones. The American point system is different from the Didot system. It was invented by Nelson Hawks (1840–1929) in the 1870s and first used by Marder, Luse & Company in 1877. By 1890 a majority of the members of the United States Typefounders’ Association had accepted Hawks’ system and two years later it was adopted by the new American Type Founders Company which insured its success. English foundries agreed to the system in 1903. See The Origin of the American Point System for Printers’ Type Measurement by Richard L. Hopkins (1976).]

p. 18 “The texts used in some type-specimen books merit a separate study.”
[This is absolutely right. However, even if a separate study is beyond the remit of this book, the authors could still have commented on some of the texts in the specimen books included here. For those interested in this topic, see Alphabets to Order: The Literature of Nineteenth-Century Typefounders’ Specimens by Alastair Johnston (2000).]

p. 18 “20th Century”

p. 18 “…in 1845 Thorowgood issued an Egyptian called Clarendon.”
[The firm that issued Clarendon in 1845 was Thorowgood and Besley. The design of the face, which was the first to be registered, is usually credited to Robert Besley. The cutting was done by Benjamin Fox.]

p. 18 “…in 1830 the Schelter & Giesecke foundry in Leipzig produced the first sans serif with a lowercase.”
[the date of 1830 is wrong. The date usually given is 1825 which comes from information provided by Schelter & Geisecke to the Handbuch der Schriftarten (1928) which James Mosley believes to be “wholly unconvincing”. See The Nymph and the Grot: The Revival of the Sanserif Letter (1999), p. 43, footnote 1. Unfortunately, Mosley does not suggest a more reasonable date. The only sans serif from Schelter & Geisecke shown in the Atlas zur Geschichte der Schrift issued by the Technische Universität Darmstadt (2001) is from 1890 (see vol. 6). William Thorowgood issued a sans serif with lowercase in 1834.]

[James Mosley has just emailed me to say that he believes the date of the Schelter & Geisecke sans serif should be c.1870. It is similar, he says, to a typeface from Stempel of 1870 that appears in the Handbuch der Schriftarten.] 23 May 2010.

[The above-mentioned seven-volume Atlas zur Geschichte der Schrift is the closest thing that I know of to a comprehensive visual history of type. Unfortunately, it has no text beyond minimal captions.]

p. 18 “In 1827, an American printer, Darius Wells (1800–1875), invented a lateral router for the mass production of wood types.”
[Wells’ first known catalogue of his wood types was issued in 1828.]

p. 18 “19th Century”

p. 19 “…the American Type Founders Company, which formed in 1892 via the merger of 14 type foundries…”
[I was mistaken in my earlier posts (re: the books by Stephen Eskilson and Johann Drucker) about the number of foundries that were initially involved in the formation of American Type Founders Company. Although the collective ATF specimen book of 1896 lists 12 foundries, the notice of the company’s formation in November 1892 lists 23 (the most commonly cited number). The notice is reproduced in Type Founders of America and Their Catalogs compiled and edited by Maurice Annenberg (1994) in the margin on p. 41. The foundries were: MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan (Philadelphia); Collins & McLeester (Philadelphia); Pelouze & Co. (Philadelphia); James Connors’ Sons (New York); P.H. Heinrich (New York); A.W. Lindsay (New York); Charles J. Cary & Co. (Baltimore); John Ryan & Co. (Baltimore); J.G. Mengel & Co. (Baltimore); Hooper, Wilson & Co. (Baltimore); Boston Type Foundry (Boston); Phelps, Dalton & Co. (Boston); Lyman & Son (Buffalo); Allison & Smith (Cincinnati); Cincinnati Type Foundry (Cincinnati); Cleveland Type Foundry (Cleveland); Marder, Luse & Co. (Chicago); Union Type Foundry (Chicago); Benton, Waldo & Co. (Milwaukee); Central Type Foundry (St. Louis); St. Louis Type Foundry (St. Louis); Kansas City Type Foundry (Kansas City); and Palmer & Rey (San Francisco). Many of these foundries were minor and they do not appear in the chart on the lineage of ATF in Alphabets to Order by Alastair Johnston (2000).]

p. 19 “John F. Cumming (b.1852) designed ornamental typefaces for the Dickinson Type Foundry in Boston. However, when interest in ornate typefaces began to ebb in the 1890s, Cumming began to design faces based on the designs of William Morris (1834–1896).”
[this is the entire paragraph about John Cumming. It is both incomplete and misleading as to his accomplishments. His death date is unknown but it was after 1901 when he cut Montaigne for Bruce Rogers. Cumming designed and cut faces for the Boston Type Foundry 1881–1884 and the Dickinson Type Foundry 1884–c.1901. Not all of his designs before the 1890s were ornamental. Some of his earliest faces such as Dresden (1882), Latin Antique (1884) and French Elzevir (1889) were plain. Although he is famous for cutting Jenson Old Style (1896) and Satanick (1897), respectively copies of William Morris’ Golden and Troy types, his other designs during the 1890s had nothing to do with Morris (e.g. Virile, Binner Gothic or Florentine Old Style). For more on Cumming see Nineteenth-Century American Designers & Engravers of Type by William Loy, edited by Alastair M. Johnston and Stephen O. Saxe (2009).]

p. 19 “The types of Schoeffer and Koberger were sources for Morris’s black-letter design of Troy, and a smaller version of Troy, called Chaucer, was the last of Morris’s three typeface designs.”
[this is a poorly written sentence with one error. The Troy type was inspired by the semi-gothic (rotunda) types of Peter Schoeffer and Günther Zainer. See The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Morris’s Typographical Adventure by William S. Peterson (1991), pp. 91–94.]

p. 19 “15th-Century”

p. 19 “Based on 15th-Century Venetian types, this [Hollandse Medieval] was the first typeface designed and cast in the Netherlands for over a century….”
[this is a misreading of a comment by Jan Middendorp: “Type production in the Netherlands—a province of revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1795 to 1813—was governed by French and, later, English influences. The development of native type designs ground to a halt. No new Latin faces would be cut until Sjoerd de Roos’s 1912 Hollandse Medieval.” Dutch Type Jan Middendorp (2004), p. 30. Types were designed and cast in Holland during the 19th century but they were copies of French and English models.]

