Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, &c.: The 1874 Masterpiece of Colorful Typography

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, &c. is a vintage volume with an established cultlike status within the bibliophile, typographic, and design worlds. Originally published as a catalogue for William H. Page’s Connecticut wood type foundry— considered one of the best in the world—this 1874 type specimen book features elaborate display typefaces meant to announce tent revivals and circuses. In addition to the beautifully intricate typefaces and playful designs, the original author designed the pages in such a random sequence that the text reads as humorous and strange experimental poetry. Accidental or not, this beautiful book will delight readers with the humor and the beauty of each print.
This edition reproduces all 102 pages of the original book. A charming gift or perfect addition to any serious art-book library, this volume will be loved by typographers, designers, artists, poets, DIYers, and anyone with a wicked sense of style.

About The Author

Esther K. Smith, author and designer of How to Make Books and other books about books, makes limited editions at Purgatory Pie Press in New York City.

Steven Heller is author and editor of over 130 books on graphic design and popular culture.

Wayne White is an award-winning art director of music videos turned outsider artist/painter, whose work features words and letterforms. He has won three Emmy awards for his set designs for Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

  • Publish Date: May 30, 2017
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Design - Graphic Arts - Typography
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 9-3/4 x 13
  • Pages: 120
  • US Price: $45.00
  • CDN Price: $60.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-5868-2


"During the 1870s the Wm. H. Page & Company published what are often considered the greatest type specimens ever printed. These lavish books were masterfully printed to showcase Page’s chromatic wood types and inks by Wade’s Inks. Esther K. Smith of Purgatory Pie Press, design historian Steven Heller, and artist Wayne White collaborated to produce a stunning facsimile of Page’s 1874 specimen, published by Rizzoli."
Daily Type Specimen

"Surpringly psychadelic..."
Alexandra Lange

Author Bookshelf: Steven Heller