"The Birds"

Posted by: Matt Rieck 10 years ago

No, this blog entry will not be about Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film masterpiece. In the film, the birds were menacing and murderous. That’s not our way here at Virgin Wood Type.

Instead, while Geri was perusing the letterpress bible, a 1912 edition of the American Type Founders (ATF) Specimen Book, she was struck by what she saw on pages 982-983 under the heading “Knickerbocker Ornates.” Amidst all the ornate floral designs were the elegant, simple lines of birds, and there toward the bottom were the elegant birds standing proudly without the distracting floral business. Geri fell immediately in love with them and decided she had to make them in wood type.

ATF offered them in 48 pt or 72 pt only. We wonder if they weren’t popular because 11 years later the 1923 edition of the ATF Specimen Book doesn’t include them. Believing the sensibilities of the 2014 letterpress printer to be more in tune with birds (see Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It”), we are convinced that these wood type birds will “fly” off our trays.

Wanting to be clever, we bandied about some possible monikers, but common sense prevailed in the end. We live and work in New York state where the term “Knickerbocker” dates back to early Dutch settlers downstate in New Amsterdam, errrr, I mean New York City, so why not continue to use Knickerbocker? Perfect.

Coming in May 2014 to our shop.

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