Arcane Type Terminology

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Eric Hague's picture
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Arcane Type Terminology
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"Twip" and "tittle" both strike me as particularly obscure. Got any others?

darrel's picture
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Please be sharing the definition of twip and tittle!

Jason Pagura's picture
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A tittle is the dot over an i or j... not sure what a twip is.

Eric Hague's picture
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John Hudson's picture
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Nut (en space) and mutton (em space).

Stephen Coles's picture
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I love to use [[octothorp]] when others might say "pound" or "hash".

Mike Koppa's picture
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Craig Eliason's picture
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Some of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash_(punctuation)|Wikipedia's]] listed synonyms for the slash are new to me: "oblique, diagonal, whack, separatrix, virgule, scratch comma, slant, or forward slash." Have any of you called it a whack, a separatrix, or a scratch comma before?

Charles Ellertson's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2004 - 11:00am
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Well, there is "pig" and "monkey" (printers & typesetters, respectively).

All sorts of interesting terms in The Printer's Vocabulary by Charles Thomas Jacobi (London, Chiswick Press, 1881).

And for em-space, along with mutton are molly and mary . . .

Pilcrow for the paragraph symbol . . .

Don't get me started on type terms. Been there & got the hat.

Kevin Pease's picture
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"Eroteme" is a long-forgotten name for the question mark.

carl's picture
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Have any of you called it a whack, a separatrix, or a scratch comma before?

"Whack" is used in computer jargon. One might say "h t t p, colon, whack whack" to describe "http://". Since the different directions are interchangeable in certain computer networking applications, a whack could also go the other way. "whack whack servername" is "\\\SERVERNAME\".

Scott Leyes's picture
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007 - 2:24pm
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...but is "\\SERVERNAME" actually "back-whack back-whack servername"?

James Arboghast's picture
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Some of Wikipedia’s listed synonyms for the slash are new to me: “oblique, diagonal, whack, separatrix, virgule, scratch comma, slant, or forward slash.” Have any of you called it a whack, a separatrix, or a scratch comma before?

Some of them may be made up. Do any of the terms you list have citations with verifiable references? If not, you can't trust them. As a Wikipedian myself I know Wikipedia to be a crank magnet---the most powerful crank magnet in the universe. While working on type-related articles there I discovered a lot of programmer-like geeks working on them as well. They consider themselves qualified to write on typography matters, which is absurd really, all things considered, and they have an annoying habit of introducing terms and jargon from the programming world. They justify it by saying that programmers use these terms for writing code.

If you guys see anything questionable or dubious in Wikipedia's typography articles and it has no citation or reference, jump right in there and put this tag next to the suspect text:

{fact}

That generates a [citation needed] tag in the rendered article. You don't need to be a registered Wikipedian to do it. Anyone can challenge what's there. If the author(s) who put the unreferenced material in fail to come up with a valid reference within two months it is considered acceptable to remove the unsourced material.

Some people I work with call a slash a "forward slash", but it's hard to see the point when "slash" makes perfect sense contrasted with "backslash".

j a m e s

Mark Simonson's picture
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Some people I work with call a slash a “forward slash”, but it’s hard to see the point when “slash” makes perfect sense contrasted with “backslash”.

I suspect these are mostly Windows users who are used to using the backslash for path names and therefore are prone to use it instead of a slash in URLs out of habit. Calling it a forward slash helps to make it clearer for them (although I sometimes hear people on the radio mistakenly saying "backslash" when reciting a URL). "Forward slash" sounds odd mainly to non-Windows users who don't use the backslash so much.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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What about using the term "cut"? I think that is right in there with "leading".

John vanDemer's picture
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upper & lower case - the origins of the "case" are lost on pretty much everyone.

James Arboghast's picture
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One time on the talk page for Wikipedia:font (typeface), a user asked if the origin story for "upper case" and "lower case" was a lot of hokum somebody made up. This guy said something like, "That sounds like an urban myth, as if typesetters in metal days actually had an upper case and a lower case. Glad to meet you, I'm Lincoln's grandfather."

I assured the person the origin story is true---to the best of our knowledge.

Mark---yes, in all likelihood you are right about "backslash".

What about using the term “cut”? I think that is right in there with “leading”.

