Page 10 - January 2014
P. 10

Original text taken from: A SPECIMEN OF 'MONOTYPE'

    Caslon • Series 128

William Caslon 1696-1766

The last of the distinguished type de-      His first type was an Arabic, cut in 1720,
signers who were, consciously or un-        and this was followed by a roman, but it
consciously, pupils of Garamond, was        was not until 1734 that a sufficient num-
William Caslon, whose work marks a          ber of letters had been cut to justify the
turning-point in English type founding.     printing of a specimen sheet. By that
If Caslon had ever seen or heard of the     time the Caslon roman was accepted as
romains du roi, he was entirely uninflu-    the best English book type and his repu-
enced by the subsequent work of Fleis-      tation was made/ He stopped the impor-
chman, Luce and Fournier, and to the        tation of Dutch type and there was little
end of his life he ignored the develop-     competition from other English found-
ment in type forms introduced by the        ers. He cut various other types including
continental founders. His specimens of      Hebrew, Coptic and Syriac, and he died
1764 might have been produced a hun-        in 1766 leaving his foundry to be carried
dred years earlier.                         on by his son.

William Caslon was born in 1696 at Crad-    Calson took as his model the best Dutch
ley, Worcestershire. Tradition has it that  types of the 17th century, and his
the surname was originally Caslona, after   roman has been raised for the qualities
an Andalusian town, whence in 1688 his      of homeliness and common sense which
father came to England. He was appren-      are found in the roman of Van Dijck. He
ticed to an engraver of ornamental gun-     was not in any real sense an innovator,
locks and barrels in London and later he    and he was no better than the designers
set up a shop of his own there, where       he took as models. He owes his success
he did silver-chasing and also cut tools    in England, not to any originality, but to
for bookbinders. He soon attracted the      the fact that he was the first really com-
notice of printers who persuaded him to     petent engraver and caster of types.
turn his attention to letter-founding.

                                            10 point Caslon 540 (digital typeface)

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