Font Wars: A Story On Rivalry Between Type Foundries

By Simon Loxley

I had thought of terms like “intellectual property” or “intellectual theft” as being of fairly recent provenance, so my eye was caught by the latter’s use in a headline of a 1930 edition of the American trade journal The American Printer.

The article it fronted proved to be equally intriguing, a response by the president of American Type Founders to a June 1929 article in the German journal Gebrauchsgraphik by the designer Rudolf Koch calling ATF a “highway robber of German intellectual property”. The issue was a typeface marketed by ATF earlier in 1929 called Rivoli. Koch and the German typefoundry Klingspor asserted that Rivoli was no more than a copy of Koch’s 1922 design Koch ...

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