Run, no walk, no yeah RUN to your Library

tsprowl's picture

I've been giggling all throughout the holidays waiting until I could post this. GUESS what fell into my lap

Clue 1) the only date I could find was 1912, pre-ISBN's here.
Clue 2) This company closed in the 1930s
Clue 3) 1096pgs of cast-type average sets priced at $3.50

A friend found it at a library garage sale picked it up for 25 cents and brought it over thinking I'd be interested. His boss is googling over it too and has entertained the idea of re-printing it not as a working catalogue but for collectors. I suggested that that was blasphemy, not to mention the impossibilities of re-printing it to any collectors stardards. Still whats your take guys?

I've scaned a few select pages for ya'll:
www.phivedesign.com/ATF/ooo.html

book

hrant's picture

Wow, how cool is that?! And 25 cents...
Those pilcrows are just yummy.

BTW:
1. How could reprints be a collector's item?
2. Technically, ATF actually closed only in 1993.

hhp

Jared Benson's picture

I'm still laughing over Mr. Coles' mind control techniques.

ATF Specimen Books are a regular hot item on eBay. If you got it for 25cents, you've lived what the rest of us dream about. You've probably saved about a hundred bucks by finding at a garage sale.

From what I understand, the 1923 ATF Book is the one to get.

Reprinting it would be useless... Although I've been very,very, tempted to preserve it, digitally so that people could browse it here online. Not sure if that would be legal or not.

Where's an intern when you need one?

tsprowl's picture

over my dead body. You don't realize how often I check that the oven, toaster, & lamps are unplugged before I leave house - but I will scan as much as I can before the authority's arrive.

>1. How could reprints be a collector's item?
I asked the same thing...he's thinking about having each and every page drum-scanned-orama. I would certainly like a copy if he re-printed...its just so much fun to read. They didn't use Lorem back then...all the specimens have clever little paragraphs worded to sell the ATF, and then a different para in 8pts, and again in 7pts, 6pts...on and on

sevenfingers's picture

I got an antique specimen book pre-christmas from my father in law. I think it was from around 1880... a little bit worn, but overall in great condition. Lovely, lovely, lovely. :-)

kentlew's picture

Congratulations, Tanya. Two bits? What a steal.
Jared's right, though, the 1923 specimen is the holy grail. The others are pre-Morris Fuller Benton.

As interesting as it would be, I can't imagine there would be any way to justify the expense of a reprint. Real collectors probably wouldn't be interested in a facsimile. The potential market would actually be very small. And drum-scanning 1000+ page? I suppose your boss could be an eccentric, wealthy bibliophile.

Jared, the maximum protection offered by U.S. copyright is 75 years. Any copyright on the 1923 book would have expired in 1998 (and that's assuming they filed the proper extension after the first 26 years). So, if you've got the time and the server space, go ahead.

-- K.

tsprowl's picture

I cannot beleive they sell at 100bucks on ebay. That's ridiculous for any specimen book, which cannot ever be reproduced and dating turn of the last century.

I'd give my mac for one and start doing paste-ups with carefully traced letterforms FROM the book. (well maybe that's a little crazy) but y'no what I mean? 100 bucks is a night on the town...who is it that placed this value? idiots.

Anywho, I'll continue to scan and expect a reference letter for my internship...the book is going back to friends boss soon. But I'll forward him this thread for review. Thanks for comments

johnbutler's picture

And drum-scanning 1000+ page? I suppose your boss could be an eccentric, wealthy bibliophile.

Hmmm, this sounds like a job for John Warnock.

gmh's picture

I bought one of the 1923 ones a couple of years ago and I've wanted to add it to this (kind of my own, poor man's Ocatvo) for a while. Taking and naming the pictures is quite tedious though, and I'm not completely happy with how the books that I've already done came out.
Maybe if I rig up a home-made photo stand and write a couple of perl scripts I could get it done a little more easily.

gmh's picture

It's not quite perfect (There's a double of one spread and probably some typos) but here's 155 images from the 1923 ATF Specimen Book and Catalogue.

hrant's picture

Wow, is this cool or what?! Thanks!
U-da-man.

hhp

tsprowl's picture

I love how Image 15 has an advertisement for Rare Books. hehe

beautiful.

hrant's picture

> Perhaps you could periodically throw
> in close-ups of the juicy stuff

In fact take request for those. Please?

