Extinct Caslons?

I'd like to kindly ask for your help with a question. Surely some learned member of this forum has the answer. 

I'm a huge fan of caslonic type. Huge. I collect them compulsively--can never get enough of them.

I've learned that there are two versions of Caslon that I've never come across. One is a beautiful small-text cut of Williams Caslon. It works excellently at size 10 pts and below. A good sample is on Luc Devroye's site (scroll all the way down; under the red heading that says "Now Playing: The Butler"):
http://luc.devroye.org/fonts-46262.html

I really love it. Does anyone know if it's for sale anywhere? 

Second, it looks like the late, prematurely-departed Justin Howes used to have a website where he sold, years ago, versions of his revived Founder's Caslon that ITC never acquired/sold. There were about four of them, very beautiful, as everything he did. The website used to be here:
http://www.hwcaslon.com:80/catp2.asp?c1=0&c2=0&c3=0&delivery=0&DCode=NONE&redirecting=1

But, it's gone now. I was wondering if any copies of his defunct Caslons survive elsewhere on the internet. I saw a scan of them, some time ago, and they were wonderful. 

Thanks much in advance!
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Comments

  • Frode HellandFrode Helland Posts: 148
    edited May 27
    Williams Caslon Text is available from Type Network: https://store.typenetwork.com/foundry/fontbureau/fonts/williams-caslon-text

    The other page is archived at the Web Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20030206031514/http://www.hwcaslon.com:80/catp2.asp?c1=0&c2=0&c3=0&delivery=0&DCode=NONE&redirecting=1 Not sure what happened to the fonts. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you, I appreciate it. I do have that one. The version I mentioned above is different. I think it was called Williams Caslon Ten. It's different. Made for small-size text. 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,016
    That's Williams Caslon Small, which @William Berkson did for a 2013 redesign of The New Yorker. I think it's not available commercially but maybe Bill will come by to confirm or correct.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Ah, yes. That makes sense. Thank you, Mr Eliason. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Also, unfortunately The New Yorker went back to Adobe Caslon, which I find disappointing. It's a great face, but much too common. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,538
    Posh Caslon!
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Which one? :-) 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,016
    @konrad ritter I heard from the designer directly that it is available through Type Network, despite it being missing from their website. I would contact them directly to inquire. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you, Mr Eliason. I'm really grateful for your help. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Also, as a general thought: wouldn't it be a way to honor Justin Howes' memory and dedication to craftsmanship if his fonts -- all of them -- were made available? Perhaps his family could sell them and have the proceeds go to a charity he'd have supported. 

    I'm never happy about great art going out of existence. Maybe it's just me. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 620
    Apparently, ITC Founders Caslon is still available through legitimate channels.


  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thanks, Mr Savard. That's true. 
    But, Justin Howes had make some additional cuts (at least four, as I remember -- I saw some scans of them, a while back) of the 18th-century Caslon, which he sold though his website, but didn't make it onto the ITC package they sell. They were quite beautiful. I found them better than the ITC ones. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 620
    edited May 28
    Ah. I have no idea where those would be available. I would think that his heirs would at least still make them available commercially if they could.
    However, I see from Justin Howes' original web site (visible through the Wayback Machine: just use "http://www.hwcaslon.com/", no need to use ":80" (which just says, use port 80, which is the standard port for the HTTP protocol) that these are attempts at an exact copy of Caslon's original, including bumps and irregularities due to the punch-cutting process.
    Although those bumps are not taken to a wretched excess like in the typeface Fifteenth Century (by the way, since it certainly wasn't derived from Caslon, does anyone know what Caslon Antique, as Fifteenth Century was later called, was really derived from... never mind, I'm obviously blind. Originally, I had presumed it was derived from something obscure between Jenson and Aldus, like Day Roman was, but actually looking at it, I see that it's obviously based on Garamond... well, maybe not quite) that still does seriously limit the general interest these typefaces will attract, however desirable they are to purists.
  • John NolanJohn Nolan Posts: 24
    I had correspondence with Justin when he was working on his Caslon, and I think I have most of the fonts he produced. By size, I have: 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 22, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, 72, and 96. I could make a pdf showing of the sizes your interested in, if you like. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you, Mr Savard -- I'm happy to hear there's still a way to look at his old website. 

    Mr Nolan, that's wonderful news. I appreciate it. I would love to be able to see his size 8 and 10 cuts. Those are the ones I'm crazy about. 

    BTW, for anyone else who might care: the fine folks at the Type Network got back to me, and indeed the small-text version of William Berkson's font can be had here:
    https://store.typenetwork.com/foundry/fontbureau/fonts/william-caslon-text-small

  • Thanks for your interest Konrad! Typedrawers just let me back in :) 
  • Williams Caslon Small is still in use at The New Yorker, in their 'Goings on About Town' listings. These are listings with several paragraphs about the movie, concert, play. Before the fall of 2013, which IRRC is when Williams Caslon Small started to be used, they used Sabon. Because the listings are small, 8 or 9 point, Sabon really suffered, and those long comments on the events were really hard to read. I was myself taken aback by how much doing the right things for readability of small type actually works! 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    It's great to meet you! I'm a huge fan. Also, I read your old piece on what let you to make your Caslon, ant it resonates with me a lot. I too was pining for the look of those early 20th-century books set in the Caslon you recreated. My favorite was Drabkin's Source Book in Physics. Good times...
  • Thanks Konrad! The young designer who was at the New Yorker who was keen on my fonts, Timothy Luke, I think wanted to use the Text also, but I gather couldn't sell the higher ups on it; so they stuck with Adobe Caslon for the text of articles. I think the Small was so obviously more readable than the shrunken down Sabon they were using, that they couldn't resist that. 

