# Lay of the case

The system upon which the various letters, points, spaces, quadrats, &c., are distributed among the different boxes in a case. No subject connected with printing has occupied more attention than this, and innumerable new schemes for proposed improved “lays” have at various times been brought forward. The result is, that nearly every office differs in the allocation of the various characters, and compositors have constantly to learn and to unlearn the arbitrary arrangements now in vogue.

An American trade journal has proposed an alteration in the lay of one or two boxes in the lower-case, which we believe to be worth the attention of printers who are on the point of opening new offices. In a town where new-hands are frequently taken on to work, there is a little difficulty in making any change, for the reason that such new hands may pie the boxes in consequence of it. Put when this is not the case, an alteration that commends itself to common sense as a real improvement is worth adopting, even at a slight temporary inconvenience.

The Typographic Messenger says: “If you want to gain five hundred to a thousand a day, you can do so without material alteration of the present case. All you have to do is to bring the en quads, thick, middle, and thin spaces together, so that time may be gained in justifying your lines, and you have the gain referred to. The only alteration incident to this modification is—the v goes to the present en-quad box. and the z and x to the thin and middle space boxes. The t and u boxes are thus driven over the space of one box, which gives no trouble, as they lie in the same direction: but it will take a few days to ‘get the hang’ of the v box in its chanced position. The z and x, being so little in demand, it is of no consequence in what position they are.”

A similar change has been made for several years in many of our English offices—the transposition of the lower-case y with the middle and thin spaces. The usual place for this letter is next the o box on the right. Now, in setting or distributing, the hand has to travel the whole width of the case, or nine inches from the thick spaces to the thins and middles; and in justifying single bines of fancy and jobbing, for which the lower-case has occasionally to be used in the rack without mounting, it has to be drawn out so tar as to hazard its tilting over. By putting the thin and middle spaces, however, into the y box, they are brought within live inches of the thicks: and being oftener required than the y, there is an actual saving of time by the change. And when the lower-case is merely wanted for justifying, the new position of the spaces only requires its being drawn out about one-fourth, or one-third, of its width. The advantages of this arrangement are:—

1st. In setting poetry and all matter where there is a frequent use of the em quad, or the matter is indented an en, the long reach to the right tor these sorts is saved.

2nd. In the composition or correction of tabular matter, or figures, the galley can cover the right side of the lower-case, and the needful quads will be just under the hand of the compositor.

3rd. In distributing figures, the sweep performed by the hand will be only about half that now required. Again, in corrections the galley now has frequently to be heaved up, or pushed to or at the en quad box—all of which would be avoided.

Concerning the mixing of the spaces, Mr. W. Spurrell, of Carmarthen, says: “It may he observed that mixing the middle and thick spaces is better than mixing the middle and thin. Indeed, in composing solid matter, mixing the middle and thick seems to be more advantageous than keeping them separate. In a line containing six places for spaces there will be on an average, taking Caslon’s bill for 800℔ of Pica as a basis, four thicks and two middle spaces, when these spaces are mixed in the box. Now, such a line may be spaced in thirteen different ways, from a middle space in each place to a middle and thin in each place, and the number of changes necessary to justify thirteen such lines would be twenty-four when the spaces are mixed, and forty-two when thick spaces alone are in the box. Allowing six chanes for the chance of spaces not being in the best places, the advantage of mixing the thick and middle spaces would be represented by a saving of twelve changes in forty-two, in composing solid matter. Taking into consideration, however, that much time is lost in picking out the required space, when two sorts are kept together, the advantages and disadvantages of the three plans may be pretty correctly summed up thus:—

1. 30 changes and 24 sortings, when thick and middle spaces are mixed.
2. 42 changes and 63 sortings, when middle and thin are mixed.
3. 42 changes and no sorting, when thick, middle, and thin are kept separate.

Further, the longer the line, the greater the proportion of thick spaces used, and the greater the advantage of keeping them unmixed.

