Index to Bruce's

History of Typefounding in the United States

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1. Introduction

Bruce's memoir, published in 1981 as History of Typefounding in the United States, is probably the single most important source document in the early-to-middle history of the field. {Bruce 1981} Yet it is in form a rambling memoir, not a finished treatise. Eckman's 1981 edition of it is a fine edition, but it lacks an index. The result is that in order to track down particular details one has to re-read the work linearly every single time. While this may be pleasant, it is not efficient. Here, then, is an index into it.

References to "Annenberg" are to the second edition of his Type Foundries of America and their Catalogues, edited by Stephen O. Saxe. {Annenberg 1994}

2. The Index


Baker & Greele Type Foundry

Bruce uniformly says "Greely," which is no doubt how the name was pronounced. It is, however, "Greele." ( {Annenberg 1994}, pp. 203-204)

Bank Note, printed letterpress, by White et. al.

Balls and Rollers [Printers', for inking]

Bartlett, Caleb

Bell, John

Binny, Archibald

Binny, John

Binny & Ronaldson Type Foundry

Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry

Brandt, Lauritz

In fact, Brandt pirated Bruce's pivotal type caster and sold it as his own. But it would appear that he sold a machine based on Bruce's No. 1 machine, even though he was an examiner of the No. 2 machine. (See the note "Brandt" in the Pivotal Type Caster entry, below, and {Saxe 2013})

Brewster, Abel

Brewster, George

Probably a misprint for Abel Brewster (q.v.)

Bruce, David, Jr.

See also Pivotal type caster

Bruce, David, Sr.

Bruce, David, Sr. or Jr. [unknown which]

Bruce, David Wolfe (1824-1895)

Bruce, George (1781-1866)

Bruce & Lothian Type Casting Experiments

Bruce' NY Type Foundry (David [Sr.] & George Bruce)

Bruce Pelouze & Co.

Bruce, Wallace

Buell, Abel

Buffalo Branch of White Type Foundry

I am unclear as to the relationship or separation of the Buffalo branch of White's type foundry (Annenberg cites it as starting in 1817, with no records of its early days) and the Buffalo Type Foundry of Nathan Lyman (founded in 1835 when he bought out White's share of the former A. W. Kinsley foundry in Albany and moved it to Buffalo).

Buffalo Type Foundry

Bullen, Grace

Bullen, Henry Lewis

Carter & Little

Choker Valve

Cincinnati Branch, White's Type Foundry [later Cincinnati Type Foundry]

Cobb, William

Collier, William R.

Conkwright, P. J.

Conner, James (1798-1861)

Conner Type Foundry

Cortelyou, Peter C. (1800-1875)

Cotier, William R.

Probably a misprint for William R. Collier (q.v.)

Dalton, Michael (1800-1879)

DeVinne, Theodore Low

Dickinson, Samuel Nelson (1801-1848)

Dickinson Type Foundry (Dickinson, later Phelps, & Dalton)

Discharging Pin of Pivotal Type Caster


Eckman, James

Electroforming of Matrices

This process has been referred to by many terms - "electrotype" is perhaps the most common. In modern industry, "electroforming" indicates plating with a relatively heavy deposit in order to form a 3-D object - exactly what is involved. I find this term to be preferable to "electrotyping" as it avoids confusion with the more common process of producing electrotyped printing plates.

Electrotyping of Matrices

See Electroforming of Matrices; not to be confused with electrotyping of plates.


Force Pump

Franklin, Benjamin

Franklin Institute

Guerin, Thomas

Hagar & Bartlett Type Foundry

Hagar & Pell Type Foundry

Hagar, William (1797-1863)

Hand Molds

Harpers, J. & J.

