The Rchive no. 8—the Industrial R (Serif division)

The Oltarsh Building, 418 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City. Detail. Photographed 3 February 2008.

The Oltarsh Building was built by David M. Oltarsh as the Major Theatre in 1927. It is a three-story brick building with capital letters spelling out “THE OLTARSH BUILDING” affixed to the facade between the third story and the roof.

This R has the same industrial proportions as the one in The Rchive no. 7. But now there is a contrast of thick/thin to the strokes coupled with the addition of serifs and a delicate curl to the terminus of the leg. The beveling of the letter indicates an attempt to mimic the v-cut of Imperial Roman capitals in the manner of the prismatic initials found in Renaissance manuscripts of classical texts. The verdigris patina of the copper letter makes a lovely contrast to the ox-blood red of the bricks.