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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Type Specimens

This July the California Historical Society will welcome the Southern California Chapter of the American Printing History Association, meeting in San Francisco to coincide with the 2013 J. Ben Lieberman Lecture at the San Francisco Public Library featuring “Reproductive Arts in America: Lithography Challenges Letterpress; an illustrated talk with David Pankow.”

To celebrate we are sharing wonderful examples of type specimens from the Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing. 

This bright and colorful sample comes from Wm. H. Page & Co.’s Specimens of Wood Type, published in 1868. The use of more than three colors, along with the addition of the gold color, makes this a particularly outstanding sample – and very fitting for Fourth of July celebrations!


Although the Kemble Collection has a special emphasis on printing and publishing in California and the West, the collection encompasses materials from all over the Western Hemisphere. Here is a type specimen from London’s Reed and Fox (late R. Besley & Co.) showing some of their more bold type fonts.


This delightful specimen from Marder, Luse & Co. of the Chicago Type Foundry demonstrates Grotesque and Old Style Ornamental fonts. These 19th century fonts were primarily used for decorative purposes and not typically used in text. Not only do these fonts display a stylistic flair but the text reads like fragments of poetry and is not without a bit of commentary!

This sample from the American Type Founders shows colorful sectional initial formers that incorporate animals, floral and vegetable motifs. The American Type Founders Company was a merger of 23 type foundries across the United States. Their California locations included Los Angeles and San Francisco. 
 Although the San Francisco branch was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, it was replaced by a new five-story building at 820-822 Mission Street in 1907. 


The Continental Typefounders Association’s type specimen, published in 1930, shows a stylish type created by M. Cassandre. Cassandre operated a Parisian advertising agency, Alliance Graphique, and was known for his posters advertising travel and wine. He was also a typeface designer, creating the font Bifur in 1929.

To view any of these type specimens in the California Historical Society’s North Baker Library please ask for the following:
American Type Founders Company. Supplement to the American line type book. Boston, 1909.
Chicago Type Foundry. Specimen book of printing types, borders, brass rule, etc. furnished by Marder, Luse & Co. Chicago, 1874.
Continental Typefounders Association, Inc. Specimen book of continental types. New York, 1930.
Reed and Fox, Late Robert Besley & Co. Fann street letter foundry specimen book. London, 1873.
Wm. H. Page & Co.’s. Specimens of wood type. Greeneville, CT, 1868.

Jaime Henderson

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Printing!! Surely the best way to market your product.