Who really designed Times New Roman?
There’s strong evidence that Times New Roman wasn’t designed by Stanley Morison, but by William Starling Burgess, a wooden boat designer from Boston:
Burgess — in 1904, when he was only 26 — had a brief and brilliant flirtation with typography. He wrote to the U.S. branch of the Lanston Monotype Corp. requesting that a font be made to his specifications. He planned to use it on company documents at his nascent shipyard in Marblehead, Mass. He penciled letters and mailed them in. Some work went into creating the font on the corporation’s end — a few brass plates of the letters were cut — but then Burgess abandoned the project to partner with the Wright brothers. Lanston Monotype tried to sell the fledgling font to Time magazine in 1921, but it declined the offer, and Burgess’ unfinished project, simply labeled “Number 54,” was shelved for more than half a century.
Even way back when, piracy went hand and hand with type design. If you haven’t seen Mike Parker’s Starling from Font Bureau, it’s really lovely. Also, “William Starling Burgess” is a pretty slick name.