Archived entries for Cooper Black Condensed

10 line Cooper Black Condensed

Where Were We… Ah, Yes

10 line Cooper Black Condensed

The damage to the apex of this pudgy A appears to have been caused by some twine – often used to tie-up a type form – accidentally (at least I hope it was an accident) falling on the face of the letter just before impact from the impression cylinder or platen. Though seeing wounds like this saddens me, I can’t help but smile a little at the parallel lines’ resemblance to a headband.

Hamilton Manufacturing Company imprint; this version used after 1891.

10 line Cooper Black Condensed


10 line Cooper Black Condensed

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.

Four Like Ever

12 line Cooper Black

Seeing Cooper Black at this size always makes me smile. This numeral 4 was amongst an assortment of mismatched wood type purchased from an ebay seller a number of years ago.

The original metal face was released in 1920 by Barnhart Brothers & Spindler. It’s overwhelming popularity meant it would inevitably be copied by every foundry and wood type manufacturer. I have a PDF of a Hamilton Manufacturing Co. catalog from 1938 (I’m pretty sure it appeared as wood type years earlier) showing specimens of Cooper Black, Cooper Black Italic, Cooper Black Condensed, Cooper Black Extra Condensed, Cooper Black Double Extra Condensed, and Cooper Black Highlight.

Typocurious has republished a brief but wonderful tribute to the brilliant Oz Cooper. Be sure to check out the hand lettered Christmas cards.

Earned Stripes

10 line Cooper Black Condensed

As the picture clearly shows, this L has seen battle and has the scars to prove it. My guess is that some cord used to tie up forms accidentally (at least I hope it was an accident) found its way between the face of this letter and the impression platen or cylinder. I think the stripes make this somewhat silly little letter look just a touch tougher.


10 line Cooper Black Condensed

Designed by the great Oswald Cooper for Barnhart Brothers & Spindler, Cooper Black was released in 1922, before BB&S was absorbed by the American Type Foundry (ATF). Despite its rotund, slightly comical appearance, Cooper Black went on to become ATF’s second best selling typeface of all time (after Copperplate Gothic). This version in wood (end grain) was cut by Hamilton Manufacturing Company.

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