A Glossary of Old and Enduring Printing Terms.

Pictured: Johannes Gutenberg, Germany.
Here are some old and enduring Technical terms relating to early books and printing.
Black-letter: 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.
Blockbook: 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.
Breviary: 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.
Catchword: A word printed at the end of a quire (a section of folded pages in order) 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.
Chase: A rectangular metal frame into which a forme, or body of type is locked, using wedges or quoins, ready for printing.
Colophon: A statement at the end of a book containing some or all of the following: name of the work, author, printer, place of printing, date. It is sometimes accompanied by a printer’s device or mark. This information was later carried on the title page.
Compositor: A person who sets, corrects and distributes type.
Pressman: The work of a person operating a hand-press.
Distributing type: Returning the individual sorts to their cases, after they have been printed. Often shortened to ‘dissing’.
Forme: The forme is the body of type, locked by the compositor into a frame called a chase, ready for printing.
Font: A complete set of upper- and lower-case letters, figures, punctuation marks and symbols, cast in one size and typeface. Typically a font would contain sufficient type to enable a printer to set several pages at one time.
Galley A three-sided shallow metal tray onto which type is transferred from a composing-stick for holding composed matter before it is split up into pages.
Galley proofs are proofs on long sheets of paper, of composed matter before it is made up into page.
Source: First Impressions | Glossary

About Derwombat

My name is Rod Parham, Hot Metal Compositor. I was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1947. Single with two children and a grandson. I Love History, Movies and Words.