Printers' Furniture

Supplied in 3 foot (910 mm) lengths, various widths, 2,3,4,5,6,8 and 10 ems. Must never be used as a planer and sides must be protected from quoins when locking up a forme. Readily available, light in weight but can be afflicted by atmospheric conditions.


Developed by the type founders to compete with wooden furniture. The most popular was hollow with evenly spaced braces for added strength. Its advantage over wood was its resistance to moisture and warping but a disadvantage was its brittleness.

Lightweight, very strong, non-corrosive and precision machined.

Lightweight, can resist high temperatures, withstand solvents and is extremely accurate.

Used for filling large areas of blank space. Each piece is interlocking and accurately machined and can be assembled in areas from 8 ems x 8 ems to 72 ems x 72 ems.

Used for filling blank spaces in formes, sizes from 2 ems to 6 ems in width.

Elrod casts to 36 points wide. Monotype Supercaster to 72 points. Gives high degree of accuracy in makeup of forme and can be melted down instead of distributing back into the racks.

Quoins are expandable devices used for holding type and blocks in a chase or on the bed of a press. The old style of quoin consisted of 2 wedge-shaped wooden pieces which were laid opposite to each other and tapped together till tight. These have since been replaced by such quoins as Hempyl, Notting, Wickersham and most recently Cornerstone.

Patent Bases
The height of the patent base most commonly used is .750". The plate is .166." This allows for an interlay of .002". The advantages of a patent base are:
1.  Mounts will not give under impression.
2.  Makeready is reduced to a minimum.
3.  Interlaying is made easier.
4.  Formes may be altered during a run without register being affected.
5.  Greater production (less stoppage through rising spaces etc).
6.  Plates last longer.
7.  Formes are easily pre-registered and  register is easily corrected on the press.
8.  Formes are not affected by weather or cleansing solvents.
9.  Storage of plates easier.
All plate bases come in combination sections; the bases are variously honeycombed or of diagonal or rectangular patterns. The bevelled printing plates are fastened to the bases with screw activated toggle hooks that grip the edge of the plate.

Printers Mallet & Planer
Used by compositors/stone-hands for taking final proofs from the imposed forme prior to printing, usually from dampened newsprint. Printing machinists 'tapped' the forme down lightly before the quoins were fully tightened ensuring everything 'bedded down.'

Shooting Sticks -- "shooters"
Samples of various shooting sticks used in earlier times when wooden and metal wedges were commonly used for locking-up formes. Used with a mallet for tapping in or out the tapered wooden wedges.