Shadow was the American Wood Type Manufacturing Company’s version of Umbra, designed in 1932 by Robert Hunter Middleton for the Ludlow Typograph Company, Chicago. This 12 line font was purchased in 2010 from Virgin Wood Type. The majority of the blocks were new old stock. To complete the font, Bill Jones cut the missing characters from the AWT patterns.
Many Gothic designs incorporate a slight modulation to distinguish the two main stems of the capital U, but not this one. This letter is as horizontally symmetrical as a letter cut with a high speed pantographic router can be.
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In the last week I have unsuccessfully bid on a handful of wood type fonts. Each time, the final selling price has been so high as to be disheartening. While photographing this letter U – purchased years ago from eBay as part of a mixed lot of wood type – I happened to turn it over and find a price tag, most likely from a stint in an antique booth, still attached. I was both shocked at the high (IMO) price, and comforted that the outrageous sums I’ve seen paid recently are not a uniquely contemporary phenomenon.
At just over 6.5 inches this French Clarendon is the largest end grain font in my collection, and the second largest line-height overall. Long before they came into my possession, a few of the characters had been used to print a split fountain and the ink allowed to dry on the surface.
20 line Tuscan Egyptian
Tuscan Egyptian is one of many Ornamented Egyptians that began to appear in all the wood type manufacturer’s specimen books in the 1870s. Rob Roy Kelly described Tuscan Egyptian as essentially a French Antique, with added points at the median and bifurcated serifs. Each of the capital A’s in this font bears the circular Hamilton Mfg. Co. imprint that was used between 1889–1891.