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Typefounders of Phoenix invoice (1962)

Contributed by Matt Kelsey on Dec 28th, 2020. Artwork published in
June 1962
Typefounders of Phoenix invoice (1962)
Photo: Matt Kelsey. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

This invoice from Typefounders of Phoenix was tucked inside a type case of metal handset 14 point Fargo caps.

The “typefounders” logotype uses lowercase letters from Filmotype Army. The invoice appears to be set in Twentieth Century or other Futura variant. Interestingly, the invoice details appear to be typed in a matching Futura variant which appears to be IBM’s Mid-Century. The IBM Selectric was introduced just the previous year to this invoice in 1961. IBM Mid-Century is shown in a 1964 NOMDA catalog.

The 1962 purchaser of this font was located in Los Gatos, CA. The same Fargo metal font is now in a print shop about five miles away in Saratoga, CA.


  • Filmotype Army
  • Twentieth Century
  • Mid-Century




Artwork location

9 Comments on “Typefounders of Phoenix invoice (1962)”

  1. You can see the Fargo typeface in use in an APHA invitation typeset and printed by Matt in 2019. It is actually printed from the very type for which the invoice was issued.

  2. First I had heard of Mid-Century, Matt, Thanks! I wonder if the name refers more directly to Twentieth Century than Futura.

  3. And now I see that’s what you meant, sorry.

  4. Matt Kelsey says:
    Feb 12th, 2021 12:02 am

    There is some doubt about the dates of IBM proportional fonts from what I have been told, but for now that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! This invoice was definitely typewritten in a Futura-ish typeface, in 1962 no less.

  5. Jesse R says:
    Mar 11th, 2021 1:34 pm

    I know that IBM Mid-Century was available on IBM’s Executive line of electric typewriters (1/36” unit escapement, letters and figures ranging from 2–5 units, and spaces offered in 2 and 3 unit distances) — but I haven’t seen anything to suggest it was available on their Selectric lines. If anybody has a typeball as such, I would be very interested.

    Also, the first printings of the original Dungeons and Dragons (1974) booklets were typeset in IBM Mid-Century.

  6. Thank you for this info, Jesse! I have no idea whether IBM Mid-Century was available for the Selectric, too. Does the sample from the NOMDA 1964 catalog as shown on tell you anything in this regard?


  7. Jesse R says:
    Mar 11th, 2021 9:55 pm

    Yes. While Munk’s post opens with a discussion on the Selectric, the header on the left of the first NOMDA scan says “Model D Electric.” Munk also has this can from a Model C manual:…

    You can go back to 1953 in “IBM Electric Typewriters: Customer Engineering Manual of Instruction” on page 9, and see Mid-Century listed on the bottom right. You can also see it advertise here (…) on an IBM Executive Model A from 1953.

    But I don’t see it listed here: or on Luc Devroye’s site:…

  8. I think Jesse is right that this invoice would have been typed on an IBM Executive rather than Selectric. I had trouble finding details on the different models, but the 1962 invoice date also makes more sense with the Executive since it was introduced in 1944, vs. 1961 for the Selectric.

  9. Clonetype says:
    Jun 14th, 2021 12:05 am

    Stephen, did it ever occur to you that Century Gothic’s name might be a combination of Twentieth Century and Avant Garde’s real name, Avant Garde Gothic?

    Basically: Very Likely

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