To limit your work, what about this:
Have a polling mechanism, and the pages with the most requests get close-ups.

hhp

gmh's picture

>To limit your work, what about this
>Have a polling mechanism

That actually sounds like more work.
10 or 15 closeups shouldn't be a problem, I still have all of the raw images.

I will take requests though. Post the image number here or mail them to me. Tell me if you find any errors too.

>that level of effort is for people with lots of time and/or aging to do

And for people with venture capital.
And for people with interns.

bieler's picture

I cannot beleive they sell at 100bucks on ebay. That's ridiculous for any specimen book... but y'no what I mean? 100 bucks is a night on the town...who is it that placed this value? idiots.


Think I'll have to discount the value of any further posts from Tanya here. This book is easily worth $100, and in very good to excellent condition, much more. Most of the specimen books from the major metal foundries are worth this at minimum. The ATF were quite plentiful and are still relatively easy to obtain.

Who places this value? people who value them and are willing to pay the the going rate to get them. The last specimen book I bought cost $250, an Enschede, and it was quite a bargain at that.

I'd be a bit more careful about copying this and then distributing the results in public. Several parties still have legal interests in ATF, including some of the major digital foundries. And we all despise theft don't we?

Gerald

hrant's picture

OK Graham, is three too many?
13 & 97, and 96 if you feel especially generous.
Thanks much.

hhp

bieler's picture

In my mail on Saturday I received the recent issue of _Printing History_. Having just opened the package, image my surprise when I see that the entire issue is dedicated to ATF and includes a showing of the exhibition "Type to Print: The Book & The Type Specimen Book." Based on the significant holdings of the ATF library, which is now housed at Columbia University.

Revealed here is the cost of the 1923 specimen book. 60,000 copies were issued at a production cost of $300,000.

Gerald

kentlew's picture

>I'd be a bit more careful about copying this and then distributing the
>results in public. Several parties still have legal interests in ATF,
>including some of the major digital foundries. And we all despise
>theft don't we?

Gerald, I don't think Graham can reasonably be expected to take responsibility for any potential "theft" of these designs. The specimen book itself is clearly in the public domain, since anything published before 1978 has a maximum protection of 75 years from date of publication.

There may indeed be parties still with legal interests in the assets of ATF, such as they are. I don't know what the standing might be on any of the patents ATF may have held for any of its type designs. But the published book is no longer protected by copyright, and I think Graham has done an admirable service in giving those unfortunates who have not had the opportunity a glimpse into this fabled beast.

-- K.

bieler's picture

Kent

The copyright on the ATF specimen book would only have been valid for 28 years, with the possibility of extending it for another 28 if ATF chose to do so. They did issue a much slimmer specimen book in the fifties, their last.

Copyright is not the concern. And I'm not sure if patents were ever successfully extended to metal type designs. I know copyright could not be.

The copyright law does not cover reproduction rights in entirety though, does it. Copyright law more specifically protects intellectual and creative rights, not design elements. Nothing is ever "clearly" in public domain. The remote possibility of existing trademarks and registration legalities are more of a concern here. These would pass on to those parties who acquired the assests of the firm. Much as your logo there (nice by the way) if trademarked and/or registered, would legally pass on to your heirs, with full rights and protection under the law.

It wouldn't really matter in the eyes of the law that Graham has provided an "admirable service" if someone who had the legal right to challenge his efforts chose to do so.

Gerald

John Hudson's picture

And I'm not sure if patents were ever successfully extended to metal type designs.

They were; in fact, the first design patent ever issued was for a typeface. Unfortunately, no record remains of which typeface this was. Some time in the 1870s if memory serves.

Patent protection is for a shorter time than copyright.

hrant's picture

> the first design patent ever issued was for a typeface.

It was a pi typeface - very telling.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

It was a pi typeface...

I don't recall hearing this before. What's your source? I remember Frank Martinez saying that he had been unable to identify the typeface, despite an extensive search in the Patent Office archives.

