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[BKARTS] First U.S. type foundry

           See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.

For your information, I have here appended several of the labels from
Columbia' University's exhibit "Type to Print: The Book and the Type
Specimen Book", which was held a couple of years ago to celebrate the
acquisition, 60 years previous, of the American Type Founders Company Library.

The complete labels for this exhibit, curated by Jenny Lee, will be
published in an upcoming issue of APHA's journal, _Printing History_. For
more information on APHA (the American Printing History Association),
including how to become a member and receive this issue when it appears,
see http://www.printinghistory.org/

I have tried to remove the special formatting, so everyone's computer will
be able to read the following.

                         --Jane Siegel
                                         Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
Columbia University
                                         and APHA

_Ein Geistliches Magazien, oder: Aus den Schätzen der Schrifftgelehrten zum
Himmelreich gelehrt, dargereichtes Altes und Neues_
Germantown: Christopher Sower, 1770-1772?

Christopher Sower (1721-1784) was one of the most prosperous printers and
businessmen in the North American colonies. Around 1740 he imported type
from the Egenolff-Luther foundry in Frankfurt and used it to print many
books, including the 1743 German Bible, the first to be printed in any
European language in America. By 1770 he had imported matrices as well, and
by 1772 his son Christopher Sower II began what may be considered the first
successful American typefoundry, although he still used European equipment.
The legend at the bottom of page 136 of this religious periodical,
published in late 1771 or early 1772, reads “Printed with the first types
that have been cast in America.” When the younger Sower died in 1778, his
estate contained not only letter molds but also a large quantity of
antimony, the critical ingredient of type metal, which at that time had to
be imported to America.

American Type Founders Company Library


A. G. Mappa, Rotterdam
_Proeven van Letteren die Gevonden Worden in de van Ouds Beroemde
Lettergieterye van Wylen de Heeren Voskens en Clerk, Nu van A. G. Mappa_
Rotterdam: 1781?

In 1780, the father of Adam Gerard Mappa bought a large part of the
Amsterdam typefounding firm of Voskens & Clerk, and Mappa soon discovered
that he had talent for typefounding. He began his own business in Rotterdam
where he issued this specimen book, but moved to Delft a few years later.
There he become embroiled in the Patriot movement and led a volunteer
regiment in the unsuccessful revolution of 1787. He was banished from
Delft, spent a few years in France, and in 1789, emigrated to America with
his typefoundry on the advice of the Ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson.
Mappa set up his new business in New York.

According to a contemporary letter, and supported by the type in this
specimen, his foundry contained not only “the Western, but the Oriental
languages at the value of at least [pound sign] 3,500 New York currency.”
There was not much call for type in exotic languages, and while Isaiah
Thomas considered his Dutch and German type “handsome,” his “roman were but
ordinary.” Mappa was not skilled enough to produce the type needed by the
new nation, and the foundry was advertised for sale on 1 February 1794. At
least some of Mappa’s equipment was acquired by Binny & Ronaldson, although
their business did not start until 1 November 1796. This specimen book came
to them with Mappa’s typefounding equipment.

American Type Founders Company Library


Isaiah Thomas, 1749-1831
_A Specimen of Isaiah Thomas’s Printing Types.  Being as Large and Complete
an Assortment As Is to Be Met With in Any One Printing Office in
America.  Chiefly Manufactured by That Great Artist, William Caslon, Esq.;
of London_
Worcester, Massachusetts: Printed by Isaiah Thomas, 1785

The experiences of Adam Mappa and John Baine show that American printers
wanted a domestic typefounding industry, but only if it could produce type
of the quality of the English and Scottish foundries. The year after
Mappa’s foundry was advertised for sale, Isaiah Thomas issued this
printer’s specimen of type, not for sale but available for use in his
printing office. The title page makes the truthful boast that this was as
large and complete an assortment “as is to be met with in any one
Printing-Office in America,” adding that the type was “Chiefly manufactured
by that great Artist, William Caslon, Esq; of London.”

Writing to Thomas in 1793, Ebenezer T. Andrews, in Boston, thought that
Baine’s type was “by no means handsome.” But Thomas had not only to pay
dearly for the imported type, he also had to pay import duties. By 1792,
when he tried, unsuccessfully, to have the tax on type waived, the duties
stood at 7-1/2% of the value of imported goods of all kinds. Instead,
Congress raised the import duties on all goods to 10% in 1794, and, in
order to protect the foundling American typefounding industry, specified
the following year that this included all imported printing types.

American Type Founders Company Library


_Encyclopedia; or, A Dictionary of arts, sciences, and miscellaneous
Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas Dobson, 1798

John Baine was already an accomplished typefounder when he arrived in New
York in 1787. A native of Scotland, he had become interested in
typefounding in London and entered into partnership with Alexander Wilson,
setting up a foundry in St. Andrews in 1742. After their partnership
dissolved in 1749, Wilson prospered, but Baine’s history is obscure.
Printed in Edinburgh in 1787, _A Specimen of Printing Types, By John Baine
& Grandson in Co._, is known in only one copy held by the American
Antiquarian Society. By August of that year, he was advertising his wares
in the _New York Journal_. The same advertisement states that the firm had
removed to Philadelphia, though three fonts could be purchased at a New
York firm, “Ready Cash or no Purchase.”

In 1790, Baine’s type was used to print two very important editions: Mathew
Carey’s Bible and Thomas Dobson’s Encyclopedia. The first ten of eighteen
volumes of the _Encyclopedia_ were set in Baine’s type. When the elder
Baine died in August 1790, his grandson continued the business
half-heartedly until 1799, when he sold the equipment to Binny & Ronaldson
for $300.

Gift of Ray L. Trautman


Binny & Ronaldson, Philadelphia
_Ledger A. Private and General Accounts _
1 November 1796 - 31 May 1798
Bound manuscript volume

This first ledger of the typefounding firm of Binny & Ronaldson begins here
on 1 November 1796. Until 13 December, all entries are debits as the firm
purchased equipment and supplies. On that day Thomas Dobson, one of the
major Philadelphia printers, brought them 827 pounds of worn-out type in
exchange for credit. On 3 March 1797, Dobson gave them their first
substantial order for a large font of Long Primer. It amounted to 527
pounds of type, a sale of $235.42. Over the next few years, they sold type
not only to Philadelphia printers, but also to printers in Albany,
Baltimore, Knoxville, New Haven, and New York. By 1812, their customer base
had expanded as far north as Portland, Maine and in the south Augusta, Georgia.

American Type Founders Company Library


Binny & Ronaldson, Philadelphia
_A Specimen of Metal Ornaments Cast at the Letter Foundery of Binny &
Philadelphia: Fry and Kammerer, 1809

When Binny & Ronaldson issued their first specimen book in 1809, showing
only type ornaments, they had been in business for thirteen years. From the
start they were able to offer at least four sizes of type: English, Pica,
Long Primer, and Brevier. The largest type displayed in their 1812
_Specimen of Printing Type_ is 7-Lines Pica. However, in the preface to the
book, headed “To the Printers of the United States,” the proprietors
stated: “The letters of a larger size than seven lines Pica (with which
this specimen commences) shall be finished as soon as possible; and they
have now in hand several new and important articles which could not be got
ready for it, but which shall be added to it from time to time.”

In this copy of the 1809 specimen book, kept by Binny & Ronaldson, various
broadside printings of these special sizes and “new and important articles”
are bound in, including their magnificent 14-Lines Pica, and their “New

American Type Founders Company Library

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