Hill, William F. (d. 1821)

Hobert & Robbins Type Foundry

Howe, Jedediah

Howe, Jedediah, Type & Stereotype Foundry Of

Isham, David

James, Thomas and John

Johnson, Lawrence (1801-1860)

Johnson Type Caster (for Elihu White)

Bruce is too harsh in his judgment on these machines. In his 1850 report "Type Founding" for the Commissioner of Patents, he writes: "First among [improvements in type founding] is the introduction of machine casting, in which a pump forces the fluid metal into the mould and matrix. ... The first idea of this machine originated with Wm. M. Johnson, who obtained a patent for it in 1828." ( {Bruce 1850}, p. 401) In his (Bruce's) third patent for the pivotal type caster (No. 4072,of 1845) he adopts the nozzle plate in its modern form and note explicitly that it is "of the same construction as that patented by W. Johnson August 21, 1828." ( {Bruce 1845}, p. 2, col. 1) The invention of the force pump and the nozzle plate mark Johnson's development work and patent as quite significant in the technical history of type founding.

See also George F. Peterson, for a patent on an improvment to Johnson's type caster.

Johnson, William M.


Kinsley, Alonzo W.

Kinsley's Type Foundry (A. W. Kinsley & Co.)

Annenberg says that White and Lyman cooperated with Richard Starr, "who was then operating the Starr & Little foundry." ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 172) He says that Lyman bought out White's share and then moved the foundry to Buffalo, while "the Starr & Little plant was closed by the sheriff." The Buffalo Type Foundry survived until the 1892 ATF amalgamation.

Annenberg notes that Kinsley's type foundry in Albany was also known as the "Franklin Type Foundry" (p. 172).


Letter Cutters

Bruce's list is far from complete.

Lever Hand Mold

Lothian, Dr. Robert

Lothian, George Baxter

Bruce typically writes "Buxton" (here and in other writings), but Eckman uniformly corrects this to "Baxter."

Lothian Type Foundry

Lyman, Nathan

MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan


Neither full name nor biographical information mentioned. See Mann & Sturdevant Type Caster and Mann & Sturdevant Type Rubbing Machine.

Mann & Sturdevant Type Caster (White's Type Foundry)

Patent (6,323X 1831-01-7) issued to Elihu White.

Mann & Sturdevant Type Rubbing Machine (White's Type Foundry)

Patent (6,323X 1831-01-7) issued to Elihu White.

Matrix Electroforming

See Electroforming Matrices.

Matrix Fitting [Justifying]

Maverick, Peter

McMurtrie, Douglas C.

Mechanic's Bank

Molds, Type

New England Type Foundry

Palsgrave, Charles T.


Patents for Typefounding

The date of Bruce's inquiry was most fortunate. Later in 1836 the US patent office burned, and all records there were destroyed. Patents before the fire were not numbered. They have been retroactively assigned "X" numbers in an attempt to reconstruct them. Here is Bruce's list, with X-patent numbers and names from the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents,

Pell, Alfred

Pelouze, Edward

Pelouze, Louis [Lewis] (1807-1876)

Bruce writes "Louis," but Eckman corrects this to "Lewis."

Pelouze Family

[Edward] Pelouze Type Foundry (NY, 1830)

[Lewis] Pelouze Type Foundry (Philadelphia, 1841-1892)

Peterson, George F.

See Johnson Type Caster (for Elihu White) for the base machine that Peterson improved.

Phelps & Dalton

Phelps, Sewell

Piracy (of Ideas and Designs)

Pivotal Type Caster

Discharging Pin: An examination of Bruce's three patents for his pivotal type caster reveals that in none of them was a drag pin (discharging pin) in the mold ever mentioned (neither in the text, nor the claims, nor the drawing). Confusingly, in the first two he applies the term "discharger" to an L-shaped hook fixed to the stationary half of the mold which guarantees the discharge of the type at the jet end.

Brandt: One might assume that since Lauritz Brandt was one of the examiners of Bruce's machine No. 2 (patented 1843) that it was this second machine that Brandt pirated and passed off as his own in Europe. Bruce does, however, say that Brandt copied the No. 1 machine (p. 59). Further, several illustrations of European type casters identified as "Brandt" casters clearly show machines based on Bruce's No. 1, not his No. 2. Examples include: (1) The photograph of the "Brandt pivotal type casting machine, invented in 1838" which appears in the catalogue of the exhibition Printing and the Mind of Man ( {PMM 1963}, plate 14) and (2) The drawing of "a typefounding machine designed by the Dane Lauritz Brandt in the United States during the 1840s" which appears in the collection of the Nordiska Museet (documented in {Axel-Nilsson 1983}, p. 38). The best discussion of this matter is in {Saxe 2013}.

