The first efforts to improve the cap side of the job case
occurred in Britain where the incentive to do so was greater
because of the smaller size of cap boxes in the British case.
of 6 April 1872, an unsigned article entitled "Scheme for Laying
Jobbing Founts" describes a lay "adopted by a London Printing
office" involving alteration of the 49 equal size boxes of the
half case. The case was rearranged into essentially five rows of
equal, and thus larger boxes, but with the top and bottom rows,
except for two boxes, being further divided. This resulted in a
case with 25 small boxes and 23 large boxes which accommodated
all the capitals except J, X and Z, which were placed in the
smaller, subdivided boxes.
Now in California early in 1874, one Ellis Read, recently arrived
in San Francisco from Brisbane, Australia, via London,
established in San Francisco "Ellis Read's Printers' Furnishing
Warehouse," and took on the agency for the Edinburgh type foundry
of Miller and Richard. The enterprise was successful almost from
the start, apparently due to the superiority of M&R's types over
those already available. There were then in San Francisco one
independent type foundry and an agency for the large Chicago
foundry of Marder Luse & Co.
Competition to Read's venture from the outset was intense, if not
unscrupulous. His competitors were probably responsible for
charges by the U.S. Customs of undervaluation of invoices to
evade payment of proper import duty. These charges were
eventually completely refuted and all penalties cancelled, but
not until after considerable time and money was spent by Read and
M&R to prove their innocence.