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William H. Page Type Specimen

William H. Page Specimen

William H. Page Type Specimen

William Hamilton Page was a pioneer in the design and manufacture of wood type. He founded the William H. Page Wood Type Company of Norwich, Connecticut, which was, for a time, the leading maker of wood type in the country.

Among his accomplishment was the refinement of machinery for die-cutting type from rock maple instead of using a time-consuming pantograph machine.

In 1891, Page’s firm was absorbed by the Hamilton Manufacturing Company of Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

A description from Rob Roy Kelly describes the Chromatic types as the following:

“Chromatic types were made to print in two or more colors. These types, produced in register as corresponding pairs, were designed so that one color would overlap another in certain places to create a third color. Chromatic types were shown regularly in foundry type specimen books of the 1840s and 1850s.

Chromatic types were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type. Both William H. Page in 1859, and J.G. Cooley in c.1859, showed several pages of Chromatic type in each of their wood type specimen books. Page showed these types in most of his specimen books in the 1870s. The high point of Chromatic wood type production came in 1874 when the William H. Page Wood Type Co. issued their 100-page Specimens of Chromatic Type & Borders. Though Hamilton, Morgans & Wilcox, and Heber Wells all showed samples of Chromatic types through the rest of the century, none of these ever reached the level of intricate precision attained in Page’s 1874 masterpiece.”

This Specimen of Chromatic Wood Type Borders Etc. is a gem and absolutely beautiful to reference and to find inspiration. It can be downloaded free here: Download

1 Comment

  1. Debra Page February 21, 2017 Reply

    My name is Debra Page and I am writing a book about my 3rd Great grandfather William Hamilton Page. We knew he invented The Page Boiler and steam radiators but we just discovered last year about the wood type business. To say the least we are astonished at his wood type work. I have copies of patents especially when he did the colors in the chromatic wood type catalog. I found copies of the original in Boston at a museum and Columbia University also has a copy. I will be visiting the museum in the Spring. I did get a book from the Hamilton Company in Two rivers that my great grandfather sold his business to. I’m trying to get an exact number as to How Many different wood types that he actually designed. I’ve been to his birthplace in Tilton, NH and found his father and mother’s name and brothers and sister. If you have any information That might help me out I would Greatly appreciate it.

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