Morris Fuller Benton

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Morris Fuller Benton
Morris Fuller Benton.jpg
Born (1872-11-30)November 30, 1872
Died June 30, 1948(1948-06-30) (aged 75)
Morristown, New Jersey
Occupation Type designer, business executive
Specimens of typefaces by Morris Fuller Benton.

Morris Fuller Benton (November 30, 1872 – June 30, 1948) was an American typeface designer who headed the design department of the American Type Founders (ATF), for which he was the chief type designer from 1900 to 1937.[1][2][3][4]

Benton was America's most prolific designer of metal type, having (with his team) completed 221 typefaces, including revivals of historical models like Bodoni and Cloister, original designs such as Hobo, Bank Gothic, and Broadway and adding new weights to existing faces such as Century, Goudy Old Style and Cheltenham. Benton also pioneered the concept of large typeface families of designs, allowing consistency of appearance in different sizes, widths and weights.

Many of Benton's designs, such as his large family of related sans-serif or "gothic" typefaces, including Alternate Gothic, Franklin Gothic, and News Gothic, are still in everyday use.



In addition to his strong aesthetic design sense, Benton was a master of the technology of his day. He read mechanical engineering at Cornell University, graduating in 1896.[5] His father, Linn Boyd Benton, invented the pantographic engraving machine, which was capable not only of scaling a single font design pattern to a variety of sizes, but could also condense, extend, and slant the design (mathematically, these are cases of affine transformation, which is the fundamental geometric operation of most systems of digital typography today, including PostScript). Morris worked on many of these machines with his father at ATF, during which these machines were refined to an impressive level of precision.

Theo Rehak, the current owner of most ATF typecasting equipment and author of the definitive treatise "Practical Typecasting", explains that the Bentons demanded that any deviation in machining or casting be within two ten thousandths of an inch.[6] Most modern machine shops are equipped to measure down to a one thousandth inch variance. As an advertising device, in 1922 ATF manufactured a piece of type eight points tall containing the entire Lord's Prayer in 13 lines of text, using a cutting tool roughly equivalent to a 2000 dpi printer.


  • Baines, Phil, Haslam, Andrew. Type and Typography. Watson-Guptill Publications: 2005. ISBN 0-8230-5528-0.
  • Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. ISBN 0-300-10073-6.
  • Cost, Patricia. The Bentons: How an American Father and Son Changed the Printing Industry. Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-933360-42-3.
  • Fiedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  • 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.
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.
  • Meggs, Phillip B. Revival of the Fittest. RC Publications, Inc: 2002. ISBN 1-883915-08-2.
  • Rollins, Carl Purlington American Type Designers and Their Work. in Print (magazine), V. 4, #1.
  • MacGrew, Mac, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," Oak Knoll Books, New Castle Delaware, 1993, ISBN 0-938768-34-4.
  1. ^ Simon Loxley (12 June 2006). Type: The Secret History of Letters. I.B.Tauris. pp. 68–78. ISBN 978-1-84511-028-4. 
  2. ^ Cost, Patricia. "The Contributions of Linn Boyd Benton and Morris Fuller Benton to the technology of typesetting and typeface design". Rochester Institute of Technology (MSc thesis). Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Morphy, Marcia. "RIT Publishes Historical Book on the Bentons and Their Typeface Legacy". Rochester Institute of Technology. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Cost, Patricia. "Linn Boyd Benton, Morris Fuller Benton, and Typemaking at ATF" (PDF). Klingspor Museum. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Introduction to Morris Fuller Benton". Linotype. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Theo Rehak. "Dale Guild Artifacts". Retrieved 2007-11-28. 

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