In letterpress printing and typesetting, a composing stick is a tool used to assemble pieces of metal type into words and lines, which are transferred to a galley before being locked into a forme and printed. Many composing sticks have one adjustable end, allowing the length of the lines and consequent width of the page or column to be set, with spaces and quadrats of different sizes being used to make up the exact width. Early composing sticks had a fixed measure, as did many used in setting type for newspapers, which were fixed to the width of a standard column, when newspapers were still composed by hand; the compositor takes the pieces of type from the boxes of the type case and places them in the composing stick, working from left to right and placing the letters upside-down with the nick to the top. Early composing sticks were made of wood, but iron, steel, aluminium and other metals were used. Wooden composing sticks continued to be made in large sizes into the nineteenth century, for setting wood letter and other large sizes of type for display.
In the industrial age, composing sticks were manufactured by many companies, but notably in America by the H. B. Rouse company, which made composing sticks that were adjustable to the half pica, as well as a stick containing a micrometer, infinitely adjustable; some sticks were marked in agates as well, to aid in advertisement composition. Stick or stickful, a unit of typesetting length based on the composing stick Galley proof Man, John The Gutenberg Revolution: The story of a genius that changed the world 2002 Headline Book Publishing, a division of Hodder Headline, London. ISBN 0-7472-4504-5. A detailed examination of Gutenberg's life and invention interwoven with the underlying social and religious upheaval of Medieval Europe on the eve of the Renaissance. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913
Typesetting is the composition of text by means of arranging physical types or the digital equivalents. Stored letters and other symbols are retrieved and ordered according to a language's orthography for visual display. Typesetting requires one or more fonts. One significant effect of typesetting was that authorship of works could be spotted more making it difficult for copiers who have not gained permission. During much of the letterpress era, movable type was composed by hand for each page. Cast metal sorts were composed into words lines paragraphs pages of text and bound together to make up a form, with all letter faces the same "height to paper", creating an surface of type; the form was placed in a press, an impression made on paper. During typesetting, individual sorts are picked from a type case with the right hand, set into a composing stick held in the left hand from left to right, as viewed by the setter upside down; as seen in the photo of the composing stick, a lower case'q' looks like a'd', a lower case'b' looks like a'p', a lower case'p' looks like a'b' and a lower case'd' looks like a'q'.
This is reputed to be the origin of the expression "mind your p's and q's". It might just as have been "mind your b's and d's"; the diagram at right illustrates a cast metal sort: a face, b body or shank, c point size, 1 shoulder, 2 nick, 3 groove, 4 foot. Wooden printing sorts were in use for centuries in combination with metal type. Not shown, more the concern of the casterman, is the “set”, or width of each sort. Set width, like body size, is measured in points. In order to extend the working life of type, to account for the finite sorts in a case of type, copies of forms were cast when anticipating subsequent printings of a text, freeing the costly type for other work; this was prevalent in book and newspaper work where rotary presses required type forms to wrap an impression cylinder rather than set in the bed of a press. In this process, called stereotyping, the entire form is pressed into a fine matrix such as plaster of Paris or papier mâché called a flong to create a positive, from which the stereotype form was electrotyped, cast of type metal.
Advances such as the typewriter and computer would push the state of the art farther ahead. Still, hand composition and letterpress printing have not fallen out of use, since the introduction of digital typesetting, it has seen a revival as an artisanal pursuit. However, it is a small niche within the larger typesetting market; the time and effort required to manually compose the text led to several efforts in the 19th century to produce mechanical typesetting. While some, such as the Paige compositor, met with limited success, by the end of the 19th century, several methods had been devised whereby an operator working a keyboard or other devices could produce the desired text. Most of the successful systems involved the in-house casting of the type to be used, hence are termed "hot metal" typesetting; the Linotype machine, invented in 1884, used a keyboard to assemble the casting matrices, cast an entire line of type at a time. In the Monotype System, a keyboard was used to punch a paper tape, fed to control a casting machine.
The Ludlow Typograph otherwise used hot metal. By the early 20th century, the various systems were nearly universal in large newspapers and publishing houses. Phototypesetting or "cold type" systems first appeared in the early 1960s and displaced continuous casting machines; these devices consisted of glass or film disks or strips that spun in front of a light source to selectively expose characters onto light-sensitive paper. They were driven by pre-punched paper tapes, they were connected to computer front ends. One of the earliest electronic photocomposition systems was introduced by Fairchild Semiconductor; the typesetter typed a line of text on a Fairchild keyboard. To verify correct content of the line it was typed a second time. If the two lines were identical a bell rang and the machine produced a punched paper tape corresponding to the text. With the completion of a block of lines the typesetter fed the corresponding paper tapes into a phototypesetting device that mechanically set type outlines printed on glass sheets into place for exposure onto a negative film.
