This jazzy stylized latin design was patented by Herman Ihlenburg in May–June 1892 with assignment to MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan [USPTO D21607]. It was shown in the MSJ catalog of the same year, a few months after joining ATF.
It was surely named for Lawrence Johnson [1801–1860], the firm’s much-beloved predecessor. Johnson had wisely groomed his trusted employees, Thomas MacKellar as well as John F. and Richard Smith (sons of George F. Smith, his former partner), to succeed him.¹
The same face was shown as Elefanta by Karl Brendler & Söhne (Vienna) in Petzendorfer’s Schriftenatlas of c1903² (not in 1898), and the Solotype Catalog identifies it by the same tradename.³ Because of Mr. Solo’s influential Dover publications, the Austrian name is better known today.
Besides Johnson,Brendler also distributed (perhaps copied?) two unpatented fonts introduced by the Dickinson TF|ATF•Boston: Quaint (DTF ≤1888) as Desdemona, and Florentine (originated by the Binner Engraving Company c1897, introduced by ATF c1897) as Venezia.
¹Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editor]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index] (1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, pages 57. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.
²Petzendorfer, L. (Editor): Schriftenatlas Neue Folge|Eine Sammlung von Alphabeten Initialen und Monogrammen Zusammengestellt, Plate No. 37. (Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart c1903). Reprinted as Treasury of Art Nouveau Alphabets, Decorative Initials, Monograms, Frames and Ornaments: Dover Publications, Inc. (Minneola, NY 1984).
³Solo, D.X.: The Solotype Catalog of 4,417 Display Typefaces, page 44. Dover Publications, Inc. (Minneola, NY 1992).