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End User License Agreement


This End User License Agreement (the “Agreement” “EULA,” “License,” “Agreement” or “License Agreement”) is a legal agreement between the Licensee (you) and Schwartzco, Inc., d/b/a Commercial Type (collectively, “Commercial Type”) and becomes a binding contract between you and Commercial Type when you access, install and/or use the Commercial Type Font Software (“Font Software” or “Fonts”). This Agreement governs the terms of use the Font Software and the design of the Fonts embodied therein (collectively, “Font Software”), for, among other uses, use in multi-use methods, large scale multi-user commercial uses, as well as simple uses such as individual desktop only uses. This License also controls the use and distribution of any media, electronic documentation, updates, add-ons, artwork, web services and/or the form of proprietary technology used to implement use of the Fonts as exists now or in the future. This Agreement becomes effective (a) when you “accept license agreement,” or when you open the electronic file in which the Font Software is contained. If you do not wish to enter into this Agreement, do not purchase, access, download and/or install or otherwise use the Font Software.

What this section means

Please read this document carefully, because you agree to its terms by installing the font software.


(a) Upon payment in full, Commercial Type will grant you a non-exclusive, terminable License to the Font Software that accompanies this EULA. Use of the Font Software is limited to the specific uses permitted in your purchase receipt. All Commercial Type licenses are for use by the identified Licensee (You) only. Transfer or export or use of the Font Software by third parties is not permitted. For the purposes of this Agreement, “Font Software” shall be defined as the design of the Fonts together with the Font Software which, when used generates the typeface, typographic designs and, if included in the Font Software, ornaments or other designs. 

(b) The types of licenses offered by Commercial Type include, but are not limited to:

i. Use for Creation – Desktop. Under this license you are permitted to (1) Use fonts installed to a desktop computer for creating printed material or images; (2) embed the Fonts in non-editable documents. 
Such uses include internal documents, company letterhead, production of a newspaper, magazine, book or other paper publication, print advertising, broadcast advertising, film titles, social media posts, signage, packaging, and point of sale displays.

ii. Uses for Creation with Distribution Rights. Under this license, the Font Software is bundled with and distributed as part of the licensed uses and includes: (1) App License; (2) Web License; (3) ePub License; (4) Software Embedding License; (5) Device Embedding License; (6) Automated Document Production Server License; (7) Embedded Content License.

iii. Add-on or License Extensions. If the proper license extension is purchased, you are permitted to: (1) use the Font Software to produce merchandise for sale, including alphabet-themed products; (2) embed the Fonts in editable documents; (3) use the fonts in external third party platforms; (4) share the fonts with third parties doing work on behalf of Licensee.

iv. Use of the Font Software with Generative or other Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) services or in other AI programming is expressly prohibited.

PLEASE READ: To understand the terms and conditions associated with a particular type of license, review the Attachment to this agreement. The relevant terms and conditions in the attachment form a part of this agreement.

What this section means

This paragraph outlines what kind of usage is permitted with each kind of licensing that may be purchased. The receipt and license document delivered with the fonts will list what usage you are licensed for, and at what license levels (i.e. the number of users permitted by a desktop license, the number of domains and unique visitors per month permitted by a web license, etc.). Your user account on this website will also give a record of the licenses you have purchased and the usage permitted under each of them.

If you are uncertain whether a particular use is permitted under the license you have purchased, please contact us at info[at] for assistance.


FONT SOFTWARE DELIVERY. The Font Software will be transmitted, as necessary, to Licensee via Internet download for use on the computers and, if applicable, on the websites of Licensee in the (i) WOFF and WOFF2 Web Font formats; (ii) in the Open Type Format for Desktop use and; (iii) in TrueType Format for Application (“App”) uses as specified by the license purchased. Commercial hereby agrees to provide amended or updated Webfonts and/or Font Software, upon the request of Licensee, in the event generally accepted and commercially used software and/or Internet browser formats change in response to technology innovation.

