The name of this font please?

Barbmg's picture

I need the name of this font.

Tom Kerr's picture


Barbmg's picture

Thanks Tom! That would have taken me forever. It doesn't even ring a bell.

donshottype's picture

Designed by John F. Cumming, patented December 1888 and sold by the Dickenson Foundry as Quaint Gothic. Solid and Open versions.

Also sold by K.K. Hof & K. Brendler Foundry, as Desdemona.
An open version Desdemona designed by David Berlow and published by Font Bureau. A solid version Quaint Gothic SG published by Spiece Graphics. Solid and outline versions of Desdemona are published by Beatty Type.

Type Historian's picture

Hello Don,

Can you steer me to the patent for Quaint Gothic? It was unusual for Dickinson to patent their faces, and I've not found it as

Many thanks, Anna

donshottype's picture

Hi Anna,

I did some further research. The results are not encouraging.
_The Inland Printer_ published a specimen of Quaint Open from Dickenson in December 1888 which includes the claim _patent applied for_. The Pettingill catalog of 1901 -- source of the image I posted -- includes the claim _patented_.
The statement in my post that it was patented in December 1888 is from Loy's book _Nineteenth Century American Type Designers [2009]_.
I went through the online design patents for December 1888, i.e. D18775 to D18830, but they do not include this patent.
So the patent date information from Loy is in error.
Perhaps it was actually patented between 1888 and 1901.
But perhaps it was not, and the 1901 patented claim is a lie to intimidate competitors, a practice by foundries of the era.


Type Historian's picture

Hi again Don,

Thanks a LOT for your super-quick legwork! I was excited when I read your first post—before officially joining ATF in 1982, Dickinson personnel held only two design patents that I have verified:

•Norman Italic, Phemister et al. 1881 [USTPO D12235]
•Aesthetic, Phinney 1882 [USPTO D13328]

As you so correctly observe, patent notices were often "toothless" warnings like "beware of the dog" when no dog existed. I suspect that the Dickinson, like the Central, TF adopted a legal-fee-beating policy of "Skip the [expensive!] USPTO red tape/attorney fees. Instead, display a 'pending' notice. Our designs are so famous that no one would dare to sell copies of them."

BTW Loy did not consult USPTO design patent records. The info you read was researched for Johnston & Saxe by a woman duly acknowledged in their book *illustrating* his Inland Printer series (sorry, I can't find her name at the moment).

Read his original article on J.F. Cumming [JFC] via the link here:

This chapter of my featured article on JFC may also interest you:—the nitty-gritty of who REALLY designed faces attributed to him...

Thanks again for your response, Don—it's truly a treat to find a committed fellow type historian willing to explore beyond the "easy [wrong!] answers" so readily available from the online digital font giants that have acquired trademark ownership of letterpress faces originally designed in c1800–World War I.

Cheers, Anna

donshottype's picture

Hi Anna,
Thanks for the kudos. I appreciate your shared interest in deep digging the facts on fonts where the provenance is lost in the mist of time.
My notes on the book include:
Loy's editors, Alastair M. Johnston & Stephen O. Saxe, researched the fonts produced by the designers and engravers profiled by Loy.
... and for some reason I too did not write down the name of the actual researcher! Student? We DO tend to ignore the minions!

Like you I got most of my patent info the hard way by digging at the USPTO. Learned a few quirks about PO examiner behavior in the 19th century. One is that the examiners sometimes let the font design applications pile up then cleared a group within a few days. So if I had a confirmed D-number or issue date I checked all of the D patents in a block of up to 50 before and after. Turned up a fair number not in Loy's book by this method.

As for who actually designed old fonts, I'll check your reference. I do know that Loy's book is about punch cutters, not designers. Sometimes they are the same, sometimes not. Some foundries allowed the designer or punch cutter to claim the patent & assign it to the foundry owner. Some owners took the credit directly. A few designers got the point where they did not have to assign. Sorting it out is a real forensic exercise!

And as you note some foundries, like Bruce & MacKellar patented as policy, others did not. Almost nobody included full alphabets in their specimens. So we have to guess about the less frequent letters of unpatented fonts where old type fonts did not survive the modernizing purges by being purchased by Phillips -- his rare 1945 book is a goldmine -- or Solo, or being acquired by a type museum such as StBride or Hamilton.

Great fun.


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