The Caxton typeface, created by William Caxton in 1478, is one that has been spruced up a number of times over the years. Here at St Bride Foundation, we have one of the two books that first saw the typeface, ‘His Consolation of Philosophy’. This is one of only two copies made of the book; the other was sold.
The font is fully justified, meaning that all the lines fit to the same margin. Our in-house ‘fountain of knowledge’ tells us that Caxton used to change the spelling of some words to ensure the margin was always the same width.
The font in question has changed slightly over the years. In the late 19th century several type foundries revived the style: one of these was owned by two brothers, Vincent and James Figgins.
The font at had become very fashionable at this time and, as can be seen from the picture, the Figgins version was easier to read, which added to its appeal.
Chiswick press also produced its own version of the Caxton typeface. However, this typeface was much more akin to its original predecessor.
Caxton has stood the test of time and still survives to this day as a commercially available computer font. Thankfully though, its modern equivalent is slightly more legible than its predecessors.