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Baskerville: metal type

Typophiles with opinions on metal versions of Baskerville, giving a nod to Monotype Baskeville, and voicing concern that the digital Baskervilles are too anemic. Wikipedia: Interest in Baskerville seems to have revived in the early 20th century, with Bruce Rogers among others taking an interest in him. [...] Not surprisingly, therefore, the type was revived for mechanical composition in the 20th century. ATF was first, followed by English Monotype in 1923, and thereafter other manufacturers (notably Linotype) followed suit. Monotype Baskerville (Series 169), perhaps the best-known of these revivals was a commercially successful type despite (or perhaps because) it was heavily "cleaned up" by the Monotype drawing office Monotype's was based on a font designed for use at a fairly large size in an edition of Terence's comedies published in 1772. ATF and Linotype used strikes from genuine punches of a smaller size type; it is not therefore surprising that different versions of Baskerville look noticeably different: they are (or may) still be 'authentic'.

Mac McGrew's discussion, mainly regarding metal Baskervilles in America: There are two distinct varieties of Baskerville in America. Both based on the types of John Baskerville, distinguished eighteenth-century English printer and typefounder, who was noted for his quest for perfection. His types are based on Caslon and other popular typefaces of the day, but are more precise and have a little more contrast, with stress more nearly vertical, making them the first transitional designs between oldstyles typified by Caslon and moderns typified by Bodoni. A consistently noticeable characteristic is the lowercase g, with its lower loop not completely closed. All versions have rather long ascenders, and present an appearance of dignity and refinement.

On ATF's Baskerville, he writes: The ATF version, which is called Baskerville Roman in foundry specimens but which most typesetters call American Baskerville, is produced from strikes (unfinished matrices) brought from Stephenson Blake, English typefounders, in 1915. In England it is known as the Fry Foundry version, and is said to have been cast from original matrices cut about 1795 by Isaac Moore as a close copy of Baskerville's own types. Small sizes to 14-point tend to be rather light and narrow, while sizes from 3D-point up have more weight and vigor. Production was discontinued about 1950, perhaps because most specimens didn't show the handsome larger sizes in sufficient detail; it was reinstated in 1957 without the sizes below 18-point. ATF Baskerville Italic was designed in 1915 by Morris F. Benton. It is a handsome typeface in itself, but has little in common with its roman mate other than adjustment to the narrowness of small sizes. It is not made above 18- point, nor-since it was reinstated-below small 18-point. Compare Century Catalogue Italic.

About Linotype Baskerville: Linotype Baskerville, said to be based on original punches which are still in existence, is much like the ATF face, but differs in details of capitals C, Q, W, and lowercase w, y, and &. It was cut in 1926 under the direction of George W. Jones, British typographer. The italic was recut in 1936 under Linotype's program of typographic refinements. Lanston Monotype Baskerville is virtually a duplicate of the English Monotype face, which is based on original letters but is more regularized and has somewhat less contrast between thick and thin strokes than the Fry and Linotype versions. It was cut in 1923 under the direction of Stanley Morison, being derived from the great primer (18-point) size of Baskerville's type, and copied by Lanston in 1931. The Intertype roman typeface is substantially the same as Monotype except for adaptation to mechanical requirements. But while the Monotype italic is considerably narrower than the roman, on Intertype the two typefaces are necessarily the same width.

Finally, McGrew evaluates Monotype Baskerville: Monotype Baskerville Italic has only the swash-like capitals JKNTYZ of the original, while both Linotype and Intertype have replaced these letters with regular characters in standard fonts, but offer a variety of swashes as alternates. Linotype, Monotype, and Intertype each provide their own versions of Baskerville Bold. All are similar, but the Monotype version is slightly heavier over all; this version was designed by Sol Hess, and is claimed to have been adapted from an original heavy typeface created by John Baskerville about 1757 and not generally known. Linotype and Intertype also have bold italics, the former designed by C. H. Griffith in 1939. (Latin Condensed was called "Baskerville" in ATF's 1898 book.)

Baskerville: metal type
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Typography ⦿ History of type ⦿ Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿ Morris Fuller Benton ⦿

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