Early printers made their own type. Subsequently typefounding became a specialist industry in its own right. Scottish typefounders made a distinctive contribution to type development, one legacy being the Scotch Roman type family.

In the 1740s, Alexander Wilson set up a type foundry in Glasgow in 1744, and the firm continued to produce type for a hundred years. William Miller worked for this firm, before establishing a foundry in Edinburgh in 1809. The firm became Miller & Richard in 1838, and remained in business until 1952 just off Nicholson Street, supplying type to firms all over the world.