American Type Founders

Early History Through 1906

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This is a summary history of the evolution of the American Type Founders Company from the point of its incorporation in 1892 through the completion of its consolidation into a single manufacturing plant in Jersey City, NJ in 1906. It is intended to be as accurate as the source materials permit.

Contents:

1. Preliminary Clarifications

Two common conventions in type foundry naming practices have caused confusion in later accounts of the early history of ATF.

1. Manufacturing Type Foundries vs. Selling Houses

It is necessary to distinguish between two kinds of businesses, and also two kinds of offices/plants the names of which appear in the literature.

On the one hand, there are actual manufacturing type foundries (as businesses) which cast and sold type. In the simplest case, this would be done in a single plant. Larger foundries might also have what we would today call branch offices, in which type was only sold, not cast. Often these would be referred to by the company as "selling houses" (ATF used this term frequently in the 1890s). The term "Type Foundry" would naturally be used of the selling houses (i.e., branch offices), whether or not type was actually cast on the premises.

Confusion can also occur because many type foundries (especially the "western" (i.e., midwestern) ones) began as branches of another foundry, but then achieved some form of independence. The Cincinnati Type Foundry, for example, began as a branch of White's New York Type Foundry. Sometimes the ties between the parent and child foundries were severed completely. But sometimes foundries in this situation remained entangled to some degree. Thus the Franklin Type Foundry of Allison & Smith (Cincinnati) began as a branch of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan (Philadelphia) and then became an independent company, but some of its owners were also principals in MS&J. (In one extraordinary case, the owners (Schraubstadter and St. John) of what had begun as a branch (the Central Type Foundry, St. Louis) became successful enough that they purchased the "parent" foundry (the Boston Type Foundry); although owned by the same two individuals, these two firms continued as separate but cooperating firms.) Compared to other industries of similar importance, typefounding has always been a relatively small world. The patterns of ownership of 19th century American type foundries make a study in mutual entanglement.

On the other hand, there were various entities which sold type that they did not cast. Sometimes these were other type foundries. Sometimes they were general printing supply houses. Sometimes they were simply individuals or businesses acting as "agents" for a type foundry. Confusingly, these entities would often use the name "Type Foundry" in their own business or trading name, even though they never cast type.

It is therefore necessary to examine each case in detail to understand its history and to determine whether the firm was or was not a manufacturing type foundry and whether any given location was a manufacturing or simply a selling location.

2. Type Foundry Names vs. Business Names

The modern reader may find it confusing that often the operating name employed by a manufacturing type foundry differed from the official business name of the owners. Thus the Dickinson Type Foundry (in Boston) was founded around 1839 by Samuel Nelson Dickinson ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 128) and continued operating under that name until it became a part of ATF in 1892. However, it was purchased in 1848 by Sewell Phelps and Michael Dalton. At that time the firm's name became "Phelps and Dalton" ("Phelps, Dalton & Co. from the death of Phelps in 1863). Later it came under the control of Joseph Warren Phinney, though it continued as Phelps, Dalton & Co. Throughout all of this it remained the Dickenson Type Foundry.

Sometimes the business name was of a form confusing to modern ears. The Boston Type Foundry (1817-1822) became the Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry (foundry name) of T. Harrington Carter & Co. (business name) from 1823-1849 with "John Gorham Roberts, Agent." It then became "The Boston Type Foundry, John K. Rogers, Agent" (1851-1892). Annenberg is of the opinion that "John K. Rogers, Agent" was the business name of the firm.

At other times, the foundry name was simply arbitrary. For example, the Great Western Type Foundry was the foundry operating name of Barnhart Brothers & Spindler (in Chicago). The "Chicago Type Foundry" was the foundry operating name of Marder, Luse & Co. (also in Chicago). Whether the foundry name or the business name was used most often tends to be arbitrary. The Great Western Type Foundry tended to be known, instead, by is business name (Barnhart Brothers & Spindler). Phelps, Dalton & Co. tended to be known by its foundry name, the Dickinson Type Foundry.

