Mechanick Exercises
or, the Doctrine of Handy-Works
Applied to the Art of Printing

by Joseph Moxon

No. Sec. Title
II § 2. Of the Office of a Master-Printer.
§ 3. Of Cases.
§ 4. Of Frames to set the Cases on.
§ 5. Of the Galley.
§ 6. Of the Correcting-stone.
§ 7. Of Letter-Boards, and Paper-Boards.
[III] § 8. Of Furniture, Quoyns, Scabbord, &c.
§ 9. Of the Mallet, Shooting-stick and Dressing-Block, Composing-sticks, Bodkin, and Chase, &c.


Or, the Doctrine of


Applied to the Art of


The Second VOLUMNE.

§ 2. Of the Office of a Master-Printer.

I Shall begin with the Office of Master-Printer, because (as aforesaid) he is the Directer of all the Work men, he is the Base (as the Dutchmen properly call him) on which the Workmen stand, both for providing Materials to Work withal, and successive variety of Directions how and in what manner and order to perform that Work.

His Office is therefore to provide a House, or Room or Rooms in which he is to set his Printing-House. This expression may seem strange, but it is Printers Language: For a Printing-House may admit of a twofold meaning; one the Vulgar acceptance, 10 and is relative to the House or Place wherein Printing is used; the other a more peculiar Phrase Printers use among themselves, viz. only the Printing Tools, which they frequently call a Printing-House: Thus they say, Such a One has set up a Printing-House, when as thereby they mean he has furnish’d a House with Printing Tools. Or such a one has remov’d his Printing-House, when thereby they only mean he has remov’d the Tools us’d in his former House. These expressions have been used Time out of mind, and are continued by them to this day.

But to proceed, Having consider’d what number of Presses and Cases he shall use, he makes it his business to furnish himself with a Room or Rooms well-lighted, and of convenient capacity for his number of Presses and Cases, allowing for each Press about Seven Foot square upon the Floor, and for every Frame of Cases which holds Two pair of Cases, viz. one pair Romain and one pair Itallica, Five Foot and an half in length (for so much they contain) and Four Foot and an half in breadth, though they contain but Two Foot and Nine Inches: But then room will be left to pass freely between two Frames.

We will suppose he resolves to have his Presses and Cases stand in the same Room (though in England it is not very customary) He places the Cases on that side the Room where they will most conveniently stand, so, as when the Compositer is at work the Light may come in on his Left-hand; for else his Right hand plying between the Window-light and his Eye might shadow the Letter he would pick up: And the Presses he places so, as the Light may fall from a Window C2
right before the Form and Tinpan: And if scituation will allow it, on the North-side the Room, that the Press-men, when at their hard labour in Summer time, may be the less uncommoded with the heat of the Sun: And also that they may the better see by the constancy of that Light, to keep the whole Heap of an equal Colour.

He is also to take care that his Presses have a solid and firm Foundation, and an even Horizontal Floor to stand on, That when the Presses are set up their Feet shall need no Underlays, which both damage a Press, are often apt to work out, and consequently subject it to an unstable and loose position, as shall further be shewn when we come to the Setting up of the Press.

And as the Foundation ought to be very firm, so ought also the Roof and Sides of the Press Room to be, that the Press may be fastned with Braces overhead and on its Sides, as well and steddy as under foot.

He is also to take care that the Room have a clear, free and pretty lofty Light, not impeded with the shadow of other Houses, or with Trees; nor so low that the Sky-light will not reach into every part of the Room: But yet not too high, lest the violence of Winter (Printers using generally but Paper-windows) gain too great advantage of Freesing the Paper and Letter, and so both Work and Workman stand still. Therefore he ought to Philosophize with himself, for the making the height of his Lights to bear a rational proportion to the capacity of the Room.

Here being but two sides of the Room yet used, 12 he places the Correcting stone against a good Light, and as near as he can towards the middle of the Room, that the Compositers belonging to each end of the Room may enjoy an equal access to it. But sometimes there are several Correcting-stones plac’d in several parts of the Room.

The Lye-Trough and Rincing-Trough he places towards some corner of the Room, yet so as they may have a good Light; and under these he causes a Sink to be made to convey the Water out of the Room: But if he have other conveniencies for the placing these Troughs, he will rather set them out of the Room to avoid the slabbering they cause in.

About the middle of the Room he places the Destributing-Frame (viz. the Frame on which the Forms are set that are to be Destributed) which may stand light enough, though it stand at some considerable distance from the Window.

In some other empty place of the Room (least frequented) he causes so many Nest-Frames to be made as he thinks convenient to hold the Cases that may lye out of present use; and the Letter boards with Forms set by on them, that both the Cases and the Forms may be the better secured from running to Pye.

Having thus contrived the several Offices of the Room, He furnishes it with Letters, Presses, Cases, Chases, Furniture, &c. Of each of which in Order.

