Say, What's a Flong?

Does anyone know what “flong” means? I bet you don’t know what a “pop test” is?

I enjoy collecting antique terms, especially for the design and printing fields. I take impish joy asking young students what “leading” means and how it was derived. Or what a “cut” is and how it got its name.

I savor old professional dictionaries, like the one here, of printing and graphic arts terms. Most of the terminology is on the verge of becoming obsolete. Read these pages and see how many terms you use — or know.

Incidentally, “flong” is “a moist mixture of paper-mache which, when impressed and dried beomes the matrix or negative.” “Pop test?” Figure that one out for yourself.

8 thoughts on “Say, What's a Flong?

  1. Ron White

    My introduction to printing came from working at newspapers, where my first assignment was noted on the weekly schedule as “pox,” for police beat. No one–not even the oldest writer there–could tell me the origin of the term. Here are some other words I picked up at newspapers. I won’t tell you the meaning or origins as sort of a challenge to determine who’s the codgeriest of us old codgers. Stereo, stone, Ludlow, and my favorites: plewd and grawlixes.

  2. Constance

    I was a typesetter in my youth (1970s & 1980s) and I’m surprised at how many of these terms I remember! Especially “leading!” When you explain it to people, you may see a light go on in their brains. Like, who ever considered the space between the lines of type? And, if you did consider it, what would you call it? “Leading!” Love it! Great entry!

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