Prolific American type designer (b. 1872, Milwaukee, d. 1948, Morristown, NJ), who published over 200 alphabets at ATF. He managed the ATF type design program from 1892 until 1937. Son of Linn Boyd Benton. MyFonts page on him. Nicholas Fabian's page. Linotype's page. Klingspor page. Unos tipos duros page. His fonts include:
Linotype link. FontShop link. Picture.
- 1897: Cloister Old Style (ATF). [Stephenson Blake purchased this from ATF and called it Kensington Old Style, 1919] [Cloister (2005, P22/Lanston) is based on Jim Rimmer's digitization of Benton's Cloister.]
- 1898: Roycroft. Mac McGrew on Roycroft: Roycroft was one of the most popular of a number of rugged faces used around the turn of the century, when printing with an antique appearance was in vogue. It was inspired by lettering used by the Saturday Evening Post. then a popular weekly magazine, and has been credited to Lewis Buddy, a former Post artist and letterer, but ATF says it was designed "partly" by Morris Benton, about 1898. Gerry Powell, director of typographic design for ATF in the 1940s, says, "Roycroft was first known as Buddy, changed when it was adopted by Elbert Hubbard for the Roycroft Press." Henry L. Bullen, ATF librarian and historian, says, "The first font of type to be made from matrices directly engraved on the Benton machine was 24-point Roycroft. October 4, 1900." While the machine was originally designed in 1884 to cut punches rather than matrices, it is doubtful that no fonts of mats were cut before 1900. Roycroft is also said to be the first face for which the large size of 120-point was engraved in type metal, with matrices made by electrotyping. Many faces of the day had a number of alternate characters. For this face. ATF gave specific instructions for their intended use: "M with the short vertex, in words the letters of which are open; R with the long tail, as a final letter in all-cap words; the wide h, m, and n, as a final letter only; t with the swash tail, as a final letter but not too frequently; u with the descending stroke, in words having no descending letters; ct ligature, wherever possible; the long s and its combinations, in antique work." Roycroft Open was cut in 1902, probably from the same patterns as the parent face. Roycroft Tinted is a very unusual face, in which the face is engraved with the equivalent of a halftone screen of about 25 percent tone value, with a black shadow on the right side; this face was cut by the Dickinson Type Foundry branch of ATF in Boston, and includes the same special characters as Roycroft. Compare Post Oldstyle.
- 1900: Century Expanded: a revival of Century Roman which was designed in 1894 by his father (Linn Boyd Benton) for Theodore Low DeVinne. Digitizations by Elsner&Flake, Bitstream and URW.
- 1901: Linotext (aka WedddingText).
- 1901-1910: Engravers.
- 1901: Wedding Text (some put this in 1907), Old English Text, Engravers' Old English (a blackletter font remade by Bitstream). Wedding Text has been copied so often it is sickening: Wedding Regular and Headline (HiH, 2007), Dan X. Solo's version, Comtesse, Elite Kanzlei (1905, Stempel), Meta, Lipsia, QHS Nadejda (QHS Soft), Blackletter 681, Marriage (Softmaker), Wedding Text TL (by Tomas Liubinas).
- 1902: Typoscript.
