A Dictionary of Select Letterpress Terms

2-em quad: a small piece of lead used to provide spacing in a line of text; twice the size of an em-quad

base: an aluminum base that fits into the press bed which, when used with a polymer plate, provides a printing surface that is type high

brasses and coppers: the smallest spacing available, named after the material each is made of, respectively

california job case: a kind of type drawer that organizes lead type according to a specific logic based on frequency of use and ease of locating type in the drawer

composing stick: a modified metal ruler used to hand set lead type before moving it to a galley or press bed

cylinder: the part of the press to which the paper is attached as it turns on the type form

em-quad (or “nut”): a square piece of lead used to provide spacing in a line of text; also en-quad (1/2 em-quad), 3-to-em space (1/3 em-quad), 4-to-em space (1/4 em-quad), and 5-to-em space (1/5 em-quad)

furniture: other wood spacing in various widths and lengths and measured in picas, for use in locking up the type form in the press bed

galley: a metal tray used to store type forms

grippers: the part of the press that holds the paper on the cylinder

key: the devise used to tighten a quoin

lead: a thin strip of metal used to create space between the lines of text in a type form

lock-up: the process of tightening the type form (or base) in the press bed

polymer plate: an adhesive plastic plate that, when attached to a base, is type high

quoin: a wedge or mechanical devise used to lock up a form in the press bed

reglet: a wooden lead

spacing: small metal pieces used to create space between letters, words or lines in hand-set type

type high: the height of a standard type or image form used in any letterpress; 0.918 inches