2. The Pre-History of ATF

Understanding the history of ATF requires an overall understanding of the business history of the type foundries of America in the Nineteenth Century. The best source for this is Maurice Annenberg's Type Foundries of America and their Catalogs. {Annenberg 1994}

The best history of the convoluted business dealings and negotiations which led to the formation of ATF is the first chapter of David Mallinson's doctoral dissertation Henry Lewis Bullen and the Typographic Library and Museum of the American Type Founders Company. {Mallinson 1976}

3. The Formation of ATF

Mallinson gives a date of February 8, 1892 for the official formation of ATF (although, uncharacteristically for his detailed study, his source is not entirely clear; see {Mallinson 1976}, p. 23). However, this date is certainly based on sound sources and it fits the other evidence well, so there is no reason not to accept it.

The earliest trade note that I've seen regarding the formation of ATF was in March 1892, in The Inland Printer (Vol. 9, No. 6, p. 150):

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(This volume has been digitized by Google twice; the image above is from their digitization of the University of Michigan copy. It is available via The Hathi Trust as well. Here is an extract of the complete page, in PDF format: inland-printer-v009-n06-1892-03-hathi-mdp-39015086781179-p0536-first-notice-of-atf-incorporation-jpg.pdf )

The next note concerning the company does not appear until the November 1892 number of The Inland Printer (Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 150-151). It gives a full list of the original foundries, as well as the names of the officers and the board of directors.

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image link-to-inland-printer-v010-n2-1892-11-hathi-mdp-39015086781377-p0151-atf-foundry-list-sf0.jpg

(This volume has been digitized by Google twice; the image above is from their digitization of the University of Michigan copy. It is available via The Hathi Trust as well. Here is an extract of both pages, in PDF format: inland-printer-v010-n2-1892-11-hathi-mdp-39015086781377-pp0150-0151-original-atf-foundry-list.pdf

(Coincidentally, the same page of The Inland Printer contained the obituary for David Bruce, Jr., inventor of the pivotal type caster. This page is thus an accidental, but fitting, marker of the passing of an old order and the beginning of a new one.)

Along with the "preliminary prospectus" (discussed below) this list of the 23 original type foundries which constituted ATF may be considered a primary document. (It was clearly taken from a press release of the Company.) Here is a transcription of this list of foundries, in the order presented. I've added foundry and business names in [square brackets] where relevant, cross-checked against Annenberg's Type Foundries of America and their Catalogs. Spellings are as they appear in the Inland Printer trade note.

Mallinson reprints a list of the same 23 foundries (in different order, but the same firms) taken from a "confidential preliminary prospectus" for ATF. This document was found along with the bill of sale for the Franklin Type Foundry (Allison & Smith). {Mallinson 1976}, pp. 23-24. No other copies of this prospectus survive, but it is less surprising that this particular copy survives when one realizes that Robert Allison went on to become the first president of ATF. (Aside: as discussed below, Mallinson's characterization of the Franklin Type Foundry as a "branch" of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan is slightly misleading; it was an independent firm.)

Several foundries were not a part of this amalgamation. The November 1892 Inland Printer trade note claims four (without naming them). Stevens L. Watts claims five (Bruce, Farmer, Bresnan, BB&S, Hansen, in notebooks cited by {Mallinson 1976}, p. 24). Annenberg notes the Keystone Type Foundry (p. 41). A lot depends on what you mean by a "major" foundry. At least the following type foundries, major and minor, existed in 1892 but were not part of the original ATF formation:

It is interesting to note that this gives a grand total of at least 36 type foundries in America at the point of the creation of ATF in 1892. In that year the U.S. had only 44 states altogether.

The list of type foundries started after the creation of ATF is of course potentially infinite. They include:

(Damon & Peets was a sales organization which began in 1868 but did not start typefounding until 1896.)

Some of these were acquired by ATF; some were not. Of those that were, sometimes the path to acquisition was complex. See the section Acquisitions Before 1906 for further details.

Of these foundries, the Western and the Inland are significant for practical students of ATF type founding as they appear in ATF type caster mold data. Their prominence is not surprising, as the Inland was founded by the sons of Carl Schraubstadter and the technical side of the Western was handled by Schokmiller (and it incorporated Wiebking & Hardinge's Advance Type Foundry).

