This sophisticated freeform gem was designed by Herman Ihlenburg¹ in 1870; the patent was issued to Richard Smith, an executive of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan, on January 3, 1871. By 1877, MSJ introduced Greenback No. 2, a derivative without the outline 3D effect.
Nicolette Gray identifies the derivative as “Greenback, Marr c1877″ (Marr and Wilson were “karmas” of the Glasgow Letter Foundry).² It seems odd that the tradename did not suggest to her that the design was American; it refers to paper currency issued by the U.S. Treasury during the Civil War. Greenback was apparently last shown in the 1892 MSJ catalog (after the ATF merger).
The same fonts were shown by the Franklin TF, MSJ’s “sister” in Cincinnati (also known as Alison & Smith), originally an MSJ branch. This TF was established in 1856 by Lawrence Johnson, who delegated management to two highly qualified employees, Robert Alison and Charles H. Smith, son of his former partner. It is believed that it operated independently by 1885.³
¹Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers of Type. In The Inland Printer, May 1898.
²Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 139 and 205. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
³Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editors]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index](1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, page 140. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.