Glossary of terms used in typecase layout pages

This glossary is still being compiled.
Note that links are underlined, but the text colour remains black, for ease of reading the entries
the * character used for the first reference in a footnote, etc. Also Star or Estrella or Étoile or Anmerkzeichen or Sterretje.
the { } in various sizes, and sometimes broken into separate parts such as a three piece brace, etc. so as to be able to make up a very long brace. In Smith's time (1755) they were mostly used in financial work, to join several lines of text to one financial sum.
the [ ] used to enclose an ellipsis, ie words that are understood, but not part of the actual text. Same as Crotchet.
California Job Case
U.S. full-size italic or job case, with 35 boxes on the right for capitals. Also made 3/4 size. For an example see Empty California or California Job.
Case (Typecase)
a wooden drawer partitioned into many small boxes, used to store the separate type characters. The cases are held in a frame or rack, often with a bracket on the top to allow two cases (eg an upper and lower) to be held open one above the other, and in front of which the compositor stands whilst setting the job. Some cases have no internal partitions, and are used to store wood letter (or blocks, dingbats, etc.). Over 200 different styles of case are shown here, but there are many others.
the [ ] square brackets used in text to indicate words to be omitted.
a character used for the second order of reference in footnotes, etc. (the * being the first order). Luckombe (1771) was adamant that this sign was to be called an obelisk, or long cross, and not a dagger. It was originally used in setting religious services, etc, especially when the normal cross was not available in the type fount. Also Croix or Kreuz. Displayed as ¦ in the layouts, but is for DOS users. Similarly, the third order reference sign is the double dagger , which is displayed in the layouts as ¦¦.
Dearing Job Case
U.S. 2/3 size job case. Also made full-size and 3/4 size, 1900-1925. For an example layout see Dearing Job.
Double Case
U.K. term for a full-size job case. It contains a complete lower and half an upper case fount. From 1851. Also made 3/4 size. For an example see Empty Double or Ordinary Double.
Em rule
a dash whose length is one em, ie the width of the square of the type body. Used to indicate a pause, a ditto or in a table. Also Tiret or Geviert Gedankenstrich.
En rule
a dash whose length is half the width of the square of the type body. Also Tiret Moins or Halbgeviert Gedankenstrich
used to highlight an important piece of text. Also called Index or Main or Flosse or Hand.
the complete set of characters, numerals, points, etc for one size and style of typeface. Can be type, or matrices. Also font (U.S.) or fonte or ganzer Satz or stel.
A scheme or bill of type is the apportionment of characters within the fount. Also police or Gießzettel or letterpolis.
Frame (Composing Frame)
the racked wooden stand or metal cabinet, that holds the cases of type. An open wooden frame usually holds 12 or 15 cases, and a wooden or metal cabinet holds 18 or 24 (dustproof) cases. There are various combinations of frame, e.g. three-quarter, single, double, quadruple, etc, and also various double height racks that hold for example between 30 and 40 cases.
- used in compound words, and to break words at the end of a line. Also Division or Divis or Bindestrich.
Italic Case
U.S. term for full-size job case, pre 1860, with 49 boxes on the right for capitals. Also made 3/4 size. For an example see Empty Job or Italic Job.
Job Case
designed to hold all the characters of a fount in the one case. From 1836. As opposed to upper and lower cases, ie where the fount is spread across the two cases. For an example see Empty Job or Italic Job. See also Notes on Job Cases for some of the different styles.
Letter Board
a wooden, or metal, tray with three sides, the fourth being flat to allow galleys or tied-up pages of type to be slid on and off for storage. They are stacked one upon another, using the sides as feet, which are deep enough to clear the type stored on the board beneath. In Savage's time (1841) their usual size was Demy at 26 by 22 inches, and Royal at 30 by 26 inches, but in Moxon's time (1687) they were 24 by 18 inches.
Two or more letters joined together on the same body. Bell, in 1788, showed his new English roman and italic founts including ae oe fi ff fl ffi ffl ct st ſb ſh ſi ſk ſl ſſ ſt ſi (where ſ represents the long s). Savage, in 1841, noted that during the preceeding 30 years, ct and the long s ligatures were discarded, leaving only ae oe ff fi fl ffi ffl. He also noted as at cta et es ius is ij iu ll ns st fs fp ta and us had been in use in much earlier times. Non-English languages have additional ligatures (eg Dutch ij).
Lower Case
designed with boxes to hold minuscule characters, ie 'lower case' characters, and also some punctuation. Box sizes vary according to frequency of character usage. The case is shelved in the frame beneath the upper case, and when in use placed on the random below the upper case, as two cases are needed to hold sufficient type for setting books, etc. Hence the derivation of the expression upper and lower for capitals and 'little' letters. For an example of a lower case see Empty Lower or English Lower.
Paragraph mark
