Is there a way to id ludlow by the lines on the body?

Hi, and thanks for any help!!!
I have 5 or 6 drawers of ludlow type. The drawers are old and the writing on the labels to id them are faded out due to age, or have fallen off the drawers.
I have a ludlow typeface book but even with a magnifying glass I am just striking out.
Is there anyway to id them by the lines (marks) on the tops. I do see they seem to be all differant (Some have 2, some have 3 and they are all slightly differant in distances.
Is there a chart or a tool to help id these?
Thanks for your time…Sue

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Yes, there is a gauge that you can use to read the lines on Ludlow mats, used with a list that tells what face it is. Don Black lists the set on his website, and Dave Seat probably sells them as well.

Thank You. Don Black is out of stock on these, and trying to get some new made.
Dave Seats I have not been able to track down…Sue


If you can line an example of each up with a good ruler with graduations in 64th alongside and at the height of the mat top surface, and take a good close-up photo, we may be able to decipher the lines for you, so you would not need to purchase a gage for this one-time use.

It’s worth a try anyway, and if you have a catalog of faces, you should be able to identify whether or not the identification is logical.

If a photo is not possible, I’d be happy to identify the faces for you with my gage and list and return the mats to you.

There should be a single line near the foot which indicates the point size and multiple lines (in most cases) at the head of the mat which indicate the style.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Dave Seat’s website with his contact info and Service Trip Calendar:

Hi, Thank you all for the help.
I will try to get some photos up, if I can.
Does it make a differance what letter I use? Such as if I use a Capitol A from each set would that work?
I do appreciate the help…Sue

doesnt matter what letter you use, if you could get a photo of both the top and bottom of mat, that would help.

Hi Again, Sorry dickg, did not see your suggestion until after trying to get some photos. But if more are needed I will try.
Again I want to Thank you all for any help!
I was not sure on how to show the pictures, as the actual solid parts of the mat is 1/64 shorter than the whole thing. (Hope that makes some sense). Went from 2 inch at the top(the extra lip), or close, and tried to get straight down from the top.
There are 7 pictures, and I do have to again tell you I appreciate the time you are all taking with me.
Photo 1 is the only drawer that I think I see 10 pt written on but the rest is gone.

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Well My pictures got jumbled so it is now photo 7 that is what I think is a 10 pt…Sue

there are lots of ludlows still in use around the country, if you give us an idea where you are maybe you could go to a shop and identify this type, im in southeast massachusetts and would be happy to help, the line on the bottom of the mat is the point size, the lines on the top are font identification, they are so close to other fonts that i dont think you could tell from pictures, but god knows i have been wrong before. good luck dick g.

I was able to see most of the lines, but I may have missed a line or two. At Least these will get you a good start on identification of these mats:

MVC-874F - 8pt. #11 Bold (Goudy Bold)
MVC-877F - 6pt. Tempo Light
MVC-875F - 10pt. Tempo Light
MVC-871F - 12pt. #11 Bold (Goudy Bold)
MVC-870F - 12pt. Tempo Medium
MVC-869F - 8pt. Powell (? not too sure on this one)
MVC-866F - 10pt. #11 Bold (Goudy Bold)

I am pretty positive of all but the Powell. Take a look and see if the faces match the catalog depictions just to double check.

I matched my gage to the picture size by scanning at different percentages based on the scale of the photo, so they should be pretty reliable.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

I will try to get right on trying to match characteristics.
As you can see I am way over my head here.
I also have a set of type ( Not Ludlow) that I have searched every book I have.
It is quite unique, but I can’t seem to find it.
Nothing in the Pony Specimen book or any of the other catalogs. I did find something that matches some letters but not others., in the ” American Specimen Book Of Type Styles” that was published in 1912. It was called THE ST. JOHN SERIES.
Should I try for some pictures

I’m not at home or near any of my reference materials right now, but if your font of type looks very similar to St. John it is most likely Bradley. I believe that St. John was from the Inland Type Foundry. St. John is also heavier/thicker than Bradley.

For those interested in such things. There is also a secondary version of Bradley named Ihlenberg. This is essentially Bradley, but with the addition of German accents on some of the lowercase vowels.

Wanted to again Thank you all. jhenry looks like you got them all but I cannot find a Powell in any of my books so will hold off on that one.
Foolproof, None of my books Bradley or an Ihlenberg. Still lost on this one.
A +W look close or pretty close, But the C +R are way off…Sue

Forgot the pictures!!!!

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What you have is indeed Bradley. It was designed by Herman Ihlenburg and first offered by ATF in 1895. It is based on the lettering that Will Bradley had done for a Christmas cover of an Inland Printer magazine.

I misspelled the name in my post above, but the same face, with the addition of German characters, was also sold as Ihlenburg. There is also a Bradley Italic, a Bradley Extended and a Bradley Outline.

One last note. The similar type shown in the printed specimens in your photo is St. John (also modelled on Bradley’s lettering) and that was designed by William A. Schraubstadter for the Inland Type Foundry. St. John was patented Oct. 29, 1895.

One other very similar look-alike to your Bradley face is Abbey Text, from the New York foundry of A.D. Farmer and Son. Look at the pinmark or your type. If it does not have a Farmer pinmark then it is definitely Bradley from ATF.


Since you can’t find the Powell in your book, and I can find it in mine, maybe it should be in my shop instead of yours. I’m just kidding (sort of). It is a size I would not mind having.

Here’s a link to an electronic font with the same characteristics so that you can see if your matches.


Thank you all again, Jhenry , I don’t have a shop. Just the remnents of one.
This was my other halfs Grandfathers shop. It was called Lee printing, and was located in New Jersey, started in the 40’s I believe.
I only have a small house and 2 kids who want some of the room back. It is all going. I surely do not want to overstep the boundaries of this site, as you have all been very helpful.
Hauled it all here, only took about 30 trips, but it is here now but must go….Sue