Aurora Grotesk and Inserat Grotesk in film and metal
Top: Homage to the Alphabet, Phil’s Photo, 1980.
Bottom: A.T.A. Type Comparison Book, Frank Merriman, 1965.
Aurora Grotesk Condensed/Extra Condensed (C.E. Weber) and Inserat Grotesk (Haas) were two of the many condensed, high-waisted, large-x-height sans families released in Europe in the early 20th-century, and later in America. (Other names include Wotan Grotesk, Edel Grotesk, Lessing, and Reichs Grotesk.)
By mid-century, both families offered alternate forms of letters like ‘A’, ‘M’, ‘N’, ‘R’, ‘w’, ‘k’, ‘x’ with either straight or curved diagonal strokes. (The straight Aurora was known as Neue Aurora — thanks, Indra!) In the phototype sample above, all the other letters are identical between the two fonts. Phil’s could have only carried Aurora (with the alts), but I suppose they wanted to show they had both names in the catalog.
There are three ‘R’ forms among these fonts: curved leg (shown above), straight vertical leg (in Wagner Grot), and straight diagonal leg (in Aurora).