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Capitals A Primer of Information about Capitalization with some Practical Typographic Hints as to the Use of Capitals   By: (1860-1940)

Book cover

First Page:

TYPOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL SERIES FOR APPRENTICES PART VI, NO. 34

CAPITALS

A PRIMER of INFORMATION ABOUT CAPITALIZATION WITH SOME PRACTICAL TYPOGRAPHIC HINTS AS TO THE USE OF CAPITALS

BY

FREDERICK W. HAMILTON, LL.D.

EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR UNITED TYPOTHETÆ OF AMERICA

PUBLISHED BY THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION UNITED TYPOTHETAE OF AMERICA 1918

COPYRIGHT, 1918 UNITED TYPOTHETAE OF AMERICA CHICAGO, ILL.

CONTENTS

PAGE INTRODUCTION 1

USE OF FULL CAPITALS 4

SMALL CAPITALS 17

SUGGESTIONS AS TO TYPOGRAPHIC USE OF CAPITALS 22

CAPITALS

INTRODUCTION

A capital letter is a letter of formal shape. Capitals were originally derived from the stiff and angular letters used in formal inscriptions. Originally all writing was done in capitals. Later the scribes devised less formal shapes for the letters, making use of lines more easily made by brush or pen on papyrus, parchment, or paper. The capitals were retained for certain uses but the less formal shapes were employed to do the greater part of the work. These less formal letters have been known by several names. They will be referred to here by that under which they are known to modern printers, "lower case."

A further modification of the letter came with the introduction of the sloping, or italic letter. This received its name from its place of origin, Italy. It was introduced by Nicholas Jenson, a printer of Venice, and was an imitation of the handwriting of the Italian poet Petrarch. Originally it was used only for the lower case and was combined with the older form of capital letters, called roman, also from the place of its origin. Later the italic characteristics were given to capitals as well as lower case letters.

An ordinary font of book type contains five series of letters: full capitals, small capitals, italic capitals (full size), roman lower case, and italic lower case. The full capital, roman or italic, is larger than the other letters of the font, every letter being as high as the lower case ascenders. The small capital is only as high as the lower case round letters. Larger capitals still are sometimes used as chapter initials and the like.

It will be observed that the distinction between capital and lower case letters is one of form, not of size. The full capitals being much more used than the small capitals and being larger than the other letters in the font, the impression is common that the size is the distinguishing mark. This erroneous impression has even crept into dictionary definitions.

The full capital, which will hereafter be called in this book simply the capital, is used in combination with lower case letters or with small capitals in the same word. The small capital is not used in combination with lower case in the same word. We may print GEORGE WASHINGTON, GEORGE WASHINGTON, GEORGE WASHINGTON, or George Washington, but not George Washington.

In manuscript capitals are indicated by three lines under a word or letter, [Symbol: triple line] and small capitals by two lines [Symbol: double line]. A single line [Symbol: single underline] indicates that italics are to be used.

Originally the writers of manuscripts used capitals for ornament and variety in the text. They followed no rules but each writer was guided by his own judgment and sense of beauty. As the use of capitals gradually became systematized and reduced to rules, different systems were adopted in different countries. The use of capitals varies greatly in different languages. Attention will be mainly confined in this book to the usages followed in the printing of English. Attempts to point out the various differences to be found in German, French, etc. would only confuse the young apprentice.

These rules grow out of a fundamental principle... Continue reading book >>




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