Grammar School Arithmetic (a book from 1904)

Stickley's picture

Some scans from a book I picked up recently (for 25¢). Printed in 1904.

Interesting just to see how the type is set; complex fractions (all are all nut—no virgules to be found), the @ symbol for per-item cost, page structure, impressive engravings for illustrations, and the thoughtful mix of typefaces. Quite a complex project for metal type. All for the kids.

Yes, it has all the answers in the back.

Mcs

oldnick's picture

A rather stylish cover, too: very au courant for the Art Nouveau period. Wouldn't mind some of that 49¢-a-pound coffee...

Nick Shinn's picture

I believe that nut fractions were the default for the modern style at the time, if not for all styles.
At any rate, I made nut fractions the default in Scotch Modern, which is my version of the face shown here.
However, I only did the basic fractions—half, thirds, quarters, eighths—in pre-composed form (with arbitrary fractions in slash form), as I couldn't get anything more complex to work across the board in layout apps.
If this typographic layout were to be attempted today, it would be best done in an app which handles complex maths, probably in the Computer Modern typeface.

JoergGustafs's picture

Nice, thanks for sharing.
Gotta love that potato basket.
Poor kids, though.

quadibloc's picture

From examples given in "The Manual of Linotype Typography" by Orcutt and Bartlett, p. 182-183, however, it should be noted that this sort of thing was within the capacity of a Linotype machine. I couldn't say whether that, or letterpress sterotyping, would be more likely in 1904, however.

russellm's picture

out of curiosity, how was the long division sign set?

Stickley's picture

The division sign looks to be a close parentheses with a line above it, they don't actually touch.

Stickley's picture

This image is 2x3 inches, and being cut to actual size, whoever did the engravings had a very good hand (it's signed at the bottom, but I can't make it out).

Teachin' kids 'bout wheat.

russellm's picture

@ Stickley ,

Thanks.

kentlew's picture

Engraving like this was pretty standard fare for the period. There were legions of engravers. It was an industrial profession — shop rooms full of people making all those engravings for catalogs and advertisements, etc.

AdamC's picture

The style used for this book is beautiful. It make be harder to read for a student due to the spacing, but it's certainly less dull than the textbooks that I used in school.

quadibloc's picture

Incidentally, I did a search for this book, and found that while this particular book is not on Google Books or the Internet Archive, several other books by this author are. Instead of being a teacher, he was a mathematician; he had written several books about the history of mathematics, as well as other textbooks for more advanced grades.

In fact, he was the compiler of one book that was still being reprinted into the 1960s: A Source Book of Mathematics.

EmmyEzzellOklahomaPress's picture

A title character in Peter Carey's novel "Parrot and Olivier in America" is one of those legions of engravers, drafted into his profession by a forgery ring. Pretty interesting descriptions of that venerable trade.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

This looks, and reads, great. The craftmanship is amazing. I especially appreciate the use of smaller-size figures for numbering of the exercises. Very sensitive…

Nick Shinn's picture

The Clarendon is the correct bold for the Scotch Modern.
I regret making the bold of my Scotch Modern high contrast (assuming that was people's expectation).
I should have made it a Clarendon, kind of like a Linotype duplex combo.

JoergGustafs's picture

How about an alternate Bold then? Never too late, is it?

Nick Shinn's picture

It is too late, I'm afraid. I don't have the stomach for another revival—the Modern Suite was a new idea for me at the time, and a huge undertaking, now I have some fresh ideas I need to explore. Maybe some other typeface will now get two bolds.

John Nolan's picture

Umm... what about some kind of mash-up of a Bodoni and, oh, I don't know, an Egyptian?

Nick Shinn's picture

There are two bolds in the new Pratt fonts of the Globe and Mail 2010 Adrian Norris redesign: both a traditional high contrast version and, au courant, a slab style.

Justin_Ch's picture

Engraving like this was pretty standard fare for the period. There were legions of engravers. It was an industrial profession — shop rooms full of people making all those engravings for catalogs and advertisements, etc.

Would they still be engraving into metal, or by this time would a lot be done on scratchboard/scraperboard for photographic reproduction?

BeauW's picture

Usually end-grain wood engraving. Wood engraving was most popular for several reasons- one reason being that the wood engraving could be set with the type. (Which would then be used to make the plates for mass printing.) Metal engravings are printed on a completely different kind of press- meaning: on separate pages, often on a different kind of paper.

oprion's picture

Wood engravings were usually turned into electrotypes so as not to smash the originals in lengthy print runs.

oldnick's picture

Would they still be engraving into metal, or by this time would a lot be done on scratchboard/scraperboard for photographic reproduction?

The halftone process was more or less perfected by 1872, so one may presume that straight litho negs (black-and-clear only) were also used on or after that date.

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