p. 20 “After the war [WWI] Koch became associated with the Klingspor Type Foundry in Offenbach am Main….”
[Koch joined Klingspor in 1906. See Rudolf Koch: Letterer, Type Designer, Teacher by Gerald Cinamon (2000), pp. 16-18]

p. 21 “In 1908 he [Goudy] began a long association with the Lanston Monotype Company, for which he designed 122 fonts….”
[Goudy designed Goudy Light Old Style—not to be confused with the popular Goudy Oldstyle—in 1908 for the original Life magazine. Its use was delayed due to production problems at the Lanston Monotype Company and the magazine never used it, but for awhile it was an exclusive face for Gimbel Brothers, the New York department store, under the name Goudy Gimbel. The display face is often referred to as Thirty-Eight-E which Mac McGrew says is incorrect since “E” designates oldstyle romans in keyboard sizes. See American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century, 2nd rev. ed. (1993), p. 165. (This contradicts Frederic Goudy by D.J.R. Bruckner (1990), p. 54, McGrew is generally a more reliable source.) Whatever its name, the face was not designed for Lanston. Furthermore, Goudy’s long association with the composing machine company did not begin until 192o when he was named their art director. It continued until his death in 1947, though his title changed over time. The number of typefaces Goudy designed is a matter of debate that hinges on what is meant by a new typeface. See Bruckner’s discussion of the issue on pp. 117–118. Goudy’s A Half-Century of Type Designs and Typography, 1895–1945 (1946) has 122 faces, but Bruckner notes that a number of them were never completed and others shared characters. He concludes that Goudy did c.100 faces.]

p. 21 “…the American Type Founders Company (ATF) established an extensive type research library that played a role in revitalizing past designs. The head of typeface development at ATF, Morris F. Benton (1872–1948), created important revivals of Bodoni and Garamond, and his revival of Jenson’s type became known as Cloister.”
[this is an important point. Unfortunately, Purvis makes no mention of Henry Lewis Bullen (1858–1938), the ATF librarian and undoubtedly a key force in ATF’s program of revivals. See for a brief biography of Bullen by Alexander Lawson. Benton’s revivals included Baskerville Italic (1915; the roman was imported from Stephenson Blake) and Bulmer (1925–1926 but released 1928) as well as Bodoni (1910–1911), Jenson (Cloister Oldstyle, 1913 but released 1914) and Jannon (Garamond 1917 but released 1919).]

p. 21 “Benton designed close to 225 fonts, including new types for the Goudy family and over two dozen for the Cheltenham family.”
[there is no mention of the original designers of either of these families. Frederic W. Goudy designed Goudy Oldstyle (1915) and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, supervised by Ingalls Kimball, was responsible for the original version of Cheltenham (1902). The paragraph dedicated to Goudy, America’s leading type designer in the first half of the 20th century, cites only one of his typefaces by name: Camelot. It is one of his least important designs.]

p. 21 “In 1896, the H. Berthold AG type foundry in Berlin released the Akzidenz Grotesk family of 10 sans serifs that were variations on one font. In addition to four weights, there were three expanded and three condensed versions.”
[German Wikipedia also cites the date 1896 as the first release of Akzidenz Grotesk by H. Berthold AG, but the Atlas zur Geschichte der Schrift, vol. 6 says 1898. Neither says that a family of ten cuts was done at that time. A number of sources indicate that Akzidenz Grotesk Light, released in 1908, was simply Royal Grotesk, a face originally designed in 1880 for the Ferdinand Theinhardt Schriftgießerei which was bought that year by Berthold. More research is needed to clear up the clouded history of this famous typeface. See Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Works edited by Heidrun Osterer and Philipp Stamm (2009), p. 96.]

p. 21 “20th Century” and “20th-Century”

[Purvis’ essay is illustrated almost exclusively by images from Bodoni’s Manuale Tipografico (1818) (pp. 10, 12–21 for the English text and pp. 22–25 for the German text) which seems odd since the Manuale predates the time period of this book. The German text continues with images from H.W. Caslon and Co. (1862) pp. 26–31. It is only the French text that includes images from the 20th century: Behrens Antiqua by Peter Behrens for Gebruder Klingspor (1908), pp. 32, 34–37; and Fette Koch Antiqua by Rudolf Koch for Klingspor ((1927), pp. 38–41.]

[I have not vetted the German and French texts in the book.]


[the following comments refer to captions in the book]

p. 27 “William Caslon was the founder of the company [re: H.W. Caslon & Co.] and introduced the Caslon Old Style, a very popular typeface. Caslon’s type foundry moved to the famous Chiswell Street, where Caslon’s son and several generations of the family ran the business for 200 years.”
[William Caslon I (1693–1766) did not found H.W. Caslon & Co. The name was given to the descendant of his foundry in 1850 when Henry William Caslon (1814–1874), the great-grandson of William Caslon II, took over the reins. Prior to that it was Caslon & Son (1840), Caslon, Son & Livermore (1821), Caslon & Catherwood (1809) and so on. H.W. Caslon & Co. was subsumed into Stephenson, Blake in 1937. See the family tree on pp. 372–372 in William Caslon: Master of Letters by Johnson Ball (1973) and the chart showing The Lineage of the British Typfounders on pp. 186–189 in Alphabets to Order by Alastair Johnston (2000). William Caslon I established his foundry in 1725 in Helmet Row, Old Street. It was not located on Chiswell Street until 1737. Caslon’s first type was a Pica roman. It was not called Caslon Old Style until the 19th century. See Ball, pp. 448–461 for a quick chronology of Caslon’s life and work.]

p. 34 “19th-Century decorative art” and “20th Century”

[pp. 32, 34 and 37 the captions for Behrens Antiqua make no mention of the typeface itself even though twelve pages from the 1908 Klingspor specimen are reproduced on pp. 32, 34–37.]

p. 38 “Antiqua typefaces are modeled after Roman and Carolingian writing in which the lines in the letters are not broken up. These are the most common typefaces. The opposite form, wherein the lines in the letter are broken up, is known as black letter.”
[This is an awkward way of explaining the difference between antiqua (roman) and gebrochene schriften (blackletter)—or it is a poor translation of the German. This point is important for understanding the names of German typefaces, though it leaves out the problematical term Medieval. Antiqua refers to typefaces that are known as roman in the English-speaking world but within that category there are types called Medieval. They are Incunabula-style types in the manner of Nicholas Jenson rather than the later, more refined forms associated with Franesco Griffo and Claude Garamond.
[None of this discussion—the entire caption is quoted—addresses the specifics of the specimen shown, Fette Koch Antiqua. This is a rarely seen heavy version of Koch Antiqua (also known as Eve Antiqua). Although nine pages from the specimen appear on pp. 38–41 there is no further discussion of the typeface, even when the lighter Koch Antiqua appear on p. 40. Koch is such a misunderstood type designer—always acclaimed but rarely discussed—that this could have been an excellent opportunity to show how he changed designs within a family and how his approach is very different from today’s interpolation-driven one.]

pp. 42–43, Album d’Application, Fonderie de G. Peignot & fils, Paris, 1901
p. 42 “Art Nouveau in electroplated copper. Text and images available directly from stock.”
[this is the entire caption. There is no mention of the typefaces shown in the G. Peignot & fils specimen book. Auriol does not yet appear, though a number of grotesques do. There is no explanation of what “electroplated copper” means or why it is significant. Finally, the date may be wrong as 1902 appears in the pages reproduced on p. 43.]

