Box of Ampersand Dots
One of the best parts of cutting new wood type is combining a historic type design with a modern printer need. Ever since I started making type, my daughter and almost every new letterpress printer has had an interest in ampersands. They watch for them on E-bay. They search for them in antique stores and at print shop options. Finding an Ampersand in a box of old wood type sorts is like finding gold. I know of at least five people who collect ampersands.
When you check the Hamilton Scale of Fonts in a specimen book, you will find the smallest set of uppercase wood type, the 3A set, has one ampersand in the character set. However, when you go up to the 4A set or 5A set, you will get two ampersands. Every wood type font I have found has at least one ampersand.
About 4 years ago I started making what I call “Ampersand Dots”. I did not sell them in the MWT type store back then, I made galleys of them to take to different Wayzgoose conferences to sell to printers. The biggest problem was picking which eight ampersands to reverse out of the dots. I put an E-mail request out to ten printers I knew and asked them to send me a scan or at least the name of their favorite fonts. I put together a survey of the top 12 answers and then did a survey at the APA Wayzgoose at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
I decided to make the ampersand dots in sets of eight designs. To get the best use of my prepared maple I made them at 6 line and at 4 line. I laser cut the ampersand out of the center of each dot, leaving enough solid wood to look proportional. I figured out how to laser cut very light registration marks that the pantograph would cut away after the type blocks were cut in a perfect square.
The “Box of Ampersand Dots” I am selling in the MWT store allows more printers to work them into the design of their prints or cards. I have also made them at 8, 10, or 12 line as special orders
See if you can name the eight different fonts used in the MWT Ampersand Box set. I will post the correct names in the near future.
If you want bigger ampersands, check out the www.virginwoodtype.com store.