Duodecimo Typeface

Moore's picture

I am trying to hunt down any visual reference anyone can share of a typeface named Duodecimo. It was at least available during the early to middle 1800s. A serif typeface used in book printing and was available in the United States.

If this exists in a digital font that would be interesting to see a sample or link of.

I appreciate any insight into this typeface anyone might have.

Thanks much,
JM

Thomas Phinney's picture

In the early to middle 1800s, typefaces generally didn't have names as such. They were commonly named by the type size and sometimes the general style.

The word "Duodecimo" in printing refers to a particular size of book, printed with 12 pages per sheet. In context, "duodecimo typeface" would probably refer to whatever particular typeface a given printer chose to use for books of that page size. One printer's "duodecimo typeface" would very likely be different from the next, and a given printer might have more than one "duodecimo typeface."

Unless you can name a specific book, my prediction is that it will be impossible to determine a single typeface that uniquely fits that description. However, it might not be too difficult to come up with one or more candidates.

Regards,

T

Moore's picture

Thanks for the clarification. I thought that name sounded like a printing term a may have heard some time ago.

The specific book it was used in was the first printed edition of the Book of Mormon. Egbert B. Grandin was the printer/publisher and John H. Gilbert was the typesetter. It was printed in 1830 in Palmyra, NY. Below are some scans of a potential original edition I found online.

cerulean's picture

Ah, it's a didone. Very probably Bodoni.

blank's picture

That’s one of the myriad scotch roman types of the era. There were loads of them, many being knockoffs of knockoffs of… You won’t find a perfect match because these designs are products of the printing and paper of their time, and tended to have some flaws that aren’t revived today, but if you want a really nice scotch look at Matthew Carter’s Miller.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Yeah, pretty much what James said. Although that being said, there are a fair number of Scotch Romans available today, even if likely none is a direct revival of that exact typeface.

Regards,

T

marcox's picture

A more historically informed revival is Scotch Modern from Shinntype:

http://shinntype.com/

blank's picture

A more historically informed revival is Scotch Modern from Shinntype:

It most certainly is not. Scotch Modern is a different style of typeface, derived from the Scotch, that appeared decades after the publication of that book. Nick’s source for Scotch Modern is from 1873!

marcox's picture

Thanks for the insight, James. I stand corrected.

I do feel that if the original poster is looking for something that is redolent of the 1800s and has the feel of the "products of the printing and paper of their time," as you eloquently put it, then Scotch Modern is a better match than Miller.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I agree, even if its inspiration dates from later than 1830.

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