Original Old Style Italic


image link-topic-sf0.jpg

1. Introduction

This face has a complicated history in which additions/changes were made in two instances. It also has a fairly generic name, and should not be conflated with the "Original Old Style" which began with the Johnson foundry (even though it was re-lined for use with that face in a small 20th century casting).

2. Elihu White's Type Foundry

According to McGrew, this face was introduced in 1858 by White's Type Foundry. They cut it in four sizes (McGrew doesn't say which).

I do not yet know if it was at that time a freestanding italic unrelated to any roman offered by the foundry, or if it was related to what later became Farmer, Little & Co.'s Original Old Style (Farmer). (Original Old Style [Roman] was shown at least as early as Farmer's 1867 specimen.)

To the best of my present knowledge, this was an independently cut Caslon-derivative face unrelated to the earlier Caslon-derived Old Style (Johnson) / Original Old Style (MSJ) / Caslon Oldstyle No. 471 (ATF)

3. Farmer

Elihi White's foundry became Farmer, Little & Co. in 1861. Steve Watts says that this typeface was shown in Farmer specimens in 1862 and 1900 {in his prospectus for the 1958 reissue of this face as his Kittypot Casting No. 2}.

Here it is as shown in the 1900 Farmer specimen book. By this time it was being cast on point-system bodies.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-farmer-1900-specimen-hathi-mdp-39015039415107-img0196-p0180-sf0.jpg

(Scanned by Google from the University of Michigan copy, and available via The Hathi Trust. Hathi ID: mdp.39015039415107.)

Students of the lining of types will note that the lining of the vowels later classified as "quaint" differs significantly in the 18 point size.

4. ATF (1911)

Farmer's (then A.D.Farmer & Son) was acquired by ATF in 1909.

McGrew says that in 1911 ATF "resurrected" the 18 point size and cut new 'a', 'e', and 'o' characters to replace the deliberately oversize originals (the originals were then fonted separately as "quaints"). I presume that at this time they re-lined the face to their "American Line" standard. I cannot, however, find it in the 1912 ATF specimen book.

5. ATF/Kittypot (1958)

A special casting was done by ATF in 1958 for Steve Watts as his Kittypot Casting No. 2.

It was cast to line with the heretofore unrelated Caslon Oldstyle No. 471 as a companion roman. That face was an old one (which had its origins in the Johnson Type Foundry). This leads to an open question about the lining of "Original Old Style" in 1911. Presumably ATF Caslon Old Style No. 471 would have been cast to the ATF "American Line." Was Original Old Style also re-lined to this standard in 1911 (in which case the lining of Original Old Style and Caslon 471 required no special effort in 1958), or was Original Old Style cast to its own line in 1911 and re-lined for the 1958 casting?

For this 1958 Kittypot casting, Watts also, by "eloquent request" convinced ATF to cut new mats 'for the quaint characters and other "peculiars," fitting them to the point body." {from Watts' prospectus for the casting, 1958}.

Bob Mullen (Xanadu Press), in his article on Watts' "Kittypot Revivals", reprints the specimen card for this casting as issued.

Here it is shown in a different piece, Watts' prospectus for the casting (issued February 15, 1958):

[click image to read]

image link-to-watts-kittypot-casting-no-02-white-original-old-style-italic-sf0.jpg

If you click on the image above, you'll get a 29 Megabyte PDF of the document (a two-sided sheet). Since this is an interesting and otherwise unattested variation on a historic typeface, I've also uploaded the original 1200dpi RGB PNG scans. If you click on either of the images below you'll get them. Be forewarned that this are large (210 Megabyte) files which will take considerable time/bandwidth to download but, unless you're deeply interested in the microscopic details of the typeface, add little to your knowledge beyond what is present in the PDF above.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-watts-kittypot-casting-no-02-white-original-old-style-italic-1200rgb-recto-sf0.jpg image link-to-watts-kittypot-casting-no-02-white-original-old-style-italic-1200rgb-verso-sf0.jpg

Thanks are due to Bob and Carole Mullen (Xanadu Press) for this document.

Select Resolution: 0 [other resolutions temporarily disabled due to lack of disk space]