New Caslon

New Caslon

I recently acquired an excellent font of New Caslon in 72, 60, 48, 36, 30, 24 and 18 point. This type came out of Barnett Printing in San Francisco, supposedly the oldest print shop in S.F. (110 years) and I think Caslon must have been used a lot during that time. I am trying to figure out what Type Foundry this might have come from and when it might have been cast. This is older metal.
On a link in the AAPA web site [] there is a list that indicates the font is /was available in 2000 from Berliner and from Swamp. The Langston Monotype number is 537. Would you have any input on the history of this magnificent set of metal type? I am also interested in trying to find some sorts of the font. Certain letters are in short supply (example: there is only one 18 pt. capital M) and I’d like to find a few to restore the font to it’s full usability.
Best regards,

Lawrence Peterson

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Your question may not have a simple answer. Given that the font came from an old, established printer in San Francisco, one might think they came from MacKenzie & Harris in their heyday. The larger sizes were probably cast on a Thompson because of the size and amount of metal for each letter and the smaller on regular caster. Currently M&H doesn’t list a Caslon under that Lanston number, only showing Caslon English Old Style #37 and Inland #137. I wonder if the mattes were part of the Gerald Giampa foundry collection that were lost in the flood in Canada. Maybe someone with more knowledge of Berliner and M&H resources will chime in. Berliner is not casting type anymore and the mattes were sold to Offizin Parnassia in Switzerland I believe. I am sure someone will correct me if they have more accurate information.

I have The American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century Book. Nothing listed as “New” Caslon. Extensive history on this type. Hand cut by William Caslon more than 250 years ago. 15 style of this, from Italic, to Script.
In more modern times it was produced by Mono, Lino, ATF, & Inter. Nothing thru Ludlow. Most recently thru Berliner as you mentioned. I would guess, you may find this type available at some point. Can you run a press proof and I might be able to find a C-L-O-S-E duplicate.

Some looks like an upscale version of Times Roman.
Close to Eusebius by Ludlow

As Mike suggests, there are many possibilities. The Caslon section is probably the most complicated one in McGrew.

If all that you know is that it is “New Caslon,” then (with frequent reference to Mcgrew)…

New Caslon was cut by the Inland Type Foundry (Chicago) in 1905 (italic in 1906). Roman to 84pt, Italic to 48pt. These passed to ATF in 1912. Ultimately it became ATF 331/332. Here’s the showing of it in the 1923 ATF specimen:

(and of course it’s also in the Sevanti reprint of this specimen).

McGrew indicates that it was copied by both Linotype and Intertype (As Caslon No. 3 up to 14 point, but then also as Caslon No. 3 but really Caslon Bold 18-30pt and for the A-P-L up to 72pt). This means that any independent type foundry with a Thompson and the right molds could have cast up to 30pt as type for the case from linecaster mats. (I’ve never heard of a Thompson mold for A-P-L mats.)

It was also copied, as you note, by Lanston Monotype as series 537/5371 (6 to 72 point Roman, only to 60pt Italic). Here are the Lanston showings for the Roman in composition sizes and the Italic in display sizes:

The Monotype Type-&-Rule Caster can only cast this up to 36 point; the Thompson can cast it up to 48 point; the Giant Caster or Supercaster can cast the full range up to 72 point.

New Caslon is not listed in the circa 1983 “Types We Can Make” specimen by Harold Berliner’s Typefoundry. He shows only Caslon No. 337, Caslon Bold No. 79, Caslon Titling (British, No. 209) and English Caslon No. 37.

Sorry to complicate things!

David M.

Theo - “New Caslon” is pp. 67 (bottom) - 69 (top) (and shown p. 68, third down) in McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century. It’s very easy to miss in the long, complicated section on the many Caslons.

David M.

To complicate this even more I have pasted a link to “i love typography” blog from a few years back. He discusses Justin Howe’s research on Caslon and the New Caslon. Unfortunately never finished due to Howe’s untimely death.

New Caslon has a larger x height, and shorter ascenders and descenders than Caslon Old Style. It does not retain the unique characteristics of the different sizes of the original Caslon. I’m not sure if the matrices survived from the auction and closing of ATF, but it does show up occasionally on eBay.


Thank you all for the very helpful input. Looks like Swamp Press might have the matrices and can cast the font. I’ll send them a sample to check. Very interesting history to this font. Thanks again to all.


i’ve seen some type Swamp Press has cast, he is very knowledgible and does a great job.

Having come to the midwest from San Francisco thirty years ago. I can honestly say that I never heard of Barnett Printing. My first typefaces were gleaned from San Francisco typography shops.

I was involved in the design of a promotional/anniversary book for the James H. Barry Co. (printers) to celebrate their 100th year in business. They were the oldest printing firm in San Fransico at that time. There was one guy at JHB that had been working there for 68 years!!!!!!!!!!!


I’ve never seen any work that came from Barnett, but I do find their name in the old union shop lists (106). At one point they were at 1000 Sansome, a block with lots of printing activity.
I have that J H Barry centennial booklet. Nice. Last I remember of the Barry company were pickets, next time I looked the building was a chain grocery store.

There was one five-story building on Sansome Street that was a one-stop destination. Timely Typography was in that building as well as Kennedy TenBosch (sp?). There was a bindery on one floor as I recall. The whole building was filled with nothing but printing related companies. Bascially you could send a manuscript to that building and a finsihed book could come out on the loading dock. All components simply traveled from floor to floor on the freight elevator. I vividly remember the giant flatbed sheetfed presses on the first or second floor. The sheets of paper looked like queen-sized sheet on a bed! All of that ended in the late 70’s and that building was being refurbished for condos. Yikes!


Hello, Lawrence, and thanks for your mentorship. I finally got this sign-in figured out.

I have gotten so much further along than I would have, had you not offered advice etc. plus of course the beautiful font and etc. for sale.

Tomorrow is Codex! I am going, and I am going to get so much more out of it than I would have, prior to your help.

I have learned not only how but WHY to tie up a form, I’ve almost got the mneumonics for the California Job Case down, and I had my second day of printing…. Now I have to think of something new to say.
Hope you are well,
Katie Christman