The types which we know by the name of Egyptian were first shown by Vincent Figgins in his specimen book of 1815, under the name Antique,1 but at least one historian of the day ( Hansard) gave Robert Thorne the credit for designing them. Contemporary writers cannot agree on the name of the innovator of Egyptian types, but Thorne, who before his death in 1820 had actually cut several sizes and had set up specimens of them, named them Egyptian in the title lines to those specimens. William Thorowgood (neither founder nor printer), who as we have already noted purchased Thorne's foundry in 1820, used these settings of Thorne's and in them we probably have the first use of the name Egyptian for types of this kind.
Exactly why the term Egyptian was used has been the subject of much conjecture.2 The most reasonable explanation for the coining of the name seems to lie in the heightened interest in the early nineteenth century for all things Egyptian, occasioned by Napoleon's expedition to that country. While this seems to be a perfectly valid reason for first using the name, the whys and wherefores of the invention of the slab____________________