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(x) house & garden - Pistilli Roman {Marc Simonson}

Hi all,

Here’s a font that’s been vexing me for ages. I only have a scan from a fax copy and want to improve it somewhat.

Looks like a form of Bodoni or Century 725 Black from the Corel disk… but the killer is the ampersand (the &).

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.House & Garden logo


Pistilli Roman. Although it looks like it’s been heavied up a bit with ink spread or some outline/shadow treatement. I’ll post a scan shortly.

I just ordered a copy at abebooks through
Bowfin Printworks Typographic References List

Thanks again Mike.

Thanks Ignacio. Using that link helps support my site. Glad it helped you out.

I’ve got a copy on the way too!
What a painless way to support your very useful site , Mike.

Thank you too, Mike. I appreciate it.

The Phil’s Photo “Homage to the Alphabet” is indeed a treasure. The first edition in a 3-ring binder is beautiful, and is definitely a collector’s item. When I still worked at Phil’s a couple of years go, they had a small stash left of the first edition. If I recall correctly, they were selling for around $150 each, and there may be a few copies left. Yes, it’s more than the later paperback editions you can find second-hand, but the original is just wonderful. I highly recommend it as a Christmas gift (to yourself).


And no, I am no longer affiliated with Phil’s Fonts in any way, I just want everyone to have the joy of owning this book if possible.

Thanks to all, especially to Mark for his keen eye.

Looks like the font will keep on vexing me since it’s not digitised! At least I now know what it is; the original must go back a fair way. Thanks again for your help.

I don’t know much about it, but I don’t think it’s from any
earlier than the late 1960s. I can tell you that it was a VGC
font designed by John Pistilli and that it came in three basic
weights—normal, bold, and black. The weights appear to
refer mainly to the thickness of the hairlines, sort of like
optical scaling. There were two other styles—Open No. 1
and Open No. 2—which only differed in stroke thickness.

I just found a site ( Incipit) that says they have a photocomposition (film type) library of 3,500 faces, including the 4 Pistilli faces. A quick glance at their type catalog listing shows a lot of the Phil’s Photo typefaces alive and well in that collection. Makes you wish you had your own Typositor doesn’t it?

Yes Mark, you have a collector’s item for sure.

I sent Phil’s Fonts an e-mail and told me that they sold the last one about 3 years ago,
thanksTamie for the clue though, and yes, that would have been the perfect gift.

BTW Grant, now that you are close, thank you very much for that link-thread on original cartoon titles,
lovely things there.

Yeah, I found that site a while back, too. Looks like they
have all of them.

I actually have a dozen old Typositor reels with 60 or so
faces on them. They used to belong to the University of
Minnesota’s Journalism School. I grabbed them when they
were going to be thrown out. No Typositor, though.

I wanted very badly for a while to have a Typositor in-house
when I was a magazine art director early in my career, but
they were not cheap and we could never justify the cost.

Here it is:


All of our typositor reels found their way to the dumpster around mid 1995. Typositors are long gone too.

On a brighter note I do have about 20 “Homage to the Alphabet” 3 ring binders and a “slightly improved design” 7 ring binders in my personal stash.

I keep thinking I’d like to get someone to complete a full alphabet of the script typeface design on the cover of the binder version of “Homage”.

Who did that lettering? There’s no credit that I can find in the book.

I just realized I’ve been calling mine a “three-ring binder,” but it’s actually got seven. I guess I have the “slightly improved design.”

The credit (James Helmuth) is on the image Ralph posted (assuming that’s the same lettering on your copy), isn’t it?

I totally missed that. He’s just listed as the designer in the
book itself so it’s hard to say from that, but, no doubt, the
credit given on their site is correct.

The designer was indeed James Hellmuth. He did 99% of the design work for Phil’s Photo. Very talanted guy. I’ve been out of touch with him for years.

By the way the catalog ,”Homage”, is the first instance I can recall that has a “found typography” or what ever you want to call it. Photos of type in everyday use separate each alphabetical section.

I’ve always thought those dividers were a nice touch.

There’s one photo in there that gets to me now. It’s the one
for “T” which is from the giant letters for The Big Kitchen
which used to be at the top of one of the WTC towers. It
was designed by Milton Glaser and I always thought it was a
neat thing. I’m sure it was long gone by the time of the
attacks, but seeing it now reminds me of everthing thing
that’s happened since. You never know what you’ll find in a
type specimen book.

Can you show it to us, Mark?


Getting a lot of mileage from that Phil’s Photo book Mark? (I have a copy too — too bad so much of the type isn’t digitized). Good eye.

I love my Phil’s book too. I wonder if Ralph Smith and the gang at Phil’s Fonts have access to any of that film. Seems a shame that so much of it hasn’t made to it digital.

Hey, I don’t pick ‘em. The fact is, the Phil’s book has some
of the best samples, and it’s fairly comprehensive as of
about 1980 for old film fonts. Other books have a broader
sampling, but poorer showings. Mine is #573. I still have
the receipt for $48 (plus $3 shipping).

What I find most useful is having the groupings of fonts by Categories, such as Ultra Bold (where Pistilli showed up & Egiziano too, from another post), and especially by Serif type. Very Handy. I have a Second Edition version with a $39.95 sticker still on the back. What do you mean that yours is #573?

The inside front cover (it’s in a 3-ring binder) has a sticker
with my name written in and the number “573/2500” which
(I assume) means it’s number 573 of a run of 2500. There’s
also a coupon in the back to put the cost of the book
toward the first job I might send to them. I don’t know if
you remember, but typesetters usually kept track of who
had their catalogs for marketing purposes. Those things
weren’t cheap to produce, I’m sure.

Fascinating! Mine was a softbound book I purchased new at a bookstore in Seattle, published by Rockport Publishers in 1985. You have a collector’s item to be sure.

Huh! I didn’t realize it was published as a book. I always
assumed that everyone had a copy like mine. In addition to
the coupon and receipt in the back pocket, it also has a
credit application and price list. It’s loose-bound in a
three-ring binder, so it’s easy to take the pages out. The
three indexes in the front are saddle-stitched separately
and bound in with the other pages. A fairly elaborate
package, actually.