12 line Ionic, and Giveaway

An amusing, hesitantly engraved illustration found on the foot of the Ionic capital V shown above.

Write a comment with your best explanation of what the image is supposed to be illustrating. I’ll choose my favorite and mail the winner a combined proof of the 12 line Ionic capital letter V and the engraving on the bottom of the block.

A Holiday of Sorts

5 line Clarendon Extended

I’ve decided to take a break from complete fonts and focus my attention on some sorts (individual pieces of type) from a collection I purchased in an online auction, sometime around 2003–4. Without the context of a full matching alphabet it’s a little more difficult to identify these characters, but I’m feeling up for a challenge.

My first thought when I selected this capital V was that it was a Clarendon variant called Columbian, but comparisons of the height to width ratios of the specimens of Clarendon Extended and Columbian on pages 267 and 268 (respectively) in Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type indicate otherwise. This V is pretty much identical to the Page Company Clarendon Extended alphabet shown by Kelly.

V for Victory

12 line Broadway Condensed

Alright typophiles, the first reader to post a correct comment about what’s wrong with this letter (I was rather surprised to make this discovery) will get a sweet wood type proof postcard in the mail.

Big Red

4 line French Clarendon XX Condensed

Get out your line gauges boys and girls – this little guy is two picas shy of an inch (4 lines/picas = 48 points). I only have one other font of wood type this small, but it’s a bold Gothic and it looks huge by comparison. The elongated, bracketed serifs that characterize the French Clarendons seem even more disproportionate at this scale. The A’s have a Vanderburgh, Wells & Co., New York imprint (see below), dating this type to 1867–1890.

02/03 Addendum

Varying screen sizes and monitor resolutions make it difficult to accurately show the size of individual wood type blocks and respective proofs. But I feel compelled in this case to provide a sense of scale. The penny in the image below was scanned simultaneously with the proof of the V.