What this section means

The fonts will be delivered in different formats depending on the license you have purchased.


If you are a design consultancy, advertising agency or purchasing this license for use by or on behalf of such an entity, the ultimate end user should also purchase a license appropriate for their intended use of the Font Software. The license granted herein for personal use extends to temporary employees or independent contractors using the Font Software only so long as they are providing professional services expressly for the benefit of Licensee. 

What this section means

A license may not be shared by multiple companies (i.e. both a designer and his or her client). We make an exception for a freelancer working on behalf of a licensed client as an individual may use the fonts during the course of a project must purchase a separate license if they wish to use the fonts for other projects after the completion of the gig.


Commercial Type, its successors, and assigns expressly retain all right and title in and to the Font Software together with the design of the Font embodied therein, together with any trademarks used in connection therewith. Except as may be otherwise expressly permitted herein, you agree not to copy the Font Software or create derivative works based upon the design of the Font or the Font Software. You hereby agree that the design of the Font and the Font Software are the exclusive property of Commercial Type and that the unauthorized use of the design of the Font or the Font Software is an infringement of Commercial Type’s exclusive rights and causing significant monetary harm. All rights not expressly granted herein are reserved to Commercial Type. Commercial Type’s rights and remedies in the event of an infringement shall be cumulative in nature.

What this section means

This license grants you the right to use our fonts and to make a copy of the files for backup purposes, but the fonts (both the software describing the design and the design itself) belong to us. You are not allowed to give copies to your friends, family or clients, and you may not modify the fonts without written permission from us.


Except as may be otherwise expressly permitted herein, you may not alter or copy the Font Software, or the designs embodied therein in any manner whatsoever. Reformatting the Font Software into other formats for use in other operating systems is expressly prohibited. Upon payment of an additional fee and a separate written agreement Commercial Type may provide the Font Software in alternate and/or additional font formats, contact Commercial Type for a quotation. Altering or amending the embedding bits characteristics of the Font Software is expressly prohibited. The Font Software may not be used to create or distribute any electronic document in which the Font Software or any part thereof, is embedded in a manner or format that permits editing, alterations, enhancements, or modifications by the recipient of such document, unless a license that permits such use has been purchased. You may not knowingly transmit any electronic document or the Font Software to any party that intends or is likely to “hack,” edit, alter, enhance, or otherwise modify the Font Software or remove the Font Software from any document.

What this section means

You will need written permission from us before making any kind of modifications to a font which you have licensed from us, including renaming the font or converting it into a different format, in part because we aren’t able to support fonts we haven’t built and tested ourselves. Please contact us at info[at] for more information.


You may make one (1) back-up copy of Font Software for archival purposes only, and you agree to retain exclusive custody and control over any such copy. Upon termination of the Agreement, you must destroy the original and all copies of the Font Software. The unauthorized sharing, lending, renting, sale, or other unauthorized use or misuse of the back-up copy is a material breach of this Agreement and will result in the immediate termination of this License.

What this section means

You may make a copy of the font files for backup purposes, but you may not give, lend, or sell copies to your friends, family, clients or especially to strangers.


If no other option exists, you may take a digitized copy of the Font Software used for a particular document, or Font Software embedded in an electronic document that is sent to a commercial printer or service bureau for use by the printer or service bureau for preparing the document, provided that the printer or service bureau represents that it shall destroy any and all copies of the Font Software upon completion of its work. Notwithstanding, you agree that the transmission of a “print/preview” pdf document is the first and preferred method of transmitting such documents to a service bureau or printer.

What this section means

If making a PDF is not an option, you may deliver a copy of the fonts to a service bureau or printer for final output. The service bureau must destroy the fonts when they are finished with the job.


