A PASSION FOR FONTS—DESTROYING THE DOVES FONT. I have posted on fonts (for example, here), but have acknowledged that I have never really understood them. There are people who care passionately about them. The Economist had an article (December 21, 2013) about how over some six months, beginning in late 1916, Thomas Cobden-Sanderson made around 170 trips from his bindery to drop metal printing type into the Thames. He was destroying the much-admired “Doves type”. (An example of the Doves type, which is very appealing, appears at the top of the Economist article). He was destroying it in part because he didn’t want the Doves type used in books that he hadn’t printed and in part because he hated the mechanization of printing and wanted to be sure, as he wrote in his diary, that the Doves type would never be used in â€œa press pulled otherwise than by the hand and arm of manâ€.
Cobden-Sanderson was successful. Apparently, it is impossible to reconstruct type based on the books it was used for. The Economist article tells about Robert Green, who has been laboring for three years, with 120 iterations, to construct a digital version which closely resembles the Doves type.