TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Fri Jan 30 00:02:26 EST 2015


Rutherford photo-lettering machine

Written by Luc Devroye
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
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This machine was developed in New Jersey from 1928 until 1936 for the banknote industry. It feartured master alphabets on glass plates, effectively stating the photo-lettering era. Peter Bain writes: Only a mere handful of the Rutherford machines had been sold and put into use. The Electrographic Corporation, then owner of one of New York City's leading typographers, decided to launch a start-up proposed and staffed by departing Rutherford employees, notably Edward Rondthaler and Harold Horman. The new midtown firm of Photo-Lettering Inc., starting in 1936, took advantage of the underutilized technology, and claimed an early commercialization of phototype. While not text photocomposition, Photo-Lettering was never handlettering as the name implied. Photography freed the typographic image from the historic constraints of metal, allowing flexibility in scale, dimension, and position, variations which had previously required letter-drawing skills.

Rutherford photo-lettering machine
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History of type ⦿ Photo and film type era ⦿ Type scene in New Jersey ⦿ Type scene in New York ⦿

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