Notes and Corrections: § 2.

§ 2. Of the Office of a Master-Printer.
[If there was a § 1, I can’t find it. Maybe the Preface counts as § 1 and he forgot to label it. (He also forgot to label this first section as ¶ 1, but that is easy to deduce.)]


¶. 2. Of Letter.

He provides a Fount (properly a Fund) of Letter of all Bodies; for most Printing-Houses have all except the two first, viz. Pearl, Nomparel, Brevier, Long-Primmer, Pica, English, Great-Primmer, Double-Pica, Two Lin’d English, Great-Cannon.

These are the Bodies most of use in England; But the Dutch have several other Bodies: which because there is little and almost no perceivable difference from some of these mentioned, I think they are not worth naming. Yet we have one Body more which is sometimes used in England; that is a Small Pica, but I account it no great discretion in a Master-Printer to provide it; because it differs so little from the Pica, that unless the Workmen be carefuller than they sometimes are, it may be mingled with the Pica, and so the Beauty of both Founts may be spoil’d.

These aforesaid Bodies are commonly Cast with a Romain, Italica, and sometimes an English Face. He also provides some Bodies with the Musick, the Greek, the Hebrew, and the Syriack Face: But these, or some of these, as he reckons his oppertunities may be to use them.

And that the Reader may the better understand the sizes of these several Bodies, I shall give him this Table following; wherein is set down the number of each Body that is contained in one Foot.

Pearl, 184 contained in one Foot.
Nomparel, 150
Brevier, 112
Long-Primmer, 92
Pica, 75
English, 66
Great-Primmer, 50
Double-Pica, 38
Two-Lin’d English, 33
Great-Cannon, 17½

His care in the choice of these Letters are,

First, That the Letter have a true shape: Which he may know, as by the § of Letter-Cutting.

I confess this piece of Judgement, viz. knowing of true Shape, may admit of some controversy; because neither the Ancients whom we received the knowledge of these Letters from, nor any other authentick Authority have delivered us Rules, either to make or know true shape by: And therefore it may be objected that every one that makes Letters but tolerably like Romain, Italick, &c. may pretend his to be true shap’d.

To this I answer, that though we can plead no Ancient Authority for the shape of Letters, yet doubtless (if we judge rationally) we must conclude that the Romain Letters were Originally invented and contrived to be made and consist of Circles, Arches of Circles, and straight Lines; and therefore those Letters that have these Figures, either entire, or else properly mixt, so as the Course and Progress of the 15 Pen may best admit, may deserve the name of true Shape, rather than those that have not.

Besides, Since the late made Dutch-Letters are so generally, and indeed most deservedly accounted the best, as for their Shape, consisting so exactly of Mathematical Regular Figures as aforesaid, And for the commodious Fatness they have beyond other Letters, which easing the Eyes in Reading, renders them more Legible; As also the true placing their Fats and their Leans, with the sweet driving them into one another, and indeed all the accomplishments that can render Letter regular and beautiful, do more visibly appear in them than in any Letters Cut by any other People: And therefore I think we may account the Rules they were made by, to be the Rules of true shap’d Letters.

For my own part, I liked their Letters so well, especially those that were Cut by Christophel Van Dijck of Amsterdam, that I set my self to examine the Proportions of all and every the parts and Members of every Letter, and was so well pleased with the Harmony and Decorum of their Symetrie, and found so much Regularity in every part, and so good reason for his Order and Method, that I examined the biggest of his Letters with Glasses, which so magnified the whole Letter, that I could easily distinguish, and with small Deviders measure off the size, scituation and form of every part, and the proportion every part bore to the whole; and for my own future satisfaction collected my Obser­vations into a Book, which I have inserted in my Exercises on Letter-Cutting. For therein I have exhibited to 16 the World the true Shape of Christophel Van Dijcks aforesaid Letters, largely Engraven in Copper Plates.

Whence I conclude, That since common consent of Book men assign the Garland to the Dutch-Letters as of late Cut, and that now those Letters are reduced unto a Rule, I think the Objection is Answered; And our Master-Printers care in the choice of good and true shap’d Letters is no difficult Task: For if it be a large Bodied Letter, as English, Great-Primmer and upwards, it will shew it self; and if it be small, as Pearl, Nomparel, &c. though it may be difficult to judge the exact Symetry with the naked Eye, yet by the help of a Magnifying-Glass or two if occasion be, even those small Letters will appear as large as the biggest Bodied Letters shall to the naked Eye: And then it will be no difficult Task to judge of the Order and Decorum even of the smallest Bodied Letters. For indeed, to my wonder and astonishment, I have observ’d V. Dijcks Pearl Dutch Letters in Glasses that have Magnified them to great Letters, and found the whole Shape bear such true proportion to his great Letters, both for the Thickness, Shape, Fats and Leans, as if with Compasses he could have measur’d and set off in that small compass every particular Member, and the true breadth of every Fat and Lean Stroak in each Letter, not to exceed or want (when magnified) of Letter Cut to the Body it was Magnified to.

