Tributes and trickery

by | Sep 14, 2013 | fakes, font, handwriting, Hermes, IBM, Olympia, proportional, Woodstock | 8 comments


  1. Unknown

    All your mention of typefaces on typewriters and how they are derived and copied in computer fonts creates an interesting question in my mind.

    Which typewriter was the first to have a "typewriter" typeface? Not the original Sholes and Glidden (Or was it a Remington at that point) as we all know from Mark Twain's letter.

  2. Richard P

    Good question. I have Herman Price's Remington no. 2 in my house (long story) and it has a standard-looking pica "typewriter" typeface. I wonder who designed it. The machine is #65,728, built in 1890.

  3. Bill M

    I use computer generated typewriter fonts many times. I do not know that they could ever be passed as a typewritten letter. The feel of the paper is much different in a letter from a typewriter. Even my old dot matrix printers left imprints that could be felt, yet none, even the best 29 pin, could not be passed off as typewritten. I guess if someone really wanted to fake a typecast that would be more difficult to detect.

    Good question Nick. Better yet what was the first printer font and was a common font from the newspaper industry the basis for the first one for a typewriter?

  4. Ping A

    Any idea which typewriter manufacturer first came out with the cursive typeface and about when?

  5. Richard P

    I think Hammond offered cursive typefaces in the 1890s.

  6. Robert Messenger

    William W.Jackson, of Philadelphia, designed the cursive typeface ("font of script printing-type") in 1883 for MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan, the so-called "typography tastemakers" of the second half of the 19th century. M, S & J produced hundreds of typefaces from its Philadelphia foundry. Jackson was an independent diesinker, engraver, punch cutter and type designer who also designed type faces for Barnhart Brothers & Spindler, Bruce Type Foundry, Central Type Foundry, Farmer Little & Co (later A.D. Farmer & Sons), Keystone Type Foundry and American Type Founders.
    The idea of typebar typewriters printing connecting type was raised at the turn of the century in relation to producing Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindustani writing, first by Baron Paul Tcherkassov of St Petersburg, Russia, with Robert Erwin Hill of Chicago,and later by Vassaf Kadry of what is now know as Instanbul. This was taken up by Underwood, notably by the like of Burnham Coos Stickney – both Underwood and Remington (Robert McKean Jones) were very keen to make typewriters which could be used for Eastern languages.

  7. Richard P

    Thanks, Robert, for this very impressive report.

  8. Anonymous

    I too remember the faux-dot-matrix mail!

    These are really interesting thoughts. Whatever the nomenclature, I think the origins of paper and human at a typewriter imbue the content and physical evidence with so much matter that fakery, however many it fools, cheats itself. I think of the political mail I receive, with imitations of handwritten notes and color signatures. So much gesturing I often lose sight of the words. And I wonder how something so simple as signing a letter might change a politician, altering the value of her constituent, or her own sense of conviction as the act demands her touch and ownership.


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