Stephenson Blake

Stephenson Blake
Stephenson Blake
Industry Type foundry
Founded July 1818
Founder(s) William Garnett, John Stephenson, James Blake
Defunct 2005
Headquarters Sheffield, England

Stephenson Blake was a British Type foundry, based in Sheffield, England. Active from the 19th century until the 1990s, it remained the last active typefoundry in Britain.


Type Founding

The typefoundry began operations in July 1818 by silversmith and mechanic William Garnett and toolmaker John Stephenson, financially supported by James Blake. That November, news came that the breakaway Caslon foundry (formed when William Caslon III left the original Caslon foundry in 1792) was put up for sale by William Caslon IV. In 1819 the deal was concluded and Blake, Garnett & Co. were suddenly in charge of one of England’s most prestigious typefoundries. In 1829 Garnett left to become a farmer. The company was renamed Blake & Stephenson in 1830, but Blake died soon after. It became Stephenson, Blake & Co. in 1841. John Stephenson died in 1864, the year after he handed control to his son Henry. By the early 1900’s the foundry had ventured ventured into steel making and tool production, which would prove to be the core business of the current firm.

Mergers and Aquisitions

  • Fann Street Foundry (1906)
  • Fry’s Type Street Letter Foundry
  • H.W. Caslon & Sons (1937)
  • Miller & Richard (1952)


While the foundry was still producing some type in zinc as late as 2001, the foundry had shut down by 2005 when the matrices and other typographic equipment, by then of little commercial value (but of great historical value), were passed to Monotype, becoming a key part of the Type Museum, London. There are plans to turn the former premises into an apartment complex.


These foundry types were produced by Stephenson Blake[1]:

  • Baskerville (1795, Isaac Morre) from original matrices acquired from the Fry Foundry.
  • Bologna (1946), also cast by ATF.
  • Britannic
  • Chatsworth (1904)
  • Chisel (1939-56, Robert Harling), sold by Enschedé as Bavo.
  • Consort (1845), a re-issue of the original Clarendon, cast by R. Besley & Co. (Fann Street Foundry), with new weights added.
  • Coronation (c. 1937)
  • Dominus (1925), also known as Clearface Open and Handtooled
  • Doric 1 Italic (1892, John Hambury)
  • Doric 12 (1816, Caslon foundry)
  • Egyptian Expanded, originally cast by the Miller & Richardson Foundry
  • Elongated Roman, a revival of a nineteenth century face.
  • Fry's Canon (1808), privately cas for use by Kynoch Press and Curwen Press.
  • Fry's Ornamented (1796, Richard Austin)
  • Ganton (1927)
  • Georgian (c. 1790), perhaps from matrices acquired from the Fry Foundry.
  • Goudy Modern (1929, Frederic Goudy), originally cast by Lanston Monotype (1918).
  • June (1927)
  • Keyboard (1951)
  • Kingston
  • Klang (1955, Will Carter), originally cast by Monotype, SB later added a bold.
  • Madonna Ronde (1925, Lucian Bernhard) a re-casting of Bauer's Bernhard Cursive.
  • Mazarin (1921, Robert Girard), a re-casting of Deberny & Peignot's Astree
  • Mercury (1936, Erich Mollowitz), originally cast by Trennert as Rheingold. Also copied by Weber Typefoundry as Forelle
  • Playbill (1938, Robert Harling)
  • Spartan, a knock-off of Copperplate Gothic.
  • Windsor (1905, Elisha Pechey)

Successor Corporation

Stephenson & Blake is now a company which specializes in High Frequency Welding brass electrodes and CNC machining for all types of brass welding/cutting dies and has a huge collection of samples and products which are machined to order.

Their in-house machining/engineering department make tooling for any kind of plastic welding, and because of the CNC machining department, can make extraordinary dies which are impossible to make out of tooling rule.

In December 2007, Stephenson & Blake acquired Nu-Gauge engineering, who are a major manufacturer to the glass gauge industry in the United Kingdom. Nu-Gauge engineering has been merged to within Stephenson & Blake, and will make any type of gauge to order with extremely tight tolerances.

In December 2009, Stephenson & Blake acquired the steel rule tooling business from DR Tooling Ltd; They now design and manufacture steel cutting tools along-side their High Frequency Welding tools.

In 2010, Stephenson & Blake acquired the Brass Welding/High Frequency Welding rule business from Caslon. Stephenson & Blake now manufacture the whole of Caslons High Frequency Welding Rule range alongside their own inventory.

External links


  1. ^ Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopedia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983, ISBN 0-7137-1347-X, p. 2408-249

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