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« Dictionary Index « Definitions under F


Made of deal wood, on which the cases are placed to be composed from.

By the annexed engraving it will be perceived, that the upper and lower cases are placed upon the frame, not in a horizontal, but sloping position, as two inclined planes, the upper case being at a greater angle than the lower, which brings the more distant boxes nearer to the compositor and thus expedites the work: this arrangement occupies less room, and allows a greater number of frames to stand in a given length.

Frame bearing lower and upper cases Frame Bearing Lower and Upper Cases Enlarge

The cases rest on a rail at each end, and in the middle there are generally two rails, six or seven inches apart, for the inside end of each case to rest on. There is frequently a piece of board nailed to the bottom of these rails, which thus forms a depository for page cords, copy that is not in use, and other small matters; this is called a Well.

Frames are always placed with one end next the window, so that the compositor when at work may stand with his left hand to the light; thus he enjoys the full benefit of the light in picking up the letters with his right hand. They are usually made to contain two cases in length, which are generally a pair of Roman and a pair of Italic cases, so that the compositor has not to go out of his frame when he wants to compose a few words in Italic.

There is a rather strong nail driven into each end rail and each middle rail for the bottom of the upper cases to rest upon, leaving sufficient room for the lower cases to be lifted out when necessary.

The dimensions of a frame are — height of back, 4 feet 6 inches; height of front, 3 feet 6 inches; width, 1 foot 10 inches; length, 4 feet 10 inches.

In a composing room, where there was plenty of room, I have seen the frames made to contain three cases in length; this is a convenience, as it allows the compositor to have up an additional pair of cases for his notes.

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