pp. 44–45, La Fonderie Typographique, Organe de la chambre des maîtres-fondeurs typographes français, Paris, 1901
p. 44 “Designers know no bounds. Greetings from France, with borders and lines. This made the customer’s choice practical and easy.”
[this is the entire text of the caption. There is no mention that some of the pages show types from Ch. Beaudoire & Cie. and others from Fonderie Allainguillaume & Cie. The types are all 19th c. in style but there are also Art Nouveau ornaments. The showing is a splendid contrast to the Peignot specimen on the previous pages.]

pp. 46–49, Neu-Deutsche Schriften und Ornamente, Genzsch & Heyse, Hamburg, 1901
[This is the entire text: “Designers become personally important. In addition to the firm, in this case the designer, Otto Hupp, is also credited.” There is no mention of the origins of this designer-centric trend, which is an important one. It began with Eckmannschrift by Otto Eckmann and Auriol by George Auriol. The hybrid blackletter/antiqua significance of Neu-Deutsche—and the existence of another type with the same name the same year—also goes unremarked. See Christopher Burke’s essay in Blackletter: Type and National Identity. The caption should also include “und E.J. Genzsch in München” or “and E.J. Genzsch, Munich”.]

pp. 50–51, Behrens Schrift und Zierat, Rudhard’sche Gießerei, Offenbach am Main, 1902
[This is the entire text: “Another typeface by Peter Behrens. Type and ornament you can recognize from a distance. A design true to its time.” There is no mention of the significance of Behrensschrift as another hybrid blackletter, an important counterpart to Eckmannschrift issued a year earlier by the same foundry. And there is no mention of the Art Nouveau influence and context of the face and its accompanying ornaments. The specimen promoted Behrens—calling him Professor Behrens on the cover and on several pages indicating his role at the Darmstadt Colony.]

p. 53, “Nigger-Silhouetten” from Nationale Ornamente (Vienna: K. u. K. Hof-Schriftgiesserei Poppelbaum, 1902).
[p. 156 (in the specimen) needs some elaboration—the stock cuts look like minstrel figures.]

p. 55, “Plakat-Antiqua-Ziffern” from Proben (Munich: E.J. Genzsch, 1902)
[the name of these characters [poster roman figures] needs an explanation or translation. Given the sizes listed (which range up to 168 pt) are these metal or wood.]

pp. 58–60, Jubiläums- und Victoria[-]Antiqua (Frankfurt am Main: Bauersche Gießerei, 1902)
[the caption on p. 59 does not mention the Jubiläums-Antiqua and Victoria-Antiqua typefaces at all. The former is reminiscent of DeVinne which inspired a number of German typefaces. Both are what were called Elzevirs. Who designed them? The caption is missing a hyphen in the title between Victoria and Antiqua.]

p. 62, Musetrario de Tipos de Imprenta (Hamburg: Genzsch & Heyse, 1903)
[The specimen shows outline and shaded versions of Römische Antiqua that is very similar to the Jubiläums-Antiqua from Bauer. This book should be looking for such concordances. Is the source of the Isabel typeface an American design?]

p. 62 “20th Century”
“In 1905, a uniform baseline for types was established. The idea can be traced back to Genzsch and Heyse.”
[the common line was accepted by all German foundries, not just Genzsch & Heyse. American foundries had agreed to a common line several years earlier. This caption should explain the reasons for the uniform common line and its repercussions on type design, especially on roman types (e.g. Palatino) from German foundries.]

[this is a Spanish specimen from a German foundry. It is one of several, yet there is no discussion of why German foundries were producing specimen books in Spanish or, in some cases, setting up subsidiaries or affiliated foundries in Spain.]

p. 67 there is no mention that the “iniciales” shown in the bottom image are from the Neu-Deutsch of Otto Hupp (see pp. 48–51). This specimen does not promote Hupp.

p. 70, Spécimen Album, Fonderie Gustave Mayeur, Paris, 1903
[this entry does not indicate that the specimen book shown includes material from the foundry Allainguillaume & Cie, though that fact is repeated on a number of the pages shown. Also on those pages the Mayeur foundry is identified as Fonderie de Caractères d’Imprimerie Mayeur on one page and as Fonderie Typographique Mayeur on others. Why?]
[The entire text reads: “Interest in ornamental typefaces and ornaments began to ebb in the 1900s, and faces based on the designs of Art Nouveau were introduced.” The only such designs in the pages reproduced on pp. 70–73 is one called Les Mauresques which goes unremarked by the authors; everything else is 19th century in style (e.g decorative tuscans, Gothic capitals, slab serifs, etc.]

p. 74, Moderner Zierrat, Genzsch & Heyse, Hamburg, 1904
“Modern ornaments, with serif and sans serif typefaces. Sans serif, uncommonly noble and pure, is easy on the eye and equally at home in classical and modern design.”
[This is the entire text. The first sentence is only a sentence fragment. But more importantly, note that this says nothing about the specific type specimen on pp. 74–75 which barely shows any sans serif typefaces. Instead there is fraktur, Neudeutsch by Hupp, Alte Schwabacher, Grasset Antiqua (licensed?), an outline Art Nouveau font in the Secession style (it could be loosely considered a sans serif) called Negrita, Auriol (licensed?) and Römische Antiqua. The one pure sans is called Blockschrift.]

p. 76, Ornamenten, hoofdlijsten en sluitstukken, Joh. Enschedé en Zonen, Haarlem, 1904
[The title is not translated.]
“Flexible solutions for all kinds of assignments. Movable material that can be used in different ways is practical for typesetters and printers.”
[This is the entire text which covers pp. 76–81. It is vapid and useless. Those pages show not only “Ornamenten, Hoofdlijsten en Sluitstukken” but also “Moderne Bloemen-Ornamenten”, “Systematische Ornamenten”, “Lijn-Versieringen”, “Moderne Lijnen”. And there is also mention of “Koppern-Lijnenfabriek”, “Graveer-Inrichting”, offerings from Enschedé which need to be explained.]

p. 82, Germania, Aktiengesellschaft für Schriftgießerei und Maschinenbau, Offenbach am Main, 1905
“Growing interest and awareness of gothic and medieval typefaces, combined with the revival of calligraphy using a broad-edged pen, made this German Fraktur [sic] very popular.”
[There is no mention of how Germania was part of the hybrid blackletter trend along with Neudeutsch. It is not a particularly calligraphic design and it is not a fraktur in the narrow sense, only in the general German sense of fraktur meaning all styles of blackletter. Its designer is not noted and the significance of the name is ignored.]