Interesting you should bring that up: I reject terms like "foundry" and make a point of not using that word, saying "font maker" or "type designer" instead. Yet I don't think twice about calling line height "leading". "Cut" will probably be around forever, no matter what medium font makers use to draw type outlines with. Cut is almost synonymous with line and outline.

j a m e s

John vanDemer's picture
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Im all out of sorts

Gerald Lange's picture
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They (printers) actually did have separate upper (for the majuscule) and lower cases (for the minuscule). They still physically exist. I have a couple of them. The terms are post the development of printing and did not exist prior.

Gerald

carl's picture
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They (printers) actually did have separate upper (for the majuscule) and lower cases (for the minuscule).

As they say on the Internet, "Pics! or it didn't happen."

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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hickey

-=®=-

carl's picture
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...but is “\SERVERNAME” actually “back-whack back-whack servername”?

Yeah, I think I initially forgot to "whack" (escape) one of my whacks. I fixed (whacked?) it pretty quickly, which I probably shouldn't have done, because you immediately quoted it.

Gerald Lange's picture
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As they say on the Internet, “Pics! or it didn’t happen.”

Well, then, "they" lose.

Gerald

Mark Simonson's picture
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Furniture

Copy-fitting

Fist

Slug

Logotype

Calendar figures

Quad

Mortise

Quoin & quoin key

Electrotype

Stereotype

(Actually, modern letterpress printers will know a lot of these.)

David Berlow's picture
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"obscure. Got any others?"
Arkle, Bolleri, Cantra, Dezk, Entony, Frencker, Grapper, Honley, Instop, Juster, Kromni, Lestic, Marcorhym, Nester, Omnifont, Panose, Quark, Rult, Serien, Tanstraam, Unitype, Vallétione, Waskgrap, Xerox, Yuristic and Zoop.

Cheers!

darrel's picture
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"They consider themselves qualified to write on typography matters, which is absurd really, all things considered, and they have an annoying habit of introducing terms and jargon from the programming world. They justify it by saying that programmers use these terms for writing code."

Well, isn't that still typography? Granted, anything written in a resource like wikipedia should be verified, but it seems that one of the great things about wikipedia is it's contemporary vernacular. But I do see your point as well. Perhaps there's a need for articles to have a section on 'contemporary variations' or the like.

FYI, this is a great thread!

Mark: I'm ashamed...even having worked at a letterpress shop, I've never heard of Electrotype or Stereotype...what are those?

Also, I've always love the term 'Quoin'.

Mark Simonson's picture
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Electrotype or Stereotype...what are those?

They were methods of making single-piece printing plates from locked-up page galleys, mainly for the high-speed presses used by newspapers.

Mark Simonson's picture
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Also: Electrotype was used by pirates to copy fonts.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Hickey as an archaic example? Hickies still happen on press.

peterhaas's picture
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Furniture - Usually wood, but could be metal pieces which fill in the chase (which see) of a letterpress printer; held tightly in place by quoins (which see). This "word of art" is found in other industries, where it can mean any wooden component part of the whole. For example, a wooden gunstock is the gun's furniture.

Copy-fitting

Fist - Guess: a group of Linotype or Intertype slugs lifted from the machine's output tray and taken (in one's fisted hand, from which comes this "word of art") to a composing station, usually passing a Hammond cutoff saw first to adjust the length as required by the job.

Slug - A cast line of Linotype or Intertype type

Logotype

Calendar figures

Quad - Mechanism on a Linotype or Intertype which mechanically fills in the line; can be quad left, quad center or quad right, as set on the mechanism's control; it is an add-on accessory for most older machines, say, a Model 15, and may be standard on later machines; often found on machines installed in newspapers.

Mortise - Guess: Related to furniture, but I can't remember how.

Quoin & quoin key - Rectangular (one piece) or wedge-shaped (two piece) device which tightens the furniture (which see) in the chase; once so tightened, the chase may be safely moved from the composing station and installed in the letterpress printer. Quoins are operated by a quoin key.

Electrotype

Stereotype

(Actually, modern letterpress printers will know a lot of these.)

Mark Simonson's picture
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Furniture is any spacing material.

A fist is one of those pointing hand dingbats.

A slug is also just a piece of type.

