First released in 1939 [McGrew], Spartan was Mergenthaler Linotype and ATF’s knockoff of the extremely popular Futura (Bauer). If you see Futura in a magazine or newspaper published in mid-century America, there’s a good chance it’s actually Spartan (or the other followers: Twentieth Century, Tempo, or Vogue).
Spartan offered some things Futura did not: such as a double-story alternate ‘a’ and unique “Classified” cuts (released later) for very small type. It also differs from Futura in that its ‘1’ has a flat (rather than angled) terminal in all weights. Also, the ATF version had mirrored “signpainters” quotes (a form more common in the US).
Spartan in use
Classified ads for drugs, prophylactics, and birth control literature1962
Contributed by Stephen Coles