Nicolette Gray documents Filigree as “Caslon, registered 1878.”¹ As it turns out, Herman Ihlenburg [Berlin 1841–Philadelphia 1905] filed an application for US patent of this design in August 1877; it was approved in February 1878 [USPTO D10447].

The registration record she cites was almost certainly initiated by Ihlenburg (inventor) or by MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan (assignee), rather than by Caslon personnel:

Interpretation of then-current USPTO agreements with its counterpart in Great Britain is that one year after rights were granted in either country, the inventor (or assignee) might apply for corresponding rights in the other.

For example, Thomas W. Smith, head of the Caslon TF since 1873,¹ was awarded US patents for type designs in 1874 and 1885. The one issued in February–April 1885 was shown in 1884.¹

Hailing’s Circular (Cheltenham, England) records the US/GB commercial history of Filigree:

•Spring 1878. MSJ is congratulated for Filigree, which was used for the issue heading and as initial “drop-caps” throughout the text.
•Autumn 1879. “Messrs. Stephenson and Blake … must be given credit for importing the Filigree series shewn [shown] in our last number.”
•Summer 1880. “We hasten to express our regret at giving to Messrs. Stephenson and Blake the credit due to Messrs. Caslon & Co. for importation of the series of Filigree.

The publisher, Thomas Hailing [b 1830], was an out-spoken champion of US design innovation and TF management. According to Pasko, he was the first printer in GB to import US types. His influence raised worldwide awareness of “the new American types” during the Artistic Printing Movement.

A THP partner has bravely volunteered to tackle digital revival of this complex font.

More about Filigree:
More about THP revival projects:
More cool undigitized fonts:

More updates of Nicolette Gray’s research of 19th-century type trends in Great Britain:

¹Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages, pages 123–126, 205 and 206. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
²Pasko, W.W. (1894): American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking|A History of These Arts in Europe and America, with Definitions of Technical Terms and Biographical Sketches, page 251. Howard Lockwood & Co., New York.
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