- 1902-1912: Franklin Gothic. Digital versions exist by Bitstream, Elsner&Flake (in a version called ATF Franklin Gothic), Red Rooster (called Franklin Gothic Pro, 2011), Linotype, and ITC (ITC Franklin Gothic). Discussion by Harvey Spears. Mac McGrew: Franklin Gothic might well be called the patriarch of modern American gothics. Designed in 1902 by Morris Fuller Benton, it was one of the first important modernizations of traditional nineteenth-century faces by that designer, after he was assigned the task of unifying and improving the varied assortment of designs inherited by ATF from its twenty-three predecessor companies. Franklin Gothic (named for Benjamin Franklin) not only became a family in its own right, but also lent its characteristics to Lightline Gothic. Monotone Gothic, and News Gothic (q.v.). All of these faces bear more resem- blance to each other than do the faces within some other single families. Franklin Gothic is characterized by a slight degree of thick-and-thin contrast; by the double-loop g which has become a typically American design in gothic faces; by the diagonal ends of curved strokes (except in Extra Condensed); and by the oddity of the upper end of C and c being heavier than the lower end. The principal specimen here is Monotype, but the basic font is virtually an exact copy of the ATF face in display sizes, except that Monotype has added f- ligatures and diphthongs. Franklin Gothic Condensed and Extra Condensed were also designed by Benton, in 1906; Italic by the same designer in 1910; and Condensed Shaded in 1912 as part of the "gray typography" series. Although Benton started a wide version along with the others, it was abandoned; the present Franklin Gothic Wide was drawn by Bud (John L.) Renshaw about 1952. Franklin Gothic Condensed Italic was added by Whedon Davis in 1967. Monotype composition sizes of Franklin Gothic have been greatly modi- fied to fit a standard arrangement; 12-point is shown in the specimen-notice the narrow figures and certain other poorly reproportioned characters. The 4- and 5-point sizes have a single-loop g. Gothic No. 16 on Linotype and Inter- type is essentially the same as Franklin Gothic up to 14-point; in larger sizes it is modified and more nearly like Franklin Gothic Condensed. However. some fonts of this face on Lino have Gagtu redrawn similar to Spartan Black. with the usual characters available as alternates; 14-point is shown. Western Type Foundry and later BB&S used the name Gothic No.1 for their copy of Franklin Gothic, while Laclede had another similar Gothic No. 1 (q.v.). On Ludlow, this design was originally known as Square Gothic Heavy with a distinctive R and t as shown separately after the Monotype diphthongs; when the name was changed to Franklin Gothic in 1928, it was redrawn, closer to Franklin Gothic but still a bit top-heavy; the unique R was retained in standard fonts but an alternate version like that of ATF was made available separately; also a U with equal arms, a single-loop g, and a figure 1 without foot serifs. Ludlow Franklin Gothic Italic, partially shown on the third line of the specimen, is slanted much more than other versions, to fit the standard 17 -degree italic matrices of that machine. Modern Gothic Condensed and Italic (q.v.) are often though not properly called Franklin Gothic Condensed and Italic, especially by Monotype users. Also see Streamline Block.
- 1903: Alternate Gothic (ATF). See Alternate Gothic EF (Elsner&Flake), Alternate Gothic No2 (Bitstream), and Alternate Gothic No1, No2 and No3 (see the URW version). Mac McGrew: Alternate Gothic was designed in 1903 by Morris F. Benton for ATF with the thought of providing several alternate widths of one design to fit various layout problems. Otherwise it is a plain, basic American gothic with no unusual features, but represents a more careful drawing of its nineteenth-century predecessors. The Monotype copies in display sizes are essentially the same as the foundry originals, with the addition of f-ligatures. The thirteen alternate round capitals shown in the first line of Alternate Gothic No.1 were designed by Sol Hess in 1927 for Monotype, hence the "Modernized" name; with these letters the design is sometimes referred to as Excelsior Gothic. Monotype keyboard sizes, as adapted by Hess about 1911, are considera- bly modified to fit a standard arrangement; caps are not as condensed as in the original foundry design. In 6-point, series 51 and 77 are both the same width, character for character, but some letters differ a bit in design. Note that these two narrower widths are simply called Alternate Gothic on Monotype, while the wider version is Alternate Gothic Condensed! Alternate Gothic Italic, drawn about 1946 by Sol Hess for Monotype. matches No.2, but may be used with other widths as well. Condensed Gothic on Ludlow, is essentially a match for Alternate Gothic No.1, but has a somewhat different set of variant characters, as shown in the third line. There is also Condensed Gothic Outline on Ludlow, introduced about 1953. essentially an outline version of Alternate Gothic No.2. On Linotype and Intertype there is Gothic Condensed No.2 which is very similar to Alternate Gothic No. 1 in the largest sizes only, but with even narrower lowercase and figures. Also compare Trade Gothic Bold and Trade Gothic Bold Condensed.
- 1904: Bold Antique, Whitin Black [see OPTI Bold Antique for a modern digitization], Cheltenham (digitizations by Bitstream and Font Bureau, 1992), Cloister Black (blackletter font, see the Bitstream version).
