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Gothic: Mac McGrew

Mac McGrew's discussion on Gothic starts with an important remark: Gothic, the purists say, is Blackletter or what we more often call Old English. But the name is so firmly established in American usage as meaning a plain block letter without serifs or hairlines, that we must accept that meaning. Also, it is part of many type names. But we prefer to go further, and reserve the term gothic for the traditional forms, and sans serif for the modified forms originating in Germany with the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s. Our preferred general term is serifless. In this book, gothics having distinctive family names are listed alphabetically throughout---see Alternate Gothic, Franklin Gothic, Modern Gothic, News Gothic, etc. Those with merely descriptive names are included in this section under the following headings: Numbered Gothics, Condensed Goth- ics, Inclined or Italic Gothics, and Miscellaneous Gothics. The term "Lining," added to many names when they were realigned to new standards around the turn of the century, has generally been ignored in this book, as it was later dropped in nearly all cases. Nineteenth-century gothics are not included except for a few representative ones or those that have been substantially used subsequently. "Title" gothics---all-cap versions usually occupying almost the entire body---are shown as secondary listings to the cap-and-lowercase versions where both exist. Offset Gothics were cut in reverse for a process of transferring proofs of type to lithographic stones, or more recently to electronic parts. Also see Record Gothic Offset. He the discusses gothic typefaces in detail.

  • Numbered Gothics. Most such typefaces, except as cross-referenced below, are nineteenth-century designs; a few are shown because they were copied by Monotype or Linotype or otherwise survived for extensive use in this century. For ATF typefaces numbered in the 500s, the initial 5 generally indicates that the typeface has been adjusted to standard alignment from an older typeface with the same number otherwise; that is, Gothic No. 544 was formerly Gothic No. 44 to old standards.
    • Gothic No.6, an 1895 Inland face, is important only because Monotype adapted it as a practical and widely used utility typeface before the advent of sans serifs.
    • Gothic No. 13 is included under Condensed Gothics.
    • Gothic No.1 and 3: see Franklin Gothic (also see below).
    • Gothic No. 14. See Chamfer Gothic.
    • Gothic No. 16. See Franklin Gothic.
    • Gothic Nos. 17 to 20. See Trade Gothic.
    • Gothic No. 25, 38, and 520 to 526. See Gothic No. 545.
    • Gothic Nos. 29 to 35. See Copperplate Gothic.
    • Gothic, Mono 481, 496, 508. See Helvetica.
    • Gothic Nos. 39 to 45. See Metrolite.
    • Gothic Nos. 544 and 545 are typical plain nineteenth-century gothics, both shown by MacKellar in 1889 or earlier, but both have been copied extensively by other sources, and shown by ATF as late as 1979. Hansen's New York Gothic was equivalent to Gothic No. 545. There was also a comparable but lighter Gothic No. 543, which was not as long lasting. Combination Gothic and Interchangeable Gothic were similar to Gothic No. 545, but as title versions, with several sizes of caps on each of several bodies. Also see Octic Gothic.
    • Gothic No. 578 was shown as Gothic No.8 by Inland in 1898 as "the latest candidate for the printer's favor; a popular old typeface entirely recut." It was shown until 1941. It is a bold weight, and is quite similar to Standard Bold which as an import from Germany was very popular in this country in the 1950s. It is also similar to Comstock, but without the added outline. Keystone called it Standard Gothic, although it is not identical to the German face. As a nineteenth-century gothic, the cap G had no crossbar. Paragon Gothic is the same design, without lowercase, cast as a title face.
    • The small Laclede Type Foundry in St. Louis originated a pair of attractive gothics which apparently were scrapped when the foundry was taken over by BB&S. Gothic No.1 was similar to Franklin Gothic, and Gothic No.3 was similar to Square Gothic, but both had many small differences, the most noticeable being round dots on i, j, and punctuation marks. Another Gothic No.3 is made by Monotype, Linotype, and Intertype, probably from a nineteenth-century foundry source. It is similar to Gothic No. 544.
    • Some other numbered gothics appear under Numbered Faces.
  • Condensed Gothics.
    • Inland Type Foundry introduced its Gothic Condensed No. 10 in 1904 as "an entirely new face, from which has been eliminated all of the inconsistencies and objectionable features so noticeable in similar series." Its companion Gothic Condensed Title No. 11, introduced in 1905, was shown by ATF as late as 1969; Monotype's New Gothic Condensed and Gothic Condensed Title are very similar; all are still handsome typefaces.
    • Another Inland typeface of about the same age, Extra Condensed Gothic No.1, survived almost as long in its all-cap version of Extra Condensed Title Gothic No. 12. BB&S had a very similar face, Gothic Extra Condensed No.6 and Title No.6.
