A composing stick is a device used to hold metal type letters while composing lines of type ready for letterpress or hot-foil printing. It originates from the early days of letterpress printing and is still in use today.
In letterpress printing and typesetting, a composing stick is a tool used to assemble pieces of metal type into words and lines, which are then transferred to a galley before being locked into a forme and printed. Many composing sticks have one adjustable end, allowing the length of the lines and consequent width of the page or column to be set, with spaces and quadrats of different sizes being used to make up the exact width.
The compositor takes the pieces of type from the boxes (compartments) of the type case and places them in the composing stick, working from left to right and placing the letters upside-down with the nick to the top.The Letter
Maximum line length that can be set is 6-1/8″ or 155mm.
Overall composing stick dimensions –
230mm x 40mm x 19mm.