The original Roycroft mark: a cross and orb, was first found by Harry Taber (of the Pendennis Press) in a book of printers’ marks published by Scribners circa 1894. It was an early Venetian printer’s mark that Harry adopted and added the “R” for “Roycroft.”
Of course once Elbert Hubbard owned the name and mark, he added his own characteristic flourishes to the story, saying Roycroft meant “royal craft” or, “fit for a king.” He also said he had taken the mark from a book printed in Venice in 1472 and explained “the circle stands for eternity; the upright device means progenity; the bar across the circle symbols prohibition; and the double cross is a Dagonic device.”
Hubbard copyrighted his version of the mark in 1906 for use on “Chairs, Settees, Bookcases, Tables, Cabinets, Music-Cabinets, Desks, Couches, Sideboards, Stools, Beds, Dressers, Cradles, Stands, Taborets, Pillows, Picture Frames.” It was very unusual at this time for a mark to be placed prominently on printed works or objects such as furniture. But Elbert saw the commercial benefit of displaying the mark and used it everywhere.
As you may have noticed, the Roycroft mark is very similar to the Nabisco Brand trademark, being developed and advertised by that company around the same time. Nabisco wanted Roycroft to cease using the mark, but they came to an agreement, with Elbert often quoted as saying, “if you agree not to print books, we agree not to make biscuits.”