Woodtype ID

Anyone have an ID on this? It’s obviously something from the mid 20s/30s art deco period, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else. The cap As are stamped from Hamilton. The example shown is 15 line. I also have 12 line. Both are incomplete and I’d love to find full showings and possibly see if I can have the missing characters created via CNC (as is the rage).

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Your face pre-dates Art Deco. It appears in the 17th edition of Hamiltons Specimens of Wood Type Faces, which was issued around 1907.

In that book it is simply listed as Style No. 657. I can tell you that it is based on a metal typeface named McCullagh and that Style No. 657 is McCullagh Expanded.


Well, shows what I know! Thank you! I’ll see if I can track down a showing of it somewhere. I don’t have an S in either size and it’s driving me nuts.

Can you scan in the page in the specimen?

Probably more information than you’d ever want to know…..

McCullagh was first issued by ATF in 1898 and was named in honor of J.B. McCullagh, late editor of the Globe-Democrat in St. Louis.

It is a fairly condensed design. When Hamilton decided to use this design, they expanded it’s range to include four variations; No.s 660, 659, 658 and 657. To apply a name to these, they would be; McCullagh Extra Condensed, McCullagh Condensed, McCullagh, and McCullagh Expanded.

I have a font of 8-line McCullagh Condensed from Hamilton and a font of ATF McCullagh.

You are going to have to find a proof of a complete font of your McCullagh Expanded to be able to recreate your missing characters.


Anyone know if the Kelly Collection at UT has it? I didn’t see it in the book, but I didn’t look too hard b/c I had thought it was a “newer” face. I imagine Hamilton probably has it somewhere in their archives as well.

jonsel -

I didn’t see your response before I posted my second comment.

Yes, the Hamilton catalog does display an “S” in 6-line and 10-line. Send me an e-mail with your address and I’ll mail off a copy of that page to you.


A bit late to the party, but I’ll jump in with a few comments…

Hamilton Mfg Co first showed this cut in their 1899 Specimens of Wood Type (Catalog No 14). There is also small 4-page brochure dedicated to this series that Hamilton produced titled Specimens of New Faces of Wood Type. The brochure is not dated and it is unclear if this was produced before of after the No 14 catalog. It does list the Middletown, NY location indicating that it was printed between December, 1897 and August 1899 (when Hamilton closed the manufacturing plant) or Jan 1905 (when Hamilton closed the warehouse).

Tubbs & Co also offered this design, shown first in their c.1903 specimen book. Tubbs also used a numbering scheme rather than the name of the face, No 2188 (matches McCullagh), No 2189 (matches McCullagh Condensed), No 2190 (matches McCullagh Extra Condensed), No 2234 (matches McCullagh Expanded).

Unfortunately the Kelly Collection doesn’t hold this particular series, but does have types that were originated after 1900. As an aside, the Collection website is a more updated source that the Kelly book in terms of items in the Collection.

Thanks, David. One of these days I’m coming to Austin.

I’ve found a digital version of McCullough but it’s the condensed size. Looks like I’ll be drawing some letters soon.

jonsel -

Did you get the copy of the S that I mailed to you a week or so ago?


Opps! Disregard that last question. It was a prfoof of a different font for someone else. I must have spent too much time in the sun today.


Opps! Disregard that last question. It was a prfoof of a different font for someone else. I must have spent too much time in the sun today.



Rick, that was me, and I got it. Many thanks. I’ve got quite a bit of work to do to redraw the letters and optically adjust them for the different sizes I need.

jonsel -

You should be able to simply enlarge them to the percentage needed to match the height of your other fonts. The original cuttings were done on a pantograph router using a master pattern so the proportions should all be the same. There simply was not an “optical adjustment” available on that system. They could choose to distort things they cut from a master pattern by adjustments on the pantograph (such as varying the overall width, etc.) to create a family or series from one set of master patterns.

At least that is my understanding of how the pantograph routers worked. I have seen them in operation at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI.


That’d be great if you’re right. I need to pull proofs of my existing characters that match the specimen and then it’ll be easier to tell.

Yes, that is how the router/pantograph was used. A master template for all sizes (though Norb Brylski at Hamilton indicated that in practice there were masters for larger and smaller sizes, but this was simply for sizing expediency, not because they were optically adjusted). Every size was symmetrically proportional to every other size of the design.