p. 84, Fragmente zur Reklameschrift Negativ, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1906
“The sans serif typefaces, typical graphic characters, suggest that they have been drawn rather than written. This is a very strong combination of typefaces and ornaments.”
[This is the entire text. There is no discussion of the salient aspect of this specimen which is that the type and ornaments are all made in reverse! See especially the bottom image on p. 85 for a display of material allowing printers to build complex designs in reverse similar to that produced by Bruce & Sons et al in the United States decades earlier to aid the Artistic Printing movement. The sans serif type is a rigid Art Nouveau design.]

p. 86, Patriz Huber Ornamente, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1906
[the caption here is one of the better ones as it explains who Patriz Huber was, an artist at the Darmstadt Colony. But it fails to note that the typeface used throughout the specimen (shown on pp. 86–89)—and elsewhere in other Schelter & Giesecke specimens in this book—is Schelter Grotesk, the typeface that inspired Morris Fuller Benton’s Souvenir (which in turn led to ITC Souvenir by Ed Benguiat). This is one of the best specimens reproduced in the Taschen book]

p. 91, Ridingerschrift, Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger, Frankfurt am Main, 1906
“It [Ridingerschrift] was named after its type designer, Franz Riedinger (engraver at B. Krebs Nachfolger from 1893 to 1935).”
[the specimen page on p. 90 has the name Johann Elias Riedinger (1698–1767). What is the connection? Apparently he was a librettist at the court of Empress Maria Theresa and a contemporary of Salieri and Mozart. His name was probably as responsible as that of the engraver for the name of this script typeface.]

p. 92, Schriftprobe in gedränger Form, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1906
[this is Schelter Grotesk again, but still there is no mention of its name.]
“These compact, condensed letters showed personal style and were easy to use and fashionable at the time.”
[this caption only applies to the typeface on the cover of the specimen because the other pages shown on pp. 92–93 are a more typical hodgepodge of 19th c. styles, including slab serifs and a wild Art Nouveau-inflected version of Römische Antiqua with nested letters, ligatures et al that rival ITC Avant-Garde Gothic (EN, LA, EU, SS, PH, ER FT) It is called Romanische Antiqua. But the authors are uninterested in such things.]

p. 94, Specimens of Wood-Letter, Harrild and Sons, London, 1906
[There is no mention made of the first page shown from this book which is selling “ELECTROS Mounted ON WOOD” and mounted on metal. Electros are not discussed at all in the Taschen book. No mention is made of William H. Page’s pioneering chromatic type specimens (1889) even though some similar multi-colored wood type letters appear on pp. 95–99. (See With one exception the typefaces shown here are all retrograde, being designs from the 19th c. bearing little influence from the Arts and Crafts or Art Nouveau movements.]

p. 101, Fundición Tipográfica, Suc. de J. de Neufville, Barcelona, 1907
“Figueras, Rueda, Bordas, and Mora. These condensed sans serif typefaces were part of a collection by this French company selling material for typesetters and printers in Spain.”
[The first sentence refers to specimen words on two pages in the book. All four words are the same typeface shown in point sizes from 60, 72 and 84. Far more interesting than this single face is the spread below which shows a Spanish knock-off of Jenson, the ATF copy of William Morris’ Golden Type. Neufville was a Spanish company based in Barcelona connected to the Bauer foundry in Germany—a point made clear in one of the images on p. 100 but not discussed by the authors. The cover of the specimen book, also shown on p. 100 says that the company was founded in 1745. Its founder was Jacobo de Neufville. For more on the foundry’s history see]

p. 102, Kalender Vignetten, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1907
[Schelter-Antiqua is back, this time accompanying vignettes designed by Max Salzmann on the specimen book cover and on other pages shown on pp. 102–106. The caption says that, “the serif and sans serif fonts are based on historical fonts in very classical proportions.” However, the only fonts displayed on these pages are Schelter-Antiqua and a related design with uncialesque capitals called Rundgotisch. Everything else is handlettered as part of Salzmann’s designs. None of it is classical except in the loosest sense. The content of Salzmann’s monthly vignettes—harvesters, sledders, hunters, shepherds and so on—is ignored.]

p. 106, Behrens Kursiv und Schmuck, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1908
[the entire text is a short summary of Behrens’ career and how he is linked to the Bauhaus. There is nothing about this important typeface, the italic or cursive companion to Behrensschrift, or its “schmuck” (ornaments). This is one of the most beautiful specimens in the Taschen book and it deserves better treatment. Behrens’ “grid”, derived from Lauwerijks’ theories, can be seen in the pages on pp. 108–109.]

p. 110, Karneval Vignetten, Schriftgießerei und Messinglinienfabrik Otto Wiesert, Stuttgart, 1908
[The caption provides the business history of Otto Wiesert and focuses on two of the foundry’s types: Arnold Böcklin and Kalligraphia. “Traces of the floral forms of the Arts and Crafts style can still be seen in Arnold Boecklin.” However, Arnold Böcklin (named after a German painter) is a prototypical Art Nouveau typeface, not one associated with the Arts and Crafts style. The same is true of Kalligraphia. Neither face is visible and no mention is made of the carnival vignettes which are shown on pp. 110–113! However, there is a face on p. 110 that is remarkably anticipatory of Adrian Frutiger’s Meridien (see the word “Maskenball”).]

p. 118, Liturgisch, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1908
“A revival of a medieval typeface. Typography played a vital role in the religious upheavals of th 19th Century [sic].” [Hupp is given credit for the design but Liturgisch is not placed in its proper role as part of German nationalism, not religious upheaval. It needs to be connected to Hupp’s earlier Neudeutsch. The specimen is not just a typeface but also ornaments and initials. The text of the specimen also explains the change from Rudhard’sche Gießerei to Gebr. Klingspor in 1906 which the authors overlook.]

p. 120, Reform Grotesk, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1908
[the caption tries to link Reform Grotesk to die neue typographie of the 1920s by quoting Jan Tschichold: “The Grotesque or Block faces fulfilled the needs of the new typography best, as they were simple in design and easy to read.” But Tschichold did not single out Reform Grotesk. He said, “For the time being it seems to me that the jobbing sanserifs, like those from Bauer & Co. in Stuttgart, are the most suitable for use today, because of their functionalism and quiet line. Less good is Venus [from Bauer!] and its copies….” (The New Typography by Jan Tschichold [English edition 1995], p. 74. It would have been better to discuss the origins of Reform Grotesk and how it compared to Venus Grotesk and Akzidenz Grotesk, its more famous rivals (e.g., when was it designed? and by whom?]

p. 122, Säculum Schriften, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1908
“Book and accident typefaces in seven weights. These inspired Adrian Frutiger (born 1928), who created Univers (1956) and Max Miedinger (1910–1980), who created Helvetica (1949).” [Univers was issued in 1957 as was Neue Haas Grotesk (which became Helvetica in 1960). The specimens on pp. 122–123 show no sans serif types! Instead they show a typeface called Säculum which looks like a Golden Type wannabe crossed with some Cheltenham features.]

