This is just the sort of back book cover Shelf Appeal likes. Because as an amateur part time ephemeral-detail sleuth it sets me off on a hunt. Very often I get nowhere. But I like the hunt and I like the odd bits of things those hunts throw up. It’s not the getting there, it’s the interesting blind alleys.
SPON scientific and technical publishers and their odd but quite super logo seem to be something out of the Ealing classic The Man in the White Suit. A made up name with just enough real to pass muster. But SPON is and was real. I’m not sure if it is the same publisher today as it was in 1946 but maybe, for they still publish technical books. SPON or E. & R N. SPON seem to have had London and New York offices and to have been around as far back as the 1870s. They were swallowed by Routledge and then Francis & Taylor. But the funny name lives on.
This little (King Penguin sized) book has a title long enough to fill its cover: A Pocket Book of Alphabets for Ornamental Penmen, Engravers, Signwriters and Draughtsmen. It is a reprint of a turn of the 20th century book of stock typefaces for your local window dresser and shop label writer to take for inspiration.
I have speculated about that SPON logo. Is it a clown’s hat? Some sort of traffic cone fantasy? Or a very obscure technical instrument? Either way, I like it and the funny type / italic mix up too.