Monotype Corporation Ltd

In 1896, Tolbert Lanston patented the first hot metal typesetting machine and his company, Monotype, issued its first typeface, called Modern Condensed. The following year, Lanston founded the Lanston Monotype Machine Company in Washington DC and the company set up a branch in London, known as the name Lanston Monotype Corporate Ltd. In 1899 a new factory was built in Salfords, near Redhill in Surrey. Initially, the factory manufactured the patterns, punches and matrices needed to cast single pieces of metal type and received the casting machines from the American Monotype Company. After 1924 however they also started making and assembling their own machines.

The company changed its named to the Monotype Corporation Limited in 1931 in order to distinguish it from the American company, and it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1936. The company’s typographic advisor between 1923 and 1967, Stanley Morison, became one of the most dominant influences on type design during the twentieth century. He helped establish an esteemed type design programme at Monotype and Gill Sans and Times New Roman, both fonts which have survived the transition to digital technology, are two examples of designs he produced.

The company was later split into three divisions: Monotype International, which manufactured spinning mirror switched laser beam phototypesetters; Monotype Limited, which continued the hot metal machines; and Monotype Typography, which designed and sold typefaces. Despite prestige throughout the 1970s, particularly in the UK, new technology and publishing software ultimately led to a decline in Monotype's competitiveness by the 1990s.

In 1999, Agfa-Compugraphic acquired the Monotype Corporation, which was renamed Agfa Monotype. In late 2004, the company was acquired by a private equity investment firm based in Boston, TA Associates. The company was incorporated as Monotype Imaging, which it remains known as today. Its focus is on the company's traditional core competencies of typography and professional printing.