Florist and Cleft Gothic
Florist has such an interesting "small world" history! The design was patented by James West [b 1830, Edinburgh], a US immigrant recruited by James Conner in 1860.¹ At the time this face was introduced, he lived in Brooklyn NY [USPTO D15923] and was associated with the Manhattan TF (New York). Manhattan TF was owned by Union TF (Chicago).²

Maurice Annenberg writes: "James West, the great punchcutter of the period, helped in standardizing these typefaces to comply with the American Standard Point System [adopted by the Association of Typefounders of the United States in 1886]. It is believed that he received part of the stock in payment for his work."² The Union and Manhattan/Heinrich TFs merged with American Type Founders' Company in 1892.

William E. Loy writes that during an apprenticeship before emigrating to the US, Mr. West "cut many faces for type founders in London and for Miller & Richard of Edinburgh, besides the Open Anglo-Saxon series for Caslon of London."¹ Guess what? Nicolette Gray identifies the face as Union (named for West's US client?) and adds that M&R introduced it in c1884 and registered it in 1885.³

The earliest personally examined US commercial specimen of Florist appears in the Cincinnati TF 1888 catalog on the same page as Cleft Gothic, which was designed by his son, John West, also of Brooklyn [USPTO D15965]. Cleft Gothic was shown earlier as Stencil Gothic by MSJ in 1885 and later by Palmer & Rey in 1887. BBS showed it in the 1893–1894 catalog as Cleft Gothic.

The US histories of the two faces are hopelessly intertwined: Both designs were US-patented in early 1885, both affidavits claim "invention and production," and neither was assigned: Florist/Union, January–March [USPTO D15923]; Cleft/Stencil Gothic, February–March [USPTO D15965]. Both applications were signed and witnessed by Gordon Press Co. Manager A. Sidney Doane (power of attorney for nearly all New York type designers), and the second witness for both was W.V.H. Hicks.

Cleft/Stencil Gothic is also shown in an advertisement for Manhattan TF in The Inland Printer dated June 1886. The border motifs and Scenic Combinations details of this "eye candy" layout were patented by James West (Sr.) in 1886. Johnston and Saxe identify these ornaments as properties of Union TF.⁴

Cleft/Stencil Gothic has been digitally archived for posterity; Florist has not. Good working specimens of these previews are available to revival developers.

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¹Loy, W.E. (1898–1900): Designers and Engravers of Type. In The Inland Printer, March 1898.
²Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editors]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index](1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, page 189. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.
³Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 193, 207. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
⁴Johnston, A.M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editors] (2009): William E. Loy|Nineteenth-Century American Design-ers and Engravers of Type, page 36. Oak Knoll Books (New Castle, DE).
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