Caslon, William

Caslon, William

(kăz`lən), 1692–1766, English type designer, b. Worcestershire. He worked first in London as an engraver of gunlocks, then set up his own foundry in 1716. The merits of Caslon's types were rediscovered after a brief eclipse in the popularity of John BaskervilleBaskerville, John
, 1706–75, English designer of type and printer. He and Caslon were the two great type designers of the 18th cent. in England. He began his work as printer and publisher in 1757 and in 1758 became printer to the Univ. of Cambridge.
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's types. Caslon's individual letters are less impressive than those of Baskerville and Giambattista BodoniBodoni, Giambattista
, 1740–1813, Italian printer b. Piedmont. He was the son of a printer and worked for a time at the press of the Vatican. Under the patronage of the duke of Parma, he produced stately quartos and folios with impressive title pages and luxurious margins.
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, but their regularity, legibility, and sensitive proportions constituted a remarkable achievement in design. His typefaces were used for most important printed works from c.1740 to c.1800. One such example is the first printed version of the United States Declaration of Independence. Some Caslon types are still in use. His business was carried on by his eldest son, William (1720–78).

Bibliography

See biography by J. Ball (1974).

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And while the virus was dormant for a long time, it led eventually to my own revival of Caslon, Williams Caslon Text (Font Bureau).