Ten years or so after his unique treatment of Garalde design with Trump Mediaeval, Georg Trump took on the transitional genre with Mauritius, which was to be his last typeface. He started working on it in 1965. The Stuttgart-based Weber foundry published a pamphlet previewing it under the name Barock-Antiqua in 1967, then announced the availability of the metal types (a roman, a bold and an italic) a year later. The global printing industry was already in third gear with cold type technology, so there weren’t that many takers, and Weber closed its doors after more than 140 years in business. Subsequently, Trump’s swan song was unfairly overlooked by typography historians and practitioners. It never made it to film technology or scalable fonts. Thus, one of the most original text faces ever made, done by one of the most influential German type designers of the 20th century, was buried under decades of multiple technology shifts and fading records.
The metal cuts of Mauritius seem to have been rushed in Weber’s desperation to stay afloat. So the only impressions left of the metal type, the sole records remaining of this design, show substantial problems. Some can be attributed to technological limitations, but some issues in colour, precision and fitting are also quite apparent, particularly in Mauritius Kursiv, the italic metal cut.
This digital version is the result of obsessing over a great designer’s final type design effort, and trying to understand the reasons behind its vanishing from typography’s collective mind. While that understanding remains for the most part elusive, the creative and technical work done on these fonts produced very concrete results. All the apparent issues in the metal types were resolved, the design was expanded into a larger family of three weights and two widths, and plenty of 21st century bells and whistles were added.