Marble Heart

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August 24, 2013 at 12:29 AM #3785


Marble HeartNumbered=ATF Marble Heart#. As reported by Lieberman in 1967,¹ McGrew concurs that this all-caps beauty was “an 1870s face of the Boston Type Foundry.” Apparently discontinued by BTF after 1879, it was revived by ATF as Marble Heart# in 1933.²

Until recently (more below), the earliest THP-examined specimen was shown by the Boston TF in 1860. Assuming that Lieberman and McGrew were otherwise correct, the US model was almost certainly cut by Samuel Kilburn (BTF ≤1835–1864),³ who specialized in “two-line” faces.

This timeless, universally popular face was later shown by Farmer (New York) in 1866, by L. Johnson (Philadelphia) in ≤1867⁴ and by Trowitzsch (Berlin) in 1868. No specimen examined claims IP rights.

Thanks to Jacques André’s super-valuable bibliography of downloadable publications about type, THP has identified a specimen shown by Eduard Hænel (Berlin) in 1847 (date reckoned by a University of Ghent library that curated this catalog for 165+ years)—more than a decade before the earliest-known US copy!

  • Bauer⁵ attributes Hænel’s success to purchasing matrices of the most popular roman faces produced in France and Great Britain.
  • Nicolette Gray does not discuss a face resembling ATF Marble Heart#.
  • THP concludes that the prototype originated in France in or before 1847.

Sincere gratitude to THP Partner Alan Prescott, who has digitized this important letterpress typeface for posterity!

Learn more…

¹Lieberman, J.B. Ph.D. (1967): Types of Typefaces and How to Recognize Them, page 113.  Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York.
²McGrew, M. (1993): American Metal Types of the Twentieth Century (Second, Revised Edition), page 235. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.
³Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers Of Type. In The Inland Printer, November 1898.
⁴The date 1867 is deduced from the stereotyped(?) specimen published by MSJ in July 1869, which is imprinted L. Johnson & Company while other pages are marked MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. According to Annenberg [164], “Lawrence Johnson died on April 26, 1860, but the firm continued to operate and distribute type catalogs with his name until 1867.”
⁵Bauer, Friedrich (Offenbach 1929); Reichardt, Hans (Frankfurt 2011): Chronik der Schriftgießereien in Deutschland und den deutschsprachigen Nachbarländern. Courtesy of the Klingspor Museum.

November 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM #4984


Marble Heart seems to have been given a lower case at some point..,is there a full set of glyphs somewhere? If so, would developing it make sense?

November 4, 2013 at 10:35 PM #4988


Interesting! If a LC exists, it may have been added by ATF when they revived it—according to McGrew [211], in 1933 and several times thereafter.

I have a copy of ATF 1934, and Marble Heart isn’t there by any tradename that I have found so far. Furthermore, Tribby doesn’t list it at all as an ATF property, so go figure, huh?

The Bruce TF often added LCs to existing caps-only imports; for example, in 1870 they patented one for the 3D egyptian face we know as Gold Rush (attached), which has been duly digitized by Font Mesa.

The final Bruce catalog of 1901 shows “Marble Heart” as Ornamented No. 1010 with caps only.

So I’m fresh out of ideas… Can you recall where you heard this rumor?

  1. us0d0004393-001


November 5, 2013 at 12:12 AM #4991


No rumor…it seems it’s in your Flickr Marble Heart collection page.

November 5, 2013 at 12:22 AM #4992


Numbered, Farmer TF 1867

This is the link I looked at, Farmer. No telling whether I could duplicate missing glyphs in the lower case, but possible because is it a fairly simple “grotesque.”

November 7, 2013 at 8:31 PM #5048


The Marble Heart Thing has me in such a tizzy…

Of course, you are correct that the LC was in my face all along (OUCH!)—realizing this blew my head off! Hey I look for dates, you look for style quirks. We’re on the same team, so it works perfectly.

What bugs me now is: Where did the LC come from? I don’t see it in available German or French specimens, and Gray¹ doesn’t discuss a face like Marble Heart.

