Melbourne Museum of Printing
Proofs: Galley and otherwise
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Galley Proofs

Galley Proofs

Proof copies of type while still `on the galley'.
Reproduction Proofs of type matter for camera work.

A galley is a storage tray of wood or (most commonly) sheet steel. These are used for storage of made-up type pages, or type setting waiting to be made up into pages (as well as various other items).

The galleys are stored in a galley rack. The common racks used in Australia in recent decades have two columns of twenty-five galleys.

Galleys, and their racks, come in many sizes. In inch measures, common sizes range from 3 x 24 (probably for newspaper or magazine column work as it comes from the linotype) up to 12 x 18 (typically for large pages ready to be imposed).

A galley proof is a copy of type taken while it is on a galley. The copy is usually on cheap paper (newsprint) and is made for checking purposes so it need not be a perfect impression. The surface of the galley may not be perfectly flat, so the impression may vary. But it is much faster than taking the type off the galley, proofing it on the bed of the press, and putting it back, as you would need to do for a perfect impression.

A galley proof may be of newly set type in straight column format, or of a made-up page. But the former is the format most commonly remembered as a galley proof. The latter would most likely be called a page proof even though it was taken on newsprint and with the page on a galley.

It is the column format, straight from the composing machine (or hand compositor) which is read and sent back for corrections. The proof would often include galley header lines to identify the job and the operator.

In later years, the term `galley' was used for strips of typesetting on photographic paper from a phototypesetter. After checking, these would be `pasted up' into a completed artwork.

We have some of these galleys, too.

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