4. Some Notes on the Original Foundries

4.1. Collins & McLeester/M'Leester

{Annenberg} notes that both "McLeester" and "M'Leester" are attested in the literature; he prefers M'Leester (p. 115). Collins & M'Leester were successors to the North American Type Foundry (E. Starr & Son) (p. 112).

4.2. Pelouse / Pelouze

{Annenberg} has "Lewis Pelouze" (not Pelouse, as in The Inland Printer list), p. 215. Stevens L. Watts confirms this {Watts 1956}.

The Pelouze family had a long, complex, and poorly documented history in typefounding. See Watts' "The Pelouze Family of Typefounders" {Watts 1956}, as well as Annenberg's entries for Edward Pelouze, Lewis Pelouze, and the Richmond Type Foundry (Henry L. Pelouze).

Note that the Philadelphia Type Foundry of Lewis Pelouze & Co. (which was one of the original 23 foundries) was distinct from the Richmond Type Foundry of Henry L. Pelouze (purchased by ATF in 1901).

4.3. Heinrich / Manhattan / Union

Annenberg says "The ownership of this foundry cannot be unraveled and the short period of the existence of the type manufacturing end of the business should speak for itself." ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 189).

Annenberg reports (and reproduces an advertisement also stating) that the Manhattan Type Foundry purchased the materials of Philip Heinrich (which dated back to 1855) and offered a specimen book in 1887. He notes further that by 1889 they were owned by the Union Type Foundry (St. Louis). The Union T. F. was one of the 23 original ATF foundries.

He says, finally, that "In 1892 the plant was sold under the name of Philip Heinrich to the American Type Founders Company and the machinery was then dismantled."

Both of the primary sources for the list of the 23 original ATF foundries list it as "P. H. Heinrich" in NY.

The 1894 ATF Annual Report does not mention the Heinrich foundry by name, but does say that "The departments of the company in New York, ... have been collected in the Rhinelander Building..."

4.4. Lindsay / Lindsay

A. W. Lindsay (which was a part of the original 23) split off from a partnership with his brothers in 1870 to form his own firm. The original partnership continued as the Lindsay Type Foundry, and then Robert Lindsay & Co. ( {Annenberg}, pp. 175-176.)

4.5. Cary - Baltimore / Washington / Richmond

At the time of the ATF amalgamation, Charles J. Cary & Co. (Baltimore Type Foundry) included the Washington Type Foundry (Washington, DC). ( {Annenberg}, p. 234) In the ATF lists of the original foundries, the Washington Type Foundry is not listed as a separate concern. In this it differs from the Central and Boston, which (while they had the same ownership) were listed separately.

Note that for four years from 1879 the Richmond Type Foundry (Richmond, VA) owned the Baltimore Type Foundry. They sold it to Charles J. Cary & Co. ( {Annenberg 1994}, pp. 217-218).

4.6. Hooper, Wilson & Co.

Annenberg was able to discover no information about Hooper, Wilson & Co. (p. 3), and has no independent entry for it.

4.7. Dickinson / Phelps, Dalton & Co.

As noted earlier, the Dickinson Type Foundry was by 1892 simply the foundry operating name of Phelps, Dalton & Co. (One was not a "subsidiary" of the other.)

The Dickinson Type Foundry (in Boston) was unrelated to the Boston Type Foundry (for which see below).

4.8. Benton, Waldo / Northwestern

Benton, Waldo & Co. were, through various intermediate stages, successors to the Northwestern Type Foundry.

4.9. Central Type Foundry / Boston Type Foundry

The firm which became the Central Type Foundry (St. Louis) began in 1872 as a branch of the Boston Type Foundry (for the alternative names of which, see above). It became a separate firm in 1874, owned by James A. St. John (who had begun at the Boston T. F.) and Carl Schraubstadter. In 1888 these two purchased the stock of the Boston T. F.

In both of the primary sources for the list of the 23 original ATF foundries, the Central and the Boston are listed as separate foundries, despite their common ownership.

