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January 6, 2014 at 12:35 PM #6892

Alan Jay Prescott

1891, George Bruce’s Son

I am interested in reviving this face. Does anyone know whether this has been done?

January 6, 2014 at 9:58 PM #6931


Revival of this one [DXS Robards, 190] has been done. It was cataloged by the Bruce TF as Ornamented No. 1089

A crazy thing about the history of this face: Clearly, the design was patented by Julius Guildenstine in Jan-Feb 1890 and assigned to David Wolfe Bruce [USPTO D19663]. The rest makes no sense…


Luc Devroye pictures it as an excerpt from the Bruce 1869 catalog [scroll to specimen text reading “NOBLE GREEKS“]—21 yrs earlier! My digital copy of this catalog matches Luc’s cover photo and Annenberg’s description [title, page count and dimensions]. This face just ain’t there!

Between 1870 and 1881, the Bruce TF issued no catalogs—instead, they updated the 1869 one with 19 semi-annual supplements.¹ My set is missing No. 6 [early 1873] and all after July 1875.

Most recipients appended the supplements to the 1869 edition as directed. So maybe Luc’s specimen is in a supplement that I don’t have and he (or whoever furnished him the photos and info) didn’t notice the supplement heading?

The Bruce TF was VERY big on design patents—George Bruce [1781-1866] himself was “da man” who convinced the US Congress to grant design patents, and he was awarded the first one in history [1842].

So it is out of character for the Bruce TF to advertise (expose to plagiarism) an original face before the patent application was filed. In this case, as many as 17 yrs earlier!

On top of everything else, type designs originated by US TFs were extremely rare before the mid-1870s, when the work of such Scottish and German immigrants as Edwin Ruthven, James West, Julius Herriet Sr., Herman Ilenberg/Ihlenberg and Carl/Charles E. Heyer started to set the worldwide pace.

Some things about type history may never make sense…
¹Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editor]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index] (1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, page 83.  Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.


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