To meet the burgeoning demands of commerce, type founders in 1830s London introduced a plethora of new fonts which abandoned the traditional nib-informed model. Most radical were bold, capital-only designs with almost no stroke contrast, stripped bare of serifs. To all intents and purposes (except perhaps their allusion to primitive culture) these minimal expressions of utility were identical to 20th century functionalism. Recontextualizing one of the original sans fonts, Shinn offers an alternative proposition to the myth of modernism.
Figgins. Specimen pdf. License at Fontspring.