Page:De Vinne, Invention of Printing (1876).djvu/311

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
301
THE WORKS OF AN UNKNOWN PRINTER.

impressions of the unknown printer types of so many bodies, and with such singular defects.[1] The rounded edges, spotted stems and deficient lines of many of the letters seem the faults of types unskillfully founded in moulds of sand, from metal insufficiently hot, poured in without the force that is needed to make it penetrate all the finer lines of the matrix.[2]

Koning, the author of a prize essay on the invention of typography by Coster, expresses his belief in the theory that the types of the Speculum were made from punches of wood and were founded in matrices of lead. His belief in the use of these rude implements is based on the well known fact that matrices of lead were frequently used by the earlier German and Dutch printers. Enschedé of Haarlem had in his type-foundry matrices of lead, which he claimed were used by Peter Schœffer in the fifteenth century. Firmin-Didot, the eminent

  1. To satisfy his own doubts as to the feasibility of casting small types in moulds of sand, Bernard, of Paris, gave to a brass-founder the types of a few Roman capital letters as the models from which he requested founded duplicates. He charged the founder not to dress nor finish the face of the founded letters, nor to give them more than ordinary care. The founded letters so made were printed by Bernard in his history as practical illustrations of the feasibility of sand moulds. They lack the finish of types made by the professional type-founder; they look like badly worn types, but they are legible. The brass-founder assured Bernard that a workman could make one thousand similar types in one working day. Bernard then gave to this founder separate types of a word in Gothic letters and requested him to furnish duplicates of these types founded on one body. The duplicates returned showed the very defects of the types of the Speculum; the thick lines were spotted, and the letters were out of line. Bernard's impression shows that the movable types which made the word were jostled or trivially disturbed at the instant of moulding. A disturbance of this nature would explain the irregularity of line and the rounding of the edges. The spotted and ragged edges of the founded word were probably caused by the roughness of the moulding sand, or by the sticking fast to the mould of bits of metal. It is a proper inference that in both cases the defects were the imperfections of the same process. The experiment of Bernard fully proved the feasibility of making small types in sand moulds.
  2. In the sand mould, the hot metal is poured in; in the metal mould, whether worked by hand or machine, the hot metal is forced or cast in. The phrase "casting type," which implies a sudden throw or violent jerk, has entirely supplanted the older phrase of "founding type."