- 1905: Linoscript (originally known as Typo Upright). Clearface, about which McGrew writes: Clearface was designed by Morris Benton with his father, Linn B. Benton, as advisor. The bold was designed first, in 1905, and cut the following year. The other weights and italics were produced through 1911. As the name implies, the series was intended to show unusual legibility, which it certainly achieved. The precision of cutting and casting for which ATF is noted produced a very neat and handsome series, which had considerable popularity. Clearface Heavy Italic has less inclination than the lighter weights, and is non-kerning, a detail which helped make it popular for newspaper use; the specimen shown here is from a very worn font. Some of the faces have been copied by the matrix makers. But the face Monotype calls Clearface and Italic is the weight called Bold by other sources. Monotype also includes Clearface Italic No. 289, a copy of the lighter weight. Revival and expansion by Victor Caruso for ITC called ITC Clearface, 1978. Also, American Extra Condensed, an octagonal mechanical face revived in 2011 by Nick Curtis as Uncle Sam Slim NF.
- 1906: Commercial Script (versions exist at Linotype, URW, Bitstream (called English 144), and Elsner&Flake), Miele Gothic, Norwood Roman.
- 1907: Lincoln Gotisch, named after Abraham Lincoln. This found found its way from ATF to Schriftguss, Trennert und Sohn, and Ludwig Wagner. Digital revivals include Delbanco's DS Lincoln-Gotisch. Compare with Comtesses, Lipsia, Elite Kanzlei, Lithographia and Wedding Text.
- 1908: News Gothic, Century Oldstyle (digital versions by Bitstream, Elsner&Flake, and URW), Clearface Gothic (1907-1910: digital revivals include Clear Gothic Serial (ca. 1994, SoftMaker) and Cleargothic Pro (2012, SoftMaker). McGrew: Clearface Gothic was designed by Morris Benton for ATF in 1908, and cut in 1910. It is a neat, clean gothic, somewhat thick and thin, which incorporates some of the mannerisms of the Clearface (roman) series. However, it can hardly be considered a part of that family. There is only one weight, and fonts contain only the minimum number of characters.
- 1909-1911: Rugged Roman.
- 1910: Cloister Open Face, Hobo, ATF Bodoni (Bitstream's version is just called Bodoni, and Adobe's version is called Bodoni Book or Bodoni Poster or Bodoni Bold Condensed, while Elsner&Flake call theirs Bodoni No Two EF Ultra; Font Bureau's version has just two weights called BodoniFB-Bold Condensed and Compressed). McGrew writes about Hobo: Hobo is unusual in two respects---it is drawn with virtually no straight lines, and it has no descenders and thus is very large for the point size. It was designed by Morris F. Benton and issued by ATF in 1910. One story says that it was drawn in the early 1900s and sent to the foundry without a name, which was not unusual, but that further work on it was continually pushed aside, until it became known as "that old hobo" because it hung around so long without results. More time elapsed before it was patented in 1915. The working name was Adface. Hobo was also cut by Intertype in three sizes. Light Hobo was also drawn by Benton, and released by ATF in 1915. It is included in one list of Monotype faces, but its series number is shown elsewhere for another Monotype face, and no other evidence has been found that Monotype actually issued it.
- 1911-1913: Venetian, Cromwell. Cromwell was digitized by Nick Curtis in 2010 as Cromwell NF.
- 1914: Adscript, Souvenir, Garamond (with T.M. Cleveland).
- 1916: Announcement, Light Old Style, Goudy Bold. Digitizations: Announcement Roman was done by Nick Curtis in 2009 and called Society Page NF.
- 1916-1917: Invitation. For a digital revival, see Sil Vous Plait (2009, Nick Curtis).
- 1917: Freehand.
- 1917-1919: Sterling. Digitizations include Howard (2006, Paul D. Hunt) and Argentina NF (2009, Nick Curtis).
- 1918: Century Schoolbook (1918-1921). (See ITC Century (Tony Stan, 1975-1979), or the Century FB-Bold Condensed weight by Greg Thompson at Font Bureau, 1992. For Century Schoolbook specifically, there are versions by Elsner&Flake, Bitstream and URW. Bitstream has a monospaced version.) URW Century Schoolbook L is free, and its major extension, TeXGyre Schola (2007) is also free.
