Letterpress Glossary

Letterpress Glossary
  1. Bite: The impression made by the type or plate into the paper.

  2. Blind Deboss: Printing without ink so that the image is pressed into the paper and creates an indented impression.

  3. Chase: The metal frame in which type and blocks are locked into place for printing on a press.

  4. Composing Stick: A handheld tool used by typesetters to assemble lines of type.

  5. Dampening: The process of moistening paper before printing to help the fibers of the paper receive the ink more effectively.

  6. Embossing: A technique where the paper is raised, rather than indented.

  7. Furniture: Wooden or metal blocks used to fill the empty space in a chase.

  8. Galley: A metal tray used to hold type after it has been set but before it's locked into a form.

  9. Impression Cylinder: The part of the press that applies pressure, pushing the paper onto the type or plate.

  10. Inking System: The rollers and other parts of the press that apply ink to the type or plate.

  11. Jobbing Press: A type of press used primarily for short-run work.

  12. Kerning: Adjusting the space between individual letters.

  13. Leading: Thin strips of metal or other materials used to separate lines of type.

  14. Ligature: Two or more letters combined into a single character.

  15. Linotype: A machine that casts lines of type out of molten metal, based on a keyboard input.

  16. Lock-up: The process of securing type and plates in the chase.

  17. Makeready: The process of adjusting the press, type, and paper to ensure a clean and even impression.

  18. Monotype: A system where individual letters are cast as separate pieces of type in response to keyboard input.

  19. Orphan: A single line of a paragraph that appears by itself at the bottom of a page.

  20. Pica: A unit of measurement in typesetting, approximately 1/6th of an inch.

  21. Platen: The part of the press that holds the paper in place during printing.

  22. Point: A unit of measurement for type size, with 72 points to an inch.

  23. Quoin: A device used to lock up a form within a chase.

  24. Registration: The alignment of the different colored inks on the printed page.

  25. Relief Printing: A printing method where the inked image is raised above the non-inking surface.

  26. Slugs: Metal or other dense material used to create space between lines of type.

  27. Type High: The standardized height of type, which is .918 inches in the United States.

  28. Typeface: The design or style of a set of characters.

  29. Vandercook: A popular brand of proofing press used in letterpress printing.

  30. Widow: A single line of a paragraph that appears by itself at the top of a page.

  31. Set-off: The unwanted transfer of ink from one printed sheet to another.
  32. California Job Case: A type of type case with compartments used to store movable type. It's known for its unique layout that places frequently used letters in convenient reach of the typesetter.

  33. Forme: The assembled type and blocks, ready for printing.

  34. Galley Proof: A preliminary version of a printed piece, used for proofreading and layout arrangement.

  35. Justification: The process of adjusting the spacing within a line of type so that it aligns both on the left and right margins.

  36. Ligature: Two or more letters combined into one character, such as "æ".

  37. Makeready: Preparations made to ensure even pressure and inking before the actual print run.

  38. Pull: A single impression or print.

  39. Quads: Small metal spacers used to justify lines of type.

  40. Rivers: Gaps in typesetting which appear to run through a paragraph of text, due to a coincidental alignment of spaces.

  41. Type Foundry: A company that designs and/or produces typefaces.

  42. Vignette: A small decorative design or illustration.

  43. Wayzgoose: A traditional printer's holiday or an annual event for printers and bibliophiles.

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