Filigree, Trojan

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July 28, 2013 at 2:41 AM #2717


In 1877, Herman Ihlenburg designed a pair of faces tradenamed Trojan [right] and Filigree, a fancier version with an extensive selection of interchangeable curlicues. While the letterforms are basically the same, Trojan includes numerals that Filigree does not.

Consecutively numbered 14-year patents were issued to Ihlenburg in February 1878 [USPTO D10446, D10447] for applications submitted in December and August 1877, respectively.

Nicolette Gray cites an identical version of Filigree registered by Caslon in 1878.¹ International agreements on intellectual property then allowed such multiple patents/registrations, provided that the rights were first granted in the country of origin.

The application for UK registration was almost certainly initiated by Ihlenburg (inventor) or by MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan (assignee), rather than by the Caslon TF.

Hailing’s Circular (Cheltenham, England) records the US/UK commercial history of Filigree:

  •  Spring 1878. MSJ is congratulated for Filigree, which was used for the issue heading and as initial “drop-caps” throughout the text.
  • Autumn 1879. “Messrs. Stephenson and Blake … must be given credit for importing the Filigree series shewn [shown] in our last number.”
  • Summer 1880. “We hasten to express our regret at giving to Messrs. Stephenson and Blake the credit due to Messrs. Caslon & Co. for importation of the series of Filigree.

The publisher, Thomas Hailing [b 1830], was an out-spoken champion of US design innovation and TF management. According to Pasko, he was the first UK printer to import US types. His influence raised worldwide awareness of “the new American types” during the Artistic Printing Movement

A highly qualified anonymous revival developer has volunteered to attempt digitizing this super-challenging “tuffie”!

¹Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, page 205.  Faber and Faber Limited, London.
²Pasko, W.W. (1894): American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking|A History of These Arts in Europe and America, with Definitions of Technical Terms and Biographical Sketches, page 251. Howard Lockwood & Co., New York.

December 29, 2014 at 6:26 AM #21136


This topic has been updated with historical evidence comparing information recorded by Nicolette Gray vs reports in Hailing’s Circular [Cheltenham, England 1877-1889]. Perhaps this highly influential trade journal, which preceded The Inland Printer by six years (1883) and The British Printer by eleven (1888), was not available during her research.


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