- 1920: Canterbury. Mac McGrew: Canterbury is a novelty face designed by Morris F. Benton for ATF in 1920, when trials were cut, but not completed for production until 1926. It features a very small x-height, with long ascenders and descenders; monotone weight with minute serifs; and a number of swash capitals. It is primarily suitable for personal stationery and announcements. Compare Camelot Oldstyle. Digital versions were done by Nick Curtis in his Londonderry Air NF (2002-2004), and Red Rooster in the series Canterbury, Canterbury OldStyle, and Canterbury Sans.
- 1922: Civilité. Mac McGrew on the ATF Civilité: Civilite in its modern adaptation was designed by Morris Benton in 1922 and cut by ATF in 1923-24. The original version was cut by Robert Granjon in 1557 to imitate the semi-formal writing then in vogue, and is believed to be the first cursive design cut in type. It became popular for the printing of poetry and for books of instruction for children, where the type itself could serve as a perfect model of handwriting. The first of these books was titled La Civilite puerile, printed at Antwerp in 1559. The books were so popular that the design came to be known as "civility" type. Other interpretations of the letter have been made, including Cursive Script, cut in the nineteenth century in 18-point only from French sources by ATF predecessors and by Hansen, but Benton's seems more attractive and legible to modern eyes. The French pronunciation of ci-vil'i-tay is indicated by the accented e, which was used only in ATF's earliest showings. The many alternate characters were included in fonts as originally sold; later they were sold separately and finally discontinued, although the basic font was still listed in recent ATF literature. Also see ZapfCivilite. Compare Freehand, Motto, Verona.
- 1924: Schoolbook Oldstyle.
- 1926-1927: Typo Roman.
- 1927: Chic (American Typefounders; doubly shaded capitals and figures), Gravure, Greeting Monotone, Goudy Extra Bold. The art deco face Chic was revived by Nick Curtis as Odalisque NF (2008) and Odalisque Stencil NF (2010).
- 1928: Parisian, Bulmer (revival of William Martin's face from 1792 for the printer William Bulmer; digital forms by Monotype, Adobe, Linotype, and Bitstream), Broadway (1928-1929, see two styles offered by Elsner&Flake, Linotype, Bitstream, and 11 weights by URW), Goudy Catalogue, Modernique, Novel Gothic (ATF, designed with Charles H. Becker), Dynamic. Novel Gothic has seen many digital revivals, most notably Telenovela NF (2011, Nick Curtis), Naked Power (Chikako Larabie) and Novel Gothic SG (Jim Spiece). Images of Bulmer: i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x, xi, xii.
- 1929: Louvaine. McGrew: Louvaine series was designed by Morris F. Benton for ATF in 1928. It is an adaptation of Bodoni (the working title was Modern Bodoni), and many of the characters are identical. Only g and y are basically different; otherwise the distinction is in the more abrupt transition from thick to thin strokes in this series. In this respect, Ultra Bodoni has more affinity to Louvaine than to the other Bodoni weights. The three weights of Louvaine correspond to Bodoni Book, Regular, and Bold. This series did not last long enough to appear in the 1934 ATF specimen book, the next complete one after its introduction. Compare Tippecanoe.
- 1930: Benton, Engravers Text, Bank Gothic (see Bitstream's version), Garamond-3 (with Thomas Maitland Cleland), Paramount (some have this as being from 1928: see Eva Paramount SG by Jim Spiece). McGrew: Paramount was designed by Morris Benton in 1930 for ATF. It is basically a heavier companion to Rivoli (q. v.), which in turn is based on Eve, an importation from Germany, but is heavier than Eve Bold. It is an informal face with a crisp, pen-drawn appearance. Lowercase is small, with long ascenders and short descenders. Vertical strokes taper, being wider at the top. It was popular for a time as an advertising and announcement type.
- 1931: Thermotype, Stymie (with Sol Hess and Gerry Powell). Stymie Obelisk is a condensed Egyptian headline face---the latter was revived by Nick Curtis as Kenotaph NF (2011).
