upper, lower, capitals

Apparently,

Back when type was made out of individual metal letters, it was organized in two separate wooden cases. You guessed it! At the printer, where a page was set one letter at a time, capital letters were stored in the “upper case,” and the small letters were kept in the one underneath, called the “lower case.”

Another little-known fact: The uppercase forms are derived from letterforms chiseled into the top part of a Roman monument, building, or pillar called a “capital.” Hence the term capital letters.

from my typography class at sessions.edu

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