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“Making Headlines” documentary on Hamilton Mfg. Co.

Wisconsin Public Television recently produced a short (8 minutes) documentary on the Hamilton wood type manufacturing company, titled Making Headlines, for the Two Rivers / Manitowoc installment of its Hometown Stories series.

The documentary presents a succinct history of the empire that James Edward Hamilton started with wood type in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Included are interviews with David Shields, Greg Corrigan, and Bill Moran. Also, I couldn’t help but notice many of my own wood type photos from Flickr used to illustrate the production. Naturally, I’m glad to have been able to help the cause.

The video acts as a good primer for the feature-length documentary, Typeface, which focuses more on the modern Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (as opposed to the original Hamilton Manufacturing Company). It would make for a great DVD bonus feature.

The documentary can be seen on this page by clicking the Making Headlines thumbnail from the listing of clips. It is also available in DVD format from the Wisconsin Public Television Store.

"Making Headlines" documentary: title screen

"Making Headlines" documentary: James Edward Hamilton portrait

"Making Headlines" documentary: Early Hamilton type samples

"Making Headlines" documentary: Hamilton Holly Wood type

"Making Headlines" documentary: Hamilton factory

"Making Headlines" documentary: Newspaper headlines

Westerns at The Movie Title Stills Collection

Any fan of lettering will enjoy The Movie Title Stills Collection, curated by designer Christian Annyas. Specifically relevant to the focus of wood type though is the page there featuring title screens from Western films.

The relationship between wood type styles and the modern interpretation of the “Wild West” is an interesting one, deserving of more elaboration than I’ll provide now. Suffice to say that the connection has provided a reliable device for designers attempting to evoke that particular chapter of North American history.

To be accurate, many of the examples from The Movie Title Stills Collection were hand-painted, but even among those it’s easy to see the influences of wood type with the use of styles like tuscanlatin, various slab serifs, etc, with allusions to typographic devices like catchwords, streamers, and generally intense letter decoration.

Winchester '73 title screen

Fort Apache title screen

Dodge City title screen

Cat Ballou title screen

3:10 To Yuma title screen

Man Who Shot Liberty Valance title screen

3:10 To Yuma end screen

See more examples at The Movie Title Stills Collection.