His second care in the choice of Letters is, That they be deep Cut; for then they will Print clear the longer, and be less subject to entertain Picks.

His third care, That they be deep sunck in the D
Matrices least the bottom line of a Page Beard. Yet though they be deep sunk, His care ought to be to see the Beard also well cut off by the Founder.

And a Fourth Care in the choice of Letter is, That his Letter be Cast upon good Mettal, that, it may last the longer.

Of each Body he provides a Fount suitable to such sorts of Work as he designs to do; But he provides not an equal weight of every Fount; Because all these Bodies are not in equal use: For the Long-Primmer, Pica and English are the Bodies that are generally most used; And therefore he provides very large Founts of these, viz. of the Long-Primmer in a small Printing-House, Five hundred Pounds weight Romain and Italica, whereof One hundred and fifty Pounds may be Italica. Of the Pica and English, Roman and Italica, Eight, Nine hundred, or a Thousand Pounds weight: when as of other Founts Three or Four hundred Pounds weight is accounted a good Fount: And of the Cannon and Great-Cannon, One hundred Pounds or somewhat less may serve his turn; Because the common use of them is to set Titles with.

Besides Letters he Provides Characters of Astronomical Signs, Planets, Aspects, Algebraical Characters, Physical and Chimical Characters, &c. And these of several of the most used Bodies.

He Provides also Flowers to set over the Head of a Page the beginning of a Book: But they are now accounted old-fashion, and therefore much out of use. Yet Wooden-Borders, well Drawn, and neatly Cut, may be Printed in a Creditable Book, As also, 18 Wooden-Letters well Drawn and neatly Cut may be used at the beginning of a Dedication, Preface, Section, &c. Yet instead of Wooden Letters, Capitals Cast in Mettal generally now serves; because but few or good Cutters in Wood appear.

He also provides Brass Rules of about Sixteen Inches long, that the Compositer may cut them into such Lengths as his Work requires.

In the choice of his Brass Rules, he examines that they be exactly Letter high; for if they be much too high, they may cut through Paper, Tinpan and Blankets too; And if they be but a little too high, not only the Sholder, or Beard, on either side them will Print black; but they will bear the Plattin off the Letters that stand near them, so that those Letters will not Print at all: And if they be too low, then the Rules themselves will not Print.

It sometimes happens through the unskilfulness of the Joyner, (for they commonly, but unproperly, imploy Joyners to make them) that a Length shall be hollow in the middle both on the Face and Foot, and shall run driving higher and higher towards both ends: Hence it comes to pass, that when the Compositer cuts a piece of Rule to his intended Length, the Rule shall Print hard at one end, and the other shall not Print at all; So that he shall be forced to knock up the foot of the low end, as shall be shewn in its proper place.

But the careful Master-Printer having found that his Brass Rules is Letter high all the whole Length, will also examine whether it be straight all the whole Length, which he does by applying both the D3
Face and Foot to the surface of the Correcting-stone; And if the Face and Foot comply so closely with the Correcting-stone, that light cannot be seen between them, he concludes the Brass-Rule is straight.

Then he examines the Face or Edge of the Rule, whether it have an Edge of an equal breadth all the whole Length, and that the Edge be neither too thick nor too fine for his purpose.

He should also take care that the Brass, before it be cut out, be well and skilfully Planish’t, nor would that charge be ill bestowd; for it would be saved out of the thickness of the Brass that is commonly used: For the Joyners unskilful in Planishing, buy Neal’d thick Brass that the Rule may be strong enough, and so cut it into slips without Hammering, which makes the Rule easily bow any way and stand so, and will never come to so good and smooth an Edge as Planish’t Brass will. Besides, Brass well Planish’t will be stiffer and stronger at half the thickness than unplanish’t Brass will at the whole; As I shall further shew when I come to Exercise upon Mathematical Instrument-making.

Notes and Corrections: § 2. ¶ 2.

skip to next section

Point sizes for type hadn’t been invented yet—and when they were, it would take a long time for English printers to adopt the idea. See William Savage’s Dictionary of the Art of Printing under Types.

The signature jumps from D to D3 because Plate 1 was printed between pages 18 and 19.

the number of each Body that is contained in one Foot
[The number of lines of type, that is. Divide 864 (i.e. 12×72) by the number of lines to get the approximate point size: from less than 5 points for Pearl to 11½ for Pica to 49-plus for Great-Cannon. In the printed book, you can see that he didn’t have a tall enough bracket to encompasss the ten lines of his table; instead he assembled a middle piece (looking suspiciously like a sideways caret), two curved endpieces, and a series of simple | lines.]

