I have a set of “Caslon Italic” metal type that seems to be cast on an 11 point body. Is this common?

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It was common for monotype users to cast the leading in with the type body, thus dispensing for the need to add that after the fact and reducing the labor involved in the composition. It is a good chance that what you have is actually 9 or 10pt. typeface cast on a 11pt. body.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Stephenson & Blake cast original Old Caslon as a foundry version in 11 on 11 point (once called small pica). My old font, from Anthoensen Press in Portland, Maine, dates at least to the 1930s and bears 3 nicks. Monotype is only one nick, and softer metal, usually.

Interesting that, My English Monotype quick reference books both suggest that series 128 didn’t come in the bastard sizes but you never know ..If it mono then 10 point cast on the 11 point body is a good guess. My (relatively recent) Stephenson Blake catalogue likewise shows no bastard sizes, There are other possibilities tho’, many foundries world wide had a version of Caslon , some vaguely like the real (S.B. & Co.) thing. Rarely did they follow the subtle
slight differences in shape of the original characters, varying as they do BETWEEN SIZES!

The typeface is 8 pt and the body is 11 pt. I appreciate the feedback and history of these foundries. The size had me baffled. Thank you.

Further to my last, with apologies, further digging into that remarkable tiny book ”The Monotype Book of Information”
shows that Caslon 128 did indeed exist, its nine and three-quarter set, and the alignment slip is .1045. In passing the
eight point is seven and a quarter set and aligns to .0770.
The nick shape (square or curved) often says Mono or founders. Sorry about that incomplete info. The narrowness of the set is a surprise, I would have expected nearer to size.