I don't think it is 'very telling', since plenty of non-pi typefaces have received patent protection since. This form of protection recognises type design as industrial design, which should appeal to someone who is concerned with 'craft'.

keith_tam's picture

I have a Barnhart Brothers & Spindler specimen book, c1925/1931, I

bieler's picture

Keith

The black one right? Much cooler than the ATF. And certainly worth the $75 you paid for it. Those metal folk could make any typeface look beautiful. BB&S held out for a long time against the ATF type conglomerate. Heroic.

Gerald

hrant's picture

> What's your source?

Hmmm. I don't remember. Maybe Lawson.

Anyway, I can assure you it's true. In fact I vividly remember a discussion we had during the Boston ATypI conference, with you, me, Spiekermann, and others, during a Q&A of a presentation by Martinez. We were sitting on the right side of the hall, I think Erik was on the 2nd row (more to the right), I was on the sixth or so, and you were right in front of me (two rows forward). The row between us was empty. I even remember using the term "fitting" back then as well, and noticed Erik nodding and smiling when I said it. And you were explaining how a design patent is fine for a font, because unlike a regular patent it doesn't require "conceptual abstraction". I remember where a bunch of other people were sitting too: Carter and Shaw on the first row on our side, Licko on the third on the left side, Lemon on the first row (aisle) on the left...

And in fact we had a "rematch" in Leipzig, after Hollandsworth's presentation, remember? :-)
That time I was less shy...

But for some reason I still can't remember a source! :-/

> plenty of non-pi typefaces have received patent protection since.

Yes, and knowledge of world geography has been dropping steeply the last few decades as well...

> should appeal to someone who is concerned with 'craft'.

But the part of me that thinks it's a distraction from proper protection (copyright) protests too loudly.

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

I recall reading about a legal decision that went something like this: You can't patent the alphabet.

Other than the interrobang (not exactly successful), the backward slash (I suspect Bill owns that), and the euromark (hmmm), there just hasn't been much accomplished recently. Though I did like the forms you presented on your web site once upon a time.

Altering an ur-letterform, however, just isn't deserving enough. I think that's how it goes.

Imagine though, if you could copyright (not patent) every disturbance to the idea of an ur-letterform. The copyright office would be quite busy.

hrant's picture

{John should be chiming in soon on that one, Gerald.}

> I did like the forms you presented on your web site once upon a time.

If we're thinking of the same thing, I think it was Andy.

> The copyright office would be quite busy.

Which they very much are right now! I think the average time spent on approving a copyright these days is less than it took Tyson to do a KO.

hhp

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Tanya: Did you make a pact with the devil?

hrant's picture

I had nothing to do with it.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Hrant writes:But the part of me that thinks it's a distraction from proper protection (copyright) protests too loudly.

I think, for people like Adobe who regularly seek patent protection for their new typefaces, it is a case of taking whatever protection is on offer. I agree that the existence of design patent protection makes it possible for the US Copyright Office to shrug off demands for copyright protection: 'Take your typeface across the road to the Patent and Trademark Office. They'll look after you'. But not availing oneself of the available protection isn't going to stir the Copyright Office's heart either.

In response to Gerald: the USA offers design patent protection for typeface design. It does not offer copyright protection; this was confirmed in the Esselte vs. Ringer case (note, however, that I'm aware of at least two analyses of the case, written by lawyers, that suggest the case was poorly argued and the decision in error). Unlike copyright protection, a design patent must be actively sought (it is not automatic), the review process is more rigorous (for example, you have to provide exhaustive examples of prior art that may have influenced the design), and is for a much more limited period of time (I can't remember what it is in the US; the Canadian equivalent is Industrial Design Protection, which is for 14 years).

Some other countries provide copyright protection for typeface design, and the sky hasn't fallen yet.

bieler's picture

Sorry, Hrant, but that

hrant's picture

> not availing oneself of the available protection isn't going to stir the Copyright Office's heart either.

Sure. But there are other options.

