Didot, François

Didot, François

(fräNswä` dēdō`), 1689–1757, Parisian printer. The son of a printer, Denis Didot, he was the first of the family to win fame in his craft. His son, François Ambroise Didot, 1730–1804, was said by Benjamin Franklin Bache to be the best printer of his time. Bache was apprenticed to Didot by his grandfather, Benjamin Franklin. The scholarly and typographic excellence of Didot's books is unquestioned. Influenced by the work of 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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, he designed type in the modern, pseudoclassical style, and his work in turn influenced that of 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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. Didot improved the point system of measuring and naming sizes of type, first employed by Pierre Simon Fournier, and secured its general adoption in France. His sons, Pierre Didot, 1761–1853, and Firmin Didot, 1764–1836, continued the family tradition, producing handsome books, mostly classics, with well-chosen texts conscientiously and skillfully edited. The Didot family never overlooked the requirements of students and general readers for good but inexpensive books. Firmin Didot was the first in France to print books from stereotypestereotype
, plate from which printing is done, made by casting metal in a mold, usually of paper pulp. The process was patented in 1725 by the Scottish inventor William Ged. Firmin Didot improved the process, named it, and extended its use.
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 plates, a process he improved and named, enabling him to make less expensive books. His sons followed him in the family business.
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