Photosensitive paper was exposed to light through the negative film, resulting in a column of black type on white paper, or a galley. The galley was cut up and used to create a mechanical drawing or paste up of a whole page. A large film negative of the page is used to make plates for offset printing; the next generation of phototypesetting machines to emerge were those that generated characters on a cathode ray tube. Typical of the type were the Alphanumeric APS2, IBM 2680, I. I. I. VideoComp, Autologic APS5, Linotron 202; these machines were the mainstay of phototypesetting for much of the 1980s. Such machines could be "driven online" by a computer front-end system or took their data from magnetic tape. Type fonts were stored digitally on conventional magnetic disk drives. Computers excel at automatically correcting documents. Character-by-character, computer-aided phototypesetting was, in turn rendered obsolete in the 1980s by digital systems employing a raster image processor to render an entire page to a single high-resolution digital image, now known as imagesetting.
The first commercially successful laser imagesetter, able to make use of a raster image p
In typesetting by hand compositing, a sort or type is a piece of type representing a particular letter or symbol, cast from a matrix mold and assembled with other sorts bearing additional letters into lines of type to make up a form from which a page is printed. From the invention of movable type up to the invention of hot metal typesetting all printed text was created by selecting sorts from a type case and assembling them line by line into a form used to print a page; when the form was no longer needed all of the type had to be sorted back into the correct slots in the type case in a time-consuming process called "distributing". This sorting process led to the individual pieces being called sorts, it is claimed to be the root of expressions such as "out of sorts" and "wrong sort", although this connection is disputed. During the hot metal typesetting era, printing equipment used matrices to cast type as needed during the typesetting process; the popular Linotype cast entire lines of text at once rather than individual sorts, while the less popular competitor Monotype still cast the sorts individually.
When phototypesetting replaced hot metal typesetting, sorts disappeared from the mainstream printing process. History of western typography Matrix Typeface Typography Typeface anatomy Nesbitt, Alexander The History and Technique of Lettering 1957, Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-486-20427-8, Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 57-13116; the Dover edition is an abridged and corrected republication of the work published in 1950 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. under the title Lettering: The History and Technique of Lettering as Design. Typowiki, a type wiki at typophile.com Metal Type - For Those who Remember Hot Metal Typesetting
Type casting (typography)
Type casting is a technique for casting the individual letters known as sorts used in hot metal typesetting by pouring molten metal into brass moulds called matrices. It was the invention of efficient metal type casting, Gutenberg's most important invention. Woodblock printing had been known in China for centuries, Laurens Janszoon Coster and other Dutch printers developed moveable type before Gutenberg, it was innovations in type casting. Although using matrices was a technique known well before his time, Johannes Gutenberg adapted their use to a conveniently adjustable hand mould, enabling one to and cast identical multiple instances of any character; the ultimate product of manual typecasting were fonts for letterpress printing, the process starts with the installation of a matrix with the impression of a particular glyph into the bottom of the hand mould, adjusted for the width of the body and locked in preparation for casting. Molten type metal alloy would be poured into a straight-sided vertical cavity at the top of the mould.
The type caster would give the mould a quick shake to aid the flow of type metal into every cavity of the matrix. In practice it was discovered that different glyphs would require different shakes to cast the characters properly; as the casting cooled down and solidified, the mould would be unlocked and the sort removed, ready for finishing operations and locked again ready for the next character. Manual casting was a long drawn-out process, but was able to produce precise and consistent excellent results. David Bruce invented the first automated type casting machine in 1838, but it was the Monotype and Linotype machines that first speeded up the process. In 1887, Tolbert Lanston invented the Monotype mechanical typesetting machine; this was a type casting system that produced individual characters, in which a matrix case is used for holding all the font's matrices. In a manner somewhat reminiscent to hand type casting, every time a character is to be cast, the selection mechanism would position the matrix case so that the correct matrix is over the mould, hot metal would be injected, the sort removed and the process repeated until the job is finished.
Although the Linotype and Intertype approach to mechanical typesetting produced cast slugs that represent the complete line instead of individual characters, it still made use of individual bronze matrices stored in a magazine at the top of the machine, dispensed one per keystroke, sent to the caster where the slug was cast and the matrices re-distributed using a clever V-shaped keying mechanism. The Ludlow display typecasting system is similar, in that it is a linecasting process, although all the typesetting operations are executed manually by a compositor. Subsequent typesetting technologies made use of glyphs represented as photographic negatives or digital descriptions. Type foundry Movable type
The Columbian press was invented by George Clymer in 1813, inspired in some measure by the earlier Stanhope press. It was designed to allow large formes, such as a broadsheet newspaper page, to be printed at a single pull; the press worked by a lever system, similar to that of the Stanhope press and quite different from the toggle action of the later English Albion press. Clymer's new iron press was first advertised in April 1814. Although Clymer manufactured and sold a few presses in America, he found the market difficult and moved in 1817 to London, where he began a successful manufacturing programme that lasted well into the twentieth century with operations at 1 Finsbury Street, London. In 1830, Clymer joined in a partnership with Samuel Dixon, trading as Clymer, Dixon and Co and moving down the street to 10 Finsbury Street, London. Clymer pursued various business partnerships between 1830 and 1849 before dissolving the partnership. Nonetheless, the Columbian press continued to be manufactured into the twentieth century and was manufactured in various European industrial centres.
