Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 59.djvu/264

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Walter
Walter
258

the resignation of the latter, was founded on documents brought to the notice of the house by Walter. But this was the personal action of the member for Berkshire, and had nothing to do with 'The Times.' A certain piquancy attaches to the episode, however, because it was well known that before he became a minister Lowe had been for several years a regular contributor to the paper.

Walter was a man of more scholarly tastes than his father. He had a fine literary sense, founded on classical models, and this characteristic was strongly reflected in the literary and ethical tone of 'The Times.' The full-bodied rhetoric affected by Barnes and his colleagues was no longer to the taste of a more fastidious age, and under Delane, a man of Walter's own age and of similar tastes and training, 'The Times' was credited by Sir James Graham with having 'saved the English language.' Delane himself never wrote in the paper. But there never was a better or more painstaking editor of what others wrote, and perhaps no editor of a newspaper was ever associated with a more distinguished staff of contributors. The connection of many of these with the paper has never been acknowledged by themselves nor disclosed by 'The Times;' but it is no secret that among the contributors to the paper under Walter and Delane were men like William Makepeace Thackeray [q.v.], Sir Frederic Rogers (afterwards Lord Blachford)[q.v.], Henry Reeve (1813-1895) [q. v.], Sir George Dasent, who for many years was assistant editor, George Stovin Venables [q. v.], and Thomas Mozley [q. v.], a man who gave up to journalism a rare assemblage of gifts which might have won for him in literature a place beside the greatest writers of his time. It may here be mentioned that Delane retired from the editorship, in consequence of failing health, towards the close of 1878. In his place Walter appointed Thomas Chenery [q.v.], the well-known Oriental scholar, who had long been a contributor to the paper. Chenery died in 1884, and was succeeded by the present editor, Mr. G. E. Buckle, who had for some time acted as Chenery's assistant.

Walter was destined, like his father, to effect organic and far-reaching improvements in the mechanical production of 'The Times.' The Kœnig press, on which the paper was first printed by steam, was further developed and improved by a succession of inventors in England and America (see Smiles, Men of Intention and Industry; Fraser Rae in Nineteenth Century, January 1885; Encyclopadia Britannica, s.v. 'Typography'), and each successive improvement was eagerly adopted in 'The Times' office. But at last the limits of development on the lines pursued by Applegath, Hoe, and others were reached, and no existing machine was found to satisfy the requirements of the newspaper press, whose growing circulation imperatively demanded increased rapidity of production, greater ease, simplicity, and economy of working, and assured immunity from interruption and breakdown. To satisfy these conditions experiments were instituted and conducted for several years in 'The Times' office under the general superintendence of Walter and his manager of the printing office, John C. MacDonald. The 'Walter' press, first employed for the printing of 'The Times' in 1869, was the result. It was an entirely new departure in the application of steam machinery to the process of printing. The idea was taken from the calendering machine employed in calico printing, and its principle consisted in using a continuous roll of paper which was successively passed over and under a series of cylinders to which were attached cylindrical stereotype plates cast from 'formes' representing the several pages of the newspaper to be printed. When printed the roll was divided by automatic machinery into separate sheets, and these sheets could, if required, be automatically folded by an auxiliary machine into the form required for delivery. The rate of production of a single machine was twelve thousand copies an hour. One overseer could superintend the working of two machines, and the only other labour required was that of three boys to take away the papers as they were printed. Such was the 'Walter' press as originally introduced at 'The Times' office. Its principle was simplicity itself, but enormous mechanical difficulties had to be overcome before it was brought into practical working order. It was the pioneer of all modern newspaper machines, and it has perhaps contributed more than any other single invention to the development of a cheap press. Smiles (ut sup.) gives a lucid description of its mechanism, and further details, together with an instructive analysis of its far-reaching influence on the larger economy of newspaper production, will be found in an article by Mr. A. J. Wilson in 'Macmillan's Magazine ' (vol. xxxix.)

Walter had a strong native inclination for building, which displayed itself in the reconstruction of 'The Times' office, and in the rebuilding of his residence at Bear Wood. In both cases the designs were inspired by himself, the bricks were supplied from his estate, and the woodwork was constructedin his workshops at Bear Wood.

Walter died, after a short illness, at Bear