Where can I find an example of (pre-computer) compositor's specifications?

My first job after college was as a proofreader for a book publisher. This was in the 1980s, and although computers were already in widespread use for book publishing, their use was not yet universal, and they weren’t nearly as sophisticated as today. It was still important for proofreaders to read galleys or pages not only against the author’s typescript, but also against a set of compositor’s (typesetter’s) specifications, to make sure the body, headings, running heads, captions, etc. were formatted consistently and correctly.

Specifications, as I remember, read something like today’s descriptions of styles in Microsoft Word or other word processing or desktop publishing software, eg, “Body: Times 10/12, first line indent 18pt, ragged right, extra 12pt after paragraph” and so on. To each style, in other words, was a short paragraph describing it fully. The proofreader–using a point ruler, a sharp eye, and little else-- could make sure the typesetter had set everything correctly.

I did the job for a year or two, enjoyed it, and then moved on to other things. Now I’d like to see an example of these old specs (at my job they were simply typed up in-house on standard paper and stapled together, nothing fancy, a different set for every book). But the craft they describe is so out of date that I can’t find anything online. Before I invade my local university library I thought I’d ask here. Any veteran proofreaders, editors, compositors etc. among the Dopers, who would have access to any old specs? Know where I can find any online?

Thanks in advance, y’all.
E. Thorp

My fuzzy memory says you’ve pretty much got it - back in those days, it was fairly uncommon to do fancy stuff, so it was page after page after page of Times Roman 10 on 12, fj (full justified) or rr (ragged right)

Now, we can do pull quotes, sidebars and all manner of layouts that would make a typesetter recoil in terror 15 years ago.

At least we don’t have to worry about mixups in the type case leading to “wf” proofers’ marks now. (wrong font)

I really doubt if much has changed other than how elaborate layouts can get. I did typesetting in an electronic shop in '89 and the specifications are pretty much like you describe for the grade school math books we did. We used early versions of Xerox ventura publisher and had to do lots of fiddling with frames and leading to get our pages to match the specifications. We’d do our proofs on postscripot 300dpi lasers and final output on a 2700/5400dpi Linotronic RIP and imagesetter. Everyone had a point/pica/type ruler printed on film from the Lino to do checking.

Quad Center it and insert an EM space here :wink:

Thanks for the replies so far. I realize that, in a sense, not much has changed–after all, printed books don’t look that much different from their look of 20-25 years ago.

Still, I’m hoping to get my hands on an actual example (scanned online would be best, though I’d pay postage for a photocopy) of specifications from the 1980s or before. What I want to do is create a history lesson for younger cow-orkers who have no experience before the electronic age. Any ideas?