4.10. Franklin / Allison & Smith / MSJ

Mallinson's statement that the Franklin Type Foundry was "a Cincinnati Branch of MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan." {Mallinson 1976}, p. 23) isn't exactly incorrect, but it is a bit confusing (just as the history of the firm is confusing). This foundry began in 1856 as the Cincinnati branch of L. Johnson & Co. (Philadelphia), a predecessor of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. After the Civil War, it continued as an independent business controlled by Robert Allison with some connection to the Philadelphia firm (it was partly owned by Howard L. Johnson, son of Lawrence Johnson, along with an as-yet unidentified "Smith" who might or might not have been one of the Smiths of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan). At some point in the same timeframe, L. Johnson & Co. became MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan ( {MSJ 1896}, p. 36); Annenberg dates this to 1867. ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 179). By the time of the creation of ATF, The Franklin Type Foundry was the operating name of Allison & Smith. The two primary sources for the list of the 23 original ATF foundries both list it as Allison & Smith. Annenberg says that Robert Allison was retained as a "manager" within ATF, but the 1892 Inland Printer material and the early ATF Annual Reports show him to have been its first president. ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 141).

5. Early Consolidation

5.1. 1892

There is no real evidence of which I am aware for closures or consolidations in 1892, though no doubt several occurred with the smaller constituent foundries.

5.2. 1893

Summary:

By July of 1893, just over a year after its incorporation, ATF had consolidated from 23 foundries down to 14 manufacturing foundries. These were:

The following foundries are not mentioned in any 1893 literature and are presumed to have been closed or consolidated.

(The Palmer & Rey foundry is not actually listed in the evidence from 1893, but it did appear as a manufacturing foundry in later lists. This was a period when "western" still meant Chicago; San Francisco was a long way away.)

Evidence:

An advertising insert in The Inland Printer for July 1893 (Vol. 11, No. 4, just inside the front cover) lists thirteen of the original foundries. (It also lists a "Denver Type Foundry," but this was certainly just a selling house.) While it doesn't state specifically that these are the only manufacturing foundries left, this list of thirteen does correspond exactly to later (1894) advertisements which did (adding Palmer & Rey, of course).

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(Digitized by Google from the Univ. of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust. Here is an extract of the first page of this insert, in PDF format: inland-printer-v011-n4-1893-07-hathi-mdp-39015086781211-atf-insert-p1.pdf

An advertisement in the October 1893 number of The Inland Printer (Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 19) provides the first specific count of manufacturing type foundries. It is by the New York branch (calling itself "American Type Founders' Co., Successors to James Conner's Sons") and it says that it has "In stock: Type from Twelve Foundries Sold at Same Prices and Discounts as Our Own Type." This count implies 13 foundries. However, the tendency to omit the distant Palmer & Rey foundry in San Francisco means that it does not preclude 14.

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image link-to-inland-printer-v012-n1-1893-10-hathi-mdp-39015086781229-p0019-ny-atf-rhinelander-sf0.jpg

(This has been digitized by Google twice, and is available via The Hathi Trust. The image here is from their digitization of the Univ. of Michigan copy, from The Hathi Trust. Here is an extract of just this page, in PDF format: inland-printer-v012-n1-1893-10-hathi-mdp-39015086781229-p0019-ny-atf-rhinelander.pdf

The 1893 ATF Annual Report (which would have been their first) is not present in currently digitized sources. Their fiscal year ran from September to August, however so the 1894 annual report covers Sept. - Dec. 1893. It is discussed and linked in the next section.

5.3. 1894

The 1894 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1893 to Aug. 31, 1894) reports the start of consolidation:

( {ATF Report 1894} , p. 4)

The date of the NY consolidation into the Rhinelander Building may be pinned down more precisely by a Trade Note which appeared in The Inland Printer, Vol. 13, No. 2 (May, 1894), p. 159 which reads:

The American Typefounders' Company have removed their New York offices from Cortlandt street to the Rhinelander building, corner Rose and Duane streets. This change brings the various offices together at one location and makes the conduct of the New York branch much more convenient than formerly.

Note that "consolidated under one roof" does not necessarily mean "merged as entities." Advertisements which appeared in 1894 in The Inland Printer listed thirteen "Manufacturing Foundries," including the Dickinson and the Boston foundries separately. (Vol. 13, No. 2 (May 1894), p. 181, Vol. 13, No. 4 (July 1894), p. 376, and Vol. 13, No. 6 (September 1894): p. 572); also reprinted in {Annenberg 1994}, p. 48) Curiously, in the first two of these a graphic appears showing and claiming twelve foundries, but the list has thirteen (the graphic omits the St. Louis Type Foundry). Here is the list:

(Collins & McLeester (Philadelphia) is the foundry which has disappeared from the list. It is interesting that its consolidation/closure is not mentioned in the ATF Annual Reports until the 1894-5 fiscal year.)

