An independent archive of typography.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Dec 16th, 2012. Artwork published in .
Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha 1
Source: Oliver Wood. License: All Rights Reserved.

For sale at Oliver Wood. Rare books, photographs and archives:

First edition, one of just 400 copies of the first and most important book in ‘the most renowned series of artist’s books in the history of the genre’ (The Photobook). This copy signed and dated by Ruscha in 1966. Twentysix Gasoline Stations was published 1963, the year that he staged his first solo exhibition at Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha 2
Source: Oliver Wood. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • Stymie




Artwork location

4 Comments on “Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha”

  1. Brian Brown says:
    Oct 17th, 2018 9:21 pm

    That’s not Stymie. The A is different.

  2. Hi Brian,

    You are right that ATF’s Stymie as well as most digital versions are distinguished by an A with top bar. But there’s also Monotype’s version of Stymie. From Mac McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century:

    […] Monotype also did its part in expanding the family; Sol Hess designed Stymie Extrabold in 1934, a year before Morris Benton drew Stymie Black [for ATF]. These heavy versions differ slightly from each other […]

    Among the differences in Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold are a straight-legged R, a descending J, a single-sided serif on q, a t with curved exit stroke—and a barless A (an A with top bar and a flat-bottom t were available as alternates). Ed Ruscha used (a version) of Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold.

    Scangraphic’s Stymie SB Bold Cond is a digital Stymie with barless A, but it’s not a faithful revival of Stymie Extrabold as depicted in McGrew. Their Stymie SB Bold comes closer in regard to some glyphs like R, t or the lighter middle bar in E, but isn’t a perfect match either.

  3. The typeface in Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) is probably Beton Slab, see for a convincing image with a barless A on

    See also the interview with Ed Ruscha in ‘David Platzker on the art of Ed Ruscha’ in Artforum.…

  4. Hey Reinhart,

    The typeface used for Twentysix Gasoline Stations is Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold, as mentioned above. The article in Artforum has this detail wrong.

    Granted, the situation is confusing. Stymie Black is a typeface produced by ATF for manual typesetting. Stymie Extrabold was made by Monotype for machine typesetting. It’s different in a number of design details. It has the same family name, but is essentially a distinct design.

    Similarly, Beton extrafett was made by the German Bauer foundry for manual typesetting. There is also an American adaptation for machine typesetting, made by Intertype and named Beton Extra Bold. This time, the machine version stays closer to the foundry original, but again there are design differences. Most notably, the numerals in Intertype’s Beton seem to follow Stymie, not Bauer’s original Beton.

    I include samples for all four typefaces below. Monotype’s Stymie Extrabold (#2) is the only one that has that beardless G and the A without top bar. See also the larger gap between the base serifs of A, the middle serif in W, and the slightly forward-leaning S. All these things match the type on Ruscha’s cover.

    The samples are taken from Mac McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century and, for Beton extrafett, the Schriftenkartei index card.

Post a comment