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Graphion's Online Type Museum
Graphion's Online Type Museum
J. Gutenberg
W. Caxton
A. Manutius
W. Caslon
G. Bodoni
F. Goudy
E. Gill
J. Tschichold
B. Warde’s Crystal Goblet
Typographic glossary

William Caslon

William Caslon was born in the village of Cradley, in Worcestershire, England. He was taken in as an apprentice engraver in London at the age of 13; by age 24 he had become a successful independent engraver. In 1720, Caslon began his career in type design by accepting a commission to create a typeface for the New Testament in Arabic. His subsequent roman typeface was an instant success, and set an example for beauty and readability for all later type. Caslon expanded his business into Britain’s first major type foundry, moving, in 1737, into the Chiswell Street Foundry, where his family would continue in the trade for over 120 years.

Caslon type fell into disuse at the start of the 19th century. But in 1844, Charles Whittingham initiated a Caslon revival by using the typeface to create an archaic effect for the Chiswick Press publication of The Diary of Lady Willoughby. This revival was taken up in America by L.J. Johnson, who copied the Caslon face in 1858, and sold it under the name “Old Style”. Though often criticized, the Caslon typeface remains one of the most popular of all time.