Modern Double Case

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This English case lay is given by Lawrence Wallis in A Short History of the English Case Lay, in Print in Britain (Nov 1959). The case construction has seven rows in the upper case section, similar to that shown by Atkins in the 1930s in respect of the London School of Printing, and by Lindley in 1980 in respect of the British Printing Society (ISPA). However, the lay differs from both these, although the upper and lower case letters are in the same positions. Wallis shows numerals in the two top right rows, but Lindley shows them in the 2nd and 3rd rows, and Atkins shows them in the top rows of the centre section (reflecting their position in a full-size lower case). Wallis shows the em dash in top left box, following Caslon's Improved Double lay of 1897, and the q box is also as in Caslon's lay, where Atkins has k and Lindley has ;. Wallis has k where Atkins has ' and Lindley has z and Caslon has (. Interestingly, Wallis refers to the Printer's Register arrangement of 1880 promoted by Southward, where q was moved to where z is, and x to where j is, and y to where v is, to bring q and y close to u, and x close to e - none of which improvements feature in the 1959 lay. Of course, the improvements were to the full-size Lower case, the improvement to the Double case being the reduction of the right hand bay rows from seven to five, thus making more space for the capitals.

The — box is for em dashes. The case construction matches the Ordinary Double shown by Southward: Practical Printing (1882), Miller & Richard: Catalogue (1897), Stephenson, Blake & Co.: Printing Material & Machinery (1922) and Caslon: Printing Types & Materials (1925), etc. The style of case differs from the Improved Double cases of, for example, Southward with five upper case rows, or Sheffield with six rows.

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This page was written in February 2004 by David Bolton and last updated 14 April 2015.