This monolinear Gothic bears the three-line Hamilton Manufacturing Company imprint (shown below) used after 1891. According to the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type website, the 5000 series number indicates this style was acquired around 1899 when Hamilton purchased the entire works of the Heber Wells company.
The fantastic Pioneer Press reproduction of The Hamilton Manufacturing Company’s Specimens of Wood Type, 17th edition – available from Shooting Star Press, Little Rock, AR – contains showings of No. 5069 in four line, six line, eight line, ten line, twelve line, and fifteen line.
Because letterpress is a relief printing process, the letters or images must be wrong-reading to transfer a right-reading image. This Cooper Black Condensed capital O – the actual block – looks like it was created by cutting an italic O from the center.
Manufacturer’s imprint, Hamilton, Two Rivers, Wis. This version of the Hamilton imprint in use after 1891. This stamp is found on the side of the capital A’s of the font (the image is rotated 180 degrees to show the stamp right side up). The darker portion of the block is the beard (see the May 29 post). Repeated inking and cleaning over time changes the color of the wood.
10 line Gothic Condensed Octagon Shade
A friend once said of this type, “I have dreams about that font.” Yeah, me too. It’s pretty dreamy.
8 line Futura Bold
Futura is a geometric sans serif, designed by Paul Renner for the Bauer Type Foundry. I love Futura for its simplicity of form – so many of the letters can be recontextualized and combined to create complex graphic symbols.
Compare the Futura Bold O with the perfect circle in the diagram below. The parts of the stroke that run horizontally (top and bottom) are narrower than the parts that run vertically. This subtle adjustment prevents the letter from appearing too heavy at the poles. This is the same theory behind the conventional fashion wisdom that vertical stripes are slimming, while horizontal stripes add weight.