Kelly and Shields suggest that Modified Gothic originated with Hamilton and made its first appearance as wood type in Hamilton’s New Designs in End Wood Type, from 1897.
I received this sort (a single block of type) — along with H, T, and M sorts from different faces — in a door prize raffle during the 2011 Wayzgoose at Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. The prizes were generously donated by type and printing enthusiast extraordinaire, Dave Peat.
According to the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection website, this design was patented by William H. Page in 1880. The Hamilton Manufacturing Company called its (nearly identical) version, No. 167. Morgans & Wilcox showed this face (with very slight variations) as Keystone in their wood type catalog from 1890. This is, in my opinion, one of the sexier non-Tuscan, non-ornamental wood type designs – wish I had more than a couple sorts.
Jenson Old Style was cut in wood by Hamilton Manufacturing Company of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, with permission from American Type Founders. The original metal version, produced by Dickinson Type Foundry (part of ATF) of Boston, was based on William Morris’ Golden Type, which was in turn a crude version of the types cut by the masterful Nicolas Jenson.
Minimal wear, no manufacturer’s imprint, and a font cut from the side grain led me to believe this was cut by the American Wood Type Manufacturing Company, of Long Island, New York. The distinctive flattened bowls of the capital B, R, and D of this font directly match the showing of Newstype in my American Wood Type Mfg. Co. 1958–9 Catalog, shown below (notice the misspelling in the 6 line version):
10 line Kabel
When pronounced “double-u”, this is the only letter name in English with more than one syllable, and the only English letter name that is not pronounced using any of the sounds typically made by the letter. I like this W for a number of reasons: crossed center strokes are relatively uncommon in sans serif W’s (the center strokes more commonly meet at a single apex), the origins of the letter as two V’s is more transparent, and the angled terminals of Kable accentuate the dynamic diagonal structure of the letter.
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Congratulations to Thomas Gravemaker – he was the first to overlook the kerning job that looks like it was done with crooked wooden teeth and correctly comment on the backwards letter V, posted April 22. Thomas, please email me your snail mail address and I will send you a victorious postcard. I am curious how many fonts of Broadway Condensed were produced with wrong-reading V’s, and I wonder if the error was ever corrected?
12 line No. 500
Easily one of my favorite W’s, I love the dramatic figure ground of the elongated diamond-shaped counters entirely enclosed by the wedge serifs. This stunning letter comes from a caps only font of die-cut wood type produced sometime around 1890 by the Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co., Norwich, Connecticut. The following quote is from Page’s 1890 Specimens of New Process Wood Type! :
This Type is made of SOLID ROCK MAPLE, finished exactly the same, in every respect, as our well known machine cut wood type, the only difference being that the face is cut on the wood by dies, by Wm. H. Page’s New Patent Process, instead of the expensive old pantagraph machine method.
Scan from the 1890 Specimens
Rob Roy Kelly wrote an extensive description of the die-cut type manufacturing process, including pictures from patents submitted by William Page in 1887, 1888, and 1889. The types produced by stamping were far superior and more rapidly produced than the veneer types being produced by Hamilton. The die-cutting machines could stamp out up to 100,000 small letters per day – the output in a single hour was as much as could be produced in three days by an entire shop using routers and pantagraphs. Ironically, this sizable increase in productivity was also one of the greatest handicaps of the die-cutting process. Page could not sell as quickly as he could produce.