Nicolette Gray reports that Mystic was advertised in the Caslon Circular of 1884² and describes the trend it exemplifies:

“... all the enormous variety of expression is contrived out of the forms of the letter and the thickness of the line. Pisa is simple and comparatively wide to put full emphasis on its backward lean; Doric is normal in width, caricaturing with its occasional curls the functionalism of the ordinary sans serif; Rubens is full, and heavy with compressed colour; Mystic and Aesthetic are thin and exquisite, mocking the aesthetic movement...”

Mystic is one of 17 patented type designs acquired by John K. Rogers, Agent of the Boston Type Foundry, between 1877 and 1881. As Inventor of Record, he patented it in 1881–1882; it had been shown in the 1880 BTF catalog.

During this period, BTF employed no staff designer nor punch-cutter¹ and so could not produce new faces. Probably the designer was an independent lettering artist residing in or visiting Boston (Ludvig S. Ipsen? a Prang consultant?).

The resourceful Mr. Rogers offset this loss by negotiating production and/or distribution rights with the Caslon TF (London). Besides Mystic, there are several other examples beginning in c1879. Did the terms of this agreement include a provision that Caslon furnish matrices to BTF?

This letterpress typeface has been digitized for posterity.

More about Mystic:

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More cool undigitized fonts:

More updates of Nicolette Gray’s research of 19th-century type trends in Great Britain:

¹Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers of Type. In The Inland Printer, January 1900 and July 1898.
²Gray, N. (1938): Chapter VII, 1875-1890. In XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 69, 192, 206. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
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