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Re: [PPLetterpress] Metal Type ID

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  • typetom@aol.com
    Hi Gerald, Any chance you have any more of the alphabet? I can t even imagine what letter or ligature one of these is. The kerned part looks more like an
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 4, 2004
      Hi Gerald,
      Any chance you have any more of the alphabet? I can't even imagine what
      letter or ligature one of these is. The kerned part looks more like an accent mark,
      while the curves seem to go the wrong way for any letter I try. They do have
      an Art Nouveau feel to them but I don't think I've ever seen the letterforms
      before.

      I'm also wondering if you have measured them for type height? European? The
      only thought I've come up with for the pin mark is Haas typefoundry, which
      would be Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei if written out -- though I have never seen a
      pinmark for their type and can only guess that they might use HS initials.

      The casting is crude enough to suggest hand casting, but pinmarks came in
      with machine casting. You also don't give the point size, which may suggest the
      age if it is not a standard point size -- the kern suggests to me it may
      predate the point system (or that it may have been cast from older mats to fit the
      different standards of the point system body size). The large size could help
      explain the poor quality of the casting.

      I look forward to anyone else's suggestions.
      Thanks for the puzzle!
      Tom

      Tom Parson
      Now It's Up To You Publications
      157 S. Logan, Denver CO 80209
      (303) 777-8951
      http://members.aol.com/typetom
    • Gerald Lange
      Tom, I m afraid that these are the only pieces of the puzzle that I have. They are shown in the pic with the nick on the bottom. For a long time I thought they
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 4, 2004
        Tom, I'm afraid that these are the only pieces of the puzzle that I
        have. They are shown in the pic with the nick on the bottom. For a long
        time I thought they wee a "n" and a "y". But with the nicks down they
        are a "n" and an accented "a". I think. Quite rough design.

        They are 72-pt. Don't know that this would necessarily put them after
        the point-system. They are type-high, but I've never been able to find a
        date as to when .918 became the American standard. (I asked Stephen Saxe
        once and he did not readily know, and seemed surprised at the question,
        as if it had never been asked before.) So I've assumed late nineteenth
        or turn-of-the-century. These are crude and just large enough to suggest
        sand casting but I'd guess the nicks and pinmarks would eliminate that.

        Thanks for the response and interest.

        Gerald


        > Hi Gerald,
        > Any chance you have any more of the alphabet? I can't even imagine what
        > letter or ligature one of these is. The kerned part looks more like an accent mark,
        > while the curves seem to go the wrong way for any letter I try. They do have
        > an Art Nouveau feel to them but I don't think I've ever seen the letterforms
        > before.
        >
        > I'm also wondering if you have measured them for type height? European? The
        > only thought I've come up with for the pin mark is Haas typefoundry, which
        > would be Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei if written out -- though I have never seen a
        > pinmark for their type and can only guess that they might use HS initials.
        >
        > The casting is crude enough to suggest hand casting, but pinmarks came in
        > with machine casting. You also don't give the point size, which may suggest the
        > age if it is not a standard point size -- the kern suggests to me it may
        > predate the point system (or that it may have been cast from older mats to fit the
        > different standards of the point system body size). The large size could help
        > explain the poor quality of the casting.
        >
        > I look forward to anyone else's suggestions.
        > Thanks for the puzzle!
        > Tom
        >
      • Mark Wilden
        From: Gerald Lange ... time I thought they wee a n and a y . But with the nicks down they are a n and an accented a . I
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 4, 2004
          From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>

          > For a long
          time I thought they wee a "n" and a "y". But with the nicks down they
          are a "n" and an accented "a". I think.

          My thought was another alphabet, like Cambodian.
        • David Goodrich
          Gerald, Type is very odd for a number of reasons. Could it have been an amateur (professional printer but not typefounder) sand casting from a sort cast by
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 5, 2004
            Gerald,
            Type is very odd for a number of reasons. Could it have been an amateur
            (professional printer but not typefounder) sand casting from a sort cast by
            HS? (or SH -- looks the same) Round bottoms of letters are particularly
            crude and not typical of late 19C (round gothic was mid century). Could
            they have been hand filed on the original then sand cast?
            I have seen hundreds of late 19C faces and never seen anything resembling
            this. I know of no face where the bowl of the a closes back on itself
            although several art nouveau types had bowls that didn't connect at the top
            or bottom. An affectation such as this would usually get picked up and
            knocked off by rival foundries.
            It is also odd that a lower case letter would take up the entire body of the
            type so that the accent mark would have to be kerned.
            The suggestion that these are from another alphabet sounds like a good one
            to me.
            David

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Gerald Lange [mailto:bieler@...]
            Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2004 8:47 PM
            To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [PPLetterpress] Metal Type ID


            I have a couple pieces of metal type that I can't identify, but I've
            become a bit intrigued by them and was wondering if anyone here might
            know something about these. I put pics up in the Photo gallery here

            http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/ppletterpress/

            that show the face, pinmarks, nicks, feet. Very odd face, looks like
            something from the end of the 19th century. Casting is quite bad,
            probably what really drew my attention. The two pieces, however, look
            like they were cast on different machines and are from perhaps two
            different foundries. The pinmark on one of them, HS, I have never seen
            before in any reference, not on the Briar Press list either.

