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Robert Wiebking was born in Germany in 1870, the oldest son of an engraver. In 1881 the family came to Chicago where his father made engraving machines and cut type matrices for the Marder & Luse type foundry.
When Robert was 14, he went to work for C. H. Hanson, an engraving company. By 1893 he had set up his own engraving business and was cutting matrices for both the Crescent and Independent Type Foundries. In 1900 he formed the Advance Type Foundry with H. H. Hardinge. Together the two men designed various pieces of machinery including precision tools for matrice fitting, an air driven automatic tool to break the casting sprues or jets off type bodies, and an automatic casting and finishing machine for type. The improvements allowed Wiebking to cut the matrices for the 14 point size of Frederick Goudy’s Kennerley type, then cast and finish 400 lbs. of the type in 41 hours.
Hardinge left the partnership in 1914 when Wiebking merged Advance with the Western Type Foundry. Five years later the Western Foundry merged into Barnhart Brothers & Spindler Foundry. Several years later, Wiebking set up a small shop where he cut matrices for F. W. Goudy, the original Centaur matrices for Bruce Rogers, as well as matrices for the Barnhart Brothers & Spindler, the American, Inland and Keystone Type Foundries, and for John Haddon and Co. and Stephenson Blake in England. Later he cut matrices for Ludlow Typograph and built several matrice cutters for them as well as trained their staff to use them. Among the people he trained to cut matrices were Frederick W. Goudy and Robert Hunter Middleton.
Typefaces designed by Wiebking: Artcraft & Bold & Italic, Caslon Clearface & Italic, Engraver's Litho Bold & Condensed, Advertiser's Gothic & Condensed , Bodoni Light & Italic, Caslon Catalog, Collier Old Style, Engraver's Roman, Munder Venezian, Steelplate Gothic Shaded.
Related link: http://nobodoni.com/wiebking.html