In 2002, Matthew Carter, an internationally recognized type designer, created the type face "Van Lanen" for Hamilton. This typeface, with it's wedge-shaped serifs and bold weight is reminiscent of late nineteenth century advertising faces and a perfect compliment to the numerous faces already in the Hamilton collection.
Shortly after the 2002 commission was underway, Hamilton Museum advisor Richard Zauft and a number of volunteers cut wood type templates in the museum based on laser prints of the font using a scroll saw. The level of tolerances that the font pair required was beyond the ability of the equipment that was then operating at the museum. Consequently the initial pantograph results were less than ideal. The project sat for years until the revitalization of the project and the museum in 2009. The use of a CNC router yielded the quality of results Matthew was expecting.
Even thought fonts have been cut and made available, contemporary wood-type production is still relatively expensive and few have acquired this font in wood. The digital version of the pair of Van Lanen fonts is being made available via the Hamilton Wood Type Foundry, a collaboration between the Museum and P22 Type Foundry; partial proceeds will support the Museum's operation.
Matthew Carter reviews freshly printed specimens of the Van Lanen typeface
Van Lanen wood type before printing - photo courtesy of Nick Sherman
2 part letterpress print proof of Van Lanen - photo courtesy of Nick Sherman
The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton's collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world and an unparalleled source of research material for type designers. A portion of proceeds from all sales of the HWT digital fonts goes toward supporting the mission and operation of the The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.