Unfortunate typo in preface of an 1830 book


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How do you fat finger a capital R into a capital E?



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Nope, that’s a typewriter layout; see the type-case layout provided about.

Even bigger question – how do you miss such a typo in the proofing stage?

I don’t get it. What am I missing?

OK now I see it after reading the comments on the linked page.

A little known Dick Tracy villain.


I’m guessing it happened when the last block to use that piece of capital E type was disassembled and somebody put the E into the R bin.


I once went to a job fair with a stack of flyers that described the Legal Aid Society of New York as the “nation’s oldest and largest pubic defender.” Needless to say I decided it wouldn’t help our recruiting to hand them out.


The king of typos was the Devil’s bible, which left out the “NOT” in the sixth commandment.

But no fat fingers since there were no keyboards until much much later. The type was handset, so as someone pointed out below, someone threw an E into the R bin and the typesetter would not even be looking at the type that much rather reaching into the right bin (and would be looking at wrong reading side anyway) though typically a proof would be pulled and checked.

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A more likely explanation, of course. My grandfather was a printer and he could put letters onto a type stick faster than many people can type.


I knew old Peeface Forby, that’s not a typo.

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I recently had a client submit art for a label to be mocked up. Copy on the front panel read “Cripy Bread Brumbs” I showed it to a few people in the office and asked them to read it out loud. All of them first said “Crispy Bread Crumbs”, They all had to read it 3 times before they caught both typos. The brain works in funny ways.

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Heck, one of our print jobs almost 25 years ago had the title of the company FINANCIAL CONSULTING (or whatever) with extra wide spaces in the first word F I N A C I A L with long narrow letters,
all printed and made into a presentation folder - with a granite background (way before photoshop days
we had to do a camera halftone of a piece of granite) that was stripped into the final. The rest of the design and typesetting was actually done by the designer (our client). And of course so many pairs of eyes looked at it and no one noticed the missing n until the job was done. (and there were plenty of stages, type, camera work, blueline proofs, plates, running on the press, die-cutting and then finally gluing the pockets. We finally did catch it at the very end as it was being glued, but then there was the inevitable argument with the designer, even though he did the typesetting and had the client sign off on it.

Of course the most fortuitous typo was the Farmer’s Almanac in 1815? that got July and February mixed up and predicted snow in the middle of summer. The publisher caught it too late and tried to have the copies returned but only managed to get some back. It became a bit of a laughingstock among farmers until the Tambora volcano erupted and the ash cooled much of the planet causing the “year without a summer” and in fact snow in July as predicted.


Many years ago, I was editor of a book of archaeological technical articles. After spending a year gathering the papers, editing, proofing, etc., it went off to the printer. This was the back in last 1/4 of the 20th century, it still had to be typeset.

The bound copies arrived from the printer. The book began with the editor’s foreword. So as I cracked open the book and looked over my handiwork the first word I saw, centered in 24 point type on the top of the first page, was “Forward.”

I showed it around the office, no one got it on 1st reading. Maybe no one else noticed without prompting (fat chance).

Ok. NOT “Peeface,” but WTH

Misspellings happen. It’s the space before the semicolon that deserves a hanging.


Sorry you had to go through a bit of pain with Ms Harrison. She appears to be quite protective of her tweets, though her supposed “copyright” of a photo of an 1830 book page is very clearly incorrect and baseless.

Oh well, you handled it well.


This. Proofreading is way trickier than people think. People don’t actually look at the words, as proven by the ‘jumble the middle letters of the words’ experiment. I used to do a lot of print graphics and making web graphics is far more relaxing because errors are so quickly, silently and easily fixed.

This is not a typo. It is photoshop.
I’m a new user, an am not permitted to upload the photo of the original, but here is a link o the original source.