Original US typeface designs were v-e-r-y rare until German immigrants changed the type world forever during the mid-1870s. Julius Herriett Sr. was the first—he did National [Gothic] for MSJ forerunner L. Johnson & Co. in 1856² [USPTO D760].

Then he went to New York, where he worked for Bruce and Conner.² No Herriett-Farmer connection is documented in the literature. Farmer’s ace punch-cutter August Woerner [Frankfurt 1844–New York 1896] did not arrive in the US until 1868 and did no known work for Farmer (New York) until the late 1870s.²

Now it gets really interesting… The 1860 Boston TF specimen shows Two-Line Paragon Ornamented No. 33 with LC too, the same size as the larger of Farmer’s 1867 dual-case versions. Furthermore, Farmer showed the same two sizes in an “interim” specimen book dated 1866 (see attached).

If BTF introduced the LC in ≤1860, then Samuel Kilburn [1799-1864] must have cut it. Loy writes that Kilburn, not a type designer per sé, could cut any face straight from creative imagination. He worked from suggestions, without drawings.² By 1860, there were plenty of sans LC examples to guide his brilliant mind—and his unerring hand.

Strangely enough, BTF’s 1879 specimen book shows five caps-only sizes of Double Shade#, which also match the unknown European model for ATF Mable Heart#.

I wish there was a way to prove my hunch that Kilburn designed Marble Heart LC! Since BTF’s first approved design patent application was issued in 1870, there is no “smoking-gun evidence.”

You want definitive specimens, not historical speculation… ‘Fraid the LC was rarely shown—the attached PNGs (TIFFs uploaded to dropbox) are the only ones I have found. Furthermore, the once-ubiquitous caps-only face apparently dropped out of popularity by c1870.

McGrew³ and Lieberman4 (erroneously) agree that ATF Marble Heart# originated at BTF during the 1870s and was revived “in 1933 and several later times” and “recently” (respectively). So the part about an ATF revival must be true because today’s tradename Marble Heart# was definitely dubbed by ATF, even though it apparently applies to the caps-only font illustrated by both of these 20th-century historians.

THP’s research scope ends with World War I, and (at the risk of brain-explosion), I must resist the temptation to stray beyond this limit. So my best advice is to “follow your heart.” If archiving the dual-case version for posterity is important to you, then DO it with your Kilburn-esque finesse! Personally, I’m satisfied that your caps-only revival is definitely adequate for illustrating THP Volume I with a footnote documenting the LC.
¹Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
²Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers of Type. In The Inland Printer 22-25: passim.Herriett Sr. Jan 1899; Woerner Apr 1898; Kilburn Nov 1898.
McGrew, M. (1993): American Metal Types of the Twentieth Century(Second, Revised Edition), pages 210-211. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.
4Lieberman, J.B. Ph.D. (1967): Types of Typefaces and How to Recognize Them, pages 113/122. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York.


  1. MarbleHeart-Farmer-1866


  2. MarbleHeart-Farmer-1867


  3. MarbleHeart-Boston-1860


November 11, 2013 at 5:32 AM #5132


Look what I found! Look for the usual dropbox upload.

  1. MarbleHeart-LC-Yablon


November 22, 2013 at 8:04 PM #5301


So, I revisited Marble Heart after you delivered an awesome lower-case specimen and wound up creating a complete series of 5 fonts (which I call Margarethe to gather them in one place) in OTF, with identical HUGE character sets: 1. The original Margarethe Double Shade (Ornamented No. 11 [Ornamented No. 33 in some books], Gothic Double Shaded); 2. Margarethe Shade (very close to Ornamented No. 13, or Gothic Shaded [?]); 3. Margarethe Deep Shade (equal to Double Shade, but with the “sandwich filling” removed); 4. Margarethe Roman (the base character the original designer used to build Marble Heart’s layers); and 5. Margarethe Outline. For pictures, see:

Margarethe Double Shade

Margarethe Deep Shade

Margarethe Shade

Margarethe Outline

Margarethe Roman

Thank you, Anna!

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