[US] Kittypot Castings

image link-topic-sf0.jpg

1. Overview

1950s/1960s. Not a type foundry, but a type casting series offered by subscription by Steve L. Watts. Cast from ATF and predecessor matrices by ATF.

Bob Mullen (Xanadu Press) has written a very nice article on Watts' "Kittypot Revivals". In it he reprints not only Watts' own explanation of the "kittypot" castings but also the specimens used to advertise them. Mullen's article is now the best reference available on Watts' Kittypot Castings; the information here is for the most part drawn from it.

Mullen has identified and documented eleven Kittypot castings. Here's a card which I discovered slipped into an incomplete set of Watts' journal The Pastime Printer. I think that it is an order card for Kittypot castings. Checking a few of the variants (e.g., 2, 2a, through 2f) the suffixes seem to correspond to the fonting alternatives. If it is indeed a Kittyfont-related card, it lists castings through 13.

[click image to read]

image link-to-watts-probably-a-kittypot-casting-order-card-through-13-sf0.jpg

I must say, the combination of the cool jazz of "Steverino" and the 18th century long-s is delightful.

2. Typefaces

Kittypot Casting No. 1: 24 point Cincinnati Ornamented Initials No. 1145. Originally circa 1880. { Mullen 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 2: 18 point [Farmer] Original Old Style Italic. Originally from 1858; shown in 1862 Farmer specimen. New 'a', 'e', 'o' cut in 1911 to replace oversize originals (then fonted separately; Kittypot casting included them). Cast to line with ATF No. 471 Caslon Old Style. { Mullen 2013} Note that { Butler 1959} and { Nelson 1998} also cite this, but do not mention that it was italic.

Kittypot Casting No. 3: 11 on 12 point Wayside Roman. { Mullen 2013} Also { Butler 1959} { Klensch 1998}

Kittypot Casting No. 4: 18 point Pekin. This is the former "Dormer," by BB&S in 1888. Renamed Pekin in 1925 as a faux-Japanese face. Watts, however, advertises it for its capabilities: "this unique type trims flush at top and bottom, making it invaluable to the typographical tilesetter. Make your own monograms, railroads, cattle brands, &c. Not recommended for longhaired or time-conscious priners." His showing of its abstract potential is quite interesting. { Mullen 2013} Also { Butler 1959}

Kittypot Casting No. 5: 24 point Cincinnati 2-Color Initials No. 49. From 1883. Hand cast. { Mullen 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 6: 18 point Trocadero Ornamented NO. 3. Watts lists this as originally Great Primer Ornamented No. 3 of the Dickinson Type Foundry (last shown 1879). (Curiously, McGrew says that the later Typefounders, Inc. of Phoenix version [which may well have been electroformed from a Kittypot font - DMM] was based on the Illinois Type Foundry's Ornamented No. 25.) { Mullen 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 7: Wedgewood Cameo Ornaments. Not Victorian designs, but rather by Clarence P. Hornung (who is perhaps best known today for having edited several important volumes of early advertising art). { Mullen 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 8 18 point Great Primer Ornamented No. 8. AKA De La Rue, Bruce Two-Line Bourgeois Ornamented No. 19, Gentry, Cicero. { Mullen 2013} { BriarPress 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 9: 18 point Pacific. By 1890 by the Dickinson Type Foundry. { Mullen 2013}

Kittypot Casting No. 10: 12 point Oxford Roman and Italic. These were the oldest surviving American matrices, by Binny & Ronaldson in 1796 (Roman No. 1 and Italic). { Mullen 2013} Also { Nelson 1998}

Kittypot Casting No. 11: Munder-Hoyle 18 point Corners and (various sized) Ornaments. Originally BB&S. { Mullen 2013}

3. Notes

(Butler 1959) Butler, Kenneth B. and George C. Likeness. Practical Handbook on Display Typefaces for Publication Layout. Mendota, IL: Butler Typo-Design Research Center, 1959.

(Klensch 1998) Steve Watts identified as having cast Wayside Roman in a posting by Chas Klensch on the LETPRESS mailing list, 1998-10-03.

(Nelson 1998) Posting by Stan Nelson on the LETPRESS mailing list, 1998-10-10. He notes that "we [the Smithsonian] have the matrices for [Farmer] Original O[ld] S[tyle]" and that the Smithsonian acquired the matrices for Oxford in the 1993 ATF auction.

(Mullen 2013) Mullen, Robert. "Kittypot Revivals".

Select Resolution: 0 [other resolutions temporarily disabled due to lack of disk space]