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     In 1720, a British former engraver of gunlocks and barrels, William Caslon (1692-1766), opened his own type foundry with almost immediate success. Until then England depended on the rest of Europe for typography. Caslon's typefaces managed to became so popular that soon not only replaced the Dutch ones, but also following the British colonialism expanded around the globe.
In the American colonies, the Caslon font was introduced by no other than Benjamin Franklin, and the United States' Declaration of Independence was set with Caslon's characters.
     Although not being particularly innovative or original, Caslon's types are very legible with sturdy texture that makes them "comfortable" and "friendly to the eye." Based on the Dutch typeface, Caslon characters differ by the stronger contrast between thick and thin strokes, which was the result of making the thick strokes slightly heavier; unlike continental Europe; where the Romain du Roi typeface was leading in fashion.
     William Caslon's foundry was operational by Caslon's heirs until 1937. He created typefaces not only for English, but also for Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Coptic, Armenian, and many more.
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Willian Caslon, specimens of Caslon roman and italic, 1734
© 2004 Natalia Rifai