Museum of Printing acquires major vintage type collection
T. J. Lyons collected Victorian wood and metal type from the 1820s to the 1880s. He amassed over 2,500 unique typefaces for his small print shop in Allston, Mass. Eventually the collection was housed at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, and will now reside at the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
The Lyons Collection joins the vast typographic and printing resources of the Museum of Printing.
“Tom Lyons spent two years in the AEF Airforce during WW1,” said his grandson Steve Lyons, “and he returned from France for a stint in an advertising agency, where he was inspired by a freelance designer, George Trenholm, who used Old Fashioned Ornamented Typography. TJ moved to his own print shop in 1924. When the Great Depression struck, printers began dumping the old ornamented type, and TJ went all in to build his collection.”
This type was then in demand by ad agencies anxious for type that would stand out. What is old becomes new again.
Some of his type was made into film and digital fonts by VGC and Compugraphic in the 1960s and 1970s, but it all exists as individual pieces of wood and metal, to be set by hand, one letter at a time.
“This collection cries to be used,” said MoP president Frank Romano, “and the Museum will have workshops and student projects that use this type for design and print projects.”
A permanent wood type exhibit will show the beauty and uniqueness of these fonts, but, more importantly, we will see the harmony of type and ink and paper, as they come together to produce typographic art.
About the Museum of Printing
The Museum of Printing is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the graphic arts, printing and typesetting technology, and printing craftsmanship. In addition to many special collections and small exhibits, the Museum contains hundreds of antique printing, typesetting, and bindery machines, as well as a library of books and printing-related documents.
The Museum is located at 15 Thornton Avenue in Haverhill, Massachusetts. You can find us on the web at www.museumofprinting.org and follow our social media activity on Facebook (TheMuseumofPrinting), Instagram (museumofprinting), and Twitter (@MOPrinting).