Born in Schwelm, Germany, 1870, Robert Wiebking emigrated to the United States in 1881 with his father Hermann Wiebking, and became an apprentice engraver in Chicago. After another apprenticeship in 1884, with C.H. Hanson in Chicago, he became an independent professional matrix engraver in 1892 in that city for several American and English founders and for Ludlow, who cut many of Goudy's types, as well as types for Bruce Rogers and Robert H. Middleton. In 1894 Robert Wiebking and Henry H. Hardinge (also from Chicago) built the first successful machine for engraving type matrices. In 1896, they became partners and set up Wiebking, Hardinge & Co in 1901, manufacturing matrices for type foundries. This led them to set up the Advance Type Foundry in Chicago. He died in 1927 in Chicago.
Designer of these typefaces:
- Advertiser's Gothic (Regular and Condensed, Outline, Condensed Outline) (1917, Western Typefoundry). This was interpreted as an art deco typeface by Nick Curtis in his Bellagio NF (2006). It was revived by HiH as Advertisers Gothic (2008). HiH's blurb: Advertisers Gothic is bold and brash, like the city it comes from, Chicago. It was designed by the accomplished German-American matrix engraver, Robert Wiebking, for the Western Type Foundry in 1917. As its name suggests, it was designed for commercial headliner work, much as Publicity Gothic by Sidney Gaunt for BB&S 1916. See our Publicity Headline. In 2010, SoftMaker did its own revival, called Advertisers Gothic. Personally, I find this Wiebking typeface ugly and useless.
- Artcraft&Bold&Italic (display typefaces originally designed for Barnhart Bros&Spindler (1911-1913; Jaspert lists Artcraft as a 1930 publication at Ludlow, and Klingspor as western Type Foundry typefaces from 1911-1913). Mac McGrew: Artcraft was designed in 1912 by Robert Wiebking and featured under the name of Craftsman in the first ad for his short-lived Advance Type Foundry, operated by Wiebking, Hardinge&Company, in Chicago. A short time later, the typeface was advertised as Art-Craft, and later as one word---Artcraft. Advance was soon taken over by Western Type Foundry, for whom Wiebking designed Artcraft Italic and Artcraft Bold a year or two later. Western in turn was taken over by Barnhart Brothers&Spindler in 1918. BB&S was already owned by ATF but operated separately until 1929; in the meantime, though, Artcraft and a number of other typefaces were shown in ATF specimens as well as those of BB&S. Artcraft has an unusual roundness in some of its serifs and line endings and a line of it produces a rolling feeling; some characters have curlicues, such as the long curl at the top of the a and and the exaggerated ear on the g. A number of auxiliary characters were made for roman and italic fonts; as these were sold separately, they were overlooked by many printers and typographers. The boldface has fewer eccentricities. Artcraft was a popular typeface for a number of years; the roman was copied by Monotype in 1929 without the fancy characters, and all three typefaces were copied by Ludlow. Adaptation in 1924 of Artcraft Italic to the standard 17-degree slant of Ludlow italic matrices was the second assignment of Robert H. Middleton (after Eusebius, q.v.) at that company. Hansen called it Graphic Arts. One source attributes the Artcraft family to Edmund C. Fischer, otherwise unidentified, but the details stated here are more generally accepted and seem to fit known facts better. For digital versions, see Artcraft URW (2001), Heirloom Artcraft (2013, Nathan Williams) or Federlyn NF (2011, Nick Curtis).
- Bodoni Light&Italic (Ludlow), Bodoni Bold&Italic.
- Caslon Clearface&Italic (1913, BB&S).
- Caslon Catalog (1925, BB&S), Caslon Light Italic.
- Collier Old Style.
- Engraver's Litho Bold&Condensed (1914, BB&S), Engraver's Roman&Bold (available as Engravers EF Roman), Engravers Litho Bold, Engravers Litho Bold-Condensed.
- Invitation Text (1914, Western Type Foundry).
- Laclede Old Style (1920, Laclede Type Foundry). The Laclede Type Foundry was absorbed by BB&S, and the typeface was renamed Munder Venezian.
- Modern Text (1913, Advance Type Foundry).
- Munder Venezian&Italic (1924-1927, BB&S, aka Laclede Oldstyle).
- Square Gothic.
- Steelplate Gothic (1907) and Steelplate Gothic Shaded (1918), both at Western Type Foundry. A Copperplate Gothic style typeface. Digital revival by Steve Jackaman as Steelplate Gothic Pro (2017).
- True-Cut Bodoni&Italic.
- World Gothic&Italic (both also with Condensed).
- Venus Bold Extended (1924). The Venus typeface was at Bauersche Giesserei from 1907 until 1927. Digital descendants (mostly not copies) include Venusian Ultra NF (1924, Nick Curtis), Venus (URW++), Venus SB (Scangraphic Digital Type Collection), Venus (Linotype), Eurydome (2010, by Stephen Boss at Emboss), Akazan (2007, Typodermic), Scout (2008, Cyrus Highsmith for Font Bureau).
Bio at No Bodoni. FontShop link. Linotype link. Klingspor link.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
German type scene ⦿
Type scene in Illinois ⦿
Nick Curtis ⦿
Art deco typefaces ⦿
Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿
Frederic William Goudy ⦿