Slab Faces


25. Egyptian Slabs

The earliest metal slab type faces were cast in 1817 by Figgins Foundry in London. The name used in their catalog was "Egyptian." Egyptian was a name attached to type around the 1830's when a craze for Egyptian artifacts was sweeping the western world. Other heavy slab faces followed shortly Latins and Clarendons.

The first square-serif type to be introduced was the Antique of Londons Vincent Figgins Foundry, turning up in the 1817 catalogue of that firm in four sizes [...].
The provenance as much as the use of the term Egyptian is obscure. Most authorities agree that it was the coincidence of the emergence of the square-serif types with the popular interest in Egypt following the Napoleonic conquest [...] that gave the design its name.

Alexander Lawson, Anatomy of a Typeface.


More from the Hamilton Type Museum

" Hamilton began producing type in 1880 and within 20 years became the largest provider in the United States. During that time, as waves of immigrants helped build the republic, news and public information was printed in many styles of wood type. When people see wood type they often remember the classic Wanted poster, says Historical Society board member Jim Van Lanen.

If you discover the other printed items of our nations graphic history, you will find wood type in almost every historical society collection. You will find printed documents and posters that help illustrate how people communicated with each other. Whether it was the sale of horses or land, political rallies, booklets, packaging or circus posters - wood type expressed the message of that day.