What’s a “Frisket”?

Tristan from London writes –

“Firstly, let me thank you all for a wonderful show. I came across it a few months ago as a podcast although I’m quite sure I listened to it when I lived in the US some years ago. I always get a good laugh and at the moment my life is such a mess that I really need it! So thank you for helping to keep me sane.

Now, to my stumper word. My partner is an artist and was looking at some information about paint. English is not his first language and he is always happy to encounter new words. Today, he came across the word ‘frisket’, which I had never met before either. The Oxford English Dictionary revealed it to be a term-of-art in printing. It’s not a frequently used word (3/8 on the scale). Here is the OED entry:

Frequency (in current use):
Etymology: < French frisquette, of unknown origin.
A thin iron frame hinged to the tympan, having tapes or paper strips stretched across it, for keeping the sheet in position while printing. to fly the frisket: see fly v.2 2.

1683 J. Moxon Mech. Exercises II. 55 Which..serves for the Frisket to move truly upon.
1777 tr. J. A. Comenius Orbis Sensualium Pictus (rev. ed.) 118 The pressman beateth it over with printers ink..spreadeth upon it the papers put in the frisket.
1824 J. Johnson Typographia II. 526 To catch the bottom of the sheet when the frisket rises and conveys it quickly and gently to the catch.
1884 West. Morn. News 23 Apr. 5/2 A press frisket was thrown down.
1683 J. Moxon Mech. Exercises II. 55 From the Fore-end or Frisket-joynt.
1825 ‘J. Nicholson’ Operative Mechanic 308 The clerk now inks the type with a printer’s ball, opens the frisket sheet..on its hinges, and places the note..against the tympan.
1880 Printing Times Mar. (advt.) Frisket forks are so arranged that, etc.

I hope that it may be of use in the arsenal of stumper words for the future.”


Thanks to Tristan for such kind words and terrific back story! We love that it derived from a London listener! 

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