the ¶ character used for the sixth order of reference mark in footnotes, etc., or as sign for start of a new paragraph where the text runs on without using a new line. Also Pied de mouche or Alineazeichen or colloquially as Blind P.
Parallel mark
the || character used for the fifth reference mark in footnotes, etc.
the ( ) round brackets used in text for enclosing information supplementary to the main argument.
ie quadrats. Units of wide spacing, usually en, em, 2 em, 3 em, 4 em in width. Named from the Latin quadratus ie squared.
      single or double " " English or «« »» French or " ,, German. Also Anführungszeichen or Guillemets or Gänsefüßchen
 large quads (originally between 2 line and 4 line pica size) or small furniture up to 4 x 8 ems. The quads are usually hollow.
Rooker Case
alternative name for an American 28¼x14 inch case, in Job, News and Italic styles. Also, specific configurations of cases designed by Thomas Rooker (of the New York Tribune) as improvements on the normal upper and lower cases, for example Rooker Upper.
Section mark: §
the character used as the fourth reference mark in footnotes, etc. Also Paragraphe or Absatzzeichen.
Sizes of Typecases
Full size: (separate Uppers and Lowers, or Doubles/Jobs)
      U.S: 323/16 by 165/8 inches
       Rooker: 281/2 by 14 inches
 Holland: 325/8 by 13 inches
 England: 321/2 by 141/2 inches
 The old (English) sizes were 421/2 by 181/2 by 31/2 inches
or 321/2 by 151/4 by 21/2 (Johnson 1824)
or 31 by 181/2 inches (Moxon 1683
 Scotland: 34 by 15 inches
 Belgium (Plantin Museum): 331/2 by 14 inches
 France: 65 by 45 (or 44) cms (2519/32 by 173/4 inches)
 India: 36 by 16 inches
Full size: (combined Upper and Lower, i.e. Singles)
 Germany: 66 by 61 cms (26 by 24 inches)
 or 66 by 52 cms (26 by 201/2 inches)
 or 66 by 49 cms (26 by 191/2 inches)
 Older cases (in Gutenberg Museum) were 147 by 95 cms (7.5 cms deep)
i.e. 577/8 by 373/8 inches (3 ins deep)
 Holland: 321/2 by 20 inches
 or 325/8 by 207/8 inches
 Italy: 50 by 70 cms (and 5 cm deep) ie 1911/16 by 271/2 inches (and 131/32 inches deep)
Three Quarter size
 U.S: 261/2 by 165/8 inches
Two Third size
 U.S: 213/4 (or 223/4) by 165/8 inches
 Improved Job: 223/4 by 193/4 inches
 England: 213/4 by 141/2 inches
 Holland: 223/8 by 201/4 inches
Half size
 U.S: 165/8 by 165/8 inches
 England: 16 by 141/2 inches
One Third size (three fit in a full-size case)
 U.S: 143/4 by 101/16 inches (¾ inch deep)
Quarter size (four fit in a full size case)
 U.S: 151/8 by 73/8 inches
One Eighth size (for rules - eight fit in a full size case)
 U.S: 71/2 by 73/8 inches
One Tenth size (for thin spacing - ten fit in a full size case)
 U.S: 63/4 by 6 inches
 321/2 by 15 by 21/2 inches
 48 by 24 by 3 inches (M&R large fount, 1920s)
 (Miller & Richard's ordinary fount case was standard size, but double depth)
 The old Fount case size was 39 by 161/2 by 2 inches (Johnson 1824)
 or 4ft (ie 48 inches) wide according to Southward
Wood letter:
 EnglandOrdinary: 323/8 by 23 inches
 Large: 44 by 23 inches
 U.S.Ordinary: 321/4 x 23 inches
 Large: 44 by 23 inches
 Small: 321/4 by 165/8 inches
Rule and Spacing cases also come in dimensions to fit on cabinet tops, eg 70 by 17 inches, 70 by 10 inches, 72 by 10 inches, 367/8 by 10 inches, etc.,
and in various other sizes for free-standing use.
Em space:
      a unit of spacing the square of the type body. Also Cadratin or Geviert or Quadratone or colloquially as mutton.
En space:
 half the width of the em space. Also Demi-cadratin or Halbgeviert or Quadratino or colloquially as nut. Equivalent to Didot 5pt (or 6pt) spacing
Thick space:
 one third the width of the em space. Also Espace forte or Drittelgeviert or Dikke or Grosso or (U.S.) 3em, ie 3 to the em. Equivalent to Didot 4pt spacing.
Mid space:
 one fourth the width of the em space. Also Espace moyenne or Viertelgeviert or Vierkanten or or (U.S.) 4em. Equivalent to Didot 2½pt (or 3pt) spacing.
Thin space:
 one fifth the width of the em space. Also Espace fine or Fünftelgeviert or Dunne or Fino or (U.S.)5em. Equivalent to Didot 2pt (or 1½pt) spacing (and see 2pt Hair below).
Hair space:
 the smallest unit of spacing material, usually 1 or 1½ point in width. Also Espace fine or Haarspatien or Vliesjes or Finissimo (Didot 1pt).
 Didot 1½ and 2pt spacing is also known as Espaces mi-fines or Starke Spatien (and is equivalent to Thin).
Stanhope Case
alternative name for an English two third case. Also, specific configurations of cases (with sloping front) designed by Earl Stanhope as improvements on the normal upper and lower cases, for example Stanhope Lower.
Treble or Triple Case
designed with three bays of 49 boxes each, to hold three founts of capitals, etc. From 1851. Known as Treble in England, Triple in U.S. For an example of an upper case see Empty Treble or U.S. Triple.
Typecase - see Case
Upper Case
designed with two bays of 49 equal sized boxes, to hold majuscule characters, ie capitals on left, small capitals on the right. See also Lower Case. For an example of an upper case see Empty Upper or English Upper.

Other empty cases
ie with the boxes left blank
Other type layouts
ie with characters assigned to boxes
Full Index of layoutsGlossary of terms usedSources of the layoutsIntroduction
Quantities in a fount of typeQuantities in a case of type
Notes about Job
and Double Cases
Notes about Upper casesNotes about Lower casesAlembic home page

Written by David Bolton and last updated 13 August 2012.