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Chart and Key for use with Composing a Bath. Printed on a towel, for consultation during bathing. 

Typecase of 104 different handmade soaps. (See previous image for typecase and soaps.)
Chart and Key for use with Composing a Bath. Printed on a towel, for consultation during bathing.

Typecase of 104 different handmade soaps. (See previous image for typecase and soaps.)

In letterpress, the process of typesetting is called composing. Historically, cast metal type was stored in type cases, with each compartment or box assigned for storing a specific character or letter. Different type cases held different fonts; this particular type case from the 1800s was designed for holding italics fonts. Each type case had a chart, and a composer (AKA typesetter) consulted the chart along with the copy to be printed, removing the needed characters from the type case and arranging them in the proper order, one by one.