English Lower Case

fl[ ]( ):;'e mid123456
ffbcd isf g78
&lmnh oyp,wenem
zv    u        t    thicks    a        r     kjquads

This English typecase lay is that shown by Oldfield: A Practical Manual of Typography (1892 and repeated in the 2nd edition of 1898). It is also described in the text of Legros & Grant: Typographical Printing-Surfaces (1916), and shown by Southward: Modern Printing (1898 and still in 8th ed 1954), Aspinall: Handicraft Printing (1936) and Tarr: Printing Today (1945). It is currently on display at the Gulgong Pioneer Museum, New South Wales. Legros & Grant comment that this lay had been adopted by many printing offices, and Southward states it is a slight improvement on the traditional lay. The lay differs slightly from Johnson of 1824, and the earlier Southward lays of 1882. For example, the numerals are in the same boxes as Provincial News and Old Lower, though not the other, lays shown by Southward, but the ligatures have moved to a different position, and k and j are very different. Indeed, every lay from Moxon onwards puts : where Oldfield shows j. Similarly, from Luckombe onwards, q was always put where Oldfield has k.

Some of the improvements are given by Southward as the splitting of the mid+thin spaces - thins and hairs go into the Upper case, thus also preventing spaces overflowing into the i box. The figures are moved (from the Upper) to be nearer the en and em spaces, thus being better for tabular work, and preventing 1 2 3 mistakenly falling into 8 9 0 boxes (though 7 8 still can!). Presumably, also, the q is now better placed nearer the u box.

The empty typecase configuration is shown as Lower case, and the companion Upper Case is Oldfield or Southward.

Other empty cases
ie with the boxes left blank
Other type layouts
ie with characters assigned to boxes
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and Double Cases
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This page was written in 1997 by David Bolton and last updated 18 January 2013.