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William Caslon I

Mid-eighteenth century British punchcutter and typefounder, who solidly established British typefounding with well-crafted copies of earlier Dutch designs.

Caslon started work as apprentice to a London gunsmith, and set up his own business in 1716 engraving gunlocks and bookbinding tools. In 1720 William Bowyer the elder took him to see the respected James foundry, and subsequently helped Caslon set up as a type founder himself. His great reputation stems largely from his specimen of 1734, showing types that were (and often still are) reckoned to be superior to the Dutch types that inspired them. Indeed, his success meant the English reliance on Dutch types came to an end. He cut many non-Latin types (including Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Coptic and Armenian) and some beautiful ornaments. His types were just as highly regarded in colonial America, and the Declaration of Independence was set in Caslon. His son, William Caslon II, took over the business upon his death in 1766.

Updike explains the fame and excellence of Caslon’s types thus: “While he modelled his letters on Dutch types, they were much better; for he introduced into his fonts a quality of interest, a variety of design, and a delicacy of modelling, which few Dutch types possessed. Dutch fonts were monotonous, but Caslon’s fonts were not so. His letters when analyzed, especially in the smaller sizes, are not perfect individually; but in their mass their effect is agreeable. That is, I think, their secret: a perfection of the whole, derived from harmonious but not necessarily perfect individual letterforms.”

The foundry, eventually known as H.W. Caslon & Co., passed down through various members of the family until 1937, when the rights were transferred to Stephenson Blake.

14 font families by William Caslon I

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2 font styles from $29.00
Jump by vow of quick, lazy strength in Oxford.

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20 font styles from $24.95
Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.
LTC Caslon™ LTC Caslon™
LTC Caslon™ LTC Caslon™
LTC Caslon™ LTC Caslon™
LTC Caslon™ LTC Caslon™

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1 font style from $35.00
Jeez, by TV film Schwarzkopf expunged Iraq.

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2 font styles from $29.00
Typophiles weave dreams of quoins, kerning and juggling complex beziers.

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6 font styles from $26.00
Sex prof gives back no quiz with mild joy.
Caslon SB™ Caslon SB™
Caslon SB™ Caslon SB™
Caslon SB™ Caslon SB™

Albums

6 font styles from $26.00
West quickly gave Bert handsome prizes for six juicy plums.
New Caslon SB™ New Caslon SB™
New Caslon SB™ New Caslon SB™
New Caslon SB™ New Caslon SB™

Albums

8 font styles from $35.00 79% off
Perhaps President Clinton’s amazing sax skills will be judged quite favorably.
ITC Caslon No. 224™ ITC Caslon No. 224™

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1 font style from $35.00
A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his dizzy opponent.

Albums

3 font styles from $29.00
How vexing a fumble to drop a jolly zucchini in the quicksand.

Albums

9 font styles from $65.00
Five big quacking zephyrs jolt my wax bed.

Albums

1 font style from $35.00 74% off
Blowzy night-frumps vex’d Jack Q.
Caslon Graphique Caslon Graphique

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2 font styles from $35.00
Fax back Jim’s Gwyneth Paltrow video quiz.

Albums

2 font styles from $35.00
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.

Albums

1 font style from $25.00
The job of waxing linoleum frequently peeves chintzy kids.
Caslon Gotisch™ Caslon Gotisch™
Caslon Gotisch™ Caslon Gotisch™
Caslon Gotisch™ Caslon Gotisch™