    Adobe Caslon is a good type, but with some serious flaws, in my view. One is that the thins are too thin at smaller sizes, including the current text of TNY. This makes reading less comfortable. I think Adobe Caslon really works better at 14 point and above, deck or display sizes. Second, the caps are too tall compared to the lower case. This is something the originals didn't do, IIRC. I think it comes from Monotype Caslon, and I don't know why Carol Twombly followed this model, as it results in what seems to me a messy look. 
  • William BerksonWilliam Berkson Posts: 8
    edited May 28
    I do take my hat off to the memory of Justin Howe as a prodigious laborer in the Caslon fields. I do think in the ITC version of Founder's Caslon he made a mistake, of reproducing the outlines of the metal type. Without the ink spread that Caslon was designing for—the mechanical presses and inks of the 18th century—they look much too spindly, for my taste, and I think for readability. I agree with Konrad that the early 20th century versions have the best weight. Frutiger wrote about an ideal ratio of black to white for readability, and I think he was right.  
  • FYI, Foreign Affairs used Williams Caslon Text, including for titles, in both print and online Foreign Affairs used the Text—also for their titles—for a number of years, both print and on line. It was used until last year, when the website reverted to Adobe Caslon. I don't know about the print edition. Here's an online example from the 'wayback machine': http://web.archive.org/web/20150728052641/https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/bulgaria/2015-04-29/left-side-history

  • Final comment. In 2016 Maria Doreuli's William was published. It has text, subhead, and display sizes. I'd like to think she learned something from my efforts. They are really nice fonts, also with Cyrillic, as she is Russian. However no Small. https://www.typotheque.com/fonts/william_text/getpdf
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you for all of these pointers. 

    I'm surprised to hear about the way Justin Howes went about it. His FC 12, which I use often, looks too thin and washed out on the page, and now I know why. Maybe it was his youth?  I know other young designers who set out to revive a face, and went straight for the outlines of the metal type, instead of reverse-engineering it from printed samples. I think that's what Charles Maze might have done with his Berthe, and it looks nothing like a chunk of text set in Serie 16eme on uncoated paper, which is where that old font really excels. 

    In contrast, Mr Blokland knew to avoid that. I like that he made DTL Fell in Regular and Book; the latter comes quite close to the real look of late 17th-century Fell type on a book page. 

    Finally, I know Ms Doreuli's Caslon, and I like it quite a bit. It used to be my go-to text font, for a while. It has a sturdiness that's missing from a lot of other predecessors. (Also, as my eyesight was getting weaker, I needed something darker to look at.) But, after a while, I began to feel ambivalently about its short ascenders. Sometimes, they don't do it for me. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 620
    edited May 28
    I had found that many versions of Caslon - the standard ones from ATF, Linotype and Monotype to start with - were too light on the page, and not adjusted for printing on uncoated paper.
    I followed the link to the Caslon by Maria Doreuli. The Caslon Text seemed so beautiful that one could hardly tell it was a Caslon (until Williams Caslon, to be a Caslon seemed to also mean to be badly flawed) - but I didn't immediately notice, until after reading Konrad Ritter's post, that it has a large x-height. While that is inauthentic, it's still a very useful special-purpose typeface; if one wanted to publish a newspaper in Caslon, for example.
    But it is sad that there isn't a definitive version with the weight and general characteristics of her Caslon Text but the proportions of her Caslon Display, because that is what would be desirable for book work.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Agree. Caslon 540 could use an update, as well. It too can perform really well in text settings, if only it wasn't so high-contrast. (Also, when I use it, I lower the crossbar on 'e' a little. It's too high as it is.)  
  • John NolanJohn Nolan Posts: 24
    Here are showings for the 8 and 10 point cuts:
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    That's very kind of you. Thank you much!
  • William BerksonWilliam Berkson Posts: 8
    edited May 28
    @konrad ritter, thanks for the observation on 'William'. The extenders are indeed too short, I think. I don't have her fonts, but from experience, an important part of the inviting texture of the good Caslon pages at text size is the somewhat generous extenders. I suspect it helps ease of reading also, as they define word shape more clearly. Not related, it is a strange coincidence that you use Faraday as your icon. Half of my first book, Fields of Force, my PhD thesis extended, was about him! 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    I think we have a research background that may overlap to some extent. (Hence the love of caslonics--some of the best secondary literature in my field was set in them, and it was a formative experience to sit down at length with those books. Few other faces match their greatness in print.) 

    I come from history and philosophy of science. My graduate advisor had been a postdoc to L. Pearce Williams, but I don't work on Faraday, just on the century that lead up to him. It's a small world, I guess. 
  • William BerksonWilliam Berkson Posts: 8
    edited May 28
    Yes, that's amazing. My PhD was in history and philosophy of science. My first book went from Faraday to Einstein, and Einstein's autobiography in the Schilpp volumes is in Linotype Caslon, which was my inspiration—along with John Hudson's opining on the limitations of Adobe Caslon, on the old Typophile. Pearce Williams reviewed my book, along with a book on Faraday of one of my former teachers, whom he hated. In his fury with one of my former teachers, he said a lot of false things about my book. When I pointed them out, he apologized, in print, and praised my book, which was big of him. I've rarely seen that. 

    Back to Caslon, for the 'Small' I used the proportions of x-height and extenders from Caslon—the long primer IIRC—for the Small. The shorter extenders work at smaller sizes, though, because you need the bigger x-height for readability at small sizes. 
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