John Bell

Bruce's picture

I'm doing a project right now that uses Monotype Bell (hot metal comp, letterpress printing) and this reminded me of a lovely bit of description that I'd like share with you all. My wish here is that you not only look at it -- if you have the time, please read what is said about Bell.

Maine printer Fred Anthoensen ran a scholarly book printing establishment in Portland from the 1920s until his death in the 1960s. (I recently mentioned him in the thread about ornaments.) Fred adored Bell type and in the 1920s, on a trip to England, he bought 500 pounds of it from Stephenson Blake, cast from the original matrices. Fred used it throughout his career at the Anthoensen Press, and everyone took such good care of it, we were still using it in the 1980s!

This little book was produced in 1939 as a keepsake for the Press. The text was originally an article for "The New England Printer," November 1935. As far as I know, Fred wrote only this piece, and then his great (autobiographical) work "Types and Bookmaking" in the 1940s. Reading this Bell piece has always made me wish he'd found time to write more -- I think he is flat-out marvelous.

Hope you guys enjoy it. The artwork at the top of page 3 was made by Charles R. Capon, the Boston-area calligrapher, illustrator and bookplate artist, who often collaborated with Fred. (The first scan is the opening page of the text, the second shows the title page spread.)

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ebensorkin's picture

Although it's very late - I want to thank you for posting this.

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