Christophel Van Dijck of Amsterdam
[Now generally spelled Christoffel van Dijck (1600/05-1669). One site says his name is “synonymous with the golden age of Dutch printing”, which about sums it up.]

an equal weight of every Fount
text has wieght

Because the common use of them is to set Titles with
text has is so set

As also, Wooden-Letters well Drawn
[Whoops! He forgot the word “also” at the end of page 17, and had to sneak it in across from the catchword:

partial page image

Do not ask why he did not simply reset the beginning of the following page; there is plenty of room in the paragraph.]

Wooden-Letters well Drawn and neatly Cut may be used at the beginning of a Dedication
text has beinning

neither too thick nor too fine for his purpose.
text has porpose

and so cut it into slips without Hammering
text has witout

Plate 1: Printer’s Cases

§. 3. Of Cases.

Next he provides Cases. A Pair of Cases is an Upper-Case and a Lower Case.

The Upper Case and the Lower-Case are of an equal length, breadth and depth, viz. Two Foot nine Inches long, One Foot four Inches and an half broad, and about an Inch and a quarter deep, besides the bottom Board; But for small Bodied Letters they are made somewhat shallower, and for great Bodies deeper.


Long-Primmer and downwards are accounted small Bodies; English and upwards are accounted great Bodies.

The conveniencies of a shallow Case is, that the Letters in each Box lye more visible to the last, as being less shadowed by the sides of the Boxes.

The conveniencies of a deep Case is, that it will hold a great many Letters, so that a Compositer needs not so often Destribute. 2dly. It is not so soon Low, (as Compositers say when the Case grows towards empty) and a Low Case is unconvenient for a Compositer to work at, partly because the Case standing shelving downwards towards them, the Letters that are in the Case tend towards the hither side of the Case, and are shadowed by the hither side of that Box they lye in, so that they are not so easily seen by the Eye, or so ready to come at with the Fingers, as if they lay in the middle of the Box.

These Cases are encompassed about with a Frame about Three quarters of an Inch broad, that the ends of the several partitions may be let into the substance of the Frame: But the hithermost side of the Frame is about half an Inch higher than the other sides, that when either the Galley or another pair of Cases are set upon them, the bottom edge of the Galley, or of those Cases may stop against that higher Frame, and not slide off.

Both the Upper and the Lower Case have a thick Partition about three quarters of an Inch broad, Duff-tail’d into the middle of the upper and under Rail of the Frame. This Partition is made thus broad, that Grooves may be made on either side of it to receive 21 the ends of those Partitions that devide the breadth of the Case, and also to strengthen the whole Frame; for the bottom Board is as well nailed to this thick Partition as to the outer Frame of the Case.

But the devisions for the several Boxes of the Upper and Lower Cases are not alike: for each half of the whole length of the Upper-Case is devided into seven equal parts, as you may see in Plate 1. at A. and its breadth into seven equal parts, so that the whole Upper-Case is divided into Ninety eight square Boxes, whose sides are all equal to one another.

But the Two halfs of the length of the Lower-Case are not thus devided; for each half of the length of the Lower-Case is devided into Eight equal parts, and its breadth into Seven; but it is not throughout thus devided neither; for then the Boxes would be all of equal size: But the Lower-Case is devided into four several sizes of Boxes, as you may see in Plate 1. B.

The reason of these different sizes of Boxes is, That the biggest Boxes may be disposed nearest the Compositers hand, because the English Language, and consequently all English Coppy runs most upon such and such Sorts; so that the Boxes that holds those Sorts ought to be most capacious.

His care in the choice of these Cases is, That the Wood they are made of be well season’d Stuff.

That the Partitions be strong, and true let into one another, and that the ends fill up and stand firm in the Grooves of the Frame and middle Rail of the Case.

There is an inconvenience that often happens, these thin Partitions, especially if they be made of unseason’d Stuff. viz. as the Stuff dries it shrinks in the 22 Grooves of the Frame, and so not only grows loose, but sometimes starts out above the top of the Frame. To prevent this inconvenience, I have of late caused the ends of these thin partitions to be made Male-Duf-tails, broadest on the under side, and have them fitted into Female-Duf-tails in the Frame of the Case, and middle Rail before the bottom Boards are nailed on.

That the Partitions be full an English Body thick.

That the Partitions lye close to the bottom of the Case, that so the Letters slide not through an upper into an under Box, when the Papers of the Boxes may be worn.

Notes and Corrections: § 3.

There is a clearer diagram of Moxon’s cases—along with assorted later arrangements—in Savage’s Dictionary of the Art of Printing under Case.

§ 4. Of Frames to set the Cases on.

Frames are in most Printing-Houses made of thick Deal-board Battens, having their several Rails Tennanted into the Stiles: but these sorts of Frames are, in respect of their matter (viz. Fir) so weak, and in respect of their substance (viz. little above an Inch thick) so slight, that experience teaches us, when they are even new made, they tremble and totter, and having lasted a little while, the thinness of their Tennants being a little above a quarter of an Inch thick, according to the Rules of Joynery, as I have shewn in Numb. 5. § 17. They Craze, their Tennants break, or Mortesses split, and put the Master-Printer to a fresh Charge.

