It was a textbook career for newspaper boy Chauncey H. Griffith
, who was born in the State of Ohio in 1879. After working as a type setter and newspaper designer, he transferred in 1906 to the sales force of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company
, which had been founded in 1890. Here, he successfully secured a pre-eminent position for the company in newspaper and book printing.
His close collaboration with the type designers William A. Dwiggins
and Rudolph Ruzicka
bore its first fruit in 1931, when he released his successful newspaper font Excelsior. In 1937, the telephone company AT&T approached Griffith, who by then had been promoted to head of typographic development, to offer him a commission for a new telephone directory typeface. The result, Bell Gothic
, was released in 1938.
Bell Gothic was used by AT&T for 40 years. The font experienced a renaissance in the early 1990s, when it was used by a number of respected designers (Bruce Mau
and Irma Boom
) and institutions, including Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Design Academy Eindhoven and Rhode Island School of Design.