Our first casting for the new year 2016 has a story behind it. When I was a kid growing up in Boulder, Colorado, my father had a small store-front printing shop with handset type, platen job presses, and one small offset press. He sold it before I was old enough to do anything but get underfoot, but we had a Kelsey 5×8 and a few fonts of utility type at home, and in 1962 that’s where I began my lifelong love affair with letterpress printing.
One of the things knocking around the shop was some correspondence between Dad and a man named Charles Broad, who called himself “Mr. Antique”, and was casting revivals of old type faces from the 19th century under his business name Typefounders of Phoenix. Now in those days, typographical styles were very austere, favoring plain gothics like Spartan and Helvetica. I spent hours marveling over the dozens of elaborate, ornate and bizarre fonts on Charlie’s specimen sheet. In my daydreams, I imagined that if I could have just one, it would be Argent.
Dad never did buy any of the type. Charlie died in 1965 and Typefounders of Phoenix ceased to exist–but fortunately the matrix collection survived, passing to Los Angeles Type Founders and then Barco in Chicago. Now here it is more than half a century later, and in some kind of living fantasy, I find myself the de facto heir of Charlie Broad. Having established my own type foundry, and later succeeded in buying out Barco, the entire Phoenix matrix library is now in our vault. This legacy is something we have taken very seriously, proceeding to cast the antique type faces where Charlie left off. Meanwhile the Letterpress Revival has flourished, and with it a fascination with the type faces of old.
And so the fullness of time has come and Skyline is proud to present a casting of Argent in 24pt. Issued by Cleveland Type Foundry in 1883, no face more perfectly exemplifies the typographical trends of the late 19th century: elaborate, florid, and shaded, it includes logotypes and arabesque ornaments specific to the face. If this one doesn’t stir your interest, then you’re a typographical philistine!
But we didn’t stop to congratulate ourselves for long. Also new this month is Charcoal in 24pt, a novelty face released in 1899 by Keystone Type Foundry. You are cordially invited to view specimens and details of these and all our other Fonts, Borders, Initials and Collections in the newly updated Specimen Book & Catalog.
Happy New Year from the Skyline crew.