p. 128, Neue Jahreszeiten Bilder, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1909
“Perhaps these [vignettes of the four seasons] were inspired by The Book of Signs, a book of old-world symbols, monograms, and runes written by Rudolf Koch (1876–1934).” [The Book of Signs was published in 1931! The vignettes are not symbols but illustrations and have nothing in common with the symbols in Koch’s book.]

p. 130, Salzmann Schriften, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1909
“Today, we admire Adrian Frutiger for his Frutiger typeface. The Salzmann typeface enjoyed a similar popularity in its time.”
[This is another attempt to make a minor design of the past seem important by linking it to something more famous. Salzmannschrift was not an important typeface even in its day. But the specimen book is lovely! (although the red is out of register on one page). Salzmannschrift is actually in the neudeutsche mold of hybrid faces.]

p. 134, Schriften und Zierat, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1909
[For a popular typeface see Schelter-Antiqua which appears again on the cover and in introductory text to this specimen book of scripts, wood type, Art Nouveau designs and figures. The Art Nouveau face at the bottom of p. 137 is similar to Edelgotisch.]

p. 141, Zieraten, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1909
[what are zieraten? the caption simply says: “Marketing to the consumer; printing material relating to sport, trade, and business affairs.” The typeface on these pages is Schelter-Antiqua again.]

p.142, Eine Deutsche Schrift, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1910
“Eine Deutsche Schrift (A German Type), a very successful and elegant typeface with a distinctive identity, fits well in the medieval revival.”
[There is no mention that this was Rudolf Koch’s first typeface for Klingspor and that it is often called Kochschrift. It is an expressionist typeface derived from Koch’s textura calligraphy and is a departure from the Arts & Crafts typefaces in vogue. It is also part of Koch’s belief in a dual typographic heritage as opposed to the interest in a hybrid type that was captivating designers in the first decade of the 20th century. For Koch, roman and blackletter could co-exist with the former representing the classical heritage that Germany and all of Europe claimed and blackletter representing Germany’s own distinctive heritage. Hence the name. See the essay by Christopher Burke in Blackletter: Type and National Identity (monograph, 1998) and Blackletter: Type and National Identity: the Catalogue by Peter Bain and Paul Shaw (1999). It is too bad the caption does not discuss the design of Deutscheschrift since it included a slew of ornaments, decorative devices, border elements, swashes, alternate characters, initials all of which are shown on pp. 142–145. Deutscheschrift allowed one to make a completely integrated book design.]

p. 154, Spécimens des Caractères, Imprimerie A. Enani, Cairo, 1910
“The Middle East is a big market with all kinds of demands for typesetters and printers—from a pair of glasses to a lady with a veil, a cuckoo clock to a soccer player. East and West meet with kindness in this specimen of the printer A. Enani in Cairo.”
[This is the entire text. Is it all that can be said? Type specimens from the Mideast are not commonly discussed or shown in type history books and the inclusion of this one deserves more commentary. Who was Enani? Where did he get his typefaces from? Why are there no Arabic typefaces shown here? Why is the text all in French? (including “Vive le Roi d’EGYPTE”).]

p. 158, Eine Neue Groteske, Schreibgießerei Ludwig & Mayer, Frankfurt am Main, 1911
“The difference between grotesque and neo-grotesque typefaces is small. Neo-grotesque typefaces have less stroke contrast, are more regular in design, and are more open than grotesque typefaces. In the former, the g is often open-tailed and the ends of the curved strokes are usually oblique.”
[This is a misinterpretation of the “neue groteske” in the specimen title. This description of neo-grotesque applies to typefaces such as Helvetica, Univers and Folio that appeared in the late 1950s and after that were derived from (and improved upon) 19th c. grotesques such as Monotype Grotesque or Akzidenz Grotesk. The “neue grotesk” in this instance is obviously earlier and it does not fit the description of those other faces. It is Feder-Grotesk by Jakob Erbar, an original design influenced by the broad-edged pen (hence its name). It is characterized by strong thick-and-thin strokes.]

p. 164, Fraktur von Otto Hupp, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1911
[The specimen pages shown include pages dated 1912 as well as 1911.]

p. 166, Catalogue des Caractères de l’Imprimerie al-Irfan, Aref el-Zein & Daùd Eïd, Saida, 1911
“Saida (Syria), the Middle East, Constantinople/Istanbul, l’Empire Ottoman, Grotesque maigre. A Syrian printing company offered compact sans serif typefaces that could be easily used along with Arabic typefaces.”
[There is a fascination with sans serif faces on the part of the authors. The specimen pages here show plenty of decorative and Art Nouveau faces as well. As with the specimen book of A. Enani there are many unanswered questions. Where did the typefaces come from? What styles of Arabic (e.g. naksh, kufic, etc.) do the typefaces reference? did this company get its type from France? and so on.]

p. 168, Eine Deutsche Schrägschrift, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1912
“German Script is a typeface that imitates italic writing according to the classification of typefaces. At this time, there was a revival in grotesque and medieval typefaces, inscriptional Roman Capitals, and humanist or garalde lowercase types.”
[This is the entire text. The authors do not fully understand what a schrägschrift is. Schrägschrift typefaces are rare, this companion to Rudolf Koch’s Deutsche Schrift being the most famous of them. They are not italics but sloped versions of texturas that were intended to function as italics do as companions to romans that provide contrast. One of the drawbacks to blackletter in the battle with antiqua (which had reached a fever pitch in 1911—see Christopher Burke in Blackletter: Type and National Identity (monograph, 1998)) was that the latter was more versatile due to the presence of italics. This point is made in Five Hundred Years of Printing by S.H. Steinberg. Deutsche Schrägschrift was Koch’s answer to the blackletter problem. The caption’s discussion of a revival of typefaces lists practically every category of type and is thus meaningless. If the term garalde is to be taken literally (as defined in the Vox classification scheme where they are faces that have the features of types designed by Francesco Griffo and Claude Garamond), there was no such revival until after World War I.]

pp. 170–173, Jaecker Schrift und Schmuck, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1912
[In the caption the authors identify Wilhelm Jaecker as the designer (his name appears on the cover of the specimen) but say nothing else of significance. Yet, his typeface, close to a schwabacher, has features that suggest it was trying to imitate Koch’s Deutsche Schrift. See the range of initials and flourished characters shown on p. 171.]

p. 174, Neuer Akzidenz- und Kalender-Schmuck, Schriftgießerei C.F. Rühl, Leipzig, 1912
“All of these Akzidenz Grotesk fonts were already more than 20 years old when De Stijl, Bauhaus, and Dada artists adopted the typeface to great effect.”
[There are no sans serif typefaces, let alone Akzidenz Grotesk, shown on pp. 174–175. Furthermore, Akzidenz Grotesk was a Berthold face not one from Rühl. What is shown on these two pages are calendar vignettes, borders designed by Hugo Steiner-Prag. The type on one page is a fraktur. Also, the translation of Akzidenz as “accident” is incorrect in relation to the name of the typeface. “Jobbing” is a more accurate translation.]