            Anyone?

            Thanks

            Gerald



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          • Gerald Lange
            David Thanks for your thoughts on this. Some good ideas. There are a number of oddities as you point out in terms of design, casting, historical placement.
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 5, 2004
              David

              Thanks for your thoughts on this. Some good ideas. There are a number
              of oddities as you point out in terms of design, casting, historical
              placement. I've tried to place where I may have picked these up and
              have come up empty. In the last couple years I've sold off all the
              ornamental and titling fonts that I had and these came from one of the
              last cases which was essentially a free for all of a bit here a bit
              there. I'd never noticed them before but pulled them because they were
              so perplexing.

              I'd thought about sand casting or casting in the stick techniques. One
              of them certainly looks, from the casting, like it may have been a
              reproduction done this way. The other I'm not sure. The grove on the
              bottom of one of them would seem to indicate the elimination of a jet.
              The other simply has a snap/break at the edge.

              There has been some documentation of relatively crude casting
              techniques. I found this buried in the reference section here (this is
              from member John Hudson's site)

              http://www.tiro.com/syllabics/James%20Evans/Rossville%20Project/rossville.html

              Quite interesting.

              All best

              Gerald


              > Gerald,
              > Type is very odd for a number of reasons. Could it have been an amateur
              > (professional printer but not typefounder) sand casting from a sort
              cast by
              > HS? (or SH -- looks the same) Round bottoms of letters are particularly
              > crude and not typical of late 19C (round gothic was mid century). Could
              > they have been hand filed on the original then sand cast?
              > I have seen hundreds of late 19C faces and never seen anything
              resembling
              > this. I know of no face where the bowl of the a closes back on itself
              > although several art nouveau types had bowls that didn't connect at
              the top
              > or bottom. An affectation such as this would usually get picked up and
              > knocked off by rival foundries.
              > It is also odd that a lower case letter would take up the entire
              body of the
              > type so that the accent mark would have to be kerned.
              > The suggestion that these are from another alphabet sounds like a
              good one
              > to me.
              > David
            • michael babcock | interrobang
              looks like a non-latin design. at first blush and without pulling any specimens, Thai or Tamil. that might account for the crude quality. -- best, m |
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 6, 2004
                looks like a non-latin design. at first blush and without pulling any
                specimens, Thai or Tamil. that might account for the crude quality.

                --
                best, m | interrobang
              • Norman L McKnight
                I don t have the answer to this one; however to address the pinmark it seems unlikely Hass sche Shriftgiesserei would have produced so primitive a casting
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 6, 2004
                  I don't have the answer to this one; however to address the pinmark
                  it seems unlikely Hass'sche Shriftgiesserei would have produced so
                  primitive a casting unless this was an experimental hand cast for a
                  set of sorts, perhaps replacements, perhaps from very old non stand-
                  ard matrices. As for the language I see the similarity of Thai and
                  similar scripts, however they do not contain these characters; and
                  my own inclination was a variant of Cyrillic, perhaps of Balkan ori-
                  gin or perhaps a pre-Petrine itallic in Russian, however these charac-
                  ters to not occur there either. The curl at the bottom of each char-
                  acter is, I think, ornamental and not a distinctive part of a non
                  roman alphabet. The acute accent over the lowercase "a" is found only
                  in French, Italian, Portugese, Gaelic, Roumanian and a few African
                  languages using Roman characters. I have searced Monotype Recorder:
                  Languages of the World (1963), Fry's Pantographia (1799) and the
                  large monograph on the holdings of the Imprimerie Nationale's non
                  roman fonts [1926]and not found any non-roman fonts which look like
                  this. I think they are probably just a lowercase acute accented "a"
                  and an "n" perhaps capital. The needle remains at the bottom of the
                  hay-stack so this thread may have to be sewn up imperfectly.
                  Norman McKnight
                  Philoxenia Press
                  Berkeley
                • E Roustom
                  http://www.omniglot.com/writing/armenian.htm the two letters look almost Armenian - above link somewhat useful. Elias
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 6, 2004
                    http://www.omniglot.com/writing/armenian.htm

                    the two letters look almost Armenian - above link somewhat useful.

