Archived entries for capital A
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.
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).
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.
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.