Sunday, May 29, 2011

What headlines were made of // Wooden Type

(super dirty BEFORE picture)

This morning I begun cleaning off the layers of dust from my wooden letters bought from a defunct print shop in a nearby town. It closed doors almost two years ago after having been open roughly 100 years. When I had first started looking for a press, I had initially gone there to see if there was anything to be had. On that visit I noticed cases of wooden letters pretty much forgotten. Six months later I made another trip back.

During my visit the ex-printer shared a piece of the print shop’s history. He opened up one of the old local newspapers he had put away in a protective cover dating back to 1924. What stood out most to me was the fantastic handset non standard type used for headlines. Nothing classic or identifiable about the font; it was ballooned and pinched tight at the end to create its serifs like a bouncing elephant with tiny feet. Flipping through the pages, he showed me an advertisement for the print shop similar to their ironwork signage still hanging under the arcades of the main street. Then the book was closed and I was shown the cases of wooden type for sell.

(super clean AFTER picture)

Back at home wiping off grunge, I noticed fonts with accents (curious to an American girl) and letters like j, k and y that were much newer since they aren’t formally part of the Italian alphabet system, but have been brought into usage in very recent decades as these letters are too.