Is Times Roman the first ever custom typeface for a newspaper?

Is Times Roman the first ever custom typeface for a newspaper? I already tried to use both searches (google and typophile's) for some old thread I remember being about the subject, with no luck...
So far the most useful has been: Historic timeline of significant typefaces concerned with typography, somewhat compact in nature.

zeno333's picture

The former Blackletter typeface for the Pittsburgh Gazette name for the paper on top that later got incorporated into the now Pgh Post-Gazette I believe is a custom Blackletter, and that goes back to before Times Roman.

Bezier Abuser's picture

But you are talking about the heading (a piece of lettering) not a typeface, right?

zeno333's picture

Well it was a typeface designed for the large name of the newspaper at the top of it....It was more than just a piece of lettering, since it used many letters of the alphabet.

zeno333's picture

One can acess old Pgh Gazette newspapers here....Looks like they started using the Blackletter type for the name of the paper around 1820 or so....
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=NKlx0PmyA3cC

Other newspaper archives are here....

http://news.google.com/newspapers#P

zeno333's picture

PS...the Blackletter the Pgh Gazette used in 1820 is very different from what they use now though....Do not know if what they used in 1820 was a in-house one or not...

hrant's picture

One would have to define "custom typeface for a newspaper" in an usually narrow way for that to be true...

Way before TNR type designers made fonts for specific applications (almost never speculatively) and although I'm not erudite enough to cite specific examples (without digging through a bunch of material in the garage :-) it's hard to imagine many newspapers not pro-actively having gone to foundries to request an appropriate font.

hhp

Bezier Abuser's picture

Fair enough Hrant, perhaps I should change the question to "Is there any custom typeface designed for a newspaper that pre-dates Times Roman and is worth of notice?" which is very subjective but more sincere.

hrant's picture

If memory serves the first fonts made specifically for newspapers were Dutch. It might have been Fleischmann (although he was German).

hhp

zeno333's picture

I think Times new Roman is probably the most 'famous" type made for a newspaper...it's so famous that "many people", no one here of course, think it's the "only typeface" that's out there..... ;)

kentlew's picture

I believe that Linotype's important Legibility Group of typefaces for newspapers was initiated in the 1920s. Ionic No. 5 was the first and was designed for a paper in Newark NJ, IIRC. (I'm travelling at the moment and don't have my resources at hand.)

Later members of the group were more popular and successful long-term, but the initiative itself predates TNR.

riccard0's picture

Century was created for Century Magazine in 1894.
Not properly a newspaper, I know.

Bezier Abuser's picture

Hi Kent, quoting "Three chapters in the development of clarendon/ionic typefaces":
"One of the first companies that began to experiment in this way was Mergenthaler Linotype Company. After four trials they finally issued a typeface that was based on a clarendon/ionic model from the 1850s. The name of the typeface was Ionic No. 5. — Ionic No. 5 was completed under the direction of Chauncey H. Griffith in the autumn of 1925 and was first used by The Newark Evening Post, N. J."

Other sources also just say "first used by"... I will try to dig more but, apparently, it was not commissioned.

Bezier Abuser's picture

@hrant: thanks for the tip, I have to dig more...
From "Dutch Type" (thanks to Google Books):
"Fleischman's Galjart or Bourgeois Roman (c. 8pt) from 1745, one of the first typefaces specially designed for newspapers, inspired Matthew Carter's Fenway roman."

agisaak's picture

The Times New Roman may be the most 'famous' type made for a newspaper, but I don't think its fame among the general public has much to do with its origins. After all, Susan Kare's bitmapped 'clone'* for the early Macs was named 'New York' whereas 'London' was a blackletter.

André

*I hesitate to use that word since its rather difficult to design an -- if I recall correctly -- maximum 24 ppem bitmap that unmistakably resembles a very specific oldstyle text face, but Apple did choose to rename it thus based on its pairing with the version of Times installed on the LaserWriter).

quadibloc's picture

It's certainly true that the custom typeface for, say, the Houston Chronicle, based on an oldstyle model, postdated Times Roman.

And that the faces such as Ionic No. 5, Ideal, Paragon, Corona, and so on, while designed specifically for newspapers by Linotype and Intertype, weren't made for just one particular newspaper.

Given the great expense of having a set of custom matrices made, it is not impossible that Times Roman was the first face made specifically for the body copy of one particular newspaper - even though I am far from confident that this is so.

