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Tossed into the Thames a century ago, a destroyed typeface is brought back to life

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Doves font
Doves font

The Economist has the story of Doves, the signature typeface of London's Doves Press, which met its fate 100 years ago at the bottom of the River Thames as co-founder Thomas Cobden-Sanderson threw some 2,600 pounds of type and casts from Hammersmith Bridge over the course of several years. Cobden-Sanderson was a self-described "visionary" and "fanatic" who maintained a tight managerial grip on the press he'd helped create, and when a business deal with his partner went south, he exacted the ultimate revenge — destroying the very letters that had helped make Doves Press successful in the first place.

The original type was never found

The jettisoned type has never been found, but type designer Robert Green spent some three years analyzing Doves books to recreate it for the digital world with a font set that's available for purchase now. In the process, Green added additional characters and made the font scalable — the original was only available in one size.

Cobden-Sanderson's dastardly plan appeared to have worked for a full century, but it seems he didn't account for a tenacious designer equipped with 21st-century technology rolling back the hands of time.