Wood type Identification Needed

Please take a look at this and let me know what this may be. I got word from someone it maybe a metal type that was made into wood around the 1890’s. The Maker’s mark is Morgan’s and Wilcox. Any help out there?

M & W Manufacturing Co
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Middletown NY

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The name of your typeface is Abbey. It originated with Farmer, Little & Co., Typefounders in New York City around 1891.

I have a copy of the Morgans & Wilcox Wood Type Catalog that is dated 1890 and your font is not shown in there, so your font was offered sometime between then and around 1899, by whch time the company had been sold to the Hamilton Manufacturing Company.


For a bit on Abbey in its various metal forms, see:


(This is from a fragment of my website that is very far from finished and for the most part not online yet (I just uploaded this fragment now), so links to things off the page itself will not work yet.)

David M.


VERY COOL and well organized information. The designation of No. 2 indicated that a lowercase had been added. The uppercase-only version was simply Abbey.

Earliest referfence that I had found for it was an ad in the Inland Printer in June 1891.


Thanks everyone for the help. I appreciate it, it looks pretty nice printed.



Does anyone know if this typeface has been digitized? In my quick attempt to find a font download for this, I found that most of the typefaces with the name “Abbey” looked very different than the letterpress set shown here.


Would like to point out that the matrices for Abbey Condensed were acquired by the Kelsey Co. from Farmer & Little Co. at some point in time and they changed the name to Saunders Condensed.

There is a Dan Jones from Ontario, Canada who released this face in a Monotype revival a while ago (maybe up to 15 years ago), and included this information in his prospectus.

The 24 pt. font (upper and lower case) that I have has the “K” pin mark, so I have to assume Kelsey regarding it and it’s ironic that I’m currently working on a specimen sheet that includes this face as well as a few others.

I must have missed this when it was originally posted back in July.



Did Dan Jones have his own typefoundry name, or did he just use his own name? Did the prospectus you mention, or any of his specimens, have titles? I have found only one reference online to his casting, and that just an entry in a list of people who might have been casting a decade ago.

David M.

David, tomorrow I’ll take a photo of the prospectus in sunlight and send it to you.
My indoor lighting is not the best.
I would post it but it has his address on it and I’d rather not under those circumstances.

He calls his operation Pygmy Press and had cast Saunders Condensed on an English Supercaster. However he erroneously referred to the Farmer face as Abbey “Text” Condensed, but that is not correct according to the 1900 Farmer specimen .pdf, which I may have very well downloaded from your site, or google, or archive.net….not sure.
The correct name is Abbey Condensed. I would be interested in a showing of Saunders Condensed in perhaps an earlier Kelsey catalog.
Dan Jones also did other castings of various border pieces, I believe, and is a member of the APA and had submitted those prospectus’ to the APA bundles.

Anyway, I would like to continue to thank you for your work as it is invaluable to many of us who do not have access to the ‘real deal’ specimen books, and other documents.


Interesting research! I would like the see a copy of the prospectus as well. Does a revival monotype mean that the face is digital and can be purchased? If so - where could I find it?

>Does a revival monotype mean that the face is digital and can be purchased?

In this case, by “monotype revival” I believe that David Jasmund meant that Jones had cast the type, in metal, using Monotype-manufactured equipment (probably the Monotype Supercaster that David J. mentioned - this was a highly capable typecasting machine manufactured by The Monotype Corp., Ltd. in England). There is no implication in this of any digital re-issue by Monotype Imaging (the current company which succeeded to the English Monotype type catalog).

I’ve done a little bit of further research, and discovered something interesting about Jones’ methods. The Kelsey matrices would have been foundry-format matrices for use with pivotal casters. Now, there’s no such thing as a standard foundry format matrix, really. They were made in all dimensions and, most importantly, to all depths of drive. This means that in general there must be a close relationship betwen a foundry matrix and the mold used to cast it - the height of the mold plus the depth-of-drive of the matrix gives the height of the type.

To cast a foundry-style matrix on a casting machine (of any kind - pivotal, Supercaster, Thompson, Giant, whatever) to a given type height (say 0.918) you need not only a matrix holder which can accept the matrix but a mold of the correct height. For commercially manufactured casting machines such as the Supercaster or Thompson, you’re likely to find molds only of heights for commercially manufactured matrices. So casting arbitrary foundry-style mats always presents a problem.

What Jones did (according to an article that he and Rich Hopkins wrote for the American Typecasting Fellowship Newsletter, No. 24 (Nov. 1999)) is to cast on a Supercaster with a mold which was too high/deep (whatever the correct term would be). This gave type which was over 0.918. But then (this is the clever bit) Jones adapted a Ludlow Supersurfacer to mill the type down to 0.918. Neat! (and a good way for me to justify having four Supersurfacers, aside from the fact that they’re just nice little machines).

As an aside, my only Kelsey literature is post-WWII. It does not list “Saunders”; I suspect the face would have been considered old-fashioned by then.


My apologies for a longwinded response to a simple question.

David M.

Yes thanks David.

@ ubryant: Here’s an edited pic of the prospectus:

I can only speculate that the matrices were 24 pt. and Mr. Jones chose to cast them on a 26 point body, possibly to avoid kerns on some characters.

image: Saunders Cond..jpg

Saunders Cond..jpg

I just noticed the string above, here are some details. The Kelsey matrices were cast using a 26 pt. mould as the size of type was not std., basically a pre-point size; on a “modern” 24 pt. body it would kern. I had a 26 pt. Monotype mould as this is what they used for casting mathematical numbers; 12 pt. numerator and denominator, 2pt. rule in between. I have other sizes of this face however the condition of the matrices is not good. The type face “Saunders Condensed” may be the same as above, apparently the Kelsey manager was a man named Saunders, if you look carefully at the cap “O” in my casting one can see “C.E.S.” scratched in the centre. Interestingly, the matrix set includes some accented characters, possibly for French language text.

Also, I appreciate that you wiped out the personal information, this was printed in the early days of the internet where loss of privacy was not recognize as well as it is now. The fonts were well received and sold out almost right away.


Friends, Re Digitising older Typefaces, some 9 months ago there was an exhibition in London,U.K. regarding Typeface origins designs etc etc, from the inception of Hand Moulds for hot metal through Linotype, Monotype and many more such end products, right up to and including digitising eventually all, or very nearly all of the ultra modern typefaces… . The Speaker/Narrator was An American Gentleman, operating from the Monotype (English) Archives situate in the Cottages of the Former Monotype factory in Salfords, Redhill, U.K… . He was the U.K. based representative, of the American Arm of The lanston Monotype Corporation, apologies for the absence of the Web site address, but it should not be difficult to find, U.K. or U.S.A. contact point, I am sure all the up to date info re what is digitised or soon to be.!!! will be available.

I heard a rumor that they are going to digitise Mick, is this true??

By the way, here are the matrices, note they are electroplated from older originals.

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Kelsey matrices.JPG

Here’s a (quick and bad) photo of my Farmer specimen showing Abbey …

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