04/15/10 update: Upon closer inspection of this and other characters in the font, I can see clear indications of router production (thank you to Nick Sherman and David Shields for their comments). Also, David Shields suggests the manufacturer was likely the American Wood Type Manufacturing Company, which became American Printing Equipment & Supply Company, still in business – I purchased a brayer from them last year – though they no longer manufacture wood type.
18 line Gothic (Hamilton No. 266?)
As you can see from the above picture, this letter had never been inked before I proofed it for this post. In fact, of the 78 capitals and punctuation in this font, only 9 – now 10 – have seen ink since production. The font is cut from side grain wood, but there are no router marks, no manufacturer’s imprint, and the depth of the face is deeper than any die-stamped type I’ve seen, so I’m unsure of the method of production. It’s also curious that the face of the font was not coated with varnish or shellac.
When inked, the Pantone 185 looked so hot I couldn’t resist including a photo of the letter locked up with magnets on the bed of my 7.5 x 11 inch Showcard Machine Company press.
The inked letter on press
Proof of 18 line Gothic No. 266