upper-case
Posted: 03 September 2018 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I previously thought that the “case” in upper-case was the case that means “situation”, “state”.

Turns out that it refers to the physical cases (boxes) used by compositors. The majuscule types were arranged in an upper case, the minuscule in a lower case.

Ha!

I also would probably have figured that the case=situation and case=box were ultimately shades of meaning of a single word. After all, it seems a small semantic leap from one to the other.

But it happens they are separate words with separate origins. The first is from Latin casus meaning situation, and the second is from Latin capsa meaning receptacle.

So much to learn.

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Posted: 04 September 2018 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Don’t feel bad. As a commercial artist, I worked with typesetters for 35 years before retiring, and I thought the same as you. No typesetter ever mentioned that to me.

I’m still learnin, too, thanks to you.

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Posted: 05 September 2018 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Eyehawk - 04 September 2018 04:19 PM

Don’t feel bad. As a commercial artist, I worked with typesetters for 35 years before retiring, and I thought the same as you. No typesetter ever mentioned that to me.

40 or fifty years ago, boxes of type (cases) were long gone. For typesetters to explain “Cases” to you, they would have to have been pretty good historians. Even hot metal type was gone. The Guardian held a mock-funeral for it in 1987.  But even that was well-beyond hand setting type from cases. The typesetters used non-qwerty keyboards to cause type to be set automatically.
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Posted: 05 September 2018 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First off, I started working at the printing company in 1968 and retired in 2003. Hot and cold hand-set metal type were used up until around 1987 at our company (an international company with four plants in the USA, and plants in Central America, Canada, and Europe). Just because other methods were available does not mean that all printers changed that fast. We had all the equipment we needed and we printed labels which don’t usually need much typesetting to create. The oldest guy that worked in the type department retired in the early 90’s. He began setting type at a tech high school back when those were in vogue. So, I think he could explain just about anything there was to know about metal type. It just simply never came up in front of me, and I never thought to ask.

And second off, I am older than I look.

Correction: I stated in my first post that I worked with typesetters for 35 years. I should have said around 20 years. We created our own type on computers after the type department was closed.

[ Edited: 05 September 2018 09:25 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 06 September 2018 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Let’s stop playing this “older than thou” game. As far as I can tell, I’m actually older than thou. None of that has any relevance to this discussion. The right hand movements from an “upper case” to a left hand grab to a “lower case”, ended I think, more than three centuries ago. Hence my point that your typesetter friends would have to have been great historians. None of the history of “cases” as per the opening post would have been within their memory.

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Posted: 07 September 2018 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I was not trying to play an “older than thou” game. I was simply stating that cases of type were used in our printing company up to 1987. And our company was not an outdated old plant. The first time I saw cases of type being used was in the 1950’s when one of my high school classes was given a tour of our local newspaper. Here is a link that shows exactly the type of case our typesetters used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typesetting

If that is not what OP is talking about, please explain. Show me a link to what it is that I have not seen.

[ Edited: 07 September 2018 08:07 PM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 07 September 2018 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Upper Case and Lower Case in the sense of majuscule and minuscule. Wikipiedia

The Oxford Universal Dictionary on Historical Advanced Proportional Principles (reprinted 1952) indicates that case in this sense (referring to the box or frame used by a compositor in the printing trade) was first used in English in 1588. Originally one large case was used for each typeface, then “divided cases”, pairs of cases for majuscules and minuscules, were introduced in the region of today’s Belgium by 1563, England by 1588, and France before 1723.

Your use of “case” is just a case of type that has nothing to do with majuscule and minuscule. From the opening post by OP:

The majuscule types were arranged in an upper case, the minuscule in a lower case.

[ Edited: 07 September 2018 10:03 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 08 September 2018 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That is exactly what I was referring to. The upper case letters (capitals) were in a case (think of it as a drawer) separate and directly above the lower case letters (small letters) which was a lower drawer (or lower case as typesetters called it). I did not think I had to go into detail.

As I stated, our type department used both cold type (set by hand) and hot type (Linotype) until around 1987. A photo-type setting machine replaced the metal type for a couple of years before computers replaced it. We may have been behind other companies that used newer equipment, but we were not the only ones. Many small print shops used hand set type quite a bit longer than we did.

[ Edited: 08 September 2018 04:00 AM by Eyehawk ]
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