It is rationally to be imagined that the Frames should be designed to last as long as the Printing-house; and therefore our Master-Printer ought to take care that they be made of matter strong enough, and of substance big enough to do the Service they are intended E
for; that they stand substantial and firm in their place, so as a small Jostle against them shake them not, which often reiterated weakens the Frame-work, and at that present is subject to shake the Letter in the Galley down.

I shall not offer to impose Rules upon any here, especially since I have no Authority from Prescript or Custom; yet I shall set down the Scantlings that I my self thought fit to use on this occasion. A Delineation of the Frames are in Plate 1. at C.

a a a a The Fore-Rails.

b b b b The Hind-Rails.

c The Top Fore-Rail.

d The Bottom-Fore-Rail.

e The Top Hind-Rail.

f The Bottom Hind-Rail.

g g g g The End-Rail.

h h h h Cross Bearers.

I made the Rails and Stiles of well-seasoned fine Oak, clean, (that is free from Knots and Shakes) the Stiles and Rails two Inches and an half square, the Top and Bottom Fore-Rails and the Bottom Hind-Rail four Foot three Inches long, besides their Tennants; And the Top Hind Rail five Foot three Inches long. The two Fore-Rails and Bottom Hind-Rail had Iron Female Screws let into them, which, through an hole made in the Stiles, received a Male-Screw with a long shank, and a Sholder at the end of it to screw them tight and firm together, even as the Rails of a Bedsted are screwed into the Mortesses of a Bed-Post.


Each Back Stile was four Foot one Inch and an half high besides their Tennants, and each Fore-Stile three Foot three Inches high; each Fore and Back-Stile had two Rails one Foot seven Inches long, besides their Tennants Tennanted and Pin’d into them, because not intended to be taken assunder.

It must be considered, that the Fore stiles be of a convenient height for the pitch of an ordinary Man to stand and work at, which the heighth aforesaid is; And that the Hind stiles be so much higher than the Fore-stiles, that when the Cross-Bearers are laid upon the upper Fore and Hind-Rail, and the Cases laid on them, the Cases may have a convenient declivity from the upper side the Upper-Case, to the lower side the Lower-Case.

The Reason of this declivity is, because the Cases standing thus before the Workman, the farther Boxes of the Upper-Case are more ready and easie to come at, than if they lay flat; they being in this position somewhat nearer the hand, and the Letters in those Boxes somewhat easier seen.

If the Workman prove taller than Ordinary, he lays another or two pair of Cases under the Cases he uses, to mount them: If the Workman be short, as Lads, &c. He lays a Paper-board (or sometimes two) on the floor by the Fore-side of the Frame, and standing to work on it, mounts himself.

The Bearers are made of Slit-Deal, about two Inches broad, and so long as to reach from the Fore-Rail through the Upper-Rail, and are let in, so as to lye even with the superficies of the Fore and Hind-Rail, and at such a distance on both the Rails, as you may see in the Figure.


On the Superficies of the Fore-Rail, even with its Fore-Edge is nailed a small Riglet about half an Inch high, and a quarter and half quarter of an Inch thick, that the Cases set on the Frame having the aforesaid declivity, may by it be stop’t from sliding off.

Notes and Corrections: § 4.

Frames are in most Printing-Houses made of thick Deal-board Battens
text has Batttens

A Delineation of the Frames are in Plate 1. at C.
[The parts of the Frame—items a through h—take up almost the entire Plate. In fact the one thing I can’t find is C.]

Plate 2, as discussed in text

§. 5. Of the Galley.

Our Master-Printer is also to provide Galleys of different sizes. That the Compositer may be suited with small ones when he Composes small Pages, and with great ones for great Pages.

The Galley is marked A in Plate 2.

a b c The Sides or Frame of the Galley.

d The Slice.

Plate 2-A: Printer’s Galley

These Galleys are commonly made of two flat Wainscot Boards, each about a quarter and half quarter of an Inch thick, the uppermost to slide in Grooves of the Frame, close down to the undermost, though for small Pages a single Board with two sides for the Frame may serve well enough: Those Wainscot Boards are an Oblong Square, having its length longer than its breadth, even as the form of a Page hath. The three Sides of the Frame are fixed fast and square down on the upper Plain of the undermost Board, to stand about three fifth parts of the height of the Letter above the superficies of the Slice. The Sides of the Frame must be broad enough to admit of a pretty many good strong Oaken Pins along 26 the Sides, to be drove hard into the Bottom Board, and almost quite through the Sides of the Frame, that the Frame may be firmly fixed to it: But by no means must they be Glewed on to the Bottom Board, because the Compositer may sometimes have occasion to wet the Page in the Galley, and then (the Galley standing aslope upon the Case) the Water will soak between the sides of the Frame, and under Board, and quickly loosen it.