p. 176, Salzmann Antiqua, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1912
[This is the entire text: “Max Salzmann designed many other typefaces for Schelter & Giesecke, including Dolmen in 1922. After more than 80 years, you can still order this font (in a digital version from Linotype).” Why is there no discussion of Salzmann Antiqua, the type shown on pp. 176–179? It was part of a distinctive German antiqua trend in the years just before the first World War which included faces by Behrens, Kleukens, Ehmcke and Belwe.]

p. 184, Schriftprobe, Karl Brendler & Söhne, Vienna, 1912
[The caption explains that schriftprobe is a type specimen proof, but it does not explain the full title of the specimen which is “Schriftprobe und Messinglinien in Gedrängter Form”; Messinglinien are rules. The full name of the foundry as listed on the cover of the specimen is K. und K. Hof-Schriftgießerei Karl Brendler & Söhne.]

p. 186, Bernhard Antiqua, Schriftgießerei Flinsch, Frankfurt am Main, 1913
“His [Bernhard’s] typefaces are often very economical and rational. His most famous font is probably the Bernhard Fashion from 1911.”
[This is a strange description of Bernhard’s faces. The face shown here, which is not adequately discussed in the caption, is derived from his sachplakat posters which had distinctively rough-edged lettering. It was part of the trend at the time toward rugged romans which could also be found in England and the United States. Bernhard Fashion was designed by Bernhard in 1929 (not 1911) for American Type Founders. Whether it is Bernhard’s most famous typeface is debatable. What about Bernhard Modern?]

p. 188, Cäsar-Schrift, Schriftgießerei C.F. Rühl, Leipzig, 1913
“Cäsar-Schrift—the name indicates that the inspiration came from typefaces like Bembo, Garamond, and Caslon, traditional typefaces formerly called Old Face and Old Style.”
[I doubt this explanation of the name. First, Bembo and Garamond were not revived until after this specimen was released. Secondly, the letters displayed here—which also appear in the earlier Rühl specimen p. 174 re ornaments by Steiner-Prag—is a flared sans serif with medieval features that is similar to a face from Schelter & Geisecke that appears elsewhere in this Taschen book as a derivative of Schelter-Antiqua. It has little in common with the oldstyle faces noted by the authors. One odd thing is that the specimen on p. 189 includes the phrase “Serbische Nation!” only a year before Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated touching off World War I.]

p. 190 Karl Brendler & Söhne should be K. und K, Hofschriftgießerei Karl Brendler & Söhne.

p. 192, Die Zierde, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1913
[the caption focuses on the sans serif (grotesque) typefaces used in the specimens, ignoring the presence of a copy of Bookman on pp. 192 and 194. F.H.E. Schneidler is not credited with the ornamental designs (fleurons) that are the focus of the specimen.]

p. 202, Latein, Schriftgießerei Ludwig & Mayer, Frankfurt am Main, 1913
[Latein by J.V. Cissarz has some similarities to Feder Grotesk which go unnoted by the authors who focus entirely on the designer.]

p. 206, Reform Grotesk, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1913
“In 1898, the font Akzidenz Grotesk was presented by two companies: Berthold and Bauer & Co. in Stuttgart.” [I have never seen Bauer credited with the design of Akzidenz Grotesk. More importantly: What about the history of Reform Grotesk, the typeface shown here? pp. 206–209]

p. 210, The Packard Series of Type, American Type Founders Company, Boston, 1913
[Boston? The location of ATF is not noted on the specimen but its headquarters were in Jersey City, New Jersey. The ATF branch in Boston was the former Dickinson Foundry.]
“‘Modern change.’ Discerning printers readily perceive the advantage gained by judicious use of this type design.”
[This is the entire text. It ignores the history of this typeface. Packard was designed by M.F. Benton of ATF in imitation of lettering that Oswald Cooper had done for the Packard Motor Car Company. Cooper was not consulted and complained about having his work copied. The text of the specimen emphasizes that the type is “for hand-lettering effects in printing”. That probably rubbed salt into Cooper’s wounds.]

p. 220, König-Schwabacher, Schriftgießerei Emil Gursch, Berlin, 1914
[The caption does a good job of explaining who the underappreciated Heinz König was, but does not explain what a schwabacher is. Schwabachers, in the minority of blackletter faces, are crosses between bâtardes and rotundas. They did not originate in Schwabach.]

p. 222, Reklame-Fraktur, Schriftgießerei Ludwig & Mayer, Frankfurt am Main, 1914
[Reklame (publicity or advertising) needs to be explained since that indicates the purpose the foundry saw for this fraktur. The face has the softness of Bernhard’s lettering and was clearly a response to the introduction of Bernhard Fraktur by Flinsch in 1912 (additional members of the family were issued until 1922).]

p. 228 Gotische Antiqua, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1915
“Friedrich Wilhelm Kleukens designed Gotische Antiqua in 1915.”
[The name of the typeface is not explained. It is a roman face with medieval features such as uncial alternates for E, N, T, U, M, W. The medieval characters may have been a response to the nationalist fervor in Germany during the war which led to a resurgence of blackletter during those years. The galvanos shown on p. 229 are not explained.]

p. 232, Schneidler Schwabacher, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1915
“The Schwabacher type belongs to the black-letter fonts (gothic type) beside the Fraktur, Gotisch [Gothic or Textura], and Rundgotisch [Rotunda].”
[This sentence fails to explain what distinguishes schwabachers from other forms of blackletter. See Blackletter: Type and National Identity: the Catalogue by Peter Bain and Paul Shaw (1999) for information on the different forms of blackletter.]

p. 234, The Linotype Bulletin, Mergenthaler Linotype Company, New York, 1915–1922
“The Linotype Company was formed in 1889 by the publisher Joseph Lawrence.”
[This is wrong. The company that Lawrence founded was the basis for the English Linotype & Machinery Co., Ltd., not the American Mergenthaler Linotype Co. See
The date range for the specimens shown (the caption refers to pp. 234–237) is wrong as the issue, actually The Linotype Magazine not the The Linotype Bulletin, on p. 237 is dated January 1927.]

p. 242, Die Block Serie in Akzidenz, H. Berthold AG, Berlin, 1921
“The Block typeface was designed by Hermann Hoffmann in 1908 for Berthold.”
[There is no mention that the typeface was clearly inspired by the rough-edged heavy sans serif lettering used by Lucian Bernhard in some of his earliest sachplakat posters, such as one for Manoli cigarettes. Block typefaces were sans serifs. It was a term coined in the 19th century alongside steinschrift.]

