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DIgitization of a "Mad Men" era display font.
Bon Air was one of a series of script typefaces cut into wood by the Hamilton Manufacturing Company for the Morgan Sign Machine Co. (makers of the Line-o-Scribe showcard press) in the mid 20th Century. These were some of the last new designs cut into wood by Hamilton until the museum revival in the early 2000s. Bon Air was created in 1958 and trademarked in 1961.
The wood type made for Morgan was used largely in department stores to make their own signage. The script styles are reminiscent of sign painters alphabets and evoke a Mad Men era advertising aesthetic. The font was only cut in four sizes: 12, 18, 36 and 72 line. It was distributed by Morgan for use in their presses, but as type high wood type, it could be used on any press.
The font was issued with several alternate letters and ligatures to simulate the effect of hand lettering. Its lively strokes and odd details give it an exotic flavor suitable for advertising display work. The digital version includes all of the original alternates plus new characters to fill out a full European character set.
The only actual type found of Bon Air was from the collection at the WNY Book Arts Center where a proof of the extant characters was made and used as reference in combination with the Hamilton patterns.
For the digitization of HWT Bon Air, the production patterns from the collection of the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum were photographed and rubbings were also made directly from the patterns.
No Specimen books have been found that show this typeface. This photostat proof sheet was found in the archives of Hamilton Wood Type Musuem during the recent move...after the digitzation was complete.
Full Digital Character Set