William Caslon I

1692–1766

William Caslon I, ornamental engraver, type-founder and music lover was born in 1692 in the English Midlands. No one knows exactly where he was born, but the neighbouring towns of Cradley and Halesowen both battle for the right to claim Caslon as their own. Romantic wisdom suggests the family originated in Casalona, Andalusia; but historical pragmatism indicates Calson was the latest in a line of Birmingham Caslons who had lived in the city since before the days of William and Mary [1689]. But whether from Andalusia, Birmingham or the Black Country, William Caslon was destined to spawn a dynasty of type-founders, which dominated English printing for more than 300 years. Caslon was not born to type-founding; instead he started his career as an engraver to the gun trade and the style of his engraving suggests he was working in Birmingham. But it was in London that Caslon found fame as a typefounder and where he created the typeface that bears his name and which earned him the title of ‘England’s first typefounder’.