Jim Crow

Welcome! Forums Revivals I–K Jim Crow

This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Anna 3 years, 7 months ago.

Author Posts
Author Posts
July 3, 2014 at 5:32 AM #12012


McGrew writes of ATF Jim Crow#:

Jim Crow is ATF’s 1933 and 1949 recasting of Gothic Shade, originally by Dickinson Type Foundry, a predecessor, about 1850. It has also been called Tombstone.”¹

The “politically incorrect” tradename [OUCH!] was dubbed by ATF, certainly not by 19th-century TFs.

Design patent records and the 19th-century literature support the proposition that before the Civil War, the only US producers who introduced original designs were:

While looking for something else… A hunch that ATF Jim Crow# was imported from France was suddenly documented by “smoking-gun” evidence:

A specimen of the same face is shown in the 1853 catalog of Fonderie Générale [1834–1912], a fore-runner of Deberny & Peignot. It displays the French equivalent of a US design patent notice:

ATF Jim Crow, French 1853Catalog Specimen, Charles Laboulaye (Paris) 1853

Jim Crow, Digital RevivalATF Jim Crow, Digital Revival

The mitered edge of the “N” was squared somewhere along the way. Otherwise, it has changed very little in 160+ years!

¹McGrew, M. (1993): American Metal Types of the Twentieth Century (Second, Revised Edition), page 189. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.

July 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM #12361


New observations that arose from comments by a Flickr follower:

The only size shown by Laboulaye/Fonderie Générale (a fore-runner of Deberny & Peignot) has a beveled N.

Bruce shows a (smaller) two-line version in 1856 with a square N.

Bruce Ornamented No. 8, 1856

Boston TF’s Supplementary Specimen Sheets of the same year does not show it. Even so, BTF Agent John K. Rogers was too smart to not show this blockbuster if it was available.

In 1860, BTF shows it in three sizes:

Gothic Shade, Boston 1860

  • The large one matches the French version with the beveled N.
  • It is identified by the same tradename that McGrew cites for DTF’s: Gothic Shade.
  • The two-line size and a smaller one are numbered. They have square Ns like the Bruce specimen.


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.