Locking up this much type requires a lot of furniture and spacing material. Most cabinets do not accommodate it, but I’ve cut a generous amount of furniture in 8 and 12 pica lengths (and varying widths) for just such occasions.
Before printing the wood type, I printed a short colophon using 12 point Goudy Old Style. With such extreme size contrasts, the print quality is dramatically improved by splitting up the runs. If I had tried to print the 12 point metal type and the 8 line (equivalent of 96 points) together, the small Goudy Old Style would have been drastically over inked and the comparatively giant Aldine Expanded would have been anemic.
The finished broadside, 12.5 x 19 inches; two colors, three runs; printed on one of my favorite sheets, Mohawk Superfine Soft White Eggshell 80 cover. Available to purchase from Smart & Wiley through our Felt & Wire Shop.
Limited edition postcards announcing Virgin Wood Type’s Aldine Expanded. Letterpress printed onto sturdy Mohawk Loop Antique Vellum Kraft 110 dtc (double thick cover) using handset 8 line VWT Aldine Expanded, 10 point Univers 55, and an 18 pica dashed rule. Want one? First three people to correctly comment the year Aldine was patented and the patent holder will receive a stamped and hand-addressed card in the mail.
This nice little video – by Paul Dodd and Bill Jones, proprietor of Virgin Wood Type Mfg. Co. (VWT) – demonstrates how beautifully the 5 line trial cutting of Aldine Expanded prints. The first print shows Bill deflowering an entire character set – caps, figures, punctuation, and my newly designed arrow and star ornament – on a Vandercook 4. The second print shows a handful of characters from a vintage font of Aldine Expanded mixed in with the new. Note the enlarged counters of the vintage B, D, and P, and the shorter central arm of the 3. I’ve already ordered a complete 8 line character set, what are you waiting for?
Last week I realized a decade long dream with the release of Aldine Expanded. Working from proofs of an incomplete font in my collection, as well as scans of a specimen included in Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type, I redrew this classic design. But here’s where the story gets good: the Virgin Wood Type Mfg. Co. is producing and selling new fonts of end grain wood type from my drawings. Over the next week or so I will be posting more details about the process. For now, enjoy this video – produced by Paul Dodd and Bill Jones – showing how the laser-cut templates are used to cut the typeface into blocks of end grain maple.
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2010 has been a great year for wood type, and typography in general. But don’t take my word for it, read Paul Shaw’s “Top 10 Typographic Events of 2010.” No offense Mr. Shaw, but I would certainly include the establishment of a new wood type manufacturer in that list.
Thank you to all the LD readers and commenters, I’m really excited for the promise of 2011!
8 line Aldine Expanded
Converse to traditional text typefaces, Aldine Expanded’s horizontal strokes outweigh the vertical. The adorable smirk of a tail extending off to the right of this very wide character makes close spacing of the requisite QU (or Qu) combination impossible without physically removing part of the body of the sort – this method of kerning is frequently seen in wood type on the capital A’s, L’s, T’s, Y’s, etc.
8 line Aldine Expanded
Aldine is another subcategory of Antique. William H. Page patented the design around 1870; Aldine Expanded appeared in 1872. The serifs are significantly heavier than the stems and conspicuously bracketed. Despite its impractical width – some characters, like the capital W, are more than twice as wide as they are tall – the Aldine faces were used extensively in poster printing throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. The strong figure/ground relationship inherent to this design creates a wonderfully dynamic tension on the page. Sadly, my capitals only font is incomplete. Missing B, D, E, H, L, M, R, S, and Y.