An unusual request

Here’s a question that I hope will provide some amusement for all fellow letterpress printers out there. As I’ve talked about in an earlier thread (See “Details on Gutenberg’s press” in General Discussion), I am working on a series of middle grade novels that involve scenes in a letterpress shop. In a moment of sibling rivalry, two apprentices start calling each other names — but I want to use names that are actual letterpress terms. So, I am looking for letterpress-related or typography-related terms that sound like insults. For example, the best one I’ve thought of so far is “slug cutter,” which could sound really nasty in a fight — “you slug cutter, you.” Any others would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance to the wonderful, supportive members of Briar Press!

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I have no suggestions, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting everyone else’s!

I can think of nothing more insulting than:

“You full font of Comic Sans!”

You might try contacting the International Print Museum in Carson, CA. The founder, Mark Barbour, is a fountain of knowledge in the subject of printing history. His a column in Print Equip News is good reading.

“Press devil”: A lowly person who just gets to clean and oil the press. I know because I am my own “press devil”.

Sounds like a couple of ciphers and foolscaps. I’m guessing that at least one of them is a few letters short of a full font. The other one is probably a real dingbat or diphthong, and a raster, glyph, fraktur and dabber besides. Somebody is inevitably going to get called an adnate serif, and then they’re going to start cutting the frisket and beating each other about the inking balls. Obviously a real bunch of bill-heads, bodkins, brayers, and burins.

Tympan and Frisket would be good names for the shop dogs.

what about a ‘type louse’?


ink bagger.

A character definitely needs to be infested with type lice.

Dumber then a sheep’s foot!
Right in your pi-face!
Blacker then a towel!

image: Moxonillustrationofsheepsfoot[1].jpg


Thanks so much, everyone. There are some great ideas here. Keep them coming!