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The Printer's Grammar

The Printer's Grammar

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The author of this 1755 work is unknown – John Smith may not even have been his real name – but internal evidence from the book suggests that he may have spent some time in northern Germany, and he also shows familiarity with aspects of French printing. Smith describes the typesetting of books but not the actual printing, so it is possible that he may have been a compositor or a printer's reader. The work is a comprehensive survey of all aspects of typecasting and composition, dealing with the formation of type, regular- and irregular-bodied letters, accents, kerning, upper and lower case, spacing, rules, braces and fleurons, and non-Roman fonts including Greek, Hebrew, black-letter, Old English, and Chinese, as well as mathematical and astronomical symbols and music. There are also sections on casting off copy, composing, imposing and correcting, giving a fascinating account of the eighteenth-century compositor's craft.