Specimen Sunday

sequential pg. 44 (high-res scan here; right click to download)

Specimen Sunday

sequential pg. 42 (high-res scan here; right click to download)


12 line No. 500

No. 500, one of seventeen styles designed by William H. Page to be die-cut, is a sturdy design that combines the wedge-shaped serifs of the Latin style faces with chamfered corners from Grecian and angled crossbars (H, S), horizontal strokes (B, P, R),  and terminals (C, E, F, G, J, L, S, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, &, and $).

The face of the die-cut types is much more shallow than that of router-cut types due to the extreme pressure required for the steel dies to penetrate the end grain wood blocks. Another interesting difference between the two methods of production was in the application of the manufacturer’s imprint. All previous imprints (on router-cut types) shown on this site were stamped into the side or end of the body of a capital A, but on No. 500, the words “Patented Dec. 20, 1887” are die-stamped onto the shoulder of the capital A’s. Though partially obscured by over 100 years worth of hardened ink and grime, William H. Page’s patent date is visible in the picture below.

William H. Page’s die-stamped patent date

Double Me?! Double You!

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.