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The Englishman William Caslon punchcut many roman, italic, and non-Latin typefaces from 1720 until his death in 1766. At that time most types were being imported to England from Dutch sources, so Caslon was influenced by the characteristics of Dutch types. He did, however, achieve a level of craft that enabled his recognition as the first great English punchcutter. Caslon's roman became so popular that it was known as the script of kings, although on the other side of the political spectrum (and the ocean), the Americans used it for their Declaration of Independence in 1776. The original Caslon specimen sheets and punches have long provided a fertile source for the range of types bearing his name. Identifying characteristics of most Caslons include a cap A with a scooped-out apex; a cap C with two full serifs; and in the italic, a swashed lowercase v and w. Caslon's types have achieved legendary status among printers and typographers, and are considered safe, solid, and dependable.
A few of the many interpretations from the early twentieth century were true to the source, as well as strong enough to last into the digital era. These include two from the American Type Founders Company, Caslon 540 and the slightly heavier Caslon #3. Both fonts are relatively wide, and come complete with small caps, Old style Figures, and italics. Caslon Open Face first appeared in 1915 from the Barnhart Bros & Spindler Foundry, and is not anything like the true Caslon types despite the name. It is intended exclusively for titles, headlines and initials, and looks elegant whether used with the more authentic Caslon types or by itself.
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