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Glossary of Printing Trade Terms - Vol. 2

Started by Dave Hughes, February 21, 2011, 01:33:01 PM

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Dave Hughes

Some time ago George Clark submitted an excellent article to Metal Type entitled:
A Glossary of Printing Trade Terms

Although the article was very informative, I'm sure the list of terms was far from exhaustive.

I'm proposing adding a Second Volume of Printing Trade Terms, hopefully with suggestions made here.

David Minney recently contacted me with a couple of suggestions:

"Bang-out": When a person retires the composing staffs bang/hit the machines or stones or anything made of metal (which is just about everything), while the retiring member is paraded through the composing area; it used to be very noisy.

Con: The continuity shift which occurred after the first edition had gone.

I also have a couple of suggestions that were not included in George's original list.

"Line Cut" -A call made by the Father of the Chapel to indicate it was time to finish work early. Usually shouted when a "Job and finish" task has been completed, such as a Saturday afternoon sports edition. I think the job of shouting "Line Cut" went to the FoC as the Overseer could not be seen to be condoning going home while still being paid!

Dog's Cock - An exclamation mark (!)

If anyone has any other suggestions for Volume Two of Printing Trade Terms, please post them here.
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 "Galley Rattle": appears to be the Australian equivilant of "Bang-out" Galleys are rattled on stones etc to highlight special events in the newspaper. Probably the last one at the Sydney Morning Herald was on March 25, 1984, when the last hot metal page of the SMH was proofed.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Jim Hubbard

Mumping - the borrowing of a fount from another typesetter when you don't have the said fount.

Dave Hughes

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Roy Bowker

What about the saying (mainly in the letterpress machine room) "He's a pica in the pitch" meaning he's a bit mad. First heard this in 1956 when an apprentice at John Waddington's  Stoke Newington, North London.

Don Mountain

Re: Exclamation Mark terminology. It was always Dog's Dick when I was in the trade! Maybe the difference between Australia and the UK?

Nick Smith

Has anyone heard the expression 'screamer' for an exclamation mark? This was in a 1920s novel by Dorothy Sayers, who may have picked it up in an advertising agency.


Dave Hughes

Quote from: DerekC on January 24, 2023, 08:54:20 PMTerms: Gobble for overtime

I have heard that one Derek, but was it exclusive to the print industry?
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Tim Holmes

At the Financial Times in the 60's we used the word 'screamer' for an exclamation mark.

We also used the expression 'dissed' when type was wrongly placed or mixed up or dropped. Could someone confirm this please.

I was 'banged out' when I left the FT in 1968. What an unforgettable experience.

Dave Hughes

Hi Tim, you're the second person to mention screamer. I always thought it was more of an American term, and preferred to call it a "dog's cock."

As for dissed. That usually describes carefully dismantling a page and putting elements that can be re-used away. What you described would be more like "pied" or "pieing."

"Banged out" was pretty universal.

Oh, did you see this: Last Hot Metal Financial Times
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Julius Stafford-Baker

In the 1950s in a City of London printers, dissing was indeed carefully taking apart a printed forme and placing what was re-usable in their proper places.  That remaining was swept into the scrap box along side the stone for remelting.

Pie matter was that accidentally knocked over or dropped.  Story for you: Eden Fisher & Co. moved their works and staff to a new factory in Rosebery Avenue.  Each case , many hundreds, were carried one at a time, down two flights of wooden stairs at the old Mitre Street works to the lorry.

Needless to say an app dropped one and it was eight point!! a great pile of it.  At first no mercy shown by the O. but in due course help was offered, and finally  scrap the rest was ordered.  Moving an operational medium sized works was quite something of a task, and I had to organise it all!!   

Dave Hughes

@wysiwyg suggested making a sub-section of this thread, about wind-ups, trots, etc. in the workplace.

You can see that here: Printers Wind-Ups, Trots, etc.

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Ken Burnley

'Dissing' is short for 'distribution', i.e. distributing type and spaces back into their respective cases and barges.

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