The English engraver John Baskerville was born in 1706. At seventeen, he was engraving tombstones. By the time he was twenty, he was teaching writing and bookkeeping and running an engraving business as well. At thirty-two, he took up the then-popular lacquering process that we call japanning, and that made him wealthy.
Baskerville was an early mentor to Matthew Boulton, who built Watt's steam engines. He was also a good friend of Benjamin Franklin, who visited him from time to time.
Baskerville medium caps Baskerville was forty-four when he took up the business for which he's known today. He applied his uncommon engraving skill to printing and typography. After four years' work, he produced the first of the elegant Baskerville fonts. He developed a new and better ink; he exploited the recent invention of so-called woven paper; and he generally brought fine printing to new heights.