Letters typically get all the glory on this blog so I thought I’d introduce the newest addition to the collection with this glorious numeral four. Rob Roy Kelly identified three “primary faces”—Roman, Antique, and Gothic—each of which spawned innumerable derivative designs. Until now I was missing a Roman. Besides filling a large gap in the collection, this 12 line Roman X Condensed brings another manufacturer—Bill, Stark & Company—to the mix.
Horatio and Jeremiah Bill learned wood type manufacturing while employed by Edwin Allen. The brothers Bill ventured out on their own around 1850 and in the 3–4 years they were in business, they made quite an impression. In fact, they were the only wood type manufacturers to exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.