----

Gerald, niiice! :-)

hhp

tsprowl's picture

HUH?
Gerald: Think I'll have to discount the value of any further posts from Tanya here. This book is easily worth $100, and in very good to excellent condition, much more.

I don't think you understood my post correctly...further I go on to state that I would give my g4 for 1 and trace the faces from the book instead. I.E. 100 is ridiculously LOW. as in a night on the town.

And - the Publisher (friends boss) isin't interested anymore in re-publishing a collector-genre thingy after discussion and learning of the response to this thread a few weeks ago.

Ramiro - Nah I mean Jesus loves me yes I know, cause the bible tells me so.

bieler's picture

Tanya

Well, I've been know to misinterpret a post or two.

Apologies for offending you.

All best


Gotta go, I'm off to teach Hrant how to set type tonight! Ha!

hrant's picture

And I thought I was the teacher's pet! ;-)

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Gotta go, I'm off to teach Hrant how to set type tonight! Ha!

Seriously? Now that would be fun to watch.

'If you put the g in the composing stick upside down it improves readability.'

'No it doesn't.'

'Yes, it DOES: look at the bouma, man!'

kentlew's picture

>Nothing is ever "clearly" in public domain.

Gerald, surely you didn't mean this statement literally. There are plenty of creations which are indisputably in the public domain. The melody which many of us know as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (or the alphabet song) is in the public domain; I need no one's permission to write a song based on it. Shakespeare's plays are in the public domain; I don't need anyone's permission to publish my own copy of his text. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is in the public domain; I don't need any one's permission to paint my own copy of it. The creative merits of such an act may be debatable, but the legality is not. (Unless I try to pass my copy off as the original, in which case it's fraud; but that's another legal matter.)

Intellectual property right protections do not last forever.

(It should be noted, however, that any given photograph of the Mona Lisa may not be in the public domain, so I can't just go around indiscriminately reproducing someone else's *photo* of the painting.)

>The remote possibility of existing trademarks and
>registration legalities are more of a concern here. These would pass
>on to those parties who acquired the assests of the firm.


Yes, you make a good point. Aside from copyright and patent, there are trademark considerations. But, as with patents, U.S. trademark registration is also a very restricted protection. A period of three years of non-use may be enough for a mark to be considered abandoned, unless acceptable reasons are given and the proper papers are filed with the Patent and Trademark Office. I don't know if Kingsley-ATF did this or not.

But I believe that this protection would extend only to the ATF name and logo, and probably some of the actual names of typefaces, presuming they were properly registered. I don't think there is any aspect of the specimen that could qualify for protection as "trade dress." And merely reproducing the logo is not necessarily sufficient to constitute infringement, especially if the reproduction is in the context of the company's own publication.

>It wouldn't really matter in the eyes of the law that Graham has
>provided an "admirable service" if someone who had the legal right to
>challenge his efforts chose to do so.

Granted. My comment wasn't meant as a legal defense.

But let's review: I think we've established and agreed that the book itself is no longer protected by copyright. There is a slim chance that some of the typefaces shown may have been granted a U.S. patent, but (as I think John noted) that protection has probably expired; and, regardless, merely reproducing the showings would not violate patent protection. Finally, trademark protection, if any still applies, would only cover the names and the logo; and I maintain that publishing the images of the specimen on the web would not constitute trademark infringement.

But -- correct me if I'm wrong -- I get the impression that your initial concern was not so much with Graham's right to reproduce the specimen pages, as with what others might do with the images. If so, I contend that we can not reasonably hold Graham responsible for these possibilities, any more than we hold libraries responsible because they make their collections accessible and provide public photocopiers. If there is any subsequent infringement on the rights of ATF's successors by someone swiping a typeface design, then I think that lies squarely on the "swiper".

[Standard Disclaimer: I'm not a licensed IP attorney, etc., etc.]

-- K.

P.S. Way to go on the ATF and BB&S books. Great story!

kentlew's picture

John -- Ha ha! That's priceless!

hrant's picture

Very funny guys... :-)

So I'm back from tonight's class... The main memorable thing was this: if there's a face you don't respect, hold some metal sorts of it in your hand, and you might have a change of heart. Not that I ever hated Eurostile, but I think the lc "m" of the Bold-Extended cut is gonna be in my dreams tonight...

hhp

bieler's picture

Kent

Very thoroughly reasoned. I guess my initial reaction was to the idea that you can just reproduce whatever you want simply because it is no longer copyrighted and I was trying to point out there may be other factors to consider.

