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Hold, Sold, & 2nd Grade Butterfat

Mid-century shop tags showcase the rough-and-ready utility of Ludlow’s Tempo.

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Mar 6th, 2017. Artwork published in
circa 1970
    Hold, Sold, & 2nd Grade Butterfat 1
    Source: Image via Present&Corrrect. License: All Rights Reserved.
    A page from the Ludlow Typefaces [Edition D, copy 1140] specimen book (ca. 1940–58).
    Source: Ludlow Typograph Company, via Dr. David M. MacMillan of License: Public Domain.

    A page from the Ludlow Typefaces [Edition D, copy 1140] specimen book (ca. 1940–58).

    The now defunct Barry Madigan Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio was founded in 1967. They produced forms, tags, stationery, and other retailer and office products. These very clear tags put Tempo Black to good use. The other styles are Heavy Condensed and Medium.

    In mid-century America, Ludlow type was frequently used for this sort of everyday, utilitarian (AKA “jobbing”) printed material. The Typograph machine was the ideal tool for this work. The results were not always as beautiful as handset or Monotype printing, but they came quickly and without fuss. And the Ludlow’s ability to set larger point sizes made it more flexible for display uses than a Linotype.

    Designed by Ludlow’s prolific type director Robert Hunter Middleton, Tempo was the company’s answer to Futura. By 1958, the family had grown to over 20 styles. Tempo is foreign to most of today’s designers because only a few cuts made the transition to digital form. These are Tempo Heavy Condensed from Linotype, and Red Rooster’s Tempo Grunged (or Grunge), a rough rendition based on the Medium weight.

    A page from the Ludlow Typefaces [Edition D, copy 1140] specimen book (ca. 1940–58).
    Source: © Richard D. Sheaff, Sheaff Ephemera. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Another example of a Tempo tag (producer unclear), this one from the wonderful Sheaff Ephemera.


    • Tempo




    Artwork location

    2 Comments on “Hold, Sold, & 2nd Grade Butterfat”

    1. Luke Dorny says:
      Mar 9th, 2017  8:03 pm


    2. Apr 2nd, 2018  3:31 pm


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