    • Gothic No. 13 is a traditional heavy condensed gothic in small sizes; from 24-point up it is basically the same as Modern Gothic Condensed,. Unique Caps were added in 1937.
    • Gothic Condensed No. 523 was Keystone's Universal Gothic, introduced about 1906. Gothic No. 47 of BB&S is somewhat similar. Gothic Condensed No. 529 is a nineteenth-century design, and is similar to the later and more refined Alternate Gothic, but it remained in the ATF specimen books at least to 1979; most sources had comparable typefaces. Also see Vertical Gothic.
    • Monotype has several utility gothics, including Gothic Caps Condensed. No. 48, designed to occupy roman small cap positions in the standard arrangement; and Gothic Condensed, No. 49, a medium weight conventional sort of gothic. A Monotype specimen sheet, issued in 1917, says of Condensed Gothic, No. 515, "This was formerly our 18-point No. 51. We found that it did not match the balance of the series, so we have given it a new number." See Gothic Condensed No. 529.
    • Gothic No.1 Condensed. See Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed.
    • Gothic Condensed No. 2. See Gothic Condensed No. 529, also Alternate Gothic No. 3.
    • Gothic Condensed No.3. See Headline Gothic, Ludlow.
    • Gothic Condensed No. 521. Also see Vertical Gothic.
    • Gothic Condensed Outline. See Contour No.6.
    • Condensed Gothic Outline. See under Alternate Gothic.
    • Gothic Bold Condensed Title. See Railroad Gothic. Medium Gothic No.7. See Mid-Gothic, also Boston Gothic.
    • Medium Condensed Gothic, Ludlow, is a refinement of typical nineteenth-century, straight-sided gothics. It has been popular in newspaper work. Deluxe Variants are an additional feature of about 1939, when similar characters were designed for a number of gothics. Compare Mid-Gothic; Modern Gothic Condensed.
    • Ludlow also has two typefaces named Gothic Extra Condensed, 6-EC. The newer one, in 24- to 84-point sizes, is very similar to Aurora Condensed from Germany, also known as Inserat Grotesk or Enge Wotan, with extremely short ascenders and descenders and lengthened white areas in the angular letters. The older Ludlow face, made only in 144-point, is similar to Extra Condensed Title Gothic No. 12, and has no lowercase. In this size, letters are cast individually on Ludlow, the long way of the slug, and used primarily for newspaper headlines.
  • Inclined or Italic Gothics.
    • Gothic Italic No. 512, ATF, was advertised by Marder, Luse in 1893 or earlier as Gothic Italic No.3. BB&S had matching GothicItalic, formerly Degree Gothic No. 1.
    • The BB&S Gothic Italic Light was formerly Degree Gothic No.2. Several foundries had comparable typefaces; Inland called its comparable Gothic Italic "original."
    • Gothic Inclined, BB&S, was shown at least as early as 1889 as Inclined Lining Gothic, later known as Inclined Gothic No. 120. Inland advertised the same typeface as Title Slope Gothic, "improved." ATF and Monotype had a similar Inclined Gothic, and other founders had comparable typefaces.
    • Gothic Inclined Light of BB&S was formerly Slope Gothic No. 50 from 1879.
    • Bold Inclined Gothic. See Modern Gothic Italic.
    • Also see Doric Italic, Draftsman Gothic, Boston Gothic.
  • Miscellaneous Gothics.
    • Monotype has several typefaces designated simply "Lining Gothic." Those not cross-referenced were undoubtedly copied or adapted from undetermined foundry typefaces. Lining Gothic No. 106 is very light, similar to Lightline Gothic but less refined; it has caps and lowercase. No. 112 is a little heavier, with caps and small caps only in each size. No. 176---see Mid-Gothic. No. 66 and 349---see Gothic No. 545. No. 350 is similar to No. 112 but has four sizes of caps in each of 6- and 12-point, in the manner of Copperplate Gothic.
    • Gothic Modern. See Modern Gothic series.
    • BB&S's Gothic Novelty Title was formerly Tasso, 1890 or earlier. Other founders had the same design as Gothic, ATF; Gotham, Farmer Little; Gothic No. 205, Bruce; Ancient Gothic. Dickinson.
    • Gothic Novelty, the same typeface with lowercase, was formerly Tasso No.2.
    • Gothic Novelty Condensed was formerly Archer, about the same age but unlike the other typefaces in this group.
    • Hansen's Extended Lining Gothic was a copy of Philadelphia Lining Gothic.
    • Gothic Shade became Jim Crow.
    • Gothic Double Shade became Marble Heart (q.v.).
    • Gothic Outline Title No. 61, formerly Outline Gothic No. 61, dates to 1890 or earlier, but was still shown by ATF in 1979. Compare Contour Nos. 1 and 6, Franklin Gothic Condensed Outline, Whedons Gothic Outline.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html