hand composition set
The finished lines are put together in the galley to form an entire page of text. The galley consists of a simple plate, which has an edge on three sides and is open on one side. The spaces between the lines, the leading, are also filled with spacing material. Next, the whole thing is tied together so that all the pieces of type remain in place during transport. For this purpose, a string, the so-called page cord, is wound several times around the finished set. The end is threaded through the windings with the help of a bodkin and tightened. The bodkin is a tool with a wooden handle and a narrow metal tip. The compositor can also use it to make corrections in the standing matter by pulling out individual misplaced pieces of type with the tip. From the galley, the finished standing matter is finally transferred to the printing press and is ready for the next step.
In part 5 of our series “Gutenberg’s Inventions” you will learn more about inking the standing matter in the printing press.