Nicolette Gray traces the introduction of Caxtonian in Great Britain to Caslon’s Circular of 1880, and adds “American, 1887.”¹ It was still shown by Caslon in 1915 and perhaps later.

This design was patented in 1878 by Thomas MacKellar, principal partner of MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan (Philadelphia). As the Inventor of Record, his claim reads that he “invented and produced a new and original Design for a Font of Printing-Types.” This legal language is interpreted to mean that he acquired it from someone else and assumed the financial risk of manufacturing, marketing and distributing it.

The designer of this strikingly handsome face, unattributed in the literature, was probably an independent lettering artist rather than an employee. Starting in c1873, when MSJ “alum” William W. Jackson opened his own business and concurrent with changes in USPTO regulations, MSJ adopted the policy that the actual designer apply for patents and assign them to the corporation. With rare exceptions, MSJ executives submitted no such applications after 1875.

Caxtonian has been digitally archived for posterity.

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, page 206. Faber and Faber Limited, London.
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