i found a set of gothic condensed movable type... help?


i found this set in the publishing building of an old mental hospital (along with a bagful of peculiar negatives, but that's not relevant to this forum). i'm not sure what the typeface is. please excuse how dirty they are, i have yet to acetone them.

any help? if you know someone i could contact, that would help too. the internet is a nasty place to google up "movable type" because there's a publishing software by the same name.


You may be embarking on a fool's errand. It was not uncommon for foundries in the 1800s simply to number their gothic typefaces—e.g., Gothic No. 7, Gothic No. 13, etc., or sometimes simply Gothic Condensed or Gothic XX Condensed.

One man's dirty is another man's fantastic... clean them gently if you must clean them at all...

Are there any other identifying marks on the sorts? That would help if so, since indeed this design is pretty nondescript and versions of it were put out by very many different foundries.

ah, yes. a look in the american typefounder's index:


scrolling down to the "gothic"s, we pages of them. no matter, it just gives me a better idea of what i'm looking for. i didn't really need to know this exact typeface— i'm just curious as to the story behind the gothics.

brockfrench— i agree, the blocks, when dirty, are pretty, but i'm using them for printing, and if they're coated in congealed printing ink they don't work well. the texture that it produces when printed is nice, but is not for everything. besides, i can always dirty up the lead again if need be. a sample:


eliason— it's 72 point type, if that helps. again, i'm not interested in this exact face. a minor curiosity is all.

Niko, since this is apparently American type, you could check Mac McGrew's book "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century" to try to identify it.

[edit: I can't, because I don't have my book where I am staying today. If you don't need to know exact font, it may not matter to do this work.]

- Mike Yanega