Saturday, May 5, 2012

Type Specimen Book - Western Typesetting

I love this cover graphic.  As found on the shelf, the book has no words or graphics on the spine.  It's just pure black.

Gingercat and I stopped by our favorite used bookstore, Prosperos, and found this great Type Specimen Book.  It was published by the Western Typesetting Company.  There is no copyright or other date information and the price lists are missing from the inside cover sleeve.  The one clue to the date is a 6 digit alphanumeric telephone number that would have been phased out in the 1950s.

The address is in what is now the Quality Hill neighborhood in downtown Kansas City.

 A Google search turns up nothing other than the apparent fact that I got a really good deal on this book.  Any information about the book or the manufacturer would be appreciated.

I also own an American Type Founders specimen book from the 1940s.  I actually prefer the layout and organization of the Western book.

The cowboy theme continues throughout the book.  It's pretty fun! I've posted a few samples.  The Script selection is amazing.

I want the Italic Swash type on a typewriter.
One of gingercat's friends was very happy to receive s sample of this typeface.
I am still a little obsessed with the blackletter fonts.
The reliable old Epson 3170 scanner is happy to be on the job.  I rescanned the cover and I can tell you that is is a vast improvement over the combination HP scan/print thing that shall not be named.  The next scans are also from the Epson.

I would be remiss in not showing the typewriter simulation samples from this book.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, yee, haw, pardner!


  1. Cool!

    I had no idea they made typefaces that simulated typewriters to the extent that their periods would "punch the paper"! Try that, computer fonts.

    You could scan these typefaces and turn them into fonts as I have done with typewriters.

  2. Oh wow! This really was a superb find. Presentation matches content!

  3. I've often wondered what that distinctive font used so much in movies in the 1940s & 1950s was called -- and you have answered this question with this post. It is Eden Light!

  4. The Tempo Medium Italic Swash is reminiscent of Spencerian business script, I think, with the fancy, swoopy capitals. It's a nice piece of Kansas City history and I hope you can find out more about the Western Typesetting Company!

  5. This is sensational! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I am starting to catch up after a week away. This book was a lucky find. One of the local art hives has a printing workspace full of discarded analog equipment, type and a whole bookcase full of type specimen books. That place is totally drool worthy.

    The simulated typewriter type is interesting. It makes sense for marketing materials to make a fake letter look more personal.

    I like the idea of creating digital versions of some of these fonts. Perhaps if I get time I will try and work up the technology curve. I'm still trying to figure out how to get Richard's fonts installed and working on my computer. I'll load some of these up to my download site. Please send or share digital versions if you create them.

    It is interesting how typefaces help identify an era. I wonder if the styles of the near future will look more digital and stripped down, or if perhaps highly stylized fonts will come back in vogue.


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