TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Tue Jun 18 03:20:58 EDT 2024






Wood type in America

At the University of Texas, we find a wonderful site that explains the roots, the rise and the decline of American wood type, and provides a timeline. There are four periods:

  • The start, the 19th century. At its peak, around 1880, there were only six manufacturers. The big names of that glorious wood type century were Darius Wells, William Leavenworth, Edwin Allen, John Cooley, Horatio&Jeremiah Bill, William Page, David Knox, William&Samuel Day, Charles Tubbs, Heber Wells, William Morgans and James Hamilton.
  • The spread. While most production used to be in New York and Connecticut, James Hamilton from Two Rivers, WI, got on stage by acquiring major competitors. The center of wood manufacturing moved west. Minor players remained in NYC until the 1920s, such as the Empire Wood Type Co., American Wood Type Co. and Eastern Brass&Wood Type. Others, such as Tubbs Mfg Co from Connecticut moved west (to Ludington, MI), after the death of Charles Tubbs.
  • The consolidation. Between 1880 and 1920, Hamilton, which produced wood type at half the cost with its router pantograph, gained in importance. It bought William H. Page Wood Type Co. in 1891, Morgans&Wilcox Mfg Co. in 1898, Heber Wells in 1899, and Tubbs Mfg Co., the last major competitor from the nineteenth century, in 1918.
  • The decline, after 1920. The last stragglers: Empire Type Foundry (Delevan, NY) ceased production in 1970; Hamilton Mfg Co. quit in 1985; Rube Mandel's American Wood Type Mfg. Co. (NYC and later Long Island), which was founded in 1932, lasted until 2001.

Wood type in America
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Wood Type ⦿ History of type ⦿

file name: Dick Pape A W T Wells Roman Extra Bold 2013 after Darius Wells 1828

file name: Dick Pape A W T Wells Roman Extra Bold 2013 after Darius Wells 1828b

file name: Dick Pape A W T Wells Roman Extra Bold 2013 after Darius Wells 1828c

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