composing stick

Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

com·pos·ing stick

A small shallow tray, usually metal and with an adjustable end, in which type is set by hand. Also called job stick.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

composing stick

(Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) printing a metal holder of adjustable width in which a compositor sets a line of type at a time by hand; now rarely used
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

compos′ing stick`

a portable, adjustable, usu. metal tray that the compositor holds in one hand while placing in it type gathered with the other hand.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Typesetters of yore had to hand pack their letters into a composing stick upside down and backward so that, when placed in the negative galley, they would print a positive page onto the paper.
The composer was the one who put in place every letter of a word in every sentence on a composing stick, a strip of wood that was placed inside a square or a rectangular mold, also made of wood, which, in turn, set the desired size of the paper the texts were to be printed on.
Our class sessions met at the Windhover Press and it was there in that loud (Kim had an excellent record collection) and smoke-filled room that I learned to set type: the mind-numbing process of selecting letters from the distribution case, arranging each letter of a poem into its place in the composing stick, checking the spacing, adding the next letter, removing the letter, setting it again, ad nauseam.
The Dale Guild suggested setting the composing stick to 21 picas, but because they found that the line lengths varied from 20.5 to 21.25 picas, we thought we would stick to 25 picas to accommodate the widest lines.
We are taken step-by-step through the process of preparing a manuscript for print, typesetting the music and text using a composing stick, sliding it into a galley, maldng the pages into a forme on a marble imposing stone, and placing it into a wooden or metal chase.
He feels that the texts were written in the composing stick by compositors "who, like graffiti artists, had nothing in particular to say but an overwhelming need to say it."