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Stevens Shanks & Sons Ltd [R.H. Stevens]

Stevens, Shanks & Sons Ltd. was an English type foundry formed in 1933 by the merger of the Figgins Foundry with P. M. Shanks (Patent Type Foundry) to form Stevens, Shanks. Sometime after 1971 the foundry ceased operations and all materials (including Figgins's punches and matrices) went to St. Bride's Printing Library.

British Letterpress writes: Stevens, Shanks & Sons Ltd was based in Southwark, London SE1. During the 1950s they used Monotype equipment, with a modified heating unit and harder alloy to make their type more hard-wearing. In 1971 they moved from 89 Southwark Street to 22 Coleman Fields where they continued to cast type until the mid-1980s. They revived some very old typefaces, and held some ancient founders matrices. They did not use Monotype Thompson Casters for this work, so must have modified the matrix holders on standard Monotype machines.

David McMillan notes: Millington notes that in 1928 P. M. Shanks and Sons Limited [Patent Type Foundry] discussed the sale of their company to Stephenson, Blake. No sale occurred, after four years of discussion. Millington notes that at the end of that discussion P.M.Shanks and Sons Ltd. "amalgamated" with R. H. Stevens Limited [the Figgins foundry]. The new firm was "Stevens, Shanks and Company". Moseley, Howes & Roche (p. 30) identify the date of the merger of R. H. Stevens and P. M. Shanks as 1933. They give the name of the resulting company as "Stevens Shanks & Sons Ltd". They also note that R. H. Stevens (the person) was the grandson of Vincent Figgins I, thus identifying R. H. Stevens Ltd. with the Figgins foundry. Moseley et. al. note that the firm moved in 1971, so it must have been in operation at least until then. Finally, Moseley, Howes & Roche also note that the Stevens Shanks & Sons. Ltd. materials (including Figgins' punches and matrices) went to the St. Bride's Printing Library on the dissolution of the foundry (but give no date for that).

According to Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson's The Encyclopedia of Type Faces (Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983), these types were made by Stevens Shanks:

  • Bessemer (1936, Dennis Morgan)
  • Bristol (1925, Gans Type Foundry). For a digital revival, see Bristol (1994, Group Type).
  • Clarence Condensed (c. 1910, R.H. Stevens)
  • Expanded Antique (c. 1880) originally cast by the Figgins Foundry.
  • Extra Onamented 2
  • Extended 3. a wide modern typeface with short ascenders and descenders. Close to Card Mercantile by American typefounders.
  • iggins Condensed No. 2 (c. 1870) originally cast by the Figgins Foundry.
  • Figgins Shaded (1815) originally cast by the Figgins Foundry.
  • Gresham (1925) originally cast by the Figgins Foundry (c. 1796).
  • Rosart (1925, Gans Type Foundry)

To this list, one can add Memorial (1865), Royal Gothic (1930s), Robur, Antique No. 3 (ca. 1860, taken over from the Figgins Foundry), Antique No. 6 (ca. 1860, taken over from the Figgins Foundry) and Antique Old Style (ca. 1860).

Stevens Shanks & Sons Ltd
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Extinct 20th century foundries ⦿ Type design in the United Kingdom ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Letterpress ⦿ Foundries of the 19th century ⦿ Clarendon ⦿ Bookman ⦿

file name: Stevens Shanks Antique6

file name: Stevens Shanks Extended No3

file name: Stevens Shanks Figgins Condensed No2 1870

file name: Group Type Bristol

file name: Group Type Bristol

file name: Group Type Bristol Adornado 1994

file name: Group Type Bristol Solid 1994

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