The designs embodied into the Font Software, the Font Software itself, and any trademarks associated therewith are the exclusive property of Commercial Type and their designers, where applicable, and are protected by the copyright and other intellectual property laws of the United States, by the copyright and design laws of other nations, and by other international treaties. Any copies that you are expressly permitted to make, pursuant to the Agreement, must contain the same copyright, trademark, and other proprietary notices that appear on or in the Font Software.

What this section means

This license grands you the right to use our fonts, but we retain ownership of both the font design and the font software.


With the exception of subsetting webfonts, you agree not to create, assist in and/or cause the creation of modifications or additions to the Fonts or Font Software, including but not limited to: creating additional weights; creating additional or deleting existing characters; modifying existing characters; modifying font spacing and kerning; converting fonts to an alternate digital format, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, alter, or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Font Software without first obtaining written permission from Commercial Type. In the event that permission is given to you, the modifications must be used according to the terms and conditions of the License you purchased and all modifications and additions shall become and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Commercial Type. You may not sell, lend, or otherwise transmit any modifications or additions to the Font Software to any third party. You agree that any webfonts not directly provided by Commercial Type, such as webfonts that have been subset by Licensee will be supported at Commercial Type’s sole discretion.

Other jurisdictions may provide for additional rights, and if applicable, you may reverse engineer or decompile the Font Software only to the extent that sufficient information is not available for the purpose of creating an interoperable software program (but only for such purpose and only to the extent that sufficient information is not provided by Commercial Type upon written request). All trademarks shall be used in accordance with accepted trademark practice, including identification of the trademark owner’s name. Use of the trademarks associated with the Font Software inures solely to the benefit of Commercial Type.

If you are unsure whether your use of the Font Software is specifically permitted under this Agreement, contact Commercial Type. All uses of Commercial Type Fonts require a license.

What this section means

You can subset webfonts licensed from us, but you will need written permission from us before making any other kind of modifications or additions to a font which you have licensed from us, or hiring anyone else to do so. We can only support the font files we provided, meaning that if you subset your own webfonts, we can’t support them. If you require modifications to a font, we can do the work for you quickly and at a reasonable cost. Please contact us at info[at] for more information.


Commercial Type Font Software is licensed for use by a specified number of users and for specified uses.

What this section means

This license is not limited to one geographical location; a company with multiple locations may share one font license for all employees so long as they are within the number of licensed users.


Except as may be otherwise expressly provided for herein, you expressly agree not to rent, lease, sublicense, give, lend, or further distribute the Font Software. 

What this section means

You may not give or lend copies of the font files to anyone else, unless you transfer the license to the third party (along with a copy of this EULA and all other documentation that may have been included with the fonts) and destroy all copies of the font files in your possession, including backups.


Commercial Type warrants that the Font Software will perform substantially in accordance with its documentation for ninety (90) days following delivery of the Font Software. To make a warranty claim, you must either return the Font Software to the location from which you obtained it together with a copy of your sales receipt or, if acquired on-line, contact the on-line provider with sufficient information regarding your acquisition of the Font Software to permit the confirmation of the effective date of this License. Schwartzco, Inc. and Commercial Type hereby EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. COMMERCIAL TYPE DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE OPERATION OF THE FONT SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT THE FONT SOFTWARE IS WITHOUT DEFECTS. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL COMMERCIAL TYPE BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PARTY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE) OR OTHERWISE, FOR ANY SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, SAVINGS OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF THE FONT SOFTWARE EVEN IF NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE OF SUCH POSSIBILITY. You hereby agree that your entire, exclusive, and cumulative liability and remedy shall be limited to the purchase price of this Font Software License. Under no circumstances shall Schwartzco, Inc.’s or Commercial Type’s liability to you exceed either the refunding of the cost of the Font Software License or replacement of the Font Software either of which shall be at Commercial Type’s sole discretion.

What this section means

The fonts will perform as promised in the documentation, and we will provide technical support within a reasonable timeframe, to the best of our ability. In the event of a refund, we cannot refund more than the purchase price for the license, and all copies of the fonts in your possession must be destroyed.


