Ludlow Matrices

At the CircuitousRoot Typefoundry

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1. Why

Why? See the rationale behind the list of Type at the CircuituosRoot Press ; the reasons are the same.

For the Ludlow, lacking some of the good fortune I had with the Linotype matrices, I started out with mostly smaller sizes of the gothics, because these are what nobody else wants.

[TO DO: Proof these and scan the proofs.]

2. Gothics

2.1. Commerce Gothic

Sizes and Weights:

This is an uppercase-only face. {McGrew, pp. 22-23} identifies it as Ludlow's version of "Bank Gothic," which in turn was a rather late design (1930-33) by Morris Fuller Benton for ATF. McGrew sees in Bank Gothic / Commerce Gothic the same general style as Goudy's Copperplate Gothic (Ludlow: Lining Plate Gothic). I can see this - it has the same general proportions, but is squared up (appropriate for banks as the financial world crumbled in 1930) and without Goudy's delicate micro-serifs. I like it a lot.

(Aside: it is a face which doesn't condense very well, as the condensed versions lack the overall squareness characteristic of the face and end up looking more like an ordinary straight-line gothic. I don't have any Commerce Gothic Condensed, though.)

Provenance: This came from ebay (with several other fonts). A seller in another state had a Ludlow cabinet up for sale. It didn't sell, but he had said that it was full of brass "spacers." We asked him how much he might want for these "spacers," and ended up getting them quite cheaply.

2.2. Franklin Gothic

Sizes and weights:

{McGrew, pp. 142-143} attributes the underlying design to Morris Fuller Benton (ATF, 1902), and notes that it was Benton's first big redesign of the 19th century gothics "inherited" by ATF. He gives no date for Ludlow's version.

So between this and the Lining Plate Gothic Heavy from 1903 (see below), I can do a resonable job putting together typical text-size Victorian-to-Edwardian US gothics. For all that, Franklin Gothic is not a favorite of mine - it's a bit too heavy for my tastes.

Provenance: The Franklin Gothic (6, 8, 10, 12, 14 pt) came from the same ebay cabinet of "brass spacers" as the Commerce Gothic Light 12pt No. 3 (see above).

Provenance: The Franklin Gothic Extra-Condensed 18pt (uppercase only) came from a mostly empty Ludlow cabinet acquired from the Lynn Card Company with my Model 5 and Model 29 Linotypes in 2009. Most of the cabinet had been cleared out years before, but several drawers still had their uppercase in them (the inner of the two trays).

2.3. Lining Plate Gothic

Sizes and weights:

This is an uppercase-only face. {McGrew, pp. 106-107} identifies it as Ludlow's version of Goudy's 1903 "Copperplate Gothic," but gives no date for it as such. N.B., the computer version of "Copperplate Gothic" on the Macintosh is dreadful. If you've seen that, this isn't it! I really like Lining Plate / Copperplate Gothic - it is very open, with those elegant little wisps of serifs to define things.

As a "lining" series of fonts, the multiple faces on a single body size will align to a common baseline, but are each of a different visual size. 6 pt No. 1 is tiny

Provenance: The 6 pt Heavy Nos. 1-4 came primarily from the same ebay cabinet of "brass spacers" as the Commerce Gothic Light 12pt No. 3 (see above).

The 12pt Heavy no. 3 and 18pt Heavy no. 2 are from ebay ("letterpreservation"), 2009-10-22.

The 6 pt Heavy Condensed No. 3 came from ebay ("letterpreservation") in October 2009.

2.4. Medium Condensed Gothic


{McGrew, pp. 158-159} identifies this as a face in its own right. The "medium" does not mean that it is a variant weight within a family, nor does the "condensed" mean that it is a variant width. Rather, it is a medium, condensed exercise within the general framework of 19th century gothics. He does not give a date for it, but notes that in 1939 "Deluxe Variants" were added; I don't think I have any of those.

Provenance: same ebay cabinet of "brass spacers" as the Franklin Gothic (see above).

2.5. Record Gothic

Sizes and weights:

{McGrew, pp.265-267 } identifies Record Gothic Condensed as one of several 1950s variations on Ludlow's pre-1930 Record Gothic ("useful for small headings on ruled record sheets" and thus produced only in smaller sizes prior to a 1950s revival of earlier gothics).

Provenance: The same Lynn Card Company Ludlow cabinet mentioned for Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, above.

3. Sans Serifs

3.1. Tempo

Weights and Sizes:

Tempo is infamous in the Ludlow world. It was everywhere; everybody has it. Nobody seems to like it anymore. McGrew is decidedly cool to it. I've watched printers smirk as it was mentioned. This is probably because it was overdone - too many supermarket ads set in it for too many decades. On the other hand, there's a reason that it was so popular. For what it is - a geometric san serif for commercial work - it is very good. If you look at the original marketing material for Tempo, it's very stylish, very Deco.

Most of my Tempo (so far) came from the same Lynn Card Company Ludlow cabinet mentioned for Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, above (whic is why for so many of the fonts I have uppercase only. The 6pt Tempo Medium did have both cases, but was missing the uppercase 'W' and lowercase 'e'. I got these from Don Black on 2009-10-23.

4. Old Styles

4.1. Caslon

Sizes and Weights:

Of the writing about Caslon there is no end, but McGrew has very little to say about Ludlow's Caslons. In any case, this is 1-B Caslon Bold (a single line at position 2 on the matrix gauge) which differs from the 1-TC "Tru-Cut" Caslon. I presume that it is earlier; Ludlow wasn't very good about putting dates in their books, but 1-B has disappeared by what appear to be later books, replaced by 1-TC.

Provenance: from ebay ("letterpreservation"), early 2009.

5. Scripts

5.1. Coronet

Sizes and Weights:

I got this deliberately so as to be able to cast something really big on the Ludlow. It is a not-quite-connecting script. R.Hunter Middleton, 1937. Some people look down their noses at Coronet; it can be fun. It's very 1940s in feel. McGrew, at least, likes it (pp. 108-109; "a charming grace and swing.")

Provenance: from Phil Ambrosi, 2009, in a magnificent box.

6. Sorts

No. 1911. A Ludlow

Provenance: Don Black, rec'd 2009-10-23.

7. Borders and Rules

8. Logotypes

9. Spacing

You can never have too much. I'm pretty well set for 7/8" Roman. I've got some 1 1/4" Italic, but could use more. I do have 7/8 "40-degree" Italic spacing (but no fonts to space with it).

I lack entirely:

I have the triangular Roman-to-Italic conversion spaces for 1 /14, but not for 7/8.

I have no 1 1/2" spacing (but neither do I have any sticks or fonts in 1 1/2".)

10. Ludlow Wishlist

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