Notes and Corrections: § 5.

The signature jumps from E to E3 because Plate 2 was printed between pages 24 and 25.

§ 6. Of the Correcting-stone.

The Correcting-Stone marked B in Plate 2. is made of Marble, Purbeck, or any other Stone that may be made flat and smooth: But yet the harder the Stone is the better; wherefore Marble is more preferable than Purbeck. First, Because it is a more compact Stone, having fewer and smaller Pores in it than Purbeck. And Secondly, because it is harder, and there­fore less subject to be prick’d with the corners of a Chase, if through carelesness (as it sometimes happens) it be pitch’d on the Face of the Stone.

It is necessary to have it capacious, viz. large enough to hold two Chases and more, that the Compositer may sometimes for his conven­ience, set some Pages by on it ready to Impose, though two Chases lye on the Stone: Therefore a Stone of about Four Foot and an half long, and Two Foot broad is a convenient size for the generality of Work.

This Stone is to be laid upon a strong Oaken-wood Frame, made like the Frame of a common Table, so high, that the Face of the Stone may lye about three 27 Foot and an Inch above the Floor: And under the upper Rail of the Frame may be fitted a Row or two of Draw-Boxes, as at a a a a a a and b b b on each of its longest Sides to hold Flowers, Brass Rules, Braces, Quotations, small Scabbords, &c.

Notes and Corrections: § 6.

The Correcting-Stone
[William Savage says it is now called the Imposing Stone—and is sometimes made of cast iron.]

§ 7. Of Letter-Boards, and Paper-Boards.

Letter-Boards are Oblong Squares, about two Foot long, eighteen Inches broad, and an Inch and a quarter thick. They ought to be made of clean and well-season’d Stuff, and all of one piece: Their upper-side is to be Plained very flat and smooth, and their under-side is Clamped with pieces about two Inches square, and within about four Inches of either end, as well to keep them from Warping, as to bear them off the Ground or any other Flat they stand on, that the Fingers of the Compositer may come at the bottom of the Board to remove it whither he will: They are commonly made of Fir, though not so thick as I have mentioned, or all of one Piece: Deal-Boards of this breadth may serve to make them of; but Joyners commonly put Master-Printers off with ordinary Deal-Boards, which not being broad enough, they joyn two together; for which cause they frequently shrink, so as the joynt comes assunder, and the Board becomes useless, unless it be to serve for a Paper-Board afterwards: For small and thin Letters will, when the Form is open, drop through, so as the Compositer cannot use the Board.

I us’d to make them of Sugar-Chest; That Stuff being commonly well-season’d, by the long lying of the 28 Sugar in it, and is besides a fine hard Wood, and therefore less subject to be injured by the end of the Shooting-Stick when a Form is Unlocking.

Paper-Boards are made just like the Letter-Boards, though seldom so large, unless for great Work: Nor need such strict care be taken in making them so exactly smooth: their Office being only to set Heaps of Paper on, and to Press the Paper with.

§ 8. Of Furniture, Quoyns, Scabbord, &c.

By Furniture is meant the Head-sticks, Foot-sticks, Side-sticks, Gutter-sticks, Riglets, Scabbords and Quoyns.

Head sticks and all other Furniture, except Scabbord, are made of dry Wainscot, that they may not shrink when the Form stands by; They are Quadrat high, straight, and of an equal thickness all the length: They are made of several thicknesses for several Works, viz. from a Brevier which serves for some Quarto’s to six or eight Pica thick, which is many times us’d to Folio’s: And many of the Head-sticks may also serve to make Inner Side-sticks of; for the Master Printer provides them of lengths long enough for the Compositer to cut to convenient Scantlins or Lengths, they being commonly about a Yard long when they come from the Joyners. And Note, that the Head and Side-sticks are called Riglets, if they exceed not an English thick.

Plate 2C: Side-Stick or Foot-Stick

Outer Side-sticks and Foot sticks marked C in Plate 2. are of the same heighth of the Head-sticks, viz. Quadrat high, and are by the Joyner cut to the given length, and to the breadth of the particular Pages F
that are to be Imposed: The Side-sticks are placed against the outer side of the Page, and the Foot-sticks against the foot or bottom of the Page: The outer sides of these Side and Foot-sticks are bevil’d or sloped from the further to the hither end.

Plate 2D: Gutter-Stick

Gutter-sticks marked D in Plate 2. are as the former, Quadrat high, and are used to set between Pages on either side the Crosses, as in Octavo’s, Twelves, Sixteens, and Forms upwards; They are made of an equal thickness their whole length, like Head-sticks; but they have a Groove, or Gutter laid on the upper side of them, as well that the Water may drain away when the Form is Washed or Rinced, as that they should not Print, when through the tenderness of the Tinpan, the Plattin presses it and the Paper lower than ordinary.

