The terms “uppercase” and “lowercase” have interesting origins that date back to the early days of the printing press. One of the earliest methods of printing involved painstakingly arranging pieces of metal type to form words and sentences. The raised type was then inked and printed.
All those tiny pieces needed to be stored and organized, so typographers used special wooden boxes called cases. As Grammar Girl has noted in her excellent blog, by convention, the capital letters were stored in the higher, or ‘upper,’ case, and the smaller letters were stored beneath, in the ‘lower’ case.
Even though our modern type now resides in the computer, not wooden boxes, the terms ‘uppercase’ and ‘lowercase’ persist.
Image credit (top): Wikimedia Commons