. The origin of this word is not generally known. On the authority of Bailey the signification of the term is a “stubble-goose.” Moxon, writing in 1683, gives an early example of its use in connection with the annual dinners of the printers of that time. He says: “It is also customary for all the Journeymen to make every Year new Paper Windows, whether the old ones will serve again or no; Because, that day they make them the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose; that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own House, but, besides, gives them money to spend at the Alehouse or Tavern at Night; and to this Feast they invite the Corrector, Founder, Smith, Joyner, and Inkmaker, who all of them severally (except the Corrector in his own Civility) open their Purse-strings and add their Benevolence (which Workmen ac­count their duty, because they generally chuse these Workmen) to the Master Printer’s: But from the Corrector they expect nothing, be­cause, the Master Printer chusing him, the Workmen can do him no kindness. These Way-goose are always kept about Bartholo­mew-tide. And till the Master Printer hath given this Way-goose the journeymen do not chuse to work by Candle Light.” Other authors have quoted Moxon on the above, adding, however, riders of their own composi­tion, more fully explaining the meaning of the term. Thus Timperley, writing in 1839, in a footnote, says: “The derivation of this term is not generally known. It is from an old English word Wayz, stubble. A stubble-goose is a known dainty in our days. A wayz-goose was the head dish at the annual feasts of the forefathers of our fraternity.” From this it would appear that the original deriva­tion was from the goose which occupied the place of honour at the dinner, and not, as some have striven to show, from the excursion which usually forms part of their festival.

Taken from Gesta Typographica by Chas. Jacobi, 1897, page 5.

Early Printing



The Printers’ Devil

The decree of the Star Chamber

The first book produced in England

Early Printing



The first newspaper in England


Etienne Dolet



The first cylinder printing-machine

The first steam printing

Capitals and leads

About the Letters J and W