OTHER LAW – CONSUMERS ONLY. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental, consequential or special damages, implied warranties, or implied warranties as they relate to sales to consumers. ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OR OTHER RIGHT CREATED BY LAW IS ONLY EFFECTIVE FOR THE NINETY (90) DAY WARRANTY PERIOD. THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND AFTER THE NINETY (90) DAY WARRANTY PERIOD. To the extent permissible by law, you agree that all implied warranties are not to be effective for more than thirty (30) days.

What this section means

This paragraph is required by law and simply means that any warranty (explicit or implied) is limited.


You expressly agree that this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York, USA, as they apply to contracts entered into and wholly performed therein and without respect to its conflict of laws provisions or the conflict of laws provisions of any other jurisdiction. You expressly submit to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in the State of New York, USA, agree to waive any defenses arising out of the selection of jurisdiction or venue and further agree to service of process by mail. You hereby expressly agree that the application of the United Nations Convention of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is expressly excluded.

What this section means

Our main office is in New York City, so this agreement is governed by the laws of New York State.


You acknowledge that you have read and understand this Agreement and that by using the software you agree to be bound by its terms and conditions. You further agree that it is the complete and exclusive statement of the agreement between Commercial Type and Licensee which supersedes any proposal or prior agreement, oral or written, and any other communications relating to the subject matter of this Agreement. No variation of the terms of this Agreement or any different terms will be enforceable in the absence of an express written amendment, or consent, including a written express waiver of the affected terms of this Agreement. If any provision of this Agreement is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, void, or unenforceable, the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall continue in full force and effect, and the invalid provision shall be replaced by Commercial Type with a provision that effects the intent of the invalid provision. Commercial Type expressly reserves the right to amend or modify its License Agreements at any time and without prior notification.

What this section means

Again, please read this document carefully, because you agree to its terms by installing the font software.


The Agreement shall automatically terminate in the event You or any authorized user breaches any term or condition set forth herein. Notwithstanding any termination of this License, Commercial Type expressly reserves all other rights and remedies under equity or law. The Agreement may only be modified in a writing signed by an authorized officer of Commercial Type.

What this section means

If any of the terms in this agreement are broken, the license is no longer valid. We will notify you in writing if the EULA changes.


You agree to be responsible for compliance with all laws, foreign and domestic relating to the control of exports or the transfer of technology. If you are purchasing this License for government use, or under a government contract, you agree to familiarize yourself with and follow any applicable rules and regulations relating to the purchase of a license to use software and the actual use thereof.

All inquiries and arrangements for returns, if any, may be sent via e-mail to info[at] The Commercial Type website is located at

©2023 Schwartzco, Inc. d/b/a Commercial Type. All Rights Reserved.

What this section means

You agree to follow the law and other applicable rules in your use of this font license.



Your license may include these Types of Uses, if purchased. See the receipt and license document delivered with the font files for details. Some of these license types may not be purchased via this website.

Please contact info[at] for details and pricing.

Creation with Distribution Licenses

  1. App License

    1. Allows for embedding in Applications or Apps using the iOS, Windows Mobile, and Android mobile operating system formats.

    2. License is per individual title, without restriction as to the type of OS.

  2. Web License

    1. Use the Font Software to style HTML and SVG documents using the CSS @font-face mechanism.

    2. Use in email permitted, with fonts served from licensee’s server.

    3. License covers a discrete number of domains, with unlimited subdomains permitted for each.

    4. License covers an aggregated total number of unique monthly visitors across all licensed domains.

    5. If the maximum number of allowed unique visitors is exceeded for three (3) consecutive months, the purchase of an additional license is required. Commercial reserves the right to inspect or monitor your usage.

    6. You shall make a reasonable attempt to prevent the use of any process that allows hot-linking, re-serving or re-directing access to and/or use of the Font Software by unlicensed parties. You agree to exercise commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that the Font Software is retained with the other assets associated with the licensed domains.