On the other hand, magazines, being printed on better paper, placed a higher value on their typographic appearance, newspapers being disposable. Thus, for example, Century Magazine commissioned the typeface "Century", which is important because it was the ancestor of Century Expanded, Century Schoolbook, and Century Oldstyle, all three of which are still in fairly common use at the present day (the last as a substitute for Alexander Phemister's oldstyle).

kentlew's picture

I suppose we may have to clarify what is meant by "commissioned." I recall that Griffith was specifically talking with a newspaper publisher when he began his explorations. It may not have been the publisher of the Newark paper.

But as I said, I'm away from my Griffith archives for a few weeks and I'm not sure if I have the 1950s reference I'm thinking of transcribed on my laptop or not. I'll check later when I reach my destination.

hrant's picture

In Enschedé's monumental and glorious specimen book of 1908 there's a table ("Table des assortiments", pages xiii-xxiii) showing who (if anybody) commissioned the work. Below is a quick photo of a small part of it, showing some of Fleishmann's Roman and Italic fonts. The columns from left to right are: inventory number, size, punchcutter, and customer. It might be possible to track down exactly what positions people like H. Uytwerf and Rud. Wetstein held* and hence possibly answer this question a little bit better.

* "Lui-même" means himself, so presumably those were "speculative" (although I'm sure nobody was concerned with not finding eventual buyers).

hhp

kentlew's picture

Well, it turns out that I do have that article transcribed. But, for some reason, I did not include the precise citation information with the file. If memory serves: I’m pretty confident that this was written by Robert Nicholson for Linotype News (or some other Linotype house publication), circa 1950s.

Here is a relevant excerpt:

Why is it that out of the thousands of type faces available, most newspapers are set in one of the five legibility faces?

It all began in the Governor’s suite of New York’s Roosevelt Hotel, early in the summer of 1923. The occupant of the suite, then a former governor, was Martin H. Glynn, publisher of the Albany (N. Y.) Times-Union from 1905 to 1924. His guest was C. H. Griffith of the Linotype company. [ . . . ]

Governor Glynn was one of the first American publishers to become interested in the physical improvement of the newspaper. He realized that at that time newspaper readability had reached an all-time low and he hoped to enlist the aid of the Linotype company in doing something about it.

[ . . . historical interlude about developments in newspaper printing technology and consequent decline of typeface performance . . . ]

It was at the depth of this condition, in the early ’20s, that Governor Glynn and C. H. Griffith sat down to discuss a remedy. The governor envisioned the necessity of getting away from the small body types then in vogue, and developing a new face of such merit that publishers would not hesitate to sacrifice spatial economy for something easier to read and more attractive to the eye. He suggested a type of darker texture and less contrast in thick and thin lines.

[ . . . discussion of subsequent exploration and development of Ionic No. 5 . . . ]

Before the new face was fully developed, Governor Glynn died. Nevertheless, the groundwork for a revolutionary movement, which was destined to sweep over the newspaper world, had been established through his initiative and wise counsel.

Finally, in March, 1926, the Mergenthaler Linotype Company announced the introduction of Ionic. [ . . . ] Almost as soon as the first advance proofs of Ionic were shown, the Newark (N. J.) Evening News adopted it, becoming the first newspaper to use the new face.

I don’t know if this meets your criteria for “commissioned” or “custom.”

Bezier Abuser's picture

Thank you for your time Kent, your help is very precious as my resources right now are very limited!

John Hudson's picture

Hrant, re. Enschedé: you are misreading the chart. The chart details the types held by Enschedé in 1908, but not necessarily originated by them, and the 'customer' column as you call it actually identifies the original foundry for whom the types were cut. Enschedé purchased the punches and/or matrices, sometimes many decades after the types were originally cut, often after they had already passed through other hands. So, for instance, Hermanus Uytwerf was a bookseller and typefounder who hired Fleischmann to cut types between 1729 and 1732. Fleischmann was Uytwerf's employee, being paid a weekly wage. For a period starting in in 1732, Fleischmann went into business for himself -- lui-même --, but then sold his business includes these types to another type founder, the Wetsteins, for whom he then cut a number of other types. Enschedé then purchased the Wetstein types in 1743, and much later in 1799 bought the earlier types that Fleischmann had cut for Uytwerf (which in the meantime had been owned by Ploos van Amstel). Directly for Enschedé, Fleischmann cut two types in the mid-1740s and four quite late in his career in the early 1760s. Most of his types were cut for the Wetstein foundry. His name is associated with Enschedé because they ended up owning pretty much everything he ever made, but during his life he cut types for at least eight different foundries, plus his own. This is what is recorded in the chart in the big Enschedé book, not commissioning customers.