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image link-to-inland-printer-v013-n4-1894-07-hathi-mdp-39015086781518-p0376-atf-foundries-sf0.jpg

(This volume has been digitized by Google from the University of Michigan copy, and is available via The Hathi Trust. Here is an extract of the page containing the ad from the July 1894 number in PDF format: inland-printer-v013-n4-1894-07-hathi-mdp-39015086781518-p0376-atf-foundries.pdf )

The same list of 13 foundries appears in advertisements in Vol. 14 of The Inland Printer:

It is interesting to note that 1894 represents the start of serious, sustained advertising by ATF.

5.4. 1895

The 1895 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1894 to Aug. 31, 1895) says:

( {ATF Report 1895} , p. 3)

Applying these consolidations to the earlier list of fourteen gives nine surviving manufacturing foundries as of Aug. 31, 1895:

Although there is no evidence (yet) of the consolidation of the two St. Louis manufacturing plants, From April 1895 the ATF advertisements list only one St. Louis selling branch.

The advertisements by ATF in Vol. 15 of The Inland Printer (April - September 1895) cease to make the distinction between manufacturing foundries and selling houses/branches.

Two trade notes of relevance appear in the April 1895 number of The Inland Printer (Vol. 15, No. 1, both on p. 70):

"The American Typefounders' Company has consolidated its two Cincinnati branches at 7 Longworth street. Hereafter the Cincinnati branch will do business under the name, American Typefounders' Company."

"All Branches of the American Typefounders' Company have dropped the use of local names, and will do business in the future under the name, American Typefounders Company. There are eighteen selling branches, the addresses of which are given on p. 22."

The address given for the St. Louis branch is that of the former Central Type Foundry at Fourth and Elm, St. Louis.

5.5. 1896

(No data yet.)

(I can find no mention of any consolidations (in St. Louis or elsewhere) of ATF manufacturing plants in Vo. 16 (Oct. 1895 - March 1896) of The Inland Printer.)

5.6. 1897

The 1897 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1896 to Aug. 31, 1897) reports a new building for the Boston foundry and gives a convenient list of those plants into which manufacturing operations had been consolidated.

( {ATF Report 1897} , p. 5)

(These correspond exactly with the letter designations of the constituent foundries ( see below) strongly suggesting that they might have been assigned at about this time.

This same report listed the selling branches. These were:

There were also "special agencies" in:

"The trade in Mexico and Central and South America is also being steadily developed by the traveling agents of the Company ..."

6. Acquisitions Before 1906

1900. ATF purchases Bruce's Type Foundry, then owned by V. B. Munson. It was operated independently until 1906, when its plant was integrated into the ATF Central Plant at Jersey City. ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 82).

Bruce materials feature prominently in the ATF type caster mold data.

1900. ATF purchases A. D. Farmer & Son (successors to Farmer, Little).

1901. ATF purchased the Richmond Type Foundry (Richmond, VA), which had been started by Henry L. Pelouze in 1858 and which was in 1901 under the management of his son Edward Craig Pelouze. ( {Annenberg 1994}, pp. 217-218).

Note that for four years from 1879 the Richmond Type Foundry owned the Baltimore Type Foundry. They then sold it to Charles J. Cary & Co. and it took its own path into ATF.

Circa 1903. ATF purchased Robert Lindsay & Co. (the Lindsay Type Foundry, New York).

Distinct from A. W. Lindsay, which had been a part of the original 1892 amalgamation.

Note: the following foundries were dissolved prior to 1906 but not acquired by ATF:

As an intermediate case, the California Type Foundry (San Francisco) ceased business ca. 1898-1904 and was not acquired as a business by ATF. However, its "molds and machinery" were acquired by ATF. ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 94)

The nature and status of the Crescent Type Foundry (Chicago), q.v., is still unclear. ATF may or may not have been involved in it in some way.

The materials of the short-lived National Type Foundry (Chicago) (1894? - 1895) were acquired by the Crescent Type Foundry, not ATF.