p. 246, Fette Buhe-Fraktur, D. Stempel AG, Leipzig, 1922
[There is no mention of the unusual skeleton or monoline fraktur shown on p. 246]

p. 260, The Linotype Bulletin, XVII, No. 11, Mergenthaler Linotype Company, New York, 1923
[Mergenthaler Linotype Company was located in Brooklyn until the 1970s when it moved to Long Island. It had a sales and advertising office in Manhattan.]
“The content of this bulletin… includes the following essays: ‘The Autobiography of Capital B’ and ‘The Benedictine Book Face.’”
[The subject of these essays should be noted: an explanation with illustrations of the process of making a Linotype punch, and a discussion of the first original type design done for Mergenthaler Linotype. There is also a spread shown from Harry L. Gage’s ongoing ”Layout and Design in Printing” column which focused on the role of the human eye in adjusting type (e.g. overshoots, serif design, etc.).]

p. 264, Werbeschrift Neuland, Gebr. Klingspor, Offenbach am Main, 1923
[There is no mention of how Rudolf Koch created the famous Neuland type. He cut the punches himself without benefit of a pantograph machine. Thus, each size of type differs significantly in shape, which is not true of the digital versions from Adobe and others. The form of the letters is derived from Koch’s postwar calligraphy as shown in his manuscript book Einleitung des Johannes-Evangelium (1921) and “In der Welt habt Ihr Angst…”, a woodcut from 1920. See pp. 69 and 74 in Rudolf Koch by Gerald Cinamon (2o00).]

p. 266, Deutsche Anzeigenschrift, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1924
“A typical German script typeface that imitates cursive writing, a very popular textura lettering style in Germany during the gothic revival of calligraphy….”
[This is wrong. Deutsche Anzeigenschrift is a heavy fraktur (with a condensed version) designed by Rudolf Koch that was intended specifically for advertising purposes. Anzeigenschrift means display writing (or type). It was a distinctive typeface that became very popular. It had decorative initials, flourishes, and flourished alternates like some of Koch’s other faces.]

p. 270, Edel Grotesk, Ludwig & Mayer AG, Leipzig, 1924
[The caption talks about geometric sans serifs such as Futura and Elegant Grotesk but ignores its subject: Edel Grotesk. Edel Grotesk is a wide grotesque—which is unusual—available in several weights.]

p. 274 Garamond, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1924
[There is no mention of the Jannon-based Garamond faces from ATF and Monotype that preceded Stempel’s accurate version. The Stempel face is simply referred to as an “interpretation and new design” which bypasses its importance as the first accurate revival of a Garamond type. It is based on types shown in the 1592 Egenolff-Berner type specimen.]

p. 278, Antiqua Senator, Aktiengesellschaft für Schriftgießerei und Maschinenbau, Offenbach am Main, 1925
“Antiqua Senator—a nice name for a nice new typeface inspired by the Old Style tradition…. In 1908 a variation named Behrens-Antiqua was released, initially for AEG but later available to anyone.”
[This is confusing. Are Antiqua Senator and Behrens-Antiqua related? Who designed Senator? How can Behrens-Antiqua be a variation on it if it was released 17 years earlier? I see no connection between the two types.]

p. 280, Einfassungen, D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main, 1925
[The title is not explained. My quick translator gives the English as “verge” which makes no sense. The entire text: “It was a bright idea to publish a specimen proof with borders and lines in all kinds of variations to use in all kinds of printing.” This may have been a bright idea but it was a very common one in the type business.]

p. 282, Nouveautés, Haas’che Schriftgießerei, Münchenstein, 1925
“The most recent developments in typography—a type-specimen proof with typefaces, borders, and lines.”
[This combination of material was not new. Typefounders in the 1820s were doing this.]

p. 286, Buchschmuck, Schriftguss AG vorm. Brüder Butter, Dresden, 1926
“Book decoration in very basic forms: the triangle, circle, and square. This new style in design, which made its appearance in 1925, looks noble, pure, and modern.”
[Unfortunately, the pages reproduced on pp. 286–287 show no such decorations. Instead we have lots of decorations that owe a debt to Will Bradley and the Arts & Crafts era. The modern decoration appears on pp. 288–289, combined with a German version of Cooper Black. It is more Art Deco than neue typographie.]

p. 296, The Linotype Bulletin, XVIII, No. 7, Mergenthaler Linotype Company, New York, 1926
[The address should be Brooklyn. The caption emphasizes Linotype’s study and research in Europe (re: original Garamond types) but does not indicate what the outcome was. According to American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century by Mac McGrew (p. 149), E.E. Bartlett of Mergenthaler used original Garamond, the Egenolff-Berner specimen (shown here on p. 297 in the upper specimen spread), as the basis for the company’s Garamond which was released in 1929(!). But the design was never popular, despite its authenticity, and was replaced in 1936 by Garamond no. 3 which was based on ATF’s Jean Jannon-style Garamond. McGrew says that Garamond no. 2 was used to designate imported matrices of Linotype AG’s Garamond version.]

p. 298, The Linotype Magazine, Garamond Number, Mergenthaler Linotype Company, New York, 1926
[The address should be Brooklyn. The caption ignores the fact that this issue was devoted to Garamond and instead focuses on one of Gage’s articles. The showing of Garamond indicates that the face was available in 1926, before McGrew says it was. (See the note above.) It has a lot in common with Stempel Garamond, which is not surprising given their common inspiration in the Egenolff-Berner specimen.]

p. 304, Lichte Wiking, Schriftgießerei J.D. Trennert & Sohn, Altona/Elbe, 1927
[The specimen cover says J.D. Trennert & Sohn Schriftgießerei.]
“Lichte Wiking (Light Viking), another typeface of the gothic revival, designed by Heinz König in 1927. ‘If this typeface is ‘light,’ what might the ‘black’ look like?’’
[Light does not refer to the weight of Wiking but to the shading that lightens it compared to the regular design.]

p. 315 the splendid Kabel Light specimen page deserves a note. Close examination of the letters shows some “cheating” by Koch or the designers at Klingspor. In the second line the FT are joined; on the 8th line the E before T has been cut short in the top horizontal; the stacked letters on several lines (e.g. U/ND) appear to be set with less leading than “set solid”; other Es are cut or shortened to fit (note the narrow ones in line 10; the RT in line 8 is kerned more tightly than would have been found in normal casting (its horizontal bar is not balanced!); etc. This is a design worthy of Herb Lubalin and his associates. It was probably done through cut-and-paste and photoengraved plates.]

p. 318, Modern Typographic Material, American Type Founders Company, Boston, 1928
[The address should be Jersey City, New Jersey. The caption focuses on the Liberty and Liberty Initials, shown on p. 319, ignoring the Chic series which was the other half of the duo being promoted. Chic was designed by Benton in 1927 and released in 1928. Liberty was designed by Willard T. Sniffen in 1927, presumably as a counter to Bernhard Cursive which it resembles. Sniffen’s Liberty Initials were more original.]

