Re: [PPLetterpress] Sign type
- Hi Marnie,
I have catalogs from several sources of sign-press materials, as well as a
few earlier 20th century wood type sources:
The Morgan Sign Machine Company (Line-O-Scribe), Chicago, Illinois, since
1930, (Catalog No. M656 with 1974 price list; and a 1981 Catalog with 1983
Signpress (Masterprinters), Galesburg, Illinois, since 1934, a Division of
Dick Blick Company (Catalog with 1980-1982 price list and letters dated 1983
Showcard Machine Company, Chicago, Illinois (Catalog 380, March 1980).
American Wood Type Mfg. Co., New York, and Long Island City, New York
(Catalogs from 1952; 1955-1956; 1957; and later catalogs, 1961-1961, 1976-1977, and
1983-1984 of American Printing Equipment Co, Long Island City, NY).
Hamilton Wood Type, Two Rivers, Wisconsin (Wood Type Specimens, 17th
edition, c.1907, with several later supplement pages; Catalog 38, c.1938; Catalog
No. 25, c.1949; and a catalog c.1960).
Tubbs Mfg Co, Luddington, Michigan (Catalogue No. 5, c.1905, with several
later supplement pages).
I also have one issue of a magazine, Signs of the Times, (The industry
publication since 1906), July 1976, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Despite the offerings of wood type from these various catalogs, my guess is
that actual manufacture of sign press type was limited to two companies by
the mid-20th century -- Hamilton, and American Wood Type. I know that grooved
sign press metal type was made by American Type Founders for resale by sign
press companies. My supposition is that the same was done by Hamilton and
probably AWT, supplying wood type for resale by sign press companies. Most styles
shown in the various catalogs seem identical, though sometimes with a
different name. The Showcard and Morgan Sign Press catalogs above, however, do have
several faces not found in Hamilton or AWT books, particularly scripts that
seem to date from the 1950s (plus a few offerings that look like unique
revivals of 19th century designs).
Hamilton is now a museum, but their web site may yet offer new type. They
hold the history and remaining equipment of most of the earlier American wood
AWT was sold several years ago to Russ Clements, Typetiques, in Cincinnati.
He has custom-made new type on occasion from the AWT patterns.
Happy to provide further details if possible. Always looking for more info
on wood type!
Best wishes, Tom
...to carry on... your query prompted me to make a rough list of other
resources I have here concerning wood type, especially 19th century type -- mainly
secondary sources and reprinted specimens:
American Wood Type 1828-1900, Rob Roy Kelly;
Wood Type Alphabets, Rob Roy Kelly, Dover Books;
Specimens of the Wm H. Page Wood Type Co., 1888, reprinted by David Peat;
Wm Page's Specimen of New Process Wood Type, c.1890, reprinted by American
Life Books under the title Late Victorian Wood Types, Borders, and Ornaments;
Specimen Book of Wood Type, Silver Buckle Press, 1999;
A Specimen Book of 19th Century Printing Types, South Street Seaport Museum,
Wood Type, The Museum of Printing History, Houston, 2001;
Specimens of Wood Type held at Shooting Star Press, John Horn;
calendars from various years, Shooting Star Press, John Horn;
Two Color Wood Type, 2003, chromatic Noel specimens, Dave Greer;
two broadside pages from the wood type specimen by Dennis Grastorf;
brochures and several contemporary specimens from the Hamilton Wood Type
Specimens of Old Time Wood Type now available as Photoprocess Lettering from
Solotype, Dan X. Solo;
Morgan Press Wood Type; Wood 2; and The Headliners reproduces in Process
Letters Wood & Foundry Type from the Morgan Press Collection;
Wood Type & Printing Collectibles, Robert Long;
The Fat & the Lean, American Wood Type of the 19th Century, 1983, Elizabeth
Harris, The Smithsonian Institute;
DeLittle, 1888 - 1988, Alembic Press, England;
DeLittle's Wood Type (specimen book), c.1969, York, England;
Wood Letter, 1943 (specimen book), Stephenson Blake, England;
various American type foundry specimen books that include wood type;
and my own specimen flip-book index of wood type from my collection,
as well as a huge computer file of specimens saved from ebay listings of
Now It's Up To You Publications
157 S. Logan, Denver CO 80209
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