Stigmatypie: 19th-Century Dot Matrix Printing
Tonight I found an odd bitmappy portrait of Gutenburg (top) in a fold-out spread of Harpel’s Typograph, a type specimen from 1870. “What is a stigmatypie?”, I wondered. Some cursory research reveals it was a pioneering, but seldom used, technique for producing halftone images with very small type. It was developed around 1867 by Carl Fasol of Vienna.
Stigmatypie is described in the American Encyclopaedia of Printing (1871):
Pictures made with tiny periods of metal type! Not only was this a Victorian precursor to dot matrix printing, but also (in a way) ASCII art.
Read more from John McVey and Peter Fasol (Dutch), who is the source of the other images above, from Carl Fasol’s Album der Buchdruckerkunst.