In a book I did a while back we had to enter hyphens in the names of characters used by Kipling in his Just So Stories because we discovered a famous movie producer had trademarked the names for toy marketing. Our legal advice was to copyright the hyphens as "additional material." Kipling's work was certainly in public domain but there was also a Kipling Museum trust which still owned certain properties.

What am I saying is you can't be too careful, and you can be at considerable risk. If you run a small business, a cease and decease or any other kind of legal threat could quickly drain your financial resources and put you out of business, whether or not the threatening action had legal merit. You would have to prove otherwise and that is costly. If you are doing anything of a "publishing" nature you do need to run this all through legal search (trademark, copyright, etc).

Thanks for the information.

paul's picture

The concen in this thread about reproducing pages from the ATF book seems misplaced.

If you were reproducing pages from a novel, would you worry about the typeface, provided you had no copyright restrictions preventing you from reproducing the novel itself? How is the ATF book different?

That fact that the ATF book is a book of type specimens is beside the point

bieler's picture

Paul

I'd say yes, copyright is for intellectual property, the sequencing of letterforms, not their visual representation.

But trademark can actually be both. If I use the term Adobe Systems in a book I am required to either indicate trademark or print a disclaimer regarding trademark. One would not have to follow this in most cases, in discourse intended for a public audience, such as reviews or criticism, as Adobe is a recognized public name and has, in fact, sought that out.

But I can also not copy the visual representation of the Adobe logo without their permission, whether or not I intend to use this for commercial purposes, and I believe this is where your post may be in error.

Registration of name is more tricky because it can be legislated by state.

tsprowl's picture

they want to be on a world tour - oh yesh they do. they want to come to Canada. did you notice the slight whispers in your dreams....ya that was Eurostile talking Hrant, Eurostile Bold Extended wants to come to my place. come little metal bits, come to mama

bieler's picture

I don't know Tanya. Sounds quite inviting. But my experience with metal type tells me it prefers to just be left alone, to hide away in its case in the dark. It seems to be able to do this for extraordinary lengths of time. Which I assume just adds to its remarkable longevity.

The question is, what does it dream about? I'd guess the deep earth from where it came.

tsprowl's picture

dreams? how long do you keep it locked up. nightmares...its all nightmares I'm sure. its crouching in fetus mode...rocking itself

here little eurostile...over here....its ok. I'll treat you good. remember when you where fresh from the cast...young, you could be young again, I'll use you, comon, lets play in ink

kentlew's picture

Gerald --

Re: Kipling story. A valuable cautionary tale. Thank you. Point taken.

-- K.

paul's picture

Gerald,

I was not talking about tradmarks for logos or company names. My point was that the typefaces displayed in the ATF book are not an issue; the typefaces are what most of the discussion was about. The trademark on a particular typeface only prevents you from making another typeface based on it; there is no restriction on how the letter shapes are used in other media.

bieler's picture

Actually, Paul, in reviewing the thread I don't believe "the typefaces" were what most of the discussion was about. It was about possible infringement for reproducing the pages from the book, which happens to be a type specimen book.

I think Kent's remarks were the clearest regarding the legalities of all of this. And I doubt anyone would argue against your point about the usage of a legally acquired typeface.

It's mainly been a problem of the trademark of a typeface "name" though hasn't it, rather than the design per se? Someone reissuing someone's elses typeface with a different name? I recall that Adobe goes through extraordinary lengths to ensure that when they issue an original typeface, the name they choose is quite free and clear.

marcox's picture

Graham, the book is beautiful, and your presentation is terrific. Thanks!

rcapeto's picture

Re: the discussion on copyright.
This article may be of interest.

bieler's picture

Tanya

Nightmares, huh! Maybe you are right. Those little feets are made for walking. And those little faces are just dying to be made up with ink. Maybe.

Know of a good home with really deep pockets?

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