Wood Type Specimens from the Alembic Press

The Alembic Press has built up a collection of founts of wood letter, and has produced a variety of type specimen books and postcards featuring these faces. The letters are printed with all their faults, such as worm-holes, cracks, etc, but the specimen books feature full founts, or at least as full as are possessed by the Press. Where possible, the specimens give the name of the face, the producer, and the design number, but many of the founts have so far proved impossible to identify. The Press has produced various different styles of specimen book, some being exclusive to the one face, some featuring several faces in the one book. The books about Delittle, and the Alphabet books, show only part founts, but all the others have complete founts for each face. The books currently in print are shown below, along with some rather low definition images (despite appearances, the paper used is cream in colour):

Front cover24 line Antique Bold

A full upper case fount of this Antique face. Maker unknown, but similar to Stephenson Blake's Antique No.1. Printed in two colours, with Japanese binding and paper covers.
20ff. Approx 4" x 10". 40 copies. UK£20.
of Wood Type
A Specimen pageFull fount specimen sheets of forty-six of the wood letter type faces held at the Press. Sizes range from 4 line to 40 line. Pages are printed in a variety of colours and layouts.

50ff. 19½" x 13¾". Now out of print.
16 line Two Colour Shaded Sans

A full upper case fount of this Sans wood letter, maker unknown. The two colours of printing combine to give a three colour result, with a fourth colour (of the white background) incorporated in the design of the letters. Accordion fold.
10pp. Approx 3" x 4". 36 copies. Now out of print.
View of page spread
40 line Poynder

A specimen of the full Delittle fount, printed in two merging shades of purple. Accordian fold.

18pp. 9" x 10". 30 copies. Now out of print
A page spread
3 line Antique3 line Antique (extremely) Expanded

Displays as much of the alphabet as we have of this Antique Expanded wood letter. The cap X is missing, and there is no lower case or punctuation. A second colour sub-text is used to identify many of the irregularities. Concertina folded.
12pp. 2" x 6". 40 copies. Now out of print.
14 line Tuscan

The full capital fount of this ornate Tuscan Condensed wood letter. Constructed with a slotted double accordion fold, and with 18 or 34 pages, depending upon how one counts them!

40 copies. 3" x 3¾". Now out of print.
14 line Tuscan

Six 6-line Wood Type Alphabets
A boxed set of six different wood letter alphabets, with an accompanying abcedarium on typographic subjects. Set in 6 line wood type, as follows
The boxed set of six 1: Old Style Italic - an ABC of type designers
2: Playbill - an ABC of typefaces
3: Round Serif - an ABC of typefounders
4: Sans Condensed - an ABC of typographic terms
5: Winchester Condensed - an ABC of typefounding terms
6: Sans Bold Italic - an ABC of parts of the press.
See also further details.
Each volume 32pp. 3" x 2¾". 100 boxed sets.
UK£30 for the set.
Now out of print
An inside page
Delittle, the First Years in a Century of Wood Letter Manufacture

Describes the first eight years, from 1888, of this firm of English wood letter manufacturers, with extracts from their Day Book. Illustrated with type specimens. Set in Caslon.

64pp. 10" x 7½". Now out of print.
A page spread
Whilst 24 line Antique Bold and Delittle, the First Years in a Century of Wood Letter Manufacture are still (just) in print, all the other titles are now out of print, the full list of those being:
 16 line Two Colour Shaded Sans (see above)
(see above)
3 line Antique (extremely) Expanded (see above)
14-line Tuscan (see above)
40 line Poynder (see above)
Six 6-line Wood Type Alphabets (see above)
Specimens of Wood Type (see above)
8 line Atlas Text
A Little Alphabet
A 40 line Wood Letter Alphabet
Delittle - an English Wood Letter Manufacturer
Thackeray's Alphabet
To order a book, or for further information,
e-mail alembicpress@googlemail.com
For more about the Press's activities,
go to The Alembic Press
This page last updated by D.Bolton on 25 February 2016