Why are the cap letters in order except the letter J and U ?
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The following is conjecture, not facts, but maybe some tiny figments of “facts” from a long time ago.!!
Whilst doing Apprenticeship 54-60 a certain amount of old background was part of the training, which included case layout, including, knowing the theory and reasons for this very scenario, especially when *Dissng In* whole galleys of newly cast type into empty cases
The drift was that with early English Printers & Printing.*U* & *J* were very little used so were generally, not incorporated in the early cases, but as time progressed were eventually incorporated out of sequence.!!!
Again speculation, but possibly after the time when *old english* dropped all the “ss” for “f f” etc, or Vice Versa.?
But from a hand setting & Dissing in new Monotype, the *lay* of the lowercase certainly seemed logical, and the relative sizes of the compartments definately held good.
System broke down, (up to a point) with caps, especially with A,E,N,O,R,S,T. held up in standing jobs, consequently when display mats 18- 72 point, were hired in the one or two empty spaces between *Z* & *U/J* and the 2/3/4 empty compartments, (variable) after 0/£ always used for spare characters.!!
In some extreme cases, where specific Jobs involved Many Caps, (for running headings/chapter headings, which were tied up in standing jobs) we would amalgamate several, ligatures fi, ff, fl, or ffi, ffl, down to 2/3 compartments to free up capacity for extra caps.!!!
There’s another reason as well. Early European printing was almost exclusively in Latin, which was the language of both the Church and of science. That language has no “J” or “U” so there’s no reason to have them in the main part of the case. By the time typesetting in the vernacular had become common, composers were used to the layout and so it stuck.
As published in the I.T.U. Elements of Composition, from the I.T.U. Lessons in Printing, 1957, International Typographical Union, Indianapolis, Indiana:
“The boxes in the upper case, containing the capitals, and in the news case the small capitals, are arranged in simple alphabetical order with the exception of the letters J and U, which were first suggested as desirable additions to our alphabet by a Dutch printer about 1585, and universally adopted by dictionary makers in 1822.
The innovation is credited to Louis Elzevir (1540-1617), a learned Dutch printer. He was the first to use v and j regularly as consonants, and i and u invariably as vowels. He also adopted caps U, and later J, to complete the reform. He added caps J and U to the upper case after Z, just as we find them today.”
As I remember it. The simple reason is that the original Roman alphabet did not have a capital J or U. Look at the carving examples from the Roman Forum (ROMAN FORVM as originally carved). The I served as both the I and J and the V served as both the V and U sounds. As Devil’s Tail points out, distinctly different I and J as well as V and U were established by printers in the 16th century. So in the chronology of roman alphabet characters they end up at the end of the original roman alphabet as later additions.