Linn Boyd Benton’s Century Typeface

Century is a family of serif typefaces meant for use in body text. Linn Boyd Benton with American Type Founders (ATF) designed this font in 1894, for Theodore Low De Vinne to be used in The Century Magazine. Following his many machine-produced typography inventions, this typeface was the only one created by Benton during his lifetime. It served not as a milestone in his career, because of his focus on inventing, but likely as an inspiration for his son’s work in typeface design. Because it was his only designed typeface, it is not likely that Benton was particularly drawn to typeface design. Regardless, the one he created has stood the test of time and remains popular today.

Theodore De Vinne was an American printer and scholarly author on typography. He published numerous books on the history and practice of print work and they remained well respected for many years. His firm printed Century Magazine, a very successful 19th century magazine known as a notable fiction publisher, with an emphasis on illustration. De Vinne brought other designers to recognition by collaborating with them on typefaces. He was responsible for commissioning Benton to design the Century typeface as well as commissioning Linotype and the Bruce Type Foundry to produce other typefaces.

The Century typeface is characterized by its elegance with its tapering letterforms, ball terminals, curled tails, and defined serifs. Century remains popular today in print because of its legibility and graceful construction. The Supreme Court of the United States even requires that the Century Roman typeface be used for briefs. In the over 100 years since its original design, and as printing techniques have evolved into a digital setting, Century Roman continues to appear throughout each era as a classic font that calls back to historical print techniques revolutionized by Linn Boyd Benton.




Revolvy, LLC. “‘The Century Magazine’ on” Revolvy,


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Revolvy, LLC. “‘Theodore Low De Vinne’ on” Revolvy,