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Dan X. Solo

The Solotype Archive was begun in 1942 when I was 14. I was a kid printer for several years before that. At 16, after a quick three months of training, I dropped out of school and went to work full time as a radio actor and announcer in San Francisco. (Easy to get jobs in those days, due to the war-induced manpower shortage.) In 1949 and 1950, I created a magic show which played West Coast theatres with some success. After that, back to broadcasting.

By 1962, I was completely burned out on radio, so I decided to see if I could make a living with my collection of antique types, which numbered about a thousand fonts at that time. In 1962, I sent out 4,000 catalogs showing the type to ad agencies all over the U.S. The timing was perfect (no thanks to me) because there was developing at that time a renewed interest in the old types. Business took off immediately.

The Solotype collection was one of four commercial collections at the time, but I seemed to have been more aggressive in marketing than the other chaps. (Well, Morgan Press certainly knew how to market.)

Two years into the business, I began to collect alphabets on paper for conversion to photo lettering, which was just becoming mainstream in the type business. We closed the shop for a month every year and went on a type hunt, mostly in Europe where there didn’t seem to be much competition among collectors. Other typographers couldn’t understand how we could do this, but I believe it made people appreciate the resource we offered even more. Over the years, the collection became quite large. When I closed Solotype a couple of years ago, I got rid of about half the archive (because the fonts were dull, or already digitized, or for a variety of other reasons) leaving me with about 6,000 fonts on paper or film.

In 1974, I began to supply Dover Publications with mechanicals for books of 100 alphabets on a particular theme. I did 30 of these books over the years, and 30 more of printers’ ornaments, borders, and so forth. Sometime in the 1990s, Dover asked me to digitize books of 24 fonts each, to be sold with a disk in the back. I did 12 of these. The Dover relationship came to an end when Haywood Cirker, the owner and my special friend, died and the company was sold to another publisher. Dover felt that they had covered the type field thoroughly.

Now in my old age, my wife and I have a mindreading act that is great fun and good for the ego. Even so, when not traveling, I digitize type for relaxation and enjoyment, but have made no effort to sell it. Until now.

Personal details

  • From: United States of America
  • Died: 2012
  • What he does: Type Design
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137 font families by Dan X. Solo

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Bad Joaquin Phoenix wrecks zingy TV film.

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The job of waxing linoleum frequently peeves chintzy kids.

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Quick zephyrs blow, vexing daft Jim.

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Hark! Toxic jungle water vipers quietly drop on zebras for meals!

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Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.

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Turgid saxophones blew over Mick’s jazzy quiff.

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Jack amazed a few girls by dropping the antique onyx vase!

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Wham! Volcano erupts fiery liquid death onto ex-jazzbo Kenny G.

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Cozy lummox gives smart squid who asks for job pen.

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Fabled reader with jaded, roving eye seized by quickened impulse to expand budget.

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Sex prof gives back no quiz with mild joy.

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How razorback-jumping frogs level six piqued gymnasts!

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A quick movement of the enemy will jeopardize six gunboats.

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Quincy Jones vowed to fix the bleak jazz program.

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Suez sailor vomits jauntily abaft while waxing parquet decks.

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About sixty codfish eggs will make a quarter pound of very fizzy jelly.

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Perhaps President Clinton’s amazing sax skills will be judged quite favorably.

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My grandfather picks up quartz and valuable onyx jewels.

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Sixty zippers were quickly picked from the woven jute bag.

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My expensive quartz watch once belonged to JFK.

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Then a cop quizzed Mick Jagger’s ex-wives briefly.

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Prized waxy jonquils choke big farm vats.

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Beloved Groucho joked with a mix of zany quips.

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Astronaut Quincy B. Zack defies gravity with six jet fuel pumps.

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Barkeep! A flaming tequila swizzle and a vodka and Ajax, hold the cherry.

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The exodus of jazzy pigeons is craved by squeamish walkers.

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We promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize.

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The jukebox music puzzled a gentle visitor from a quaint valley town.

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A very bad quack might jinx zippy fowls.

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How vexing a fumble to drop a jolly zucchini in the quicksand.

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The July sun caused a fragment of pine wax to ooze on the black velvet quilt.

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New farmhand proves strong but lazy, picking just six quinces.

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When we go back to Juarez, Mexico, do we fly over picturesque Arizona?

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King Alexander was just partly overcome after quizzing Diogenes in his tub.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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King Alexander was just partly overcome after quizzing Diogenes in his tub.

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Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.

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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.

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Fax back Jim’s Gwyneth Paltrow video quiz.

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Watch “Jeopardy!” Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game.

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The vixen jumped quickly on her foes barking with zeal.

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Boxer M. Tyson packs his bags w/ Jay-Z DVDs, Quik, Holyfield’s ear.

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Cozy lummox gives smart squid who asks for job pen.

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Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.

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Turgid saxophones blew over Mick’s jazzy quiff.

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1 font style from $19.95
Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.

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1 font style from $19.95
A large fawn jumped quickly over white zinc boxes.

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Suez sailor vomits jauntily abaft while waxing parquet decks.

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When we go back to Juarez, Mexico, do we fly over picturesque Arizona?