Don't get tricked! Your next task is to see if you can handle the type like a master printer.
Uppercase and Lowercase
When printers used printing presses such as William Nuthead's, they had to set the type for the document. The type was stored in two large cases in the print house. The capital (UPPERCASE) letters were stored in the top, or upper case, while the small (lowercase) letters were stored in the bottom, or lower case space.
The placement of the letters in the type case was to let the printer pick up the pieces of type and set them at a faster rate. The smaller letters were used more frequently so they were placed closer to the printer who stood in front of the type case. The separation of the letters among the trays also let the printer find the type pieces at a faster rate.
The most used letters, like a, e, i, o, u, m, n, t, r, and spaces were placed in the larger trays because there were more pieces of type for these common letters.
Mind your P's and Q's
Have you ever noticed that some lowercase letters look alike?
When printers arranged the pieces of type to spell out words they had to remember that the type is a mirror image of the letter they want. The small p and q look alike and can become confused for one another in the composing stick. Other letters that look alike are d and b. Master printers knew this and may have reminded their apprentices to "mind your p's and q's." This may be where the saying comes from!
What would happen if the apprentice used the wrong letters?
A "quick press" becomes "puick qress" and "good tobacco" is "goob todacco"! Now it's your turn! As the apprentice, make sure you know which letter is correct for each word. Remember, the image you see is the mirror image of the letter you want. Can you master the type trick? Click on each letter to see how it appears in the words.
Can you set your type and print like a master printer?