Empty Rooker Upper Case


This U.S. typecase configuration is the Rooker upper case shown in Ringwalt, American Encyclopaedia of Printing, 1871, Bruce Type Foundry, Handy Book of Printing Types, c.1899, and American Type Founders Desk Book of Type and Printing Materials, 1900. It is shown as a Rooker Cap case in American Type Founders Company, Illustrated Catalogue and Price List of Printing Machinery and Supplies Wood Goods and Wood Type Fine Printing Inks, 1897. The companion lower is Rooker. The cases were manufactured by R.Hoe, and were designed to reduce the distance the compositor's hand had to travel, between stick and box, by changing the size and shape of some boxes. Thus the caps on the right now have enlarged boxes, and there is one less row of boxes than in a normal, ie Moxon, Upper. Lockwood, American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking, 1894, comments that some third of the space in the normal upper could be re-used by this change. This case was in use in the 1860s. Rooker made the case smaller than the normal size, again to reduce the amount of hand movement. ATF: American Line Type Book (1906) gives the dimensions of Rooker cases as 28½ x 14 inches, and with styles of News (ie Upper and Lower), California, and Italic. The cases in the collection of D.Norton are 283/8 x 143/8 inches. ATF in 1897 give the dimensions as 28¼ x 14¼ inches.

De Vinne Practice of Typography - Modern Methods of Book Composition, 1904, had designed a special stand with side arms, to hold 12 Rooker cases for work on the Century Dictionary, in such a way that a brevier Upper and Lower, and an Italic Cap, an Accents Cap, a brevier antique Job, a non-pareil Job, and 2 cases for irregular sorts, were all close to the compositors hand.

Thomas N Rooker was the foreman of the New York Tribune and designed several other versions of case for the Tribune, for example a combined (single) case, in 1859, and a case with all boxes the same shape, but different depths and movable bottoms, in 1861. The former was adopted by the National Typographic Union, though never became widely used, and the latter seems to have been a one-off production.

Other empty cases
ie with the boxes left blank
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ie with characters assigned to boxes
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This page was written in 1998 by David Bolton and last updated 11 February 2015.