Friday Fun Facts: The Printing Press

When wandering the Freedom Trail in Boston, Rachel came across a colonial-era printing press shop known as the Printing Office of Edes & Gill. The shopkeeper, who was using the printing press, took a moment to explain the history of the machine and share a few linguistic gems as well.

  • One theory regarding the coinage of the phrase “mind your p’s and q’s” is from printers telling their apprentices to not mix up the two lowercase letters when sorting the moveable type.
  • The capital letters were kept in a case above the small letters–hence the terms “upper case” and “lower case.”
  • If you weren’t careful and the letters weren’t sorted in the case properly, you were said to be “out of sorts.”

If you’re ever in Boston, check it out!


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