Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection
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Tuscan is a style characterized by contrasted strokes, rounded or pointed terminals, with bi- or trifurcated serifs (the serifs are divided into branches), and often a medial (mid-stem) decoration. This style dates back to inscriptional letters designed by Furius Dionysius Philocalus in the mid-fourth century. This style, though subordinate to the dominant classical style, persisted as inscriptional and calligraphic letter into the eighteenth century. Vincent Figgins showed the first typographic Tuscan in 1817.

The first Tuscans produced as wood type were Edwin Allen’s, which were shown in George Nesbitt’s 1838 First Premium Wood Types Cut by Machinery. These styles remained popular into the 1850s in America. In their 1849 Specimen of Wood Type, Wells & Webb introduced Tuscan Antique, a semi-ornamental Tuscan. This style originated as wood type and would stay popular into the 1890s. These semi-ornamental Tuscans, which became known as American Tuscans, supplanted the earlier European styles. They also tended to be undecorated letters, which, as Kelly described in American Wood Type, “obtain a decorative quality from an active contour and that generally include some visual ambiguity between letterform and counter.”

Tuscan Egyptian
Egyptian Ornamented
Streamer No 2
Doric Shade
Tuscan Open
Antique Tuscan Extended
Antique Tuscan Extended
Antique Tuscan Expanded
Antique Tuscan
Antique Tuscan
Antique Tuscan
Antique Tuscan
Antique Tuscan
Antique Tuscan Condensed
Antique Tuscan X Condensed
Antique Tuscan XX Condensed
Antique Tuscan Open
Antique Tuscan