News for April

This month we bring you not one, but two new antique revival faces from the Chas. Broad matrix collection. Bruce Ornamented No. 341 originated with the New York foundry of Scottish immigrants David and George Bruce. That firm was in operation from 1813 to 1901, but we have been unable to determine the date of release for this particular face, which was also later known by the names Barnum Heavy (for its resemblance to ATF’s P. T. Barnum) and Hidalgo.

Next is Fargo in 14 point, the only size in which this face was revived by Charlie Broad. This one dates to 1850 and Boston’s Dickinson Type Foundry.

Back in stock: Pen Print Bold 12 point, and Collection No. 16, Animals. The three iconic bear characters in this Collection are sometimes associated with the Grateful Dead. Here’s the story on that, from the music web site (boldface added):

Initially designed by artist Bob Thomas to appear on the back cover of the band’s 1973 release, The History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice), the bears have become deeply ingrained in the culture surrounding the Grateful Dead, and have taken on layers of symbolic meaning over the years. They were designed for Owsley “Bear” Stanley, who both engineered and recorded to tape many of the shows that the Grateful Dead performed in the 60s and 70s. Before the album and the bears, there existed a 36-point lead slug that was used in printing as a font type. [Sic, sic, and sic.] Thomas used that leaden bear as his basis for the design, which features a more cartoon style bear doing the “dancing” motion.
The true origin of the bears is not known, at least by me. They are shown, however, in the pre-WWII Monotype specimen book—as are all the elements in this Collection, cast from Monotype matrices. One final bon mot: the bear standing with paw extended apparently was adopted as a logo by the Bear Manufacturing Corp. of Rock Island, Illinois, which operated a series of auto repair shops around the country. As a kid in the 1960s I remember my father taking our car to one of these for a “lube job”. Thinking that all of that was ancient history, it was quite a surprise recently to spot a Bear shop open for business right near the International Printing Museum in L.A.!

April brings our favorite gathering: the 8th annual Bay Area Printers Fair hosted by the San Jose Printers Guild, in lush History Park. The Guild’s well-equipped Printing Office was the very first exhibit to open in there, 50 years ago to the day from this year’s Fair on April 29. These folks do a marvelous job staging the event and they make it look easy. Skyline will be on deck with a table of shiny new type (can do free delivery, drop an email). Following the event I will be motoring up the California coast visiting friends and customers, getting some foggy beach time, and stopping in at the C. C. Stern Type Foundry, “a non-profit organization in Oregon with the mission of preserving the heritage of the metal type casting industry”. Skyline office will be closed April 28-May 10, hope to see you in San Jose.

Posted on