Daniel Berkeley Updike wrote in his Printing Types, "In the class of
types which appear to be beyond criticism from the point of view of beauty and
utility, the original Caslon type stands first." William Caslon, an engraver,
began his career as a typefounder in about 1720 by cutting a font of
Arabic-language types for use by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
In order to sign his name to a printed proof of these letters, he cut his name
in a pica roman. These roman letters were so admired that he turned his
attention to various other sizes of roman and italic, followed by Hebrew, black
letter, Coptic and many other exotic types, as well as ornaments. He did not
issue his first specimen until 1734-the date is printed at the end of the
brevier Greek at the lower right corner. Shown here, this is the only known
complete copy of this type specimen, with Caslon's Ironmonger-Row, Old-Street,
London address. In the only other recorded copy, at the British Library, the
line of ornaments at the bottom has been cut off.