Type Founding in Europe

. For a long period after the discovery of printing, it seems that type-founding, printing, and binding went under the general term of Printing; printers cast the types used by them, and printed and bound the works executed in their establish­ments. Type-founding became a distinct call­ing early in the seventeenth century. A decree of the Star Chamber, made July 11th, 1637, ordained the following regulations concerning English founders: “That there shall be four founders of letters for printing, and no more: That the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Bishop of London, with six other high com­mifsioners, shall supply the places of those four as they shall become void: That no master-founder shall keep above two appren­tices at one time. That all journeyman-founders be employed by the masters of the trade, and idle journeymen be compelled to work, upon pain of imprisonment and such other punishment as the court shall think fit. That no master-founder of letters shall employ any other person in any work belonging to the casting or founding of letters than freemen or apprentices to the trade, save only in pulling off the knots of metal hanging at the end of the letters when they are first cast; in which work every master-founder may employ one boy only, not bound to the trade.” By the same decree, the number of master-printers in England was limited to twenty. Regulations like the above were in force till 1693. The “polyglot founders,” as they have been called, were succeeded by Joseph Moxon and others. But the English were unable to compete with the superior productions of the Dutch founders until the advent of William Caslon.

Taken from Gesta Typographica by Chas. Jacobi, 1897, page 13.

Gothic Letters


Pica Type



The first cylinder printing-machine

The first steam printing

Capitals and leads

About the Letters J and W

The Scriptures were first written on skins

The first iron printing-press


Gothic Letters

Type Founding in Europe

Pica Type

Long Primer



Newspapers were first printed

[The Vatican’s Printing Press]


Richard Pynson

Some Numerals

John Gutenberg