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Published on July 21st, 2013 | by Vincent Jobse

Creative Review: font with the smell of gun powder

In the Type Issue of Creative Review: the story of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum.

A letter font with the smell of gun powder and the image of John Wayne. Hamilton Wood Type was born in Two Rivers, Michigan. Hamilton Holly Wood Type Company was established by J Edward Hamilton in 1880 and was the biggest wood type manufacturer in the USA by 1900. Numerous circus posters, newspaper headlines, theatre announcements were made with this letter font.

In 1917 the use of wood type came to an end, as the company switched wood for steel. It was the end of a short era, but the font is not forgotten. For more than a decade volunteers and museum staff are documenting, cataloguing and researching Hamilton Wood Type. The Hamilton Wood Type Museum is dedicated to this type font and was first established in the former Hamilton Manufacturing Complex. Now it has found a new home in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. It houses more than 1.5 million type pieces in more than 1.000 styles.

But the font is not only a museum piece. It has a new digital future ahead through a joint venture between P22 type foundry and the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The classic designs in this collection are based on scarce printed specimens and actual wood type from the historic Hamilton Museum. The inclusion of HWT to the P22 roster is a perfect addition to the legacy of keeping classic designs relevant and usable in contemporary design. Hamilton Wood Type Foundry now has seven fonts available in Desktop and WebFont formats.


Creative Review | Advertising, design and visual culture
The Type Issue | July 2013
90 pages | Language: English

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About the Author

Vincent Jobse is a Dutch design addict, who fully enjoys the pleasures of the web, but who loves print on pure, old-fashioned paper.

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