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Re: [PPLetterpress] Metal Type ID

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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