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TEXTile: “Typography of the 19th Century Textile Trade”

One week from today, the Type Directors Club in New York will host a lecture by Adrian Wilson about his collection of ephemeral lettering artifacts from the English textile trade of the 1800s and early 1900s. Wilson was kind enough to provide me with some sample images (below) and an interesting PDF describing the collection.

The topic of fabric merchant labels is an obscure one, but there seem to be many parallels with similarly intriguing fruit crate labels from roughly the same period. The text from the PDF gives some background on what Wilson will be discussing…

The 1842 Design and Copyright Act required that all pieces of cloth had to be clearly stamped of labeled with a “faceplate” that included the supplier’s identifying mark, and the cloth’s type and length.

Wilson’s collection — which he salvaged from cotton warehouses in Manchester, England — includes “over 2,000 hand-made wood and copper stamps used for printing the marks, around 4,000 unpublished printed stamp designs, and around 800 paper shippers’ tickets”. He was a guest on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow in 2005, but the collection has still yet to be shown publicly at any significant level.

Even after seeing all the background info and sample images, I’m still not 100% sure what to expect from the lecture. I am pretty confident, though, that it will include a lot of ornamented 19th-century lettering; and that’s enough for me.

What: TEXTile, a lecture about the typography of the 19th century textile trade
When: January 28, 2010; 6–8 PM
Where: Type Directors Club; 347 W 36th St, #603; New York, NY [map]
Cost: Free for TDC members; $20 for non-members; $15 for students
Registration: E-mail director@tdc.org or call 212-633-8943

19th century textile trade ephemera courtesy of Adrian Wilson