- 1932: Raleigh Gothic Condensed (the digital version by Nick Curtis is Highpoint Gothic NF (2011)), American Text (blackletter). Mac McGrew: Raleigh Gothic Condensed was designed by Morris F. Benton for ATF in 1932. It is a prim, narrow, medium weight gothic face, with normally round characters being squared except for short arcs on the outside of corners. The alternate characters AKMNS give an even greater vertical appearance than usual. At first, this face was promoted with Raleigh Cursive as a stylish companion face, although there is no apparent relationship other than the name. Compare Phenix, Alternate Gothic, Agency Gothic.
- 1933: American Backslant, Ultra Bodoni (a great Bodoni headline face; see Bodoni FB (1992, Font Bureau's Richard Lipton). About Agency Gothic, McGrath writes: Agency Gothic is a squarish, narrow, monotone gothic without lower- case, designed by Morris F. Benton in 1932. It has an alternate A and M which further emphasize the vertical lines. Sizes under 36-point were added in 1935. Agency Gothic Open was drawn by Benton in 1932 and introduced in 1934; it follows the same style in outline with shadow, and probably has been more popular than its solid companion. Triangle Type Foundry, a Chicago concern that manufactured matrices, copied this face as Slim Open, adding some smaller sizes. ATF's working titles for these faces, before release, were Tempo, later Utility Gothic and Utility Open. Compare Raleigh Gothic Condensed, Poster Gothic, Bank Gothic. Digital versions include Warp Three NF (2008, Nick Curtis), which borrows its lowercase from Square Gothic (1888, James Conner's Sons), FB Agency (1995, David Berlow at FontBureau)
- 1934: Shadow, Tower (heavy geometric slab serif), Whitehall. Font Bureau's Elizabeth Cory Holzman made the Constructa family in 1994 based on Tower. Digital versions include Warp Three NF (2008, Nick Curtis), which borrows its lowercase from Square Gothic (1888, James Conner's Sons), FB Agency Gothic (1995, David Berlow at FontBureau) and Agency Gothic by Castle Type. Eagle Bold followed in 1934. McGrew: Eagle Bold is a by-product of the depression of the 1930s. The National Recovery Administration of 1933 had as its emblem a blue eagle with the prominent initials NRA, lettered in a distinctive gothic style. Morris Benton took these letters as the basis for a font of type, released later that year by ATF, to tie in with the emblem, which businesses throughout the country displayed prominently in advertising, stationery, and signs; naturally it was named for the eagle. Compare Novel Gothic. USA Resolute NF (2009, Nick Curtis) is based on Eagle Bold.
- 1935: Phenix. This condensed artsy sans was revived in 2011 at Red Rooster by Steve Jackaman and Ashley Muir as Phoenix Pro.
- 1936: Headline Gothic.
- 1937: Empire (Bitstream version). This ultra-condensed face was digitally remade and modernized by Santiago Orozco as Dorsa (2011).
Typefaces alphabetic order:
- Agency Gothic (+Open
- Alternate Gothic No.1 (+No.2, +No.3)
- American Backslant
- American Caslon&Italic
- American Text
- Announcement Roman&Italic (1916). For digital revivals or influences, see Friendly (2012, Neil Summerour) and Society Page NF (2009, Nick Curtis).
- Antique Shaded
- Bank Gothic Light (+Medium, +Bold, +Light Condensed, +Medium Condensed, +Bold Condensed). For digital versions, see Bank Gothic AS Regular and Condensed (2008, Michael Doret).
- Baskerville Italic
- Benton (Whitehall)&Italic
- Bodoni&Italic (+Book&Italic, +Bold&Italic, +Bold Shaded, +Bold Open)
- Bold Antique (+Condensed)
- Broadway (+Condensed). The prototy[ical art deco typeface.