p. 320, New Types & Decorative Material for Holiday Printing, American Type Founders Company, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1928
[Along with Modernistic (designed by Wadsworth A. Parker in 1928) shown on p. 321, Greeting Monotone (designed in 1927 by Benton) is shown alongside the holiday decorations on p. 320]

p. 322, Wiking, Sxchriftgießerei J.D. Trennert & Sohn, Altona/Elbe, 1928
“We have seen this typeface before, as Lichte Wiking. We will never know why the name was changed to Wiking.”
[Yes we will. Lichte Wiking is shown on some pages and Wiking, a solid design, is shown on others. Look at the specimen at the top of p. 329 to see the two designs side by side.]

p. 323 [Note the design of a, n, r, u and other letters in Elegant Grotesk with crotches that resemble those of Emigre’s Base 9 and 12.]

p. 328 [Grobe should be translated re: Grobe Kabel Kursiv.]

p. 331 [Leichte should be translated re: Leichte Kabel Kursiv. It is translated in the French as “style maigre oblique (light oblique style)”. Leichte is light and Kursiv is cursive or italic.]

p. 332, Grotesk Schriften, Norddeutsche Schriftgießerei, Berlin, 1930
[The sans serif shown is not identified in the caption. It is Wotan—in several weights.]

p. 334, Messinglinien, J.G. Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, 1930
[The full title is Messinglinien mit Kreuzungsecken.]

p. 336, Specimen Book of Continental Types, Continental Typefounders Association, New York, 1930
“Continental Types introduced several well-known European designers and typefaces to the American public: A.M. Cassandre (Bifur), Rudolf Koch (Neuland), William Caslon (Caslon Old Face), and Jan van Krimpen (Lutetia).”
[Caslon type had long been known and used in the United States before Melbert B. Cary, Jr. founded Continental Typefounders Association.]

p. 348, Appell, Schriftguss AG vorm. Brüder Butter, Dresden, 1934
[Note the stylized hand holding a pointing pencil. It is taken from or inspired by the logo for the BDG (Bund deutscher Grafik-Designer) by Karl Schulpig. See Progressive German Graphics by Leslie Cabarga (1994).]

Index p. 359
“Baskervielle, John” should be “Baskerville, John”
“Erbar Initialien” should be “Erbar Initialen”
“Bodoni, Giambattista” is repeated in the Gs (following Germany) with different page references than when it appears in the Bs
“Spécimen des nouveaux caratères de P. Didot l’aîné” [should be caractères]

[There is no glossary in the book and no attempt to explain foreign terms to the English reader: e.g. schmuck, schmale, enge, reklame, holz, schrägschrift, punkt, corps, stempel, halbfett, kräftige, probe, cuerpo, pintoresca, fregio and so on]

Blue Pencil Comments no. 1

When I set up this slow blog I decided not to publish comments for several reasons: 1. I wanted any comments to be substantive rather than simply expressions of praise or vituperation; and 2. I feared that I wouldn’t have the time to curate them properly. The sort of comments that I would like to include on the blog are those that add knowledge: correcting my posts regarding facts, spelling, etc.; adding additional information fleshing out my comments; or arguing persuasively against my opinions. I am not trying to stifle dialogue.

For the time being, however, I will be monitoring any comments I post. Not out of censorship, but with an eye toward maintaining a certain level of scholarship, intellectual discourse and civility on Blue Pencil. I want to know which postings of mine are specifically being commented on. And I want to know who the commenters are. I don’t want to post comments from people hiding behind online pseudonyms. But this first posting of comments is going to break this rule.

If you are commenting on one of the Blue Pencil textual posts please be precise in citing which post and what in the post you are referring to. This is especially important if you are correcting me so that I can check to see if the mistake is actually mine or exists in the original text I am commenting on. It is also helpful if, for factual corrections, you cite sources.

Anyway, the first posted comments come from someone identified only as Kupfers. My comments on his or hers are in brackets and sans serif type.

Kupfers 4/9/10

I very much enjoy your site and love your attentive attitude. However since I lived in Weimar for quite a long while I'd like to correct a tiny detail:

p. 319 “Von Kessler, Henry Graf” should be “von Kessler, Henry Graf” and indexed under K, not V.

It’s »Harry Graf Kessler« (the »von« usually left out), referred to in a list as »Kessler, Harry Graf«

[which post and book is this referring to? The Chicago Manual of Style says that in English there is inconsistency in how particles in surnames are referenced. The older practice was to keep them and capitalize them when used alone: thus Von Graf. They do not say what modern practice is. As for indexing such names the Manual (18.102) gives up, saying that it should be based on tradition. I would agree with Kupfers that Henry Graf von Kessler should be under K and that is how he is listed in some books on fine printing I have. However, the von was left out because he dropped it after World War I.]

from Kupfers 4/17/10

Dear Mr. Shaw,

I think, there is no such thing as a “Glasfemälde”, maybe “Glasgemälde”?

[These comments refer to my post on the special Tschichold issue of Idea magazine. This refers to p. 24 where my comment mentioned work by Rudolf Koch. For details of it see pp. 37–40 in Rudolf Koch: Letterer, Type Designer, Teacher by Gerald Cinamon (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press and London: The British Library, 2000)]

Further more it’s “Gebrüder” Klingspor with ü

[see p. 53]

“Nikolaus Pevsner« with o

[this is what I have on p. 113; is his name misspelled elsewhere?]

“Friedrich” and “Gildewart” instead of Friederich Vordemberge-Gilgenwart

[see p. 72]

“Typographische Gestaltung” without s

[see p. 84]

“Begegnungen. Künstlernovellen” with ü

[see p. 89]

ETH is correctly spelled “Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule” in “Zürich”

[see p. 96; The umlaut on Zurich depends on whether it is English or German. I meant “in Zurich” to be English but since that is part of the full name of the school it is misleading. I have corrected it to be in German with the umlaut.]

Pierre Simon Fournier le jeune can very well be named a writing master: Manuel Typographique, vol. I 1764 and vol. II 1766

[Fournier’s manual is not about writing but about typemaking. FHe was not a writing master. He was a punchcutter and typefounder.]

“Deut-/sche Werkbund” is correctly hyphenated according to german [sic] rules

[German (or Italian or French) hyphenation rules do not apply to texts in English. “The fundamental principle of German word division is to divide on a vowel as far as possible.” The Chicago Manual of Style 13th ed. (1982), 9.36, p. 258]

“Willikürfreie Maßverhältnisse ...” should be “Willkürfreie”

[p. 199]

[Most of these comments by Kupfers are correct. I have already incorporated them into my post on the special Tschichold issue of Idea magazine.]