    7. For the purposes of clarity, the use of third party font hosting services is strictly prohibited and the Font Software should be stored and served from the same devices and location as the other software and assets associated with the licensed domains.

  3. ePub License

    1. For use of the font software to style text in ePubs, for use in any operating system or device in which embedded fonts are supported.

  4. Software/Video Game Embedding License

    1. For embedding the fonts in non-mobile desktop software for use in MacOS, Windows, Linux, etc.

    2. License is per individual title, without restriction as to the type of OS or Platform.

  5. Device Embedding License

    1. For embedding fonts in any type of electronic device.

    2. This License is granted only on a per device basis.

  6. Automated Document Production Server License

    1. This License permits installing the Fonts Software on a server that generates documents automatically, such as bank statements, credit card bills, investment fund prospectuses, among others. 

    2. For creating user-generated content using the fonts, such as logos or templated documents.

  7. Embedded Content License

    1. For content using the font, distributed through content aggregators or ad networks:

      1. HTML5-based advertising.

      2. Embedded content in services such as Facebook Instant, Google AMP, Apple News, etc.

    2. License is for a discrete number of impressions.

    3. For use where the Fonts are hosted on the creator’s server, or CDN.

  8.  Merchandise License

    1. For use in creating merchandise for sale, among others, on goods such as apparel, mugs, housewares in which a logotype or other text set in the typeface is the primary design element;

    2. Promotional items given away for free are covered by the standard desktop license and do not require a merchandise license;

    3. Packaging and point of purchase promotion is covered by desktop license;

    4. Electronic devices, third party software, etc. would require an Embedding license, not a merchandise license

  9. Document-Based Editable Embedding License

    1. PDF embedding is permitted in the standard Desktop License.

    2. This License permits changing the embedding setting from Print & Preview (default) to Editable Embedding, which allows a Font to be embedded in a document which can then be viewed, printed, and edited.

  10. External Platform License (for platform user)

    1. For use of the font on third party platforms and services.

    2. Examples:

      1. Font is loaded onto for licensee to make templated presentations.

      2. Font is used on website that automates production of business cards for licensee.

    3. Fonts are hosted on the third party server, or shared CDN. No further distribution is allowed.

    4. Content may only be produced/edited by the license holder (fonts cannot be used by the third-party platform or other users of the third-party-platform not authorized by licensee).

    5. Font must be removed from third-party platform upon discontinuation of the third-party services.

  11. Distribution License

    1. Allows for distribution of desktop fonts to a third party who needs to work with the fonts on licensee’s behalf. Subcontractor will receive a desktop license that limits usage to working with the licensing client, along with the standard EULA.

    2. License covers a discrete number of third parties doing work on behalf of licensee simultaneously.

What this section means

This attachment to the EULA details the usage permitted under each license type, some of which can be purchased on this website, and some of which can only be obtained by contacting us and working with our licensing department. Please contact info[at] for assistance.




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Thorowgood Grotesque

Figgins first introduced a sans serif in 1828, a condensed roman serif form in 1832, then a condensed sans in 1833. Shown in Specimen of Printing Types by Vincent Figgins, London, 1833. St Bride Library.

The sans was the most horizontally economical of the new condensed forms: see above, Figgins Twenty Line Pica, Sans-Serif compared to a modern and slab form, all with the same vertical stroke width.

Thorowgood’s Seven Lines Grotesque first appeared in 1834, the first sans serif typeface with a lowercase in Britain. Shown here in Thorowgood & Co. Specimen of Printing Types. London, 1840.

Figgins first introduced a sans serif in 1828, a condensed roman serif form in 1832, then a condensed sans in 1833. Shown in Specimen of Printing Types by Vincent Figgins, London, 1833. St Bride Library.

The sans was the most horizontally economical of the new condensed forms: see above, Figgins Twenty Line Pica, Sans-Serif compared to a modern and slab form, all with the same vertical stroke width.

