An independent archive of typography.

Stephenson Blake & Co Ltd letterhead, 1950

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Dec 21st, 2015. Artwork published in
circa 1948
Stephenson Blake & Co Ltd letterhead, 1950 1
Source: Mike Ashworth. License: All Rights Reserved.

From the collection of Mike Ashworth:

Letter to Messrs. Lee Whitehead, Oldham, Lancashire from Stephenson Blake & Co Ltd, letter founders, Sheffield, West Yorkshire – 1950

A rather fine item – a letter from the renowned letter founders of Stephenson, Blake & Co Ltd in Sheffield answering an enquiry from Lee Whitehead Ltd over the border in Oldham, Lancashire. As the letterhead shows the company had bought out the equally famous Caslon Letter Foundry in 1937 although much earlier Stephenson Blake’s had taken an interest in one of the earlier incarnations of Caslon. The company survived in business until 2005.

The humanistic letterforms are from Bologna, issued by Stephenson Blake in 1946. ATF copied it in c. 1951 as Verona. Mac McGrew: “The name was changed to avoid that disrespectful printers call it ‘baloney’ […] At the time ATF did not realize that Stephenson Blake had in turn adapted the design from an earlier ATF face, Humanistic, drawn by William Dana Orcutt in 1904” and adapted for the Monotype as Laurentian. Mikadan (Typodermic, 2006) is a digital tribute.

The script is Amanda, designed at Wagner & Schmidt and first cast in 1939 by Stephenson Blake. The design was digitally revived and extended as Adore (Canada Type, 2005). It also inspired Mecheria (Typodermic, 2005).

Source: License: All Rights Reserved.



  • Bologna
  • Amanda (Stephenson Blake)
  • Verona




Artwork location

1 Comment on “Stephenson Blake & Co Ltd letterhead, 1950”

  1. St Bride Library posted an image of the same letterhead, used in 1948.

    They additionally credit Verona Italic for the address – a typeface that I had skipped to identify. Their claim that the design “doesn’t use a single design originated by the Sheffield foundry” is only true to some extent: While SB’s Verona is a copy of Munder Venezian, (Barnhart Brothers & Spindler), the italic (and the bold) were designed at Stephenson Blake, and are different from the American original. And Bologna originated at Stephenson Blake and was copied by ATF as Verona – not the other way around.

Post a comment