Lastly, kerning will also have to be redone from scratch.
I don’t necessarily agree with this. Depending upon the relationship between styles, I have found that I can often start from previous kerning.
If I am methodical and consistent in my development of a heavy weight, in fact, many pairs can share the same value across fonts, and other pairs may take a common adjustment.
For example, I just quickly analyzed a recent Ext Latin sans-serif family I delivered, and the Ultra pole shares about 80% of the kern pairs/values with the Regular. Another ~15% are the same pair but with adjusted values, and the remaining ~5% are pairs unique to the Ultra. (There are also a few pairs unique to the Regular.)
This will not always be possible, of course. And not to the same degree with all styles of type. But neither is it inconceivable.
There is no fixed formula, but there can be rational relationships and, with experience, one can be methodical about it all.
I do think Dan’s hypothesis is an interesting one. The appearance of this style when it did may be more than purely coincidental. I don’t know that anyone will ever run across any definitive “proof,” though.
Given the examples cited, the bobtailed form seems to have found greater reception with the Germans. The few experiments by Benton did not seem to have any lasting influence in general among American designers, anyway.
Instead, the baseline was repositioned at each side in a way that would
allow multiple type sizes to be combined on a single line, with the help
of standardized spacing material being placed above and below the
This was a driving principle behind the Standard Lining (aka Point-Line) system that was being adopted by founders in the U.S. in the 1890s and elsewhere in the first decade of the 1900s, not unique to the German implementation.
(I don’t think Dan meant to imply as much; I just thought I’d clarify for anyone who is unfamiliar with this history and who might have read it that way.)
P.S. All that rounding and softening in the samples you mentioned are later exaggerations of wear-and-tear associated with a romantic notion of the earlier period. Type makers from the 1800s weren’t trying to make their type rounded; they wanted it to be sharp. They were just confronting physical limitations.