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Lay Letter

The Laying of Letter, or. To lay Letter, is the putting of new types into cases, in their proper situations.

When a new fount of types has to be laid, the first consideration is, are there new cases for it, or are there any spare cases in the house, or are there any that can be appropriated to it; and, how many pairs are to be occupied with it? If it be for a work to be done by a companionship, each compositor takes his proportionate share, and lays the letter for his own use: or, it may be an addition to a fount already in work; in which case also each takes his share, as it is looked on as more advantageous to lay letter than to distribute, particularly if it be of a small size. After having put the letter into the cases, and set it up as close as possible, there will be found many superabundant sorts; these are put into a pair of fount cases, and the compositors generally make their cases even, that is, take out their superfluous sorts. If the fount cases will not contain all the sorts, the remainder are put into coffins, and placed in a basket or a letter box; if there should not be any fount cases, then all the spare sorts are put into coffins. The overseer should then be informed of the state of the fount, so that the house may cast up to the surplus sorts, if thought necessary.

I would not advise the laying of many pairs of cases with a moderate sized fount, as an additional pair or two can be easily made at any time.

Where the letter founder has tied up in one piece more than one sort, I would recommend the compositor to put the piece upon a galley, or he will mix the sorts, and give himself and the house unnecessary trouble in his proof; using a composing rule will save him trouble.

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