Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Compositors' Lingo

While I was writing about Horse and Buggy Press and trying to figure out what you call those little pieces of metal, each with an inside-out letter on it, I ran across another wonderful dictionary online: Glossary of Printing Trade Terms, from England. Here are a few of my favorites:

Work easy of performance at adequate rates.

An expression which means that the one who uses it is indicating to another that the one treating of a subject under discussion should go home and teach his grandmother to suck eggs. When a piece of stale news is related the cry goes round, "G.H.!"

On the Coach
In stage-coach travelling times, if one person wished to avoid another during the journey he would seek an inside seat while the other had perforce to travel outside high up on the coach. If two compositors fall out (publicly or privately) they avoid each other. Companions are quick to notice this in Chapel, and the word goes round:' "Bill's got Jasper on the coach".

You Can!
This is a phrase that increases or decreases in effect by inflection as it is pronounced. It means that the speaker presents to his hearers the whole matter under discussion for them to do with as they wish. There was once a compositor who was called "You Can Have It Jones" on account of his deprecatory attitude to the whole universe.


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