Trenton Wood Type

Trenton is a slender wood type with concave curves and stems that make this sans-serif face appear to have flared serifs. This style would fall into the Tuscan category that covers many wood typefaces of the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Like many typefaces of that time, there were various versions cut by multiple manufacturers. Without company records or patent filings, it is hard to determine who originated the design. There were no fewer than five versions of this design cut by five diderent wood-type makers. Versions by Morgan & Wilcox, Wm. H. Page Co., Tubbs Mfg. Co. and Heber Wells were all likely released before the recorded debut of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company’s version in 1889. As with most of the type designs that were shared (or pirated) between companies, each version has slight variations in the details of the design. By 1909 Hamilton had acquired all of the aforementioned competitors and all of their designs became Hamilton’s property. The Hamilton version became the last one standing and the version most likely to be found in wood-type collections today. They increased their market share even further with a variation called Trenton Pointed, which added a spur to the middle of each stem, and Trenton Ornamented, which took the ornamentation one step further with the addition of an open diamond shape inside each spur. This type of life-cycle occurred for many wood-type designs: multiple manufacturers all making similar designs, later being acquired by Hamilton Manufacturing Company and stylistic variations being added to capitalize on the popularity of a design. Hamilton continued making wood type until the late twentieth century, with the remnants of the company absorbed into what is now the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

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The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.