Catchwords have always been offered alongside standard alphabets in wood type catalogs and so often appear on posters as a decorative punch that they have become part of the wood type vernacular. Words like 'The', 'And', 'To', 'For', and less common abbreviations could be inserted into a design along with decorative ornaments or stars when space was tight or to add variety in the design. HWT Catchwords features over 80 words based directly on designs offered by Hamilton and other wood type manufacturers of the 19th and early 20th Century.
Catchwords for this project have been found mostly in specimen books with actual catchwords being somewhat scarce. This image is from the Unicorn Graphics Web Museum
Photo Courtesy of Nick Sherman
Catchwords were culled from a variety of original and reproduction Wood Type specimen catalogs. The image above is from the Newberry Library collection in Chicago. An expansive collection of wood type stars is featured in HWT Star Ornaments
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.