The Printing Press & Type Foundries by Janet Chan

The birth of the printing press not only revolutionized education and knowledge, it also reshaped the design of letterforms. This opened up a whole industry for printers-scholars, type cutters, and finally, a place solely for the creation of typography, the type foundry. This timeline tracks the type industry from the birth of the printing industry in 1456. Printers are included as they create their own type. It was only until 1540 that the gradual specialization of labor allowed Claude Garamond (the celebrated typographer) to open the type foundry. Traditional metal type foundries continue to grow and improve with technological advancements. Starting form the 1700s, individual type foundries joined to form large type design companies that dominated the field. They all collapsed at the start of the digital age, giving space to a whole new digital generation of type foundries.

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