A quad is a standard space, measured in ems or ens, such as an em quad or en quad. When you say "quad left" or "quad right" it just means "fill out the line with quads," pushing the line to the left or right.

A mortise is a border or illustration cut with a hole in it in which to place type.

A quoin key is the thing you use to tighten a quoin.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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Arcane, Miss Tiffany. Arcane. :o)

As in, if one steps out of the press room and says "... I left a hickey on this page." more people will think he is oddly perverse than will think he needs to keep the keep the dust down in the press room. [|:¬)

(not strictly a type word admittedly)

- Out of curiosity... The skills of the first gunsmiths were borrowed from medieval locksmiths. Hence the term, lock stock and barrel, which originally referred to parts on a lock (and had nothing to do with the wooden parts or the long metal tube the bullet comes out of). Are there similar terms transferred from from trades the printing industry would have borrowed from?

-=®=-

James Arboghast's picture
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Well, isn’t that still typography? Granted, anything written in a resource like wikipedia should be verified, but it seems that one of the great things about wikipedia is it’s contemporary vernacular. But I do see your point as well. Perhaps there’s a need for articles to have a section on ’contemporary variations’ or the like.

The accepted solution to most Wikipedia content disputes is, or has been, to join the Inclusionist Church of Wikipedia, which has the largest number of followers. To achieve a neutral point of view, multiple authors working on a single article include all points of view established as valid, with criteria for notability and verification. Readers are left to decide the relevance of the various points of view for themselves.

The NPOV requirement is the reason why, for example, Wikipedia's main type history article is titled History of Western Typography: an Asian contributor pointed out my initial breach of NPOV, concensus was established at the Village Pump, and the title was changed.

You are quite right in pointing to the contemporary nature of the newer terms. Wikipedia has always been the bleeding edge in Encyclopedestrianization. The reality of Encyclopedestrianization has its shock value for everyone.

j a m e s

peterhaas's picture
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"A quad is a standard space, measured in ems or ens, such as an em quad or en quad. When you say 'quad left' or 'quad right' it just means 'fill out the line with quads,' pushing the line to the left or right."

When used as a noun, yes.

When used as a verb on a linecaster (Linotype and Intertype, and possibly also on a Monotype, although I've never operated a Monotype typecaster), or with specific reference to a quadder as a noun, it refers to the mechanism or the operation thereof, which is attached as an accessory to, or is built into the linecaster, and which effects quadding, left, right or center, without the use of true quads (em or en, or whatever, as matrices) combined with adjustable spacebars.

peterhaas's picture
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"They (printers) actually did have separate upper (for the majuscule) and lower cases (for the minuscule). They still physically exist. I have a couple of them. The terms are post the development of printing and did not exist prior."

Historically, where do minuscule and majuscule fit in, with specific respect to the California Job Case?

I learned to set type by hand, in the 1950s, from a California Job Case, and I cannot recall encountering a different case.

oprion's picture
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Set the body in briever, Century, no rag, with a 2-point lead. Make sure to set your gauge pins for a demy, and pack the platen tight with tympan. Stock up on quads in case you run out of furniture, and use the newer quoins for lockup! :)

Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov
www.ivangdesign.com

James A. Crippen's picture
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 - 7:24pm
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The term “virgule” goes way back before typesetting, back to the mediæval era. OED (2nd edn. 1989) says:

“1. A thin sloping or upright line (/, |) occurring in mediæval MSS. as a mark for the cæsura or as a punctuation-mark (frequently with the same value as the modern comma). Now also in more general use with various functions (see quots.). Cf. SLASH n.¹ 5”

“Solidus” is used by Unicode, and was metaphorically transferred from the symbol separating shillings from pence, since “shilling” is an equivalent to “solidus” which was the Roman gold coin worth about 25 denarii (which itself is the source of “d.” for pence). OED gives this as sense 2:

“2. A sloping line used to separate shillings from pence, as 12/6, in writing fractions, and for other separations of figures and letters; a shilling-mark. Also attrib. Cf. OBLIQUE n. 5.”

“Oblique” has its first citation in the OED (sense 4) at 1785, although the first citation referring specifically to the typographic sense is from 1965: “1965 W. S. ALLEN Vox Latina 9 Phonemic symbols..are conventionally set between obliques, e.g. /t/.”