The materials of the Illinois Type Foundry (Chicago) (not acquired by ATF in 1892) were acquired by the Standard Type Foundry (Chicago) (also not acquired by ATF).

7. Consolidation to a Single Plant

The 1901 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1900 to Aug. 31, 1901) contains a preliminary suggestion for a Central Plant:

"The Company has labored under the expensive condition of a number of scattered manufacturing plants, and the importance and necessity of establishing a central plant for the manufacture of staple products have long been felt and are now under consideration. It is estimated that an annual saving of at least one per cent. upon the capital stock could easily be made above the interest upon the additional capital required to establish such a plant. It would also greatly facilitate the prompt production of new type faces to have under one roof the capacity of several times that of the largest of our present manurfacturing plants. It would not be wise to close all existing plants, but to make staple goods at a central point, saving in cross-freights, rents, insurance, taxes, superintendence, and by the manufacture of very large fonts at less cost than under existing conditions." ( {ATF Report 1901} , pp. 4-5)

The 1902 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1901 to Aug. 31, 1902) announces the purchase of the ground for the Central Plant in the Communipaw section of Jersey City:

"The Company has purchased the ground for the new Central Plant at Communipaw, New Jersey, and plans are now being drawn for the erection of a fire-proof building with large capacity in which its staple products can be manufactured under more favorable conditions than now exist. A large saving will be effected in Insurance, Rents and Superintendence. This saving cannot, however, be realized during the first year, but will be of long time benefit." ( {ATF Report 1902} , pp. 3-4)

The 1903 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1902 to Aug. 31, 1903) reports the Central Plant "substantially complete" and ready for the installation of machinery:

"The new Central Plant at Jersey City, New Jersey, referred to in the last Annual Report, is now substantially complete, is strictly fire proof, and is ready for the installation of the first foundry machinery. The land owned amounts to about 3 1/2 acres, and the total floor space completed is approximately 80,000 square feet, leaving ample ground for future growth. During the present fiscal year [that is, 1903-1904] a portion of the plants will be brought from other cities and installed, especially those matrices from which the staples of the Company are manufactured. The General Office, formerly at No. 25 William Street, New York City, has been removed to the Central Plant." ( {ATF Report 1903} , p. 4)

The 1904 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1903 to Aug. 31, 1904) reports first on the type founders' strike of October 1903 to January 1904, and then gives the state of progress for the Central Plant:

"The strike seriously delayed the installing of the plants in the Central Foundry at Jersey City, but such installation has rapidly progressed during the past few months and the Central Foundry is now producing about one-half of its possible output. By the close of this fiscal year [that is, 1904-1905] we expect the Central Foundry to be in complete operation, producing its maximum capacity. ..." ( {ATF Report 1904} , p. 3)

The 1905 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1904 to Aug. 31, 1905) discussed the expense of the production of type to the newly introduced "American Line" primarily in terms of casting and stock (rather than matrix operations). It then discussed the closing of the older plants (which did not happen immediately):

"During the year the Company has proceeded to the consolidation of its type founding plants, but it has not been practicable owing to the training of additional employees at the new plant in certain departments to complete the work, and considerable of that work will be carried on this year." ( {ATF Report 1905} , p. 4)

The 1906 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1905 to Aug. 31, 1906) indicates the complete consolidation into a single plant:

"The plans indicated in previous reports for standardizing the more desirable faces and concentrating the work at the Central Plant, have been carried to a practical completion, and the Central Plant is now operating to its full capacity, resulting in very material reduction in the expense of manufacturing." ( {ATF Report 1906} , pp. 3-4)

By the 1906 ATF Annual Report (for the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1906 to Aug. 31, 1907) space in the Central Plant was already insufficient:

"The requirements of the Company were such during the past year that it was found necessary to make an extension of the Central Foundry and one of the wings is now being extended ninety feet." ( {ATF Report 1907} , p. 4)

8. Foundry Numbers and Letters

ATF started with 23 foundries (at least a dozen of which might be termed "major"), acquired half a dozen more before 1906 (Bruce, Farmer, Richmond, Lindsay, the materials of the California, and perhaps the Crescent), and went on to acquire two more major foundries later (Keystone, BB&S (which in turn included the Western, Advance, and Laclede foundries.)) The problem of integrating their machinery, matrices, designs, and business records (while simultaneously creating more) was obviously substantial.

