Hair Line Condensed was shown in the 1848, 1869, 1882 and 1901 Bruce’s New York Type Foundry Specimen Books. Missing characters were supplied by the 1891 Compact Specimen Book of Printing Type by James Conner’s Sons:
Thanks for a perfect revival of this important egyptian “work-horse” text face, Robert. I have hesitated to reply before because I’m far from convinced that it originated with the Bruce TF, even though your working specimens (as early as 1848) may well be the earliest available today.
Until the 1870s, it was extremely rare for US TFs to produce original faces. Bruce was one exception: Even so, known Bruce faces of the period 1842–1867 are scripts designed/patented by George Bruce [1781–1866] or his nephew, David Bruce Jr. [1802–1892].
The Bruce TF neither employed nor commissioned known “outside” designers until Julius Herriet Sr., whose first Bruce-assigned faces were patented in 1867 and assigned to George’s son, David Wolfe Bruce [1824–1895].
Before his association with the Bruce TF, Herriet had designed and cut MSJ National (patented by Lawrence Johnson in 1856) and, thereafter, multiple faces introduced by the Conner TF (New York).
My hunch is that, like most innovative display faces of this period, the Bruce TF imported Hair-Line Condensed from France or England.
¹Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers of Type. In The Inland Printer, January 1899.