Research

Research consists of unintended or accidental discoveries that I have made during the course of my research into other topics. They are posted here in the belief that others may find the information equally fascinating. Some items are meant to challenge or question existing scholarship on a specific topic. And others are intended to alert scholars to material that may be relevant to their own pursuits or to new opportunities of research.

From the Archives no. 9—Typographic Sanity




The May 1930 issue of The Linotype Magazine (vol. 19, no. 2) issued by Mergenthaler Linotype is entitled “Typographic Sanity.” It opens with this look back at the typography of the 1920s:
“As the cold gray dawn breaks upon the morning after an orgy of tangled type design, a weary printing industry shakes its aching head and asks, ‘Whither are we bound?’
“The descent was …
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From the Archives no. 8: The New Typography Hits a Speed Bump in the United States

This editorial from Vanity Fair is a small but telling indication of the difficulty that the new typography had in gaining a toe-hold in America in the late 1920s and 1930s. When the anonymous author refers to the “new typography” he is probably speaking of die neue Typographie of Jan Tschichold et al in mind, but it is not entirely clear since he mentions it as having started c.1920 and associates it with advertising. Many design observers in the late …
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From the Archives no. 7—Notes on Books and Printing

Some Notes on Books and Printing
Charles T. Jacobi
London: Charles Whittingham & Co. at The Chiswick Press, 1903
originally printed 1892
I discovered this printer’s guide through Google Books. These excerpts are relevant to the Blue Pencil project on this blog.
“Whatever else be wrong a book must be spelt correctly!”, p. 14
“All works are the better for an Index….” p. 18
“A good index must be exhaustive; must include the various “points” of a book; must gather under one heading the same subjects; must …
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From the Archives no. 6—Artistic Printing

The October 1939 issue of The Inland Printer has a two-page spread on the history of Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee (pp. 27–28) and a short piece entitled “Way Back When Time Wasn’t Important” about an 1886 concert notice. The text of the notice is quite brief—CONCERT. / ARION CLUB / LIBRARY HALL, BERLIN, / FRIDAY EVENING, / JANUARY 8th, 1886— but the design is complex. It is set within an ornate border with three musical ornaments (top, right …
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From the Archives no. 5—Photo-lettering

Here is some additional information on photolettering techniques from The Inland Printer. The techniques have already been discussed in a previous post on information in The American Printer. There are no accompanying illustrations.
January 1940, p. 72 A short announcement of Photo-ray, a “clever-new process invented by Edwin W. Krauter” in which transparent pattern letters, made from original alphabets provided by “master letterers”, are assembled by hand from a case and then placed in a line (which can be angled or …
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From the Archives no. 4—Photo-lettering

The February 1954 issue of Linotopix (vol. 3, no. 1), published by Mergenthaler Linotype, announced the first demonstration of the Linofilm (to take place on April 19 to a select group of industry professionals). At the same time it also introduced Reditype from Linotype’s subsidiary, the Davidson Corporation.
Reditype, the idea of John A. Willett, was “designed to improve the Company’s competitive position in the growing field of photolithography.” The process was described as a “fast, economical method of setting …
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Research revealed no. 1

My research for the Print F.O.B. item about Trajan’s popularity in Hollywood was based on reading the advertisements in selected Friday Weekend issues of The New York Times. There were far more movies using the face than I was able to squeeze into the column. For those who are obsessed by Hollywood’s obsession with Trajan, here are the results of my investigation.
12 December 1990
no examples of Trajan
instead capitals of Times Roman, Perpetua, Schneidler Titling (Bauer Titling) (twice), Goudy Oldstyle (twice), …
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From the Archives no. 2 addendum

Further research in The Inland Printer has turned up additional references to phototype processes in the years 1938 to 1941.
October 1938, p. 66 Typecraft Studios offered “type stretching” and “type condensing” services that would enable the printer to do away with the need for handlettering. No details of the process were revealed.
March 1939, p. 72 The Weber Process was briefly discussed with a few examples shown.
August 1939, pp. 38–39 The Weber Process was shown in a lavish two-page spread but …
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From the Archives no. 3—Plastic type

In the spirit of its title, this intriguing item is from the Share Your Knowledge Review*, March 1941, p. 44.
“Printing types cast in plastic material, according to an  article in Schweizer Reklam for December, 1940, are apparently destined to replace type cast in the traditional lead.” Dr. Paul Thomas Fischer of Weimar has patented a process for producing plastic type. It is lighter and more hygienic than lead and tests have shown it to produce a clean impression even on …
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From the Archives no. 2—Photo-lettering

While looking through issues of The American Printer for material relating to W.A. Dwiggins I noticed that during the years 1939 to 1941 there was a rash of notices of “new” methods for creating type photographically.
February 1939, pp. 38–39 “Rubber Type Via the Camera” by Irving B. Simon. Simon profiled the Weber Process invented by Martin J. Weber of New York City. Weber took repro proofs of assembled metal type—his exemplar was ATF Garamond Bold—photographed them. He boasted of his …
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From the Archives no. 1—Times Roman

This is the first of a new series of posts that are intended to call wider attention to various nuggets of information and opinion I come across during my many researches in archives.
On December 18, 1949 Herbert Simpson, a printer (and amateur calligrapher), in Evansville, Indiana wrote to Paul A. Bennett, the longtime publicity manager for Mergenthaler Linotype, with an offer:
“I hereby give, will and bequeath to you all of my interest, concern, and future residue in Times Roman. I …
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