Thorowgood’s Seven Lines Grotesque first appeared in 1834, the first sans serif typeface with a lowercase in Britain. Shown here in Thorowgood & Co. Specimen of Printing Types. London, 1840.

Figgins first introduced a sans serif in 1828, a condensed roman serif form in 1832, then a condensed sans in 1833. Shown in Specimen of Printing Types by Vincent Figgins, London, 1833. St Bride Library.

Simple in style and confident in form, the condensed sans serif was immediately popular with printers. The need to make letters as big as possible within the minimum amount of space resulted in the development of the condensed style, and the sans serif offered scope for hugely successful bold variants. The lack of serifs and smaller inner counters allowed letters to be closely spaced, creating a great mass of black that stood out in print. The first examples appeared over 180 years ago, yet remain a typographic constant. The popularity of faces, such as Druk, show their continuing appeal, as they are often both anonymous yet beloved for their graphic utility and qualities.

Thorowgood’s Seven-line Grotesque, cut c. 1834 (its first appearance in a specimen is that year, and it does not appear in the specimen dated 1830), was one of the first condensed sans serif typefaces, and one of the first known with a lowercase.1 This is also the first recorded use of the term Grotesque, which would become a popular name for sans typefaces in the UK and in Germany. The type was copied and Thorowgood’s Grotesque and Egyptians appeared in specimens by 1835 in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic.

As a pioneer of the style, it has an noticeable individuality, the result one presumes of the engravers trying to resolve certain problems of how best to shape the letter. Cut in only one size, Seven Lines (84 point), the specimen shows only the words BRIDGENORTH and Communicate: 12 capital letters and 9 lowercase letters. Many of these letters seem typical of later condensed forms; for example, the flat-sided capital O and the typically flat-sided vertical tail of the R. The capital G with its lack of crossbar is also typical of the time. The lowercase has a large x-height; the external shapes are gently rounded, but the internal counters are completely flat. The c and e have greater variation in weight than normal, and the a with its large bowl, unusual counter, and a tail with a simple straight form (like the lowercase t) is not at all what we expect. The figures that are shown in a subsequent specimen are curious and seem to fit poorly with the other letters. They are wider, rounder, and much lighter in places than the rest of the face. The spacing is tight, narrower than the internal counter widths. Later specimens show additional characters, and further sizes of a similar style of letter in uppercase, offering clues as to how the complete alphabet would have looked. Thorowgood’s condensed Egyptians offer similar clues: the unusual a in the sans, for example, can also be found in the slab forms, which suggests the same engraver was responsible for many of these designs. One of these, Thorowgood’s Twelve-line Condensed Egyptian, has survived as type at St Bride, offering further clues to the possible appearance of the rest of the Grotesque lowercase.

The pioneering nature of the lowercase sans form seems to have had little influence on the other British foundries. While all-capital versions of the condensed and regular sans styles are common, the lowercase is absent until the next wave of innovations from Germany and from across the Atlantic in the 1850s. Reed and Fox, successors to Thorowgood at the Fann Street Foundry, show a range of regular-width sans with lowercase in 1874, the same year as Austin Wood & Co introduce a new range of condensed sans with lowercase.2

Though the roman form was widely adopted, italic condensed sans (or any kind of italic for sans) were a rarity. The first appears in a Caslon specimen (all capitals) in two sizes in 1834, but disappears by the 1850s. The dramatic angle is steeper than one would expect and creates a powerful impression. In 1870, Caslon introduced a light condensed form with a lowercase, but it appears as a single style, for there is no roman with a lowercase, let alone a condensed light variant. This must have had some influence, as Reed and Fox produced a similar typeface in 1872, two years before they released a roman (regular width) version. So the matched italic that has been designed has little precedent in history.

