Metal Type: Home | Library | Forum | Free Ads | Store

Saved by an Upside Down 'q'

Started by Dave Hughes, October 19, 2022, 08:58:11 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type

Dave Hughes

Those old-school newspaper typesetters didn't let anything stand in the way of making the deadline!

In a similar vein, they could also make display type from body type: Unusual Typographic Technique from 1875
Printle: Word Puzzle for Printers Play Now

Keep in touch with Metal Type Get our newsletters


In a similar vein - The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic

The Proclamation is intriguing from a printing perspective. It was type-set and printed in secrecy on an old Wharfedale stop-cylinder press. As sometimes happened in small printing offices in Dublin, its printers were short of type. Once they had begun their work, it became clear that they would not have enough to set the entire document.

It was decided to print the document in two halves. Once the top half was finished, they reused their type and set the text for the bottom half. They then locked up this forme and returned it to the bed of the machine. Next, they reinserted the half-printed sheets into the press. A clue to their technique can be seen in some copies of the Proclamation, as one half is more heavily inked than the other.

The men used two-line Great Primer type, which was often used for this sort of poster work. Certain letters, especially 'e' were in short supply so they had to use a different font. (Look at 'three hundred years' in the third paragraph).

There  are other curiosities too. Some of the letters are in very poor condition - look at the damaged 'R' in 'IRISH REPUBLIC'. This has a fatter slanted leg because it was made from sealing wax that was added to the letter'P' Other characters were also treated with sealing wax to turn them into different letters.

Find the 'E' in 'TO THE' in the fifth line - it is actually an 'F' with an additional foot, made from sealing wax and joined on to make the 'E'. The last letter in 'REPUBLIC' at the end of the fourth line is also suspicious. It looks like a 'C'- but it is really an 'O'. Finally, can you spot the upside-down 'e'in the first line of the last paragraph?

Taken from The National Print Museum, Ireland.

Quick Reply

Please leave this box empty:
Type the letters shown in the picture
Listen to the letters / Request another image

Type the letters shown in the picture:

Shortcuts: ALT+S post or ALT+P preview

Printers' Tales - Over 30 stories from the pre-digital age. Buy now on Amazon/Apple Books

☛ Don't miss our illustrated newsletters. Click here to see examples and subscribe. ☚