35 line Skeleton Antique

image and printed proof of a Skeleton Antique wood type capital letter BFirst appearing on William H. Page & Co.’s 1865 Price List for Wood Type, Borders, Reglet, Etc., Skeleton Antique is a condensed, light face, no-frills, monolinear slab serif. This caps only font (missing the D and X) was acquired last weekend during a visit to Dave Churchman’s reknowned “Boutique de Junque,” in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, no manufacturer’s stamp is present on the single capital A.

5 line Aetna


Like all the best typefaces, Aetna was designed to fulfill a certain purpose. In this case, printers of the late nineteenth century needed a modulated serif robust enough to function as a display face and withstand the wear and tear of job printing.

B True

24 line French Clarendon

This style of wood type made its first appearance in 1865. The Clarendons were an extremely popular subset of the Antique wood type styles. What differentiates the Clarendons is a smoother transition between the stems and the serifs, called bracketing (indicated on the proof above with red circles), rounded counters, and more contrast between the thickness of the strokes. This four inch font was cut by The Hamilton Manufacturing Company sometime between 1889 and 1891, as indicated by the circular imprint stamped into the capital A (see image below).

Killer B’s

6 line and 3 line Gothic Extended

These letters come from two unusually complete fonts – both sizes have a full set of capitals, figures, and punctuation – of a moderately rare face. Gothic Extended made its first appearance in a Wells and Webb specimen from 1840. The earliest designs had no lowercase, but did have figures (numbers). A lowercase did not appear until 1850.

Both fonts contain an imprint on the A’s from Vanderburgh, Wells & Co., New York, which means the type was manufactured between 1867–1890. Here is a graphite rubbing taken from one of the four A’s in the 3 line font: