With its beveled corners and bulbous, semi-ornamental median treatment, it’s easy to overlook Arabian’s roots as a basic condensed Gothic. But it’s not hard to see why Rob Roy Kelly described Arabian as the most outstanding of the semi-ornamental Gothic derivatives.
The stamp on the side of the three Arabian capital A’s in my font (shown below) was used by Wm. H. Page & Co. beginning around 1859.
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
15 line Broad-Stroke Cursive
According to Mac McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century, Broad-Stroke Cursive was Lanston Monotype’s name for English Monotype’s Script Bold. This is an incomplete font – I only have one of each capital. I did not find an imprint. The lack of patina and roughness of the letters indicates these letters did not see much use.
This type is cut from side-grain wood.