It All Started Here

12 line Peerless No. 1

In 2003, I moved into a coveted corner desk in the graphic design graduate studio at Indiana University, Bloomington. As I was cleaning my new home away from home I found two wood letters in the back of one of the desk drawers. I didn’t think anything of the discovery – the graphic design department has an amazing letterpress studio and an enviable collection of wood type. I assumed that the letters had been borrowed from the shop and forgotten. So I handed them over to one of my mentors, Paul Brown, with the explanation that I had found them in my new desk. He thanked me for returning them and I went about my business, eventually forgetting all about the letters.

Several weeks passed. Then one day when I was puttering about in the letterpress shop, Paul stopped by and handed the aforementioned wood letters to me. A thorough search was conducted, he explained, but these letters did not belong to any of the fonts in the shop and so they were mine – what a stand-up guy! Thus began my obsession. Thanks, Paul.

This router cut, end grain sort is the only character I have from a typeface Morgans & Wilcox called Peerless No. 1, and The Hamilton Manufacturing Co. called No. 305.

Bottom of the block showing the grain

3 thoughts on “It All Started Here”

  1. Wow. That is some seriously perfect grain – they look like saw marks.

    I can see how this whole little package could have brought about the beginning of your collection! For me, it was tiny tiny wood type (4 line, and of course now I know they go smaller!).

  2. Yep. VW&Co Clarendon, I think. Umm . . .I think a set of Hamilton (Franklin?) Gothic (might be 5 line, though I don’t really recall seeing a lot of 5 line in general so that doesn’t seem right), a set of Hamilton No. 156 (which I have heard and need to confirm was originally called Mikado when it was made by Wm. H Page), and maybe some other various san serifs that aren’t as complete.

    My “business” card is a type specimen of the Hamilton No. 156, so I will mail you one.

    I would like to do specimens of all my type, eventually. Somehow other projects keep popping up!

    Okay, sorry for rambling on. Cheers.

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