Patricia Cost


The relative obscurity of Linn Boyd Benton and Morris Fuller Benton, is investigated. The two men, father and son, made significant contributions to the technology of typesetting and to typeface design, yet they are not now well known in the industry. Linn Boyd Benton invented a pantographic punch-cutting machine, which he later modified to engrave matrices. This machine made the Linotype machine practical, since it took the tedium and great expense out of the making of Linotype 'mats.' Benton's machine was and still is used at the American Type Founders Company, and was copied for use at type founding companies and composing machine manufacturers around the world. Morris Fuller Benton was the first type designer to develop the concept of the type family, and also revived many beautiful types like Baskerville, Bulmer, Bodoni, and Garamond. He designed more types than any other American type designer, and many of them are still in wide use. Benton's father collaborated on the original Century type, and Morris Benton designed Century Expanded, Century Oldstyle, Century Catalogue, Century Schoolbook, and all the italic, bold, condensed and extended versions that went along with them. He designed a variety of types, from gothics to moderns to classic revivals. Some of Benton's types became popular right away, and others, like Souvenir, became popular years after Benton died. The Bentons were written about in the printing literature of their day, but only a few recent and fairly obscure articles have mentioned them. It is shown that the reason for this is most probably due to the modesty and reticence of the Bentons. Both father and son worked for the American Type Founders (ATF) Company, which did not promote its employees but instead advertised its products. So while ATF became the most influential type founding company in the country, the Bentons remained relative unknowns. The story of their professional and personal lives, and the story of ATF's rise and decline are included. Morris Benton's type designs are discussed, and the ATF method of making type is given.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Benton, Linn Boyd,1844-1932; Benton, Morris Fuller; Type and type-founding--History; Typewriters--History

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Johnson, Herbert

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Provan, Archibald


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in December 2013.

Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at Z250.A2 C79 1986


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