In the period before the consolidation into one Central Plant in 1906, at least two separate schemes for identifying foundries were developed. These are still relevant today, because they became a part of the system of describing the materials of the foundry.

For a more thorough discussion of these systems, with evidence for them (insofar as we know it), see: ../../../ Barth Type Caster Notebook -> Data and Tables -> ATF Constituent Foundries

What follows here is a simple summary (without presenting the evidence).

8.1. Original Foundry Numbers

The original 23 foundries were each assigned a number. We known only nine of them:

There is no evidence that any foundry acquired after the original amalgamation was ever assigned a number.

These numbers have been used in two places:

First, in the 1895/6 "Collective" specimen book, they were used in many cases to identify the branch which originated or manufactured specific type faces. Thus a type series might have a code such as "B 4" in tiny print underneath its name. This indicated that the type originated from "Branch 4," which was MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan.

Second, in a very few cases these original foundry numbers were incorporated into the names of typefaces. The standard example of this is Caslon Oldstyle No. 471, which was face no 71 of MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan (foundry no. 4). It is identified as No. 71 in the 1895/6 "Collective" specimen book.

Note that these numbers as a part of the names are not related to the ATF series numbers. The series numbers were introduced in the 1930s; these designations are much older. "Caslon Oldstyle No. 471" is ATF series 50.

The claim by Henry Lewis Bullen that he originated the integration of foundry numbers into numeric face names cannot be substantiated.

8.2. Consolidated Foundry Letters

At some point between the consolidation down to eight manufacturing foundries and the acquisition of the Bruce Type Foundry (1900), the eight consolidated foundries were each assigned a single-letter designation. The Bruce foundry was also assigned a letter. There is no indication that any later acquisitions were assigned single-letter foundry designations in this way. The letter-designated foundry operations were:

These foundry letters were never used externally in literature or designations visible to customers. They were, however, used extensively in identifying the materials sourced from (or built to be compatible with) the various manufacturing foundries. This continued after the consolidation into a single Central Plant.

This is still important information for those who are casting from ATF matrices or with ex-ATF pivotal or Barth type casters. For example, several molds are identified by 'B': "B-1," "B-2," etc. These are molds which are either from the New York foundry operation (consolidated primarily from the Conner foundry) or which were made to the same specifications. My 60 point Barth type caster, for example, is fitted with 60 point mold of style no. "03", which is a B-4 mold.

(As an aside - I found this particularly confusing at first, since by complete chance "B-4" is a relatively common mold in the ATF materials, while "B 4" is a rather common foundry designation in the 1895/6 Collective Specimen Book. But "B-4" is a mold designation for a New York (foundry B) mold, while "B 4" is a foundry designation for Branch 4 (Philadelphia). The two are unrelated.)

9. Problems in Modern Sources

The amalgamation and early history of ATF is at present recorded inaccurately in several widely distributed (and widely cited) modern sources. A couple of these deserve mention.

The list of type foundries "absorbed" by ATF in David Consuegra's American Type Design and Designers (NY: Allworth Press, 2004) is confusing and inaccurate. It includes several foundries acquired after the original 1892 amalgamation, yet he suggests that it represents the original group. It includes at least one nonsensical name ("...; Type Founders; ..."), inaccurate names ("Damon Type Foundry"; then listing again "Damon & Peets") and foundries never actually acquired by ATF (Pacific States Type Foundry). This list, while admirably enthusiastic, has no place as a source in any study of the history of ATF.

Wikipedia is a moving target, and in general is a resource of much higher quality than it is sometimes given credit for. However, at least as of October 2014 its treatment of the origination and consolidation of ATF is simply wrong (see the English language Wikipedia page for "American_Type_Founders").

The primary error is that they omit from the original amalgamation both the Central Type Foundry and the Boston Type Foundry. Further, they suggest (wrongly) that these two were acquired in 1893. They were in fact two of the most important foundries in the original ATF merger. Neither does Wikipedia realize that the Central Type Foundry and the Boston Type Foundry were independent foundries, even though controlled after 1888 by the same two individuals. (They say that the Boston was a "subsidiary" of the Central, which is not accurate.)