Thorowgood Egyptian

Twelve and Ten Lines Condensed Egyptian, as shown in Fann Street Letter Foundry, A General Specimen of Printing Types. London, Robert Besley and Co. [Late Wm Thorowgood and Co.], 1851. The condensed Egyptian appears first in Thorowgood’s specimens in the 1830s, with the lowercase appearing in the 1837 specimen. St Bride Library.

Twelve Lines Condensed Egyptian as type. Characters with descenders extend outside of the body, allowing the typeface to be tightly packed on the vertical axis. St Bride Library.

The condensed Egyptian form that Thorowgood introduced in 1832 brought a new development to the style: a curvature of the join between stroke and serif. It is not a Clarendon-like form, as the contrast has not been increased, but the rounding gives a softer appearance than that of a regular Egyptian or Grotesque. The external form is rounded in both upper- and lowercase, whereas the inner forms are flat-sided. In proportion and spacing, the Egyptian is similar to the Grotesque. These early condensed forms would disappear from the specimens by the 1860s; the large sizes (the largest is Twenty-Five-Lines, approximately 300 point) indicate that expense and convenience would prompt their replacement in a printer’s arsenal with wood letters. No example in Britain seems to exist of a condensed italic variant of the Egyptian form during the nineteenth century. The contemporary versions draw on a mixture of sources: the few contemporary Egyptian italics, the modern Thorowgood Grotesque’s italic (they share the same angle), but also to the designers experiences in making many of the Commercial Classics typefaces. 

The idea of condensing forms, such as the Sans or the Egyptian, show a response from typefounders to the problems of printers trying to make words as big as possible within limited space. After making letters as bold as could be during the first three decades of the nineteenth century, making letters as big as they could be was the next innovation that resonates with us even today.

Thorowgood Grotesque Open

Seven Lines Grotesque Open, shown in Thorowgood & Co. Specimen of Printing Types. London, 1840.

Two more themes of typefounding in the nineteenth century that still ring true today are economy in manufacture and inventiveness of form. Foundries always sought the cheapest way to increase the popularity and longevity of their faces. In the nineteenth century, one method was adding simple effects to preexisting designs to create new forms. For example, this can be seen in the engraving of an inline into Caslon Rounded to create Caslon Rounded Inline, offering a new face and increasing the popularity and life span of the style.

The basic inline effect was added to letters3 before the nineteenth century4, but it appears with the most regularity during the early nineteenth century. The effect lightens the form and adds a degree of dimensionality. As faces grow heavier and heavier toward the fat face, it offers relief from the sheer density of form. The inline is normally a single line added to the left vertical of the form, but inlines on the lower horizontal strokes and on the right can also be found, as well as the use of multiple lines. As new forms appeared, like slab serifs, they also were given this modification.

In the 1830s, the inline appeared in condensed sans faces from both Thorowgood and Blake & Stephenson. By this time, the clean and elementary inline was increasingly being usurped by more intricate effects such as drop shadows, hatching, and ornamentation. Often, these would be combined together and frequently obscured the most fundamental qualities of the letterforms. The inline in the sans letter is a quieter affair, offering a lighter alternative to the solid, heavy form.

Thorowgood’s Seven Line Grotesque Open, which appears in the specimens post-1837, seems to be the addition of an inline to the solid Seven Line Grotesque. The inline is cut to the left of the vertical stroke, but also appears at the bottom of the horizontal bars of the E and T. How the inline was applied is a matter of conjecture. Seven Line is 84 point in size, which the British foundries could have made by the traditional method of punch and matrix, but also from the sanspareil matrix where no punch would have existed. To cut such a fine line in the original punch of the Seven Line Grotesque (if this was how it was produced) would be possible, but this would lose the original inline-free punch. Such a delicate line made in a sanspareil matrix would have been a fiddly operation and unlikely, which suggests that this was made by making an almost exact copy of the original in a steel punch, then adding the inline effect. This style is the model for Thorowgood Grotesque Open, an adaptation of Thorowgood Grotesque. In addition to the roman, an italic was added, which has no precursor in the British specimen books.