- Bulfinch Oldstyle
- Card Bodoni (+Bold)
- Card Litho +Light Litho)
- Card Mercantile
- Card Roman
- Century Expanded&Italic
- Century Bold&Italic (+Bold Condensed, +Bold Extended)
- Century Oldstyle&Italic (+Bold&Italic, +Bold Condensed)
- Century Catalogue&Italic
- Century Schoolbook&Italic (+Bold)
- Cheltenham Oldstyle&Italic (+Condensed, +Wide)
- Cheltenham Medium&Italic (+Medium Condensed, +Medium Expanded, +Bold&Italic, +Bold Condensed&Italic, +Bold Extra Condensed&Title, +Bold Extended, +Extrabold, +Bold Outline, +Bold Shaded&Italic, +Extrabold Shaded, +Inline, +Inline Extra Condensed, +Inline Extended)
- Clearface&Italic (1907, +Bold&Italic, +Heavy&Italic)
- Clearface Gothic: a flared version of Clearface.
- Cloister Black
- Cloister Oldstyle&Italic (+Lightface&Italic, +Bold&Italic, +Bold Condensed, +Cursive, +Cursive Handtooled, +Title&Bold Title)
- Commercial Script
- Copperplate Gothic Shaded
- Cushing Antique
- Della Robbia Light
- Dynamic Medium
- Eagle Bold
- Engravers Bodoni
- Engravers Old English (+Bold)
- Engravers Bold
- Engravers Shaded
- Engravers Text
- Franklin Gothic&Italic (+Condensed, +Extra Condensed, +Condensed Shaded)
- Freehand. Mac McGrew: Freehand, a face based on pen-lettering, was designed for ATF by Morris Benton in 1917. The working title before release was Quill. Derived from Old English, it is an interesting novelty, and has had quite a bit of use. Compare Civilite, Motto, Verona.
- Garamond&Italic (+Bold&Italic, +Open)
- Globe Gothic (+Condensed, +Extra Condensed, +Extended, +Bold&Italic)
- Goudy Bold&Italic (+Catalogue&Italic, +Extrabold&Italic, +Handtooled&Italic, +Title)
- Greeting Monotone
- Headline Gothic
- Hobo&Light Hobo (1910). For digital versions, see Informal 707 (Bitstream), Hobbit (SF), Homeward Bound (Corel), and Hobo (Bitstream).
- Invitation (+Shaded)
- Light Oldstyle
- Lightline Gothic&Title
- Lithograph Shaded
- Louvaine Light&Italic (+Medium&Italic, +Bold&Italic)
- Miehle Extra Condensed&Title
- Monotone Gothic&Title
- News Gothic (+Condensed, +Extra Condensed&Title)
- Norwood Roman
- Novel Gothic
- Packard (+Bold)
- Pen Print Open
- Piranesi Italic (+Italic Plain Caps, +Bold&Italic, +Bold Italic Plain Caps)
- Poster Gothic
- Raleigh Gothic Condensed (1934).
- Rockwell Antique
- Rugged Roman
- Schoolbook Oldstyle
- Souvenir (1914). Revived in 1977 by Ed Benguiat as ITC Souvenir, but a total failure as a type design. Simon Garfield: Souvenir was the Comic Sans of its era, which was the 1970s before punk. It was the face of friendly advertising, and it did indeed appear on Bee Gees albums, not to mention the pages of Farrah Fawcett-era Playboy. Mark Batty from International Typeface Corporation (ITC) on one of his best-selling fonts: A terrible typeface. A sort of Saturday Night Fever typeface wearing tight white flared pants. Garfield also retrieved this quote by type scholar Frank Romano in the early 1990s: Real men don't set Souvenir. Digital revivals also include Sunset Serial by Softmaker, and ITC Souvenir Mono by Ned Bunnel.
- Stymie Light&Italic (+Medium&Italic, +Bold&Italic, +Black&Italic)
- Tower Condensed (1934). Revived by Photo-Lettering Inc as PL Tower.
- Typo Roman&Shaded
- Typo Script&Extended
- Typo Shaded
- Typo Slope
- Typo Upright&Bold
- Ultra Bodoni&Italic (+Condensed, +Extra Condensed)
- Venetian&Italic (+Bold)
- Wedding Text&Shaded
View Morris Fuller Benton's typefaces. A longer list. A listing of various digital versions of News Gothic. More News Gothic-like typefaces.
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