# Lay of the case

The system on which the various letters, points, spaces, quadrats, &c., are distributed among the different boxes in a case. No subject connected with printing has occupied more attention than this, and innumerable new schemes for proposed improved “lays” have at various times been brought forward. The result is, that nearly every office differs in the allocation of the various characters, and compositors have constantly to learn and to unlearn the arbitrary arrangements now in vogue.

An American trade journal has proposed an alteration in the lay of one or two boxes in the lower-case, which is perhaps worth the attention of printers who are on the point of opening new offices. In a town where new hands are frequently taken on to work, there-is no little difficulty in making any change, for the reason that such new hands may pie the boxes in consequence of it. But when this is not the case, an alteration that commends itself to common sense as a real improvement is worth adopting, even at a slight temporary inconvenience.

The Typographic Messenger says: “If you want to gain five hundred to a thousand a day, you can do so without material alteration of the present case. All you have to do is to bring the en quads, thick, middle, and thin spaces together, so that time may be gained in justifying your lines, and you have the gain referred to. The only alteration incident to this modification is—the v goes to the present en-quad box, and the z and x to the thin and middle space boxes. The t and u boxes are thus driven over the space of one box, which gives no trouble, as they lie in the same direction; but it will take a few days to ‘get the hang’ of the V box in its changed position. The z and x, being so little in demand, it is of no consequence in what position they are.”

A similar change has been made for several years in many of our English offices—the transposition of the lower-case y with the middle and thin spaces. The usual place for this letter is next the box on the right. Now, in setting or distributing, the hand has to travel the whole width of the case, or nine inches from the thick spaces to the thins and middles; and in justifying single lines of fancy and jobbing, for which the lower-case has occasionally to be used in the rack without mounting, it has to be drawn out so far as to hazard its tilting over. By putting the thin and middle spaces, however, into the y box, they are brought within five inches of the thicks; and being oftener required than the y, there is an actual saving of time by the change And when the lower-case is merely wanted for justifying, the new position of the spaces only requires its being drawn out about one-fourth, or one-third of its width. The advantages of this arrangement are:—

1st. In setting poetry and all matter where there is a frequent use of the em quad, or the matter is indented an en, the long reach to the right for these sorts is saved.

2nd. In the composition or correction of tabular matter, or figures, the galley can cover the right side of the lower-case, and the needful quads will be just under the hand of the compositor.

3rd. In distributing figures, the sweep performed by the hand will be only about half that now required. Again, in corrections the galley now has frequently to be heaved up, or pushed to and fro, to get at the end quad box— all of which would be avoided.

Concerning the mixing of the spaces. Mr. W. Spurrell, of Carmarthen, says: “It maybe observed that mixing the middle and thick spaces is better than mixing the middle and thin. Indeed, in composing solid matter, mixing the middle and thick seems to be more advantageous than keeping them separate. In a line containing six places for spaces there will be on an average, taking Caslon’s bill for 800lb. of Pica as a basis, four thick and two middle spaces, when those spaces are mixed in the box. Now, such a line may be spaced in thirteen different ways, from a middle space in each place to a middle and thin in each place, and the number of changes necessary to justify thirteen such lines would be twenty-four when the spaces are mixed, and forty-two when thick spaces alone are in the box. Allowing six changes for the chance of spaces not being in the best places, the advantage of mixing the thick and middle spaces would be represented by a saving of twelve changes in forty-two, in composing solid matter. Taking into consideration, however, that much time is lost picking out the required space, when two sorts are kept together, the advantages and disadvantages of the three plans may be pretty correctly summed up thus:—

1. 30 changes and 24 sortings, when thick and middle spaces are mixed.
2. 42 changes and 63 sortings, when middle and thin are mixed.
3. 42 changes and no sorting, when thick, middle, and thin are kept separate.

Further, the longer the line, the greater the proportion of thick spaces used, and the greater the advantage of keeping them unmixed.”

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