Can’t tell a forme from a frisket? Don’t know the difference between a punch and a matrix? Our glossary will guide you through many of the technical terms relating to early books and printing.
A name (which came into use around 1600) for the form of type Gothic used by early printers, as distinguished from the ‘Roman’ type, which later prevailed.
A book in which each page was printed from a single block of wood, onto which both text and images were carved in reverse. Although it is often thought that blockbooks preceded the invention of printing from movable metal type, most surviving examples date from the period 1460 to 1480.
A book containing the texts used to celebrate Divine Office each day by members of monastic orders and clergy, consisting of Psalms, Collects, and readings from Scripture and the lives of the Saints.
A word printed at the end of a quire to indicate the first word of the next page; if the catchword does not tally with the first word, this suggests that a leaf is missing, or that the quires have been bound in the wrong order.
A rectangular metal frame (see image above) into which a forme, or body of type is locked, using wedges or quoins, ready for printing.