New Norcia Lower Case

£?!'jke y123456
fflmnh ospp,wenem
zv    u        t       thicks       a        r     q:;2, 3, 4
em quads

This Australian typecase lay is that used by the Abbey Press at New Norcia in Western Australia probably from c.1945 and still in use in 2013, though no longer as the Abbey Press. Note that the usual mid+thin box above the i box is here used for y. This may stem from the new printer at New Norcia in the 1940's coming from Austria, as Austrian type lays have y (and x) in roughly this position, although the case construction is very different, for example Niel 1925. There being more y than x in the English lay, this larger box was used for the y.

The sp box is used for mids and thins, though in some cases appears to have . instead. The position of ffi and ffl is uncertain, as no equivalent upper case now exists to check whether they are in that. Also, some variations of the lay have ae instead of fi and oe instead of ff. And some put ? and ! together, then have ' where ! was and ( where ' was, and reverse j and k.

Like the W.A. Education Department of 1960, the lay differs from most English lays by having the figures in the top right row, rather than in the Upper case, but does not adopt the U.S. pattern of a divided box for figures, above the i box. Southward's Old Lower of 1882 was the first to put the figures into the Lower case, and Oldfield in 1898 (and copied by some subsequent authors, e.g. Tarr in 1945) shows a similar arrangement of the figures, but the ligatures are all in different positions. W.A.E.D. put ; in the upper case, which may explain why New Norcia has merged ; with :.

The empty case is the standard English Lower case. Unfortunately, no specific Upper case lays now exist at the Monastery, as the upper case characters are nearly always put in the lower case alongside the lower case characters.

Other empty cases
ie with the boxes left blank
Other type layouts
ie with characters assigned to boxes
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This page was written in 2013 by David Bolton and last updated 14 January 2013.