                    Elias
                  • Gerald Lange
                    I made some plates for a calligrapher today and when she came in to pick them up and we had chatted a bit, I showed her the mystery type. Oh, she says,
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 14, 2004
                      I made some plates for a calligrapher today and when she came in to
                      pick them up and we had chatted a bit, I showed her the mystery type.
                      "Oh," she says, "India type." She knew the letterforms accents and
                      other characteristics quite well and was quite sure. Even gave me a
                      reference. So I gave them to her!!! Mystery solved, I think.

                      Gerald
                    • typetom@aol.com
                      In a message dated 1/14/2004 bieler@worldnet.att.net writes:
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 14, 2004
                        In a message dated 1/14/2004 bieler@... writes:
                        << I made some plates for a calligrapher today and when she came in to
                        pick them up and we had chatted a bit, I showed her the mystery type.
                        "Oh," she says, "India type." She knew the letterforms accents and
                        other characteristics quite well and was quite sure. Even gave me a
                        reference. So I gave them to her!!! Mystery solved, I think. >>

                        I'd love to know the reference, and/or any further info you come up with. The
                        answer makes sense on many levels, though I'd still really like to see the
                        whole design and have the name and foundry and possible date.
                        Thanks, Tom


                        Tom Parson
                        Now It's Up To You Publications
                        157 S. Logan, Denver CO 80209
                        (303) 777-8951
                        http://members.aol.com/typetom
                      • Gerald Lange
                        Tom She referred me to Diringer. I assume she meant The Book Before Printing (Dover) or its earlier printing (The Hand-Produced Book). Maybe there is another
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jan 14, 2004
                          Tom

                          She referred me to Diringer. I assume she meant The Book Before Printing
                          (Dover) or its earlier printing (The Hand-Produced Book). Maybe there is
                          another Diringer as I have the earlier book and my unfamiliarity with
                          the India letterforms doesn't show me what she obviously saw. Basically
                          just a lead as she was thinking letterforms not type. So the foundry
                          (HS) and the specific design, date of issue, etc., still not found.

                          I don't recall ever seeing specimens of type from an India foundry other
                          than those that were producing Western knockoffs. Not unusual though as
                          a lot of the Eastern European, even the Spanish and Italian specimen
                          books, or even the German fraktur types, don't see a lot of travel in
                          the Anglo-American sphere.

                          I have a very nice Italian type foundry book from the mid thirties, on a
                          thickness level to the BBS of about that time. But much more
                          sophisticated. With faces and forms not at all common but quite
                          refreshing. Other than the work that Dieter Speffmann is/was doing with
                          the German materials, you don't see an awful lot of digital effort going
                          on in trying to resurrect any of this.

                          Gerald

                          typetom@... wrote:
                          > In a message dated 1/14/2004 bieler@... writes:
                          > << I made some plates for a calligrapher today and when she came in to
                          > pick them up and we had chatted a bit, I showed her the mystery type.
                          > "Oh," she says, "India type." She knew the letterforms accents and
                          > other characteristics quite well and was quite sure. Even gave me a
                          > reference. So I gave them to her!!! Mystery solved, I think. >>
                          >
                          > I'd love to know the reference, and/or any further info you come up with. The
                          > answer makes sense on many levels, though I'd still really like to see the
                          > whole design and have the name and foundry and possible date.
                          > Thanks, Tom
                          >
                        • Norman L McKnight
                          David Diringer: The Alphabet: a key to the history of mankind. 2 vols. London & New York 1948 [1st], 1949 [2nd], and 1952 [3rd reprint]and also in Italian,
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jan 15, 2004
                            David Diringer: The Alphabet: a key to the history of mankind. 2 vols.
                            London & New York 1948 [1st], 1949 [2nd], and 1952 [3rd reprint]and
                            also in Italian, Florence [1937]

                            I believe there was also a one volume version and more than one
                            edition of the first. It sells for about 250.00 if you can find one
                            in good condition with dj. I don't have one to look at, but looking
                            through the many alphabets shown in my Fry's Pantographia (1799) there
                            are several which have writing characteristics in which such a char-
                            acter would seem at home, but I don't find it there. The closest I
                            came to finding one was Tartaric #5 and #7 which was used by the
                            Manchou Tartars. op. cit. p. 290. Sorry I don't have a scanner, but
                            this is likely to remain a mystery. In looking for an exact match to
                            the characters we forget what is obvious in the variants shown in
                            some of the polyglot tomes such as the one mentioned above, that
                            there are variants of the same letter which don't exactly match each
                            other; thus I may be looking at it without realizing it. It is, as
                            they say, now out of your hands anyway. Your calligrapher friend will
                            likely take up the challenge.

                            Norman L. McKnight
                            Philoxenia Press
                            Berkeley
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