Wood borders were first shown by Edwin Allen in George Nesbitt’s 1838 First Premium Wood Types Cut by Machinery. One of the most commonly shown early borders were variations on the “Grecian Key” pattern, simply titled Grecian Border. William H. Page greatly expanded the ornamented border styles available in wood type beginning with his 1859 Specimens of Wood Type. By the early 1860s, all wood type manufacturers showed border material in solid, grooved and ornamented styles.
Page developed a stamping process in the early 1880s that was used to produce border material. The precision inherent in this process allowed Page to offer a wide range of intricate geometric border styles. He would perfect and patent this process later in the decade to also make die-cut or “New Process” wood type. All manufacturers sold wood border by the pica measure. J.E. Hamilton began offering a series of solid, single- and double-grooved wood rule based on the point system he named New Series Wood Rule in 1897. While ornamented borders became less popular after the turn of the century, wood rule in solid and grooved styles remained an important component of wood type manufacturers’ offerings throughout the twentieth century.