Scabbord is that sort of Scale commonly sold by some Iron-mongers in Bundles; And of which, the Scabbords for Swords are made: The Compositer cuts it Quadrat high, and to his Length.

The Master-Printer is to provide both Thick and Thin Scabbord, that the Compositer may use either when different Bodied Letter happens in a Page, to justifie the Page to a true length; And also that the Press-man may chuse Thick or Thin to make truer Register, as shall be shewed in proper place.

Quoyns are also Quadrat high, and have one of their sides Bevil’d away to comply with the Bevil of the Side and Foot-sticks; they are of different Lengths, and different Breadths: The great Quoyns about three Inches square, except the Bevil on one side as aforesaid; and these sizes deminish downwards 30 to an Inch and an half in length, and half an Inch in breadth.

Of these Quoyns our Master-Printer provides several hundreds, and should provide them of at the least ten different Breadths between the aforesaid sizes, that the Compositer may chuse such as will best fit the Chase and Furniture.

The Office of these Quoyns are to Lock up the Form, viz. to wedge it up (by force of a Mallet and Shooting-stick) so close together, both on the sides and between Head and Foot of the Page, that every Letter bearing hard against every next Letter, the whole Form may Rise; as shall be shewed hereafter.

Their farther Office is to make Register at the Press.

Notes and Corrections: § 8.

Number III begins partway through this section, on page 29 (signature F).

§. 9. ¶. 1. Of the Mallet, Shooting-stick and Dressing-Block, Composing-sticks, Bodkin, and Chase, &c.

Printers Mallets have a Cilindrick Head, and a round Handle; The Head somewhat bigger, and the Handle somewhat longer than those Joyners commonly use; Yet neither shape or size different for any reason to be given: But only a Custom always used to have them so. The Head is commonly made of Beech.


¶. 2. Of the Shooting-stick.

The Shooting-stick must be made of Box, which Wood being very hard, and withal tough, will best and longest endure the knocking against the Quoyns. Its shape is a perfect Wedge about six Inches long, and its thicker end two Inches broad, and an Inch and an half thick; and its thin end about an Inch and an half broad, and half an Inch thick.

¶. 3. Of the Dressing-Block.

The Dressing Block should be made of Pear-tree, Because it is a soft wood, and therefore less subject to injure the Face of the Letter; it is commonly about three Inches square, and an Inch high. Its Office is to run over the Face of the Form, and whilst it is thus running over to be gently knock’t upon with the Head of the Shooting stick, that such Letters as may chance to stand up higher than the rest may be pressed down.

Our Master-Printer must also provide a pair of Sheers, such as Taylors use, for the cutting of Brass-Rules, Scabbords, &c.

A large Spunge or two, or more, he must also provide, one for the Compositers use, and for every Press one.

Pretty fine Packthread to Tye up Pages with; But this is often chosen (or at least directed) by the Compositer, either finer or courser, according to the great or small Letter he works upon.


¶. 4. Of the Composing-stick.

Though every Compositer by Custom is to provide himself a Composing-stick, yet our Master-Printer ought to furnish his House with these Tools also, and such a number of them as is suitable to the size of his House; Because we will suppose our Master-Printer intends to keep some Apprentices, and they, unless by contract or courtesie, are not used to provide themselves Composing sticks: And besides, when several Compositers work upon the same Book, their Measures are all set alike, and their Titles by reason of Notes or Quotations broader than their common Measure; So that a Composing-stick is kept on purpose for the Titles, which must therefore be common to all the Compositers that work upon that Work; And no one of them is obliged to provide a Composing-stick in common for them all: Therefore it becomes our Master-Printers task to provide them.

It is delineated in Plate 2. at E.

Plate 2E: Composing-Stick

a The Head.

b b The Bottom.

c c The Back.

d The lower Sliding-Measure, or Cheek.

e The upper Sliding-Measure, or Cheek.

f f The Male-Screw.

g The Female-Screw.

These Composing-sticks are made of Iron Plate about the thickness of a thin Scabbord, and about ten F3
Inches long doubled up square; so as the Bottom may be half an Inch and half a quarter broad, and the Back about an whole Inch broad. On the further end of this Iron Plate thus doubled up, as at a is Soldered on an Iron Head about a Long-Primmer thick; But hath all its outer edges Basil’d and Fil’d away into a Molding: This Iron Head must be so let into the Plate, and Soldered on to it, that it may stand truly square with the bottom, and also truly square with the Back, which may be known by applying the outer sides of a square to the Back and Bottom; as I shewed, Numb. 3. Fol. 38, 39. About two Inches from the Head, in the Bottom, is begun a row of round holes about an Inch assunder, to receive the shank of the Male-Screw that screws the Sliding Measures fast down to the Bottom; so that the Sliding-Measures may be set nearer or further from the Head, as the Measure of a Page may require.

