Gould's Lower Case

_[ ]aeoe( )je mid/thin '  ! ?;{fl
&bcd isf g} ff
ffilmnh oyp,wenem
zvu    t    thick    a    r q:quads

This English typecase lay is that of Joseph Gould: The Letter-press Printer, 1876 and 2nd edition 1881 and still in 4th edition 1888. He comments that this is the common lay almost universally used, with a few slight alterations, although it is capable of being greatly improved. The lay, he says, seems not to have been altered for nearly a century; for, on comparing Stower's with the present, [he finds] they are the same in every particular, except as regards the double letters [i.e. the long s ligatures] used in the old-faced types. Gould is not quite correct, comparing Stower's No.3 case, as he has swapped & and _, and ' and (, and ! and ?, and moved ffi and ffl up one box to allow for hairs. (Stower was still using the old-style case with the extra boxes for the long s ligatures, whereas Gould is using the newer case without some of those extra divisions, athough Stower possibly made a mistake in showing the box below & as a single box for em dash, whereas it was, and still is, a divided box, as his Lower No.1 shows).

Gould warns that making improvements to the lay is usually rewarded by having those cases extensively pied by strangers who may be occasionally called in to assist, but are unfamiliar with the altered lay. However, Gould goes on to say that a very great improvement might be introduced by having the thin and middle spaces nearer to the thicks, although he does not show how this might be achieved in practice.

Note that the { } { boxes represent a three part brace. Gould's companion upper is the Upper lay, and the empty case is the English Lower.

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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 2013 by David Bolton and last updated 13 January 2013.