[I've only checked the details on Fleischmann's roman types; there were also blackletter types produced under similar circumstances for various foundries.]

hrant's picture

Ah, thanks for the correction and detailed elaboration.

And although Fleischmann's Galliarde of 1745 was apparently "specially designed for newspapers" (as nicely illustrated on page 207 of the 1908 specimen book) that doesn't mean it was commissioned, for whatever purpose.

But there has to be something earlier than from the 20th century...

hhp

nina's picture

Sorry for resuscitating (and derailing!) this thread – I came across it while researching some of Fleischman’s early faces.

Hrant, is the picture you posted from the original French version of “Typefoundries in the Netherlands” (the Enschedé history, by Charles Enschedé)? Or is this something else?

John:
“Enschedé then purchased the Wetstein types in 1743, and much later in 1799 bought the earlier types that Fleischmann had cut for Uytwerf (which in the meantime had been owned by Ploos van Amstel).”
Except that Fleischman cut six faces for Uytwerf, and it looks like only three of them ended up at Enschedé. There was a Small Pica/Dessendiaan that I think had already been lost before the PvA/Enschedé merger, but I haven’t (yet) been able to find out what happened to the Roman that originally went with the No. 47 Italic. Ploos van Amstel had it, then it seems to have disappeared. Scrap metal, I fear.

blokland's picture

Hi Nina,

[…] I came across it while researching some of Fleischman’s early faces.

FYI a text and type specimen on (DTL) Fleischmann by Erhard Kaiser (in German!). If you’re interested, you can get one of the last printed copies from me (at the KABK ;-)

nina's picture

Hello Frank,
Yes, I read that in the beginning of my process, very informative (and beautiful) – I would love a printed copy, thank you! I believe we will cross paths soon. ;-)

blokland's picture

I will bring with me a copy of the ‘Sonderdruck’ of Max Caflisch’s article on DTL Fleischmann from Typografische Monatsblätter no.5/2000 (12 pages) too then.

hrant's picture

Nina: Yes, it's from the "Fonderies de Caractères" of 1908. To me the best specimen book in history.

Scrap metal, I fear.

That seems to have happened at Enschedé more than one might expect.

Frank: Is that the booklet that was passed out at ATypI-Leipzig in 2000? That was a nice one.

hhp

Albert Jan Pool's picture

It may be interesting to know that Max Caflisch republished a large number of his articles in his two-volume book »Schriftanalysen, Typotron, St. Gallen, 2003«. His article on Fleischmann is in Volume 1. Both volumes are a must-have for a library on typeface design and/or typography I think.

blokland's picture

Hrant: ‘Is that the booklet that was passed out at ATypI-Leipzig in 2000?

Yes, that is the booklet in question. How time flies!

Albert-Jan: ‘Both volumes are a must-have for a library on typeface design and/or typography I think.

I agree!

hrant's picture

Albert-Jan, it's been years since somebody really motivated me to buy a book. I thank you (although my wallet doesn't).

hhp

nina's picture

Schriftanalysen

I’m still kicking myself for not buying this when I could; It’s been out of stock for a while now, as far as I can tell. (Also, Hrant: German. Although a quick search turned up something that looks like a Spanish translation.)

k.l.'s picture

As an alternative, there was a nicely boxed collection of offprints.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

I’m still kicking myself for not buying this when I could; It’s been out of stock for a while now, as far as I can tell.

After having ordered these for the library of the the academy a few years ago, I decided to order them for private use during last year (2013). I ordered them together with some other books through a design book shop in Hamburg. It took them quite a long time, but in the end they managed to get the set. Maybe I was just lucky to have one of the last copies available … If I recall this rightly they got it from Typotron, but it seems that they stopped their publishing activities. Maybe they still have some copies somewhere on a shelf? May be worth a phone call …

hrant's picture

Nina: Oh.
I should learn German just to get a translation gig for that.

hhp

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