“Scratch comma” is attested in the OED under sense V.12.b of SCRATCH: “scratch-comma, a diagonal stroke used by some early printers in place of the comma”

On the other hand, the OED doesn’t have a lemma for “seperatrix”, which strikes me as suspect anyway.

Feel free to deposit this info in the Wikipedia article. I can’t be bothered at the moment.

(How I wish that either Unicode or HTML supported proper small caps.)

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Arcane. Oh dear. Ok well I'll totally agree with hickey then. Sorry for some reason I read archaic. Great thread. It all makes sense now. :^D

Linda Cunningham's picture
Joined: 26 Jul 2006 - 3:55pm
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I've heard just "bang" used in place of "interrobang," and I've always wanted to have "separatrix" revived. ;-) It sounds deliciously fun....

Craig Eliason's picture
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I’ve heard just “bang” used in place of “interrobang,”

I think the "bang" is just the exclamation-mark part of an "interrobang."

Mark Simonson's picture
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Yes, bang = exclamation point (or exclamation mark)

Linda Cunningham's picture
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And, as I recall, used by the late Victor Borge in his amazing performance of punctuation.... ;-)

Kevin Pease's picture
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Borge's bang was more like "ppt-fsssss!"

Joel C. Salomon's picture
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 James, do you mean sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀʟs ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴇsᴇ? Unicode explicitly won't make them a proper `case' and only includes those with other linguistic uses. When I've wanted to fake small-caps with Unicode I used the list below. Bracketed characters are from other scripts than Latin, and their applicability is font-dependent; I don't recall what I intended the other notation to mean:
Aaᴀ Bbʙ[в] Ccᴄ[с](c) Ddᴅ Eeᴇ Ff* Ggɢ Hhʜ[н] Iiɪ Jjᴊ Kkᴋ[к][ĸ] Llʟ Mmᴍ[м] Nnɴ Ooᴏ[о](o) Ppᴘ Qq* Rrʀ Ss[ѕ](s) Ttᴛ[т] Uuᴜ Vvᴠ[ѵ](v*) Wwᴡ[ѡ](w*) Xx[х](x*) Yyʏ Zzᴢ(z*) Ððᴆ Þþ Œœɶ Ӕӕᴁ
This is, of course quite an unwarranted "

James A. Crippen's picture
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 - 7:24pm
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Ick.

As you can see, lacking proper support for small caps you end up with typographic disaster.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘɪᴛᴀʟs ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴇsᴇ?

Indeed. But how do you do that? I copied & pasted it and there were about half a dozen different fonts there

-=®=-

Gerald Giampa's picture
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Electrotype or Stereotype...what are those?

They were methods of making single-piece printing plates from locked-up page galleys, mainly for the high-speed presses used by newspapers.

new
Mark Simonson
28.Dec.2007 8.18am
Mark Simonson's picture

Also: Electrotype was used by pirates to copy fonts.

. . . . .

I would like to avoid niceties of language. Stereotypes (accredited to Firmin Didot) were used for newspapers, publishers and for other reasons, magazines, job printing, not to mention national advertising campaigns, when do I stop? If not here?

"Electro-deposited matrices" were not only used by pirates but also by legitimates foundries maintaining their own fount matrix libraries, and, for example, producing legitimate copies for their clients. Common in the sorts department of the Lanston Monotype Machine foundry.

I can see the difference. Can you?

I could provide more details on Stereotypes, and Electroplates, not mentioned hear as I can not comprehend a need to know?

Good night folks.

Giampa

Joel C. Salomon's picture
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 Russel, the passel of fonts you see is the browser looking for whichever font it can find that has the Unicode small-caps characters—and not finding it in any one font. Fun, no?
—Joel

Mark Simonson's picture
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I can see the difference. Can you?

Thanks for the clarification/correction, Gerald. I'm sure you know a lot more about these techniques than I do.

Jason Pagura's picture
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It seems those spurious small caps are even browser sensitive even when the right fonts are installed. It looks almost just fine for me in Safari apart from some slight weight differences but totally messed up in Seamonkey.

James A. Crippen's picture
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 - 7:24pm
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Each browser uses its own nonstandard methods of finding characters that aren’t present in the current font. Hence the different behaviors even on the same operating system with the same fonts.