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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Type Tuesday - Letter Foundry of James Ronaldson

In today's Type Tuesday we feature another example of one of the earlier type specimens in the Kemble Collection. This specimen, from 1822, for the letter foundry of James Ronaldson was published just one year before the Ronaldson's retirement from his long and illustrious career in the printing industry. 


Ronaldson had began his professional life as a baker, but had lost his bakery to a fire. Upon meeting fellow Scotsman Archibald Binney in a Philadelphia ale house the two decided to partner up. Ronaldson's business smarts combined with Binney's knowledge of letter-cutting gave way to the first permanent type foundry in the United States. Founded in 1796 the firm of Binney & Ronaldson, outfitted with the same press that Benjamin Franklin had purchased from the French type foundry Fournier, quickly began to establish itself as an outstanding and influential foundry. One of their most significant contributions to print being the creation of the $ sign, which had previously been symbolized with an elongated 'S'. 

Binney retired from the foundry in 1815, selling his shares to his partner Ronaldson. Ronaldson carried on with the foundry for eight more years, retiring in 1823 leaving the foundry to his brother, Richard. 

Below are samples of print from James Ronaldson's foundry in 1822. 

Jaime Henderson,

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