The press is sometimes, referred to as the'Eagle' press due to the characteristic bald eagle counterweight which sits on the top lever. Some Columbians have the counterweight in another form. Moran, James. "The Columbian press". Journal of the Printing Historical Society: 1–23, plates 1–17. Oldham, Robert. "The Columbian press at 200: a preliminary report on a world-wide census". Journal of the Printing Historical Society: 51–66. Columbian press in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution Columbian press in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Columbian press in the collection of the Science Museum, London Printing Yesterday and Today International Printing Museum website
A quoin is a device used to lock printing type in a chase. Quoins are pairs of wedges. A wrench or quoin key forces them together
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, a process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper. A worker composes and locks movable type into the "bed" or "chase" of a press, inks it, presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper. In practice, letterpress includes other forms of relief printing with printing presses, such as wood engravings, photo-etched zinc "cuts", linoleum blocks, which can be used alongside metal type, or wood type, in a single operation, as well as stereotypes and electrotypes of type and blocks. With certain letterpress units it is possible to join movable type with slugs cast using hot metal typesetting. In theory, anything, "type high" or.918 inches can be printed using letterpress. Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century.
Letterpress printing remained the primary means of printing and distributing information until the 20th century, when offset printing was developed, which supplanted its role in printing books and newspapers. All forms of data collection were affected by the invention of letterpress printing, as were many careers such as teachers, preachers and surgeons and artist-engineers. More letterpress printing has seen a revival in an artisanal form. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the development in the western hemisphere, in about 1440, of modern movable type printing from individually cast, reusable letters set together in a form. Movable type was first invented in China using ceramic type in 1040 AD. Gutenberg invented a wooden printing press, based on the extant wine press, where the type surface was inked with leather-covered ink balls and paper laid on top by hand slid under a padded surface and pressure applied from above by a large threaded screw, it was Gutenberg's "screw press" or hand press, used to print 180 copies of the Bible.
At 1,282 pages, it took him and his staff of 20 3 years to complete. 48 copies remain intact today. This form of presswork replaced the hand-copied manuscripts of scribes and illuminators as the most prevalent form of printing. Printers' workshops unknown in Europe before the mid-15th century, were found in every important metropolis by 1500. Metal presses used a knuckle and lever arrangement instead of the screw, but the principle was the same. Ink rollers made of composition paved the way for further automation. With the advent of industrial mechanisation, inking was carried out by rollers that passed over the face of the type moved out of the way onto an ink plate to pick up a fresh film of ink for the next sheet. Meanwhile, a sheet of paper slid against a hinged platen, which rapidly pressed onto the type and swung back again as the sheet was removed and the next sheet inserted; as the fresh sheet of paper replaced the printed paper, the now freshly inked rollers ran over the type again. Automated 20th-century presses, such as the Kluge and "Original" Heidelberg Platen, incorporated pneumatic sheet feed and delivery.
Rotary presses were used for high-speed work. In the oscillating press, the form slid under a drum around which each sheet of paper got wrapped for the impression, sliding back under the inking rollers while the paper was removed and a new sheet inserted. In a newspaper press, a papier-mâché mixture called a flong used to make a mould of the entire form of type dried and bent, a curved metal stereotype plate cast against it; the plates were clipped to a rotating drum and could print against a continuous reel of paper at the enormously high speeds required for overnight newspaper production. This invention helped aid the high demand for knowledge during this time period. Letterpress printing was introduced in Canada in 1752 in Halifax, Nova Scotia by John Bushell in the newspaper format; this paper became Canada's first newspaper. Bushell apprenticed under Bartholomew Green in Boston. Green moved to Halifax in 1751 in hopes of starting a newspaper. Two weeks and a day after the press he was going to use for this new project arrived in Halifax, Green died.
Upon receiving word about what happened, Bushell moved to Halifax and continued what Green had started. The Halifax Gazette was first published on March 23, 1752, making Bushell the first letterpress printer in Halifax, Canada. There is only one known surviving copy, found in the Massachusetts Historical Society. One of the first forms of letterpress printing in the United States was Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick started by Benjamin Harris; this was the first form of a newspaper with multiple pages in the Americas. The first publication of Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick was September 25, 1690. Letterpress started to become out-of-date in the 1970s because of the rise of computers and new self-publishing print and publish methods. Many printing establishments went out of business from the 1980s to 1990s and sold their equipment after computers replaced letterpress's abilities more efficiently; these commercial print shops discarded presses, making them affordable and available to artisans throughout the country.
Popular presses are, in particular, Vandercook cylinder proof presses and Chandler & Price platen presses. In the UK there is particular affection for the Arab press, built by Josiah Wade in Halifax. Letterpress