They leave out Pelouze & Co. (Philadelphia Type Foundry) from the original 23, and do not adequately distinguish it from H. L. Pelouze (Richmond Type Foundry).

They do not recognize that the Dickinson Type Foundry was the foundry name of Phelps, Dalton & Co. (but state wrongly that Phelps, Dalton was a "subsidiary" of the Dickenson T. F.) This leads them to the error of omitting the Central Type Foundry from the original 23.

They claim incorrectly (and strangely) that Farmer, Little & Co. was acquired by ATF in 1892, but not as a part of the original 1892 formation of the company. Perhaps Wikipedia was confused because 1892 was a point of inflection for this foundry. Farmer, Little & Co. were successors to the White Type Foundry, and operated under the Farmer, Little name until 1892. In 1892, two of the principals in the firm retired and it contined as the A. D. Farmer Type Founding Company. This became A. D. Farmer & Son, which finally sold out to ATF in 1900 (there appears to be a typographical error in Annenberg where he says "1909").

They claim that ATF acquired the Hansen foundry, when in fact it was simply dissolved (they even cite McGrew on this - but McGrew never says that ATF acquired Hansen).

These errors are not entirely the fault of the Wikipedians; they have been misled by the generally low quality of secondary sources (both print and electronic) as metal type has been forgotten in the digital era. But we live in an era where accurate and well-researched secondary sources such as Annenberg remain available at reasonable cost, and many primary sources (such as The Inland Printer for 1892 and the ATF Annual Reports) are now online for free. With careful research, including a preference for primary sources and the separation of good secondary sources (such as Annenberg) from bad ones, all of these errors are avoidable.

10. Bibliography

{Annenberg 1994} Annenberg, Maurice. Ed. Stephen O. Saxe. Type Foundries of America and their Catalogs. Second Edition. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1994.

You need this book.

{ATF Report 1894} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . NY: ATF, October 15, 1894.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1893 to Aug. 31, 1894. This was the second Annual Report of the firm. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1895} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . NY: ATF, October 10, 1895.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1894 to Aug. 31, 1895. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1896} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 15, 1896.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1895 to Aug. 31, 1896. It is interesting that this was issued in Jersey City; the Central Plant there was not constructed until several years later. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1897} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 26, 1897.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1896 to Aug. 31, 1897. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1898} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 15, 1898.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1897 to Aug. 31, 1898. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1900} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 13, 1900.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1899 to Aug. 31, 1900. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1901} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 9, 1901.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1900 to Aug. 31, 1901. This is the first Annual Report signed by Robert W. Nelson as president. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1902} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 10, 1902.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1901 to Aug. 31, 1902. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1903} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 15, 1903.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1902 to Aug. 31, 1903. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1904} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 15, 1904.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1903 to Aug. 31, 1904. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1905} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 14, 1905.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1904 to Aug. 31, 1905. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1906} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 18, 1906.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1905 to Aug. 31, 1906. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{ATF Report 1907} Annual Report to the Stockholders of the American Type Founders' Company . Jersey City, NJ: ATF, October 12, 1907.

For the fiscal year from Sept. 1, 1906 to Aug. 31, 1907. See the local copy of ATF annual reports from 1894-1907 in the CircuitousRoot ATF Notebook for a reprint of the digitization of these by Google from the Princeton University copy.

{Mallinson 1976} Mallinson, David Walker. Henry Lewis Bullen and the Typographic Library and Museum of the American Type Founders Company. Dissertation (Doctor of Library Service), School of Library Service, Columbia University, 1976.

Mallinson's chapter on the formation of ATF remains the best study of its early history. This dissertation should be available printed from microfilm from ProQuest LLC, successors to University Microfilms International.

{MSJ 1896} One Hundred Years. Philadelphia, PA: MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan, 1896.

A complete reprint of this volume does not yet exist. I have, however, reprinted the sections on techical type founding in the Notebook of General Literature on Making Printing Matrices and Types.

{Watts 1956} Watts, Steve [Stevens] L. "The Pelouze Family of Typefounders." Printing & Graphic Arts. Vol. 4, No. 2 (May, 1956): 29-35.


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