Thorowgood Grotesque Dimensional

Ten Lines Sans-Surryphs Ornamented, shown in Specimen of Printing Types by Blake & Stephenson, Sheffield, 1839. St Bride Library.

The pleasure of reinventing forms can be seen in Thorowgood Grotesque Dimensional. The effect here is to give the simple all-capital sans an appearance of real dimensionality by having a triangularly-raised bevel at the centre of the form and giving it an effect of being lit from the upper-left. This optical effect is created by a highlight at the centre, caused by increasingly thick negative lines being cut into the form. A solid line shows where the bevel would be be. The lower-right of the stroke is filled, with the only negative space being a small line to indicate the opposite bevel. This gives the impression of letters that were made by a manufacturer for letters above a storefront, a common sight at this time.

This effect did not originate with Thorowgood, but with Blake & Stephenson in Sheffield as Ten Lines Sans Surryphs Ornamented, and appears in their specimens in the late 1830s. Cut in one size only, it shines out from the specimens, and is best known from its appearance in Nicolete Gray’s Nineteenth Century Ornamented Type. Although named as Ornamented, the use of Dimensional seems a more appropriate title, as the effect is hardly what we would consider ornamentation today.

Despite extensive research, it is difficult to understand exactly how this type was made. A punch of 120 point is of course possible, but driving it into copper would have be a difficult task and one typefounders would have wanted to avoid. Such detail in a sanspareil matrix would be highly impractical and thus unfeasible. It's most likely that they were made by producing a wooden pattern that was then ‘dabbed’, a process where it was carefully pressed into near-solid metal to form a matrix, from which type was cast. This was the method that Pouchée had employed for his famed ornamented letters and was in use by other foundries, such as Wood and Sharwoods, at this time.

With all the time and effort that went into the face, its success was limited if judged by its appearance in print. It can be found in few examples of playbills in the British Library and in Birmingham Public Library, and used by only single printers in Birmingham and Nottingham. It appears only in specimens from this time, then disappears from sight for the rest of the century. Other less elaborate faces that emulate the idea of dimensionality appear both in metal and wood, but they do not capture the sheer exuberance and joy of this example.

During the latter half of the twentieth century, a version appears in the specimen of the Conway Phototypesetting company, as well as various other setting companies on both sides of the Atlantic. On closer inspection, it copies the effect from the Ten Lines Sans Surryphs Ornamented like Thorowgood Grotesque Dimensional, but not the letters themselves. The quality and overall impression is not of the same standard as the original. It is tempting to think that the model for it was the sample shown in the first edition of Gray’s Nineteenth Century Ornamented Type. In this edition, the illustrations of type in the book were not photographically reproduced, but traced by hand from the original specimens from which the blocks were made. This would make the variant from the latter-twentieth century a copy of a copy of the original.

Compared to the radical development of new forms such as the slab or Italian, the addition of inlines or even the complexity of dimensionality to preexisting styles seems less adventurous and challenging. However, they show the continual pattern of typefounders reinventing form through both simple and complicated modifications, often copying from the lettering that surrounded them. Thorowgood Grotesque Open and Dimensional follows these models, offering new variants of existing designs to modern designers.

Sara Soskolne’s research into sans serif typefaces has led to many new discoveries: for example, the appearance of lowercase sans typefaces in the United States at the same time as Thorowgood. Watch ‘Grotesque The Birth of The Modern Sans Serif in The Types of The Nineteenth Century’ As she states the history of sans has been mainly written from an Anglo centric point of view, and new discoveries challenge many of these assumptions.
Several sans appear in specimens of an earlier date, but in naming and style they appear to be imports.
Both serif roman and italic, but also the blackletter form popular for newspaper title pieces
You can find examples in the specimens of Fry and Caslon in the eighteenth century and across Continental Europe earlier.
Written by Paul Barnes