Need help identifying typeface

Hi all.
When I acquired my last press I also got a lot of type, most of it unlabeled or mislabeled. I’ve been trying off and on to identify this one for months. I grabbed just a few letters tonight to bring inside to aid my search. I looked through my “Encyclopaedia of Typefaces” 55th edition and I don’t see anything that has a “g” that looks even close to this one. This typeface was labeled as “continental bold” but so was another one that was very different from this, and my searches for anything related to continental bold haven’t produced much.

Does anyone recognize this? I can take a photo of other letters if it would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Whoops. Image didn’t seem to go through the first time…

image: mystery font.jpg

mystery font.jpg

Digitally I know it as Kabel Condensed Black
Notice the elliptical counters. Normal Kabel uses perfect circles.

An interesting puzzle. The Kabel shown in Jaspert, Berry and Johnson (55th anniversary edition, not, alas, 55th edition), p. 257 is nothing like your type - the form of the ‘a’ and ‘g’ are quite different.

However, Kabel as imported (into the US) in 1929 by Continental Typefounders Association does look much like your type (and not like the Kabel shown in JBJ). I’ve scanned a page of it in what I hope will show up as an attached image here. For a larger version of the same image, see:

The bowl of the ‘g’ in this 1929 imported Kabel Bold differs slightly from yours, though.

So, in addition to identifying Melissa’s type, can anyone unravel this kabel? The face shown as Kabel by Continental in 1929 just isn’t the same as the ones shown under the same name in JBJ.

David M.

image: kabel-bold-continental-1929-sm.jpg


A page from the 1953 edition of the Encyclopedia of Typefaces (this was John Ryder’s copy, with annotations in his hand) and an example of the Kabel from the 1927 Klingspor announcement of the Kabel. Only one weight is presented. Don’t forget that some foundries had matrices modified to better suit the foreign markets. Hope this helps a bit.

image: Kabel_2.jpg


image: Kabel_1.jpg


Sorry, image 2 is too small, here it is again and hopefully it’s better.

image: Kabel_2.jpg


I got a few other letters this morning, attached here. The W and the ampersand seem quite different, but the g definitely matches. It’s fascinating to me that foundries would change them to better suit their market.

Thanks for all of your help!

image: mystery typeface.JPG

mystery typeface.JPG

I apologize for hijacking Melissa’s type id thread with a discussion of Kabel, but something confusing has happened in Jaspert, Berry & Johnson which ought to be addressed.

The 1953 edition of JBJ which Thomas cites, above, was the first edition. The “Cable” it cites fits with the Klingspor specimen he also shows (thanks!)

The “55th anniversary edition” of JBJ (which is now available inexpensively) is actually just a reprint of the 4th edition of 1970 (“entirely restyled and greatly enlarged”). I’ve attached scans of its showing of “Cable” (though briarpress resized them; here are links to larger-scale versions:

What is curious is while the explanatory text is basically the same, and while the inline variation (“Zeppelin”) is the same, the typeface shown in the 4th/55 edition does not, at first, seem to be the same. Look especially at the lowercase ‘e’ (slanted crossbar in all earlier instances, horizontal crossbar here).

What I *think* is going on here is that the Sol Hess adaptations of Kabel for Lanston Monotype (series 329, 330, 331, 354, and 357, as a face blandly called “San Serif,” introduced variant characters. These included ‘a’, ‘e’, and ‘g’ which look nothing like the original Kabel versions.

Whoever “entirely restyled” the 4th edition of JBJ seems to have used specimens which have only these variant characters - a questionable and confusing decision.

Here for reference is (a link to a scan of) the specimen for Lanston Monotype’s “San Serif Medium Condensed (Hess),” series No. 354.

Actually, it looks a lot like Melissa’s type (the development of the bowl of the ‘g’ isn’t as spiky as it is in the original).

David M.

image: kabel-jbj55-257-sm.jpg


image: kabel-jbj55-258-sm.jpg


The new letters are interesting (particularly the distinctive ‘&’ and ‘Q’). What about Lanston Monotype Sans Serif Extrabold Condensed (Hess), Series 333 ? I’ve attached inline here (I hope) the list of characters in a font. Here’s a link to the whole specimen page:

Thanks for bringing up this puzzle. I’ve learned a few interesting details that I didn’t even know I didn’t know :-)
Even better - I think (but must doublecheck) that I have the mats for this series. Fun.

David M.

image: lanston-333-characters-sm.jpg


By George, I think you’ve got it! Thanks, David!!

And thanks so much to everyone else who commented. I really appreciate that those of you with the knowledge or access to this information are so willing to share it with the rest of us. It is greatly appreciated.


See also the book: Rudolf Koch, Letterer, Type Designer, Teacher, by Gerald Cinnamon, and published by Oak Knoll Press.

OK, here’s a dumb question. How does one pronounce the surname of Rudolf Koch? Is the “ch” hard, as in the ‘k’ in Coke, or softer as in “china”? Is the ‘o’ longer (as in Coke) or shorter (as in the cock which crows at dawn)? Is his name typically pronounced identically in Germany and the US, or differently?

This is the problem with studying books from books. They speak to you, but silently. :-)

David M.

Also “Kabel”

Is it more like Kuh-Bell
or like the american pronunciation of Cable.

For what it’s worth, I’ve always pronounced it “KAH-bull.”

Ka-bel (with an ‘a’ like in ‘Aaron’) Don’t pull it out, it’s short and firm.

The ‘o’ in Koch sounds like the ‘o’ in cock, the ‘ch’ more like ‘gg’.

Shame you can’t attach sounds, only images

Interesting. Peter Koch, a well known printer in Berkeley CA has the same last name and spelling. Most of the printers and book people I know pronounce his name to rhyme with scotch. And the type as “KAH bull”. Maybe it is a preference for either German or English.

Koch = Coke (just like the drink)
Kabel = Cable (like some TV services)
DeVinne = Da Vinney - the way Theodore pronounced it

One that still drive me insane - Brett Favre is Bret Fahv-re and NOT really Farve. Its like the Emperor’s New Clothes, it is what it is and the V is before the R. What part of that don’t folks get???????? Just because it is easier to say does not make it right.