The lower Sliding-Measure marked d is an Iron Plate a thick Scabbord thick, and of the Breadth of the inside of the Bottom; It is about four Inches long, and in its middle hath a Groove through it within half an Inch of the Fore-end, and three quarters of an Inch of the hinder end. This Groove is so wide all the way, that it may receive the Shank of the Screw. On the Fore-end of this Plate stands square upright another Iron Head about a Brevier thick, and reaches so high as the top of the Back.

The upper Sliding-Measure is made just like the lower, only it is about three quarters of an Inch shorter.


Between these two Sliding-Measures, Marginal Notes are Composed to any Width.

Compositers commonly examine the Truth of their Stick by applying the head of the Sliding-Measure to the inside of the Head of the Stick; and if they comply, they think they are square and true made. But this Rule only holds when the Head it self is square. But if it be not, ’tis easy to file the Sliding-Measures to comply with them: Therefore, as aforesaid, the square is the only way to examine them by.

Notes and Corrections: § 9. ¶ 4.

as I shewed, Numb. 3. Fol. 38, 39.
[That would be pages 38-39 of the first volume, in the section on Smithing: “Of the Square and its Use”.]

Plate 2F: Bodkin

¶. 5. Of the Bodkin.

The Bodkin is delineated in Plate 2. at F. Its Blade is made of Steel, and well tempered, its shape is round, and stands about two Inches without the Shank of the Handle. The Handle is turned of soft wood as Alder, Maple, &c. that when Compositers knock the Head of the Bodkin upon the Face of a Single Letter when it stands too high, it may not batter the Face.

Notes and Corrections: § 9. ¶ 5.

The Bodkin is delineated in Plate 2. at F.
final . missing

Plate 2F: Chase

¶. 6. Of Chases, marked G on the Correcting-Stone, Plate 2.

A Chase is an Iron Frame about two and twenty Inches long, eighteen Inches broad, and half Inch half quarter thick; and the breadth of Iron on every side is three quarters of an Inch: But an whole Inch is much better, because stronger. All its sides must stand exactly square to each other; And when it is laid on the Correcting-Stone it must lye exactly flat, 35 viz. equally bearing on all its sides and Angles: The outside and inside must be Filed straight and smooth. It hath two Crosses belonging to it, viz. A Short-Cross marked a a and a Long-Cross marked b b: These two Crosses have on each end a Male Duftail Filed Bevil away from the under to the upper side of the Cross, so that the under side of the Duftail is narrower than the upper side of the Duftail. These Male-Duftails are fitted into Female-Duftails, Filed in the inside of the Chase, which are also wider on the upper side of the Chase than on the under side; because the upper side of the Cross should not fall through the lower side. These Crosses are called the Short and the Long Cross.

The Short-Cross is Duftail’d in as aforesaid, just in the middle of the Chase as at c c, and the Long Cross in the middle of the other sides the Chase, as at d d. The Short-Cross is also Duftail’d into Female-Duftails, made as aforesaid, about three Inches and an half from the middle, as at e e: So that the Short Cross may be put into either of the Female-Duftails as occasion serves. The middle of these two Crosses are Filed or notched half way through, one on its upper, the other on its under side to let into one another, viz. the Short-Cross is Filed from the upper towards the under side half way, and the Long-Cross is Filed from the lower towards the upper-side half way: The Crosses are also thus let into each other, where they meet at f, when the Short-Cross is laid into the other Female-Duftails fitted to it at e e.

In the middle, between the two edges of the upper side of the Short-Cross, is made two Grooves parallel 36 to the sticks of the Cross, beginning at about two Inches from each end, and ending at about seven Inches from each end: It is made about half an Inch deep all the way, and about a quarter of an Inch broad, that the Points may fall into them. The Short-Cross is about three quarters of an Inch thick, and the Long Cross about half that thickness. All their sides must be Fil’d straight and smooth, and they must be all the way of an equal thickness.

Hitherto our Master-Printer hath provided Materials and Implements only for the Compositers use; But he must provide Machines and Tools for the Press-mans to use too: which (because I am loath to discourage my Customers with a swelling price at the first reviving of these Papers) I shall (though against my interest) leave for the subject of the next succeeding Exercises.

Notes and Corrections: § 9. ¶ 6.

Machines and Tools for the Press-mans to use too
text unchanged
[He probably meant to say either “for the Press-man to use” or “for the Press-mans use”.]


THE first Volumne of Mechanick Exercises, Treating of the Smiths, the Joyners, the Carpenters, and the Turners Trades, containing 37½ sheets, and 18 Copper Cuts, are to be had by the Author. Joseph Moxon. Price 9s. 3d. in Quires.

THe first Volumne of the Monthly Collection of Letters for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, containing Twenty four Sheets with an Index, is now finished, and the second is carrying on:

By John Haughton, Fellow
of the
Royal Society.

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.