An unexpected type choice for another Christmas album by the Lennon Sisters: Robusta is a German Jugendstil typeface first issued by the Benjamin Krebs Nachf. type foundry in Frankfurt am Main sometime before 1902. It would have been long forgotten if it weren’t included in Ludwig Petzendorfer’s Schriftenatlas, Neue Folge, a sampler of contemporary typeface designs, initials, monograms, and other lettering examples, issued between 1903 and 1905.
When Art Nouveau was back in fashion in the 1960s, the design with squarish letterforms and round corners was rediscovered – very likely in Petzendorfer’s atlas – and adopted for phototype. It’s shown in a catalog issued by Lettergraphics in 1968 under the name Robust. The Californian phototype company loved to truncate the original names, probably to prevent any (unlikely) trademark issues. Their adaptation of Edelgotisch was named Delgo, Siegfried became Seig [sic], etc. Robusta also appears in Dan X. Solo’s Art Nouveau Display Alphabets (Dover, 1976) as Bishop. Earlier this year, Peter Wiegel released a digitization under the Open Font License.