Preble, Commodore Edward (1761-1807)



Reich, Johann Mathias (1768-1833)

Riggs, Abraham

Robb, Alexander

Rogers, John Gorham

Rollers, Printers' [for inking]

Ronaldson, James

Ronaldson, Richard (1772-1863)

"Router" [Pantograph Engraver, for Wood Type]

Salesmanship ("Blowing" and "Drumming")

Smith, George F.

Sower, Christopher

Sower, Samuel

Starr Brothers (Edwin & Richard;) Type Foundries of

It is well to keep in mind Maurice Annenberg's remark that "There are so many conflicting dates of the varied episodes of the Starr brothers attempts to establish type founding plants that many dates are telescoped together. They were in and out of business like a roller coaster..." ( {Annenberg 1994}, p. 230) For a more complete discussion of the Starrs, and an attempt at a chronology, see The Starr Family in Foundry Specimens Notebook.

Starr, Charles

Starr, Edwin

See also Starr & Sturdevant Type Caster (Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry).

Starr, Phil.

Starr, Richard

Starr & Sturdevant Type Caster (Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry)

Steam Power

Starr & Sturdevant Type Caster (Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry)


Stewart, James

Stoneall, J. C.

"Strange and Eccentric Minds..."

Sturdevant, Stephen

See Starr & Sturdevant Type Caster (Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry).

See Mann & Sturdevant Type Caster (White's Type Foundry).

See Mann & Sturdevant Type Rubbing Machine (White's Type Foundry).

Sturgis, John J.

Type Casters

Type Mold

Type Operations I'm Not Yet Certain Of

Type Rubbing, Dressing, and Kerning

See also Mann & Sturdevant Type Rubbing Machine (though, really, it cites only the same information as above).

Types, Light Face

Types, Ornamental & German

In his various writings, Bruce identifies three factors which enabled the production of complex ornamented types: patrix cutting in soft metal and matrix electroforming (which allowed them to be created), the force pump (which allowed them to be cast), and composition balls and rollers (which allowed them to be printed). All of these were developments in the 1830s and 1840s.

Types, Wood

Types, Swedged Copper

Van Benthuysen, Obadiah

Vandenburgh & Wells [Wood Type]

Watts, Stevens L.

Webster, George

Wells, Darius

Wells' "Router" [Pantograph, for Wood Type]

Wells & Webb [Wood Type]

Wells, Oliver

White, Elihu (1773-1836)

White's Type Casters

White's Type Foundry (1818-)

See also Carter & Little, and Boston Type & Stereotype Foundry.

White & Wing Type Caster (1804/5)

Wing, William

Wilson, Alexander

Wood Type


Wroth, Lawrence C.

3. Bibliography

{Annenberg 1994} Type Foundries of America and their Catalogues, edited by Stephen O. Saxe (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll, 1994).

{Axel-Nilsson 1983} Axel-Nilsson, Christian. Type Studies: The Norstedt Collection of Matrices in the Typefoundry of the Royal Printing Office. Stockholm, Sweden: Norstedts Tryckeri, 1983.

{Bruce 1845} US patent 4,072, "Improvement in Machines for Casting Types." Issued 1845-06-07 to David Bruce, Jr.

Reprinted by CircuitousRoot.

{Bruce 1850} Bruce, David, Jr. "Type Founding" in the Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1850 (Washington, DC: Office of Printers to the House of Representatives, 1851): 398-403. (Printed as part of "Ex. Doc. No. 32 for the House of Representatives in the second session of the 21st Congress.)

Reprinted by CircuitousRoot.

{Bruce 1981} Bruce, David, Jr., ed. James Eckman. History of Typefounding in the United States. [1874, 1885] NY: The Typophiles, 1981.

{PMM 1963} Printing and the Mind of Man: Catalogue of the Exhibitions at The British Museum and at Earls Court, London, 16-27 July 1963 ([London?]: Bridges & Sons Ltd. and the Association of British Manufacturers of Printing Machinery (Proprietary) Ltd., 1963)

{Saxe 2013} Saxe, Stephen O. "The Bruce Pivotal Type Cater and Nineteenth-Century Typography." [unpublished]

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