Antique font, 1894

oldstyle777's picture

Book titling from 1894 publication by "Tribune Printing Company, State Printers and Binders". Jefferson City, Missouri. Unique serifs and elaborations. ID?

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Ryuk's picture

I don't know the original name (Don probably will...). The closest I have for 'MISSOURI GEOLOGICAL SURVEY' is Mephisto by Scriptorium, main difference on /L. Other options: Gable Antique Condensed, Webster, Acantha

oldstyle777's picture

Kudos! I'm sure Bauer Gable Antique was the basis for this. As it was just a single logo for printing the book spines, it appears to me that it was a custom made plate, since the letters are never identical, Thanks for your help.

Mike F's picture

Mephisto matches what Dan Solo shows as 'Washington Antique' in the Solotype Catalog. May or may not be the original name. Also available as 'Thuvia' by Michael Lee, who interestingly states in the ReadMe that he based the font on letters on the covers of some Edgar Rice Burroughs books.

I'd have to agree with Ryuk that Mephisto (Thuvia) is closest. Thuvia is easily found on the Web, but I don't find it on any reputable site I want to link to.

oldstyle777's picture

The name Thuvia is derived, of course from Burroughs' "Thuvia, Maid of Mars", one of the John Carter stories. Do a google search for thuvia images, and you'll find the book cover that must have inspired Lee.

But I think Ryuk nailed it with Bauer's Gable. As I noted above, the only uses for this font are on the book spine, and none of the letters are identical to one another (e,g, all 3 O's and both E's are different) which I assume to be inconsistent with any kind of manufactured type. My theory is that in 1894 someone at Tribune Printing designed a one-off plate for use on the spines and modeled it after the then-new Bauer Gable (which may have been available in an uncondensed version at that time). I ultimately did the same thing--tracing the image and having a magnesium engraving made.

donshottype's picture

Bauer's Gable is almost 100% identical to a font cut by Gustave F. Schroeder for the Central Type Foundry decades earlier, with three widths Lafayette, Jefferson and Washington.


The book title has the middle, i.e. Jefferson, width.
BTW Solo's Washington is the name used by another foundry for a clone of Jefferson.
Cloning was thriving in the era. Jefferson spawned Washington and Gable.
Clones also included Webster.
Don

donshottype's picture

AFAIK fonts were not usually used directly for book bindings before the 20th century. Your plate idea is not all that different from the original method of printing this binding.
Don

donshottype's picture

Character set of Lafayette


This is the same as Jefferson, but condensed.
Don

donshottype's picture

Correcting an error in an earlier post:
Webster is not a clone as such. Rather, it is a light weight version of Washington width.
Boston/Central was proud of the design for the Jefferson fonts and used them as the top featured fonts for its 1892 specimen book.
Don

mittelgrau's picture

Don,
where did you get that Lafayette type sheet from?
The Boston/Central specimen book you mentioned does not seem to include whole alphabets but rather just word samples.
Thanks in advance!

donshottype's picture

Christian, the full alphabet is in Phillips Old Fashioned Type Book published in 1945. There are a few copies in North American university libraries available for interlibrary loan.
Word samples were the usual practice for display fonts in specimen books until well into the 20th century. Finding a full alphabet for 19th century display fonts is often impossible. Some were patented. The patent images are available online, but many are very poor quality because the original patent documents were destroyed after being microfilmed. The microfilm photographs -- now used for the digital records -- are often crap.
Don

George Thomas's picture

Christian and Don: There are currently six copies of the Phillips book on abe.com ranging in price from $66USD-$175USD depending upon condition. All are the original printing. Check eBay too -- I got mine there a few years ago for around $100USD. It is an excellent resource.

donshottype's picture

I confirm George's opinion that it is an excellent resource. Phillips assembled an collection of old metal type, in much the same way that Dan X. Solo did a few decades later. Phillips has a better assortment of Victorians.
Note that the full character sets are usually for 10 to 18 point impressions and are not as crisp as the limited phrases you can find in some of the old specimen books.
The prices George quotes are reasonable for what you get. Note that since you do not live in the USA you have to add international shipping. Different sellers have very different rates for international shipments. Many refuse to ship outside the USA, which I find to be very short sighted. But as Kurt Vonnegut always said when confronted by stupidity, "such is life."
Don

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