Archived entries for capital A

15 line No. 507

picture and printed proof of 15 line No. 507 wood type capital letter A

Antique Tuscan X Condensed No. 11

picture and printed proof of Antique Tuscan X Condensed No. 11 wood type capital letter A

8 line Ionic No.1

image of a Ionic No. 1 wood type capital letter A

10 line Brush

4 line Roman Extended

10 line Runic Italic


12 line Arabian

12 line Broadway Condensed

Where Were We… Ah, Yes

10 line Cooper Black Condensed

The damage to the apex of this pudgy A appears to have been caused by some twine – often used to tie-up a type form – accidentally (at least I hope it was an accident) falling on the face of the letter just before impact from the impression cylinder or platen. Though seeing wounds like this saddens me, I can’t help but smile a little at the parallel lines’ resemblance to a headband.

Hamilton Manufacturing Company imprint; this version used after 1891.

36 line French Clarendon No. 2

A Case of Mistaken Identity… Sort Of

8 line Howland

Previous posts (see De Vinne, under Categories) identify this typeface as De Vinne. In fact, it is called Howland. In my defense, it was not an egregious error, for according to Mac McGrew, Howland was introduced in 1892 by the Dickinson Type Foundry of Boston as a companion series to DeVinne (an artful way for Dickinson to avoid an admission of plagiarism).

À La Mode

12 line Mode Condensed

Pages 22–24 of the AWT 1958–59 Catalog from American Wood Type Mfg. Co. shows Mode—a geometric sans serif very similar to Futura—in Medium, Condensed, Bold, and Extra Bold Condensed, and in sizes ranging from 6–15 lines. According to the price list on page 6 of the Catalog, the smallest font comprising capitals, lowercase, figures, and punctuation contained 135 characters. At $0.30 per letter for 12 lines, this font of Mode would have cost $40.50 in 1958–59.


20 line Tuscan Egyptian

This face made its first appearance in wood in the 1877 Specimens of Wood Type by Vanderburgh and Wells.¹ The heavy, bracketed, slab serifs betray its Antique/Egyptian roots. In fact, a number of Tuscan Egyptian’s characters are interchangeable with Egyptian Ornamented, but this capital A distinguishes itself with a unique, V-shaped crossbar. It has the appearance of a Frankenstein-combination of a splayed-stem capital M topped with an inverted capital V.

¹ Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection

Wood type everyday: get used to it

10 line Gothic Condensed Octagon Shade

On page 125 of the 1977 Da Capo Press paperback edition of Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type: 1828–1900, Kelly writes that this design appeared for the first time in wood (it’s based on a metal type face originating in Europe) in the Wells & Webb specimen of 1854.

Many of the manufacturers of wood type stamped an imprint on the capital A’s as an indentifier. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a manufacturer’s imprint on this font so the provenance is unknown.

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