Type case

For a medical case that defines the type, see index case.
An 18th-century type case, with various tools for typesetting

A type case is a compartmentalized wooden box used to store movable type used in letterpress printing.[1]

Modern, factory-produced movable type was available in the late nineteenth century. It was held in the printing shop in a job case, a drawer about 2 inches high, a yard wide, and about two feet deep, with many small compartments for the various letters and ligatures. The most popular and commonly used job case design in America was the California Job Case, which took its name from the Pacific Coast location of the foundries that made the case popular.[2] These cases allowed type to be compactly transported.

Traditionally, the capital letters were stored in a separate drawer, or case, placed above the case holding the other letters (this is why the capital letters are called "uppercase" characters, and the minuscules are "lower case").[3]


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  1. Williams, Fred (1992). "Origin of the California Job Case". Type & Press, fall 1992. http://www.apa-letterpress.com/T%20&%20P%20ARTICLES/Type/California%20Job%20Case.html Accessed online 2 May 2008.
  2. National Amateur Press Association, Monthly Bundle Sample, Campane 194, The California Typecase, Lewis A. Pryor, ed.
  3. Eckersley, Richard; Angstadt, Richard; Ellertson, Charles M.; Hendel, Richard (2008-04-15). Glossary of Typesetting Terms. University of Chicago Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780226183732.
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