1890s Fonts in Letter from Publisher

malbright's picture

Hi folks,

Wondering if you could help with the two fonts in the "Dear Sir" note. Also, what is the classification of the main font? And the one at the bottom that reads "Frederick Warne & Co."--that is a Tuscan, affirmative?

As always, thank you!!

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Comments

donshottype's picture

The note uses a stylish vertical non connecting script by Herman Ihlenburg, patented by him in September 1885, and sold by MacKellar Smiths Jordan as Pencraft


See photos of the actual type at:
http://blog.leadgraffiti.com/2008/08/30/mackellar-smiths-jordan-pencraft/ It features the mortised initials. Your letter used the regular version.
Note the amazing spiral _O_ and _Q_!
Includes a good summary bio of Herman Ihlenburg.
AFAIK no digital.
Don

oldnick's picture

Don,

Pencraft is in my to-do hopper, maybe a few months off.

donshottype's picture

Hi Nick, happy to see you are doing it. I am certain you will do it justice. The old specimen books; MS&J, ATF/Pacific Blue, Daystrom etc. online at Archive.org, give excellent images of most of the letters. They miss a few, but the on-line patent -- despite its crappy image quality from the scan of a bad microfilm -- gives a clear idea of how Ihlenburg designed the remaining capitals.
Don

donshottype's picture

"Truth is stranger than fiction department", or what happens when a type designer has to speak like a lawyer.

---start quote---
[Cut scanned image of crappy quality microfilm specimen and assorted introductory stuff]
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.

HERMAN IHLENBURG, OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, ASSIGNOR TO THE MACKELLAR, SMITHS & JORDAN COMPANY, OF SAME PLACE.

DESIGN FOR TYPE.

SPECIFICATION forming part of Design No. 16,294, dated September 29, 1885.

Applicaiion filed March 16, 1885.
To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, HERMAN IHLENBURG, (assigner to the MACKELLAR, SMITHS & JORDAN COMPANY,) of the city and county of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have invented and produced a new and original Design for a Font of Printing Type, of which the following is a specification.

The nature of my design is clearly shown in the accompanying typographic impression, to which reference is made; and it consists of a text letter of the back-hand class, the upper and lower parts of said letter being heavier than the rest of the letter.

The upper portions of the B, E, F, G, K, P, R, S, T, Y, X, and Z are curved as shownthe B, P, R, and Z upon the left, as shown, the rest of the letters upon the right, as shown. The upper termination of the E, F, H, K, M, N, U, V, W, X, and Y upon the left is curved as shown. The upper right-hand termination of the H, L, M, N, U, V, and W is curved as shown. The upper right termination of the C is followed by the inclined line with dot termination. The lower right-hand termination of the G is met by the short curved line. The central termination of the E and F consists of the short curved line with dot termination. The I, K, M, R, and Y are extended below the line, as shown.

Having now described my invention, I claim --
The design for a font of printing type of the back-hand text class, the upper and lower portions of the letters being,` heavier than the rest of the same, the upper portions of the B, E, F, G, K, P, R, S, T, Y, X, and Z curved as shown, the B, P, R, and Z upon the left, the rest of the letters upon the right, the upper termination of the E, F, H, K, M, N, U, Y, W, X, and Y upon the left, curved as shown, the upper right-hand termination of the H, L, M, N, U,V, and W curved as shown, the upper right-hand termination of the C followed by the inclined line with dot termination, the lower right-hand termination of the G met by the short curved line the central termination of the E and F consisting of the short curved line with dot termination, and the I, K, M, R, and Y extended below the line, as shown.

HERMAN IHLENBURG.
In presence of
G. F. HUCH,
HERMAN METUS.

--- end quote --
If this makes any sense to you and you can visualize the letters, fame and fortune awaits you in your career as a patent lawyer!
After applying every trick I know to enhance and edit the patent image this was the best I could cobble together. It lacks all of the nuances of the penmanship, but at least has the basic letter-forms that match the legalese.


Enjoy the game!
Don

osamu's picture

I actually digitized this as a personal exercise some time ago. One of my first attempts at both making a font and at revival. You will therefore forgive any amateur errors. The spacing/kerning needs some work, but it is quite some time since this has been forgotten and gathering dust. If Nick is going to do it, it will no doubt be better by far than anything I can achieve and I will leave it up to him.

donshottype's picture

Hi Andrew. Nick has done wonderful work in the past but I am not certain when we might see something new from him. AFAIK the last font he released was in 2012 -- at least that's the last one at Myfonts.
So, as the old adage goes "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Clearly you feel that your digital version is less finished than you would prefer. If this is something you were preparing for sale as a commercial font, I can understand your hesitation to make it available to the public. But if, as you say, you "digitized this as a personal exercise," could you be willing to share it with people who love old fonts, perhaps by releasing a Beta Version at Dafont?
Don

osamu's picture

Thanks, Don. Encouraged by your post I think I'll take another look at this and see what needs to be done to get it close to something releasable. It may not be as bad as I think and I did put quite a bit of work into it. The Original swash caps were 36 or 24-point sorts, mortized to fit 18 or 12-point regular lower-case. I designed my Swash caps to be used at 150% of the regular font (so 18-point for 12-point type). I'm not sure most of the people downloading fonts from DaFont will grok that, but I couldn't see another way to do it without making the x-height ridiculously small.

@malbright - if you're looking for something similar in the meantime, you may wish to check out Evita, by Gérard Mariscalchi and published by ITC.

donshottype's picture

Hi Andrew, happy you are willing to consider going forward with this. I appreciate the technical problems. As for the people downloading from Dafont, they range from the kid looking for something to plaster on a smartphone screen, to searchers for unusual technical treatments, like the ones who haunt this page :) BTW tiny x height works fine in script fonts -- including Penman 1885 -- when it is printed on paper at a reasonable size. This issue only arises when you use the mortised swash caps. The regular caps have a very common ratio to the x-height.
Whatever you put in your BETA, it would be a vast improvement over having almost nothing digital that is representative of this unique style of typeface.
Don

malbright's picture

Andrew! Thank you for the information. I would love to see you move forward with this. I have the perfect project for it—and a high visibility one at that. I'd be so thrilled to use it, I'd have set every letter if I have to! Nick...please move forward too! You do such beautiful work! This needs to exist. We all know it. Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

Mike F's picture

Michael - you also asked about "Frederick Warne & Co.". It's too small and blurry to tell, but the basic letterforms match Gladiate. Do the letters have those side barbs seen in Gladiate?

Andrew - I too hope you release your version of Pencraft when you feel comfortable with it.

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