The Stone

Just beyond the small job press on the other side of a slanted wood workbench is a table with a large piece of marble on the top. This is called a “stone” and is used for the actual set up of the type for printing.


Once type was set, it was taken here and put inside a square metal frame called a “chase.” The type would be lined up, often with artwork mounted on wood blocks, and then surrounded by small pieces of wood and metal called “furniture.” Just inside the chase between the metal frame and the furniture are small triangular devices called “quoins” that were used to lock the material into place. These quoins would be turned into each other creating pressure by using a quoin key, which is the small t-shaped device.

The marble, or stone, was used so that all the letters would rest on a totally flat, smooth surface making them even across the bottom and top. If a letter was too high, it could ruin the press or if not lock into place correctly, cause all the type to fall out when the chase was picked up.

Getting the type even was done by using a “planer” and a wooden mallet, tapping the type down until it was smooth against the stone. Once flush, the quoins were locked holding the material together with pressure.