The New International Encyclopædia/Printing
PRINTING. The process of taking impressions, generally on paper in ink, of printing types or of designs, drawings, or photographic prints, which have been previously cut, etched, drawn, or engraved on some solid surface. Printing with ink is done by three methods: (1) from a raised surface in high relief, as in type or woodcuts; (2) from a sunk or incised surface, as in copper-plate engraving; (3) from a flat surface on stone made repellent to ink in portions by dampening the stone, as in lithography (q.v.). As the raised surface is easiest inked and impressed, typography is found most generally useful.
The Chinese methods of printing were practiced at a very ancient date. As early as B.C. 50 the Chinese had originated a method of printing in ink on paper by means of engraved blocks, although it was not until nearly a thousand years later that printing in this manner was extensively practiced. In A.D. 925 the principal Chinese classics were printed for the Imperial College of Peking from blocks of wood engraved in relief. The method of producing these printing-blocks is described as follows: The work which is intended to be printed is first written on sheets of thin transparent paper. Each of these sheets is then pasted face downward upon a block of wood and an engraver with suitable tools cuts away the portions of the paper and block on which nothing is traced, thus leaving the characters in relief and producing a printing-block. To print from these blocks, they are inked; a sheet of paper is carefully laid on and a brush is passed over the paper, pressing it upon the inked surface and thus securing a printed impression. By this process a separate engraved block had to be prepared for each printed sheet or page. The Chinese are also credited with having used movable type as early as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and such types are now used extensively by the European missions in China for printing Chinese books and papers. The chief difficulty in using movable types for printing Chinese is due to the fact that each Chinese word requires a separate character instead, as in the European languages, of being composed of letters or characters which are resolvable into an alphabet. The native Chinese printer to-day, when uninfluenced by European teaching, uses the primitive printing-blocks described above.
In Europe in classical and mediæval times books were made by transcribing them in manuscript (q.v.). About the thirteenth century, in Italy and Spain, these manuscripts began to be produced with the initial letters stamped in ink from engraved blocks of wood. This practice was gradually developed until printing-blocks were quite commonly employed in printing images and text, generally of a religious character, on paper sheets which were bound together in book form. In short, the gradual development of printing on relief was as follows: (1) initial letters, autographs, and trade marks; (2) playing cards; (3) figured or ornamental textile fabrics; (4) religious pictures with and without lettering; (5) engraved words without pictures; (6) types of single letters founded in a mold.
Whether he was or was not the first to employ movable printing types, John Gutenberg (q.v.) is usually named as the inventor who first established typography on anything like a scientific basis. The claimant who seems to have the best right to contest with Gutenberg the invention of typography is Laurens Janszoon Coster (q.v.) of Haarlem, Holland, who is said to have invented types of wood about 1428, and at a later date types of metal, with which he printed several small books. Coster's types are stated to have been stolen by one of his workmen and conveyed to Mainz, Germany, where this workman introduced typography. Among those for whom the honor of the invention is claimed are: Albrecht Pfister, of Bamberg, Germany; Pamphilo Castaldi, of Feltre, Italy; Johannes Mentel, of Strassburg, Germany; and Procopius Waldvogel, of Prague, whose claims are based on unreliable authority. None of the alleged inventors established the art or left worthy successors. It is to Gutenberg that we owe the practical establishment of typography. The facts in Gutenberg's career as a printer are meagre. There is an unsatisfactory record that he experimented with printing at Strassburg in 1439. In 1448 he had a printing office at Mainz; in 1455 he was sued by John Fust (q.v.), who was associated with him in the enterprise, for the recovery of money lent, and judgment being secured against him, Fust seized his printing house equipment. Another printing establishment was started by Gutenberg, who operated it until his death, about 1468, in partnership with Peter Schöffer. Meanwhile Fust had continued the operation of the printing establishment founded by Gutenberg. Upon the sacking of Mainz by the Archbishop Adolf in 1462 the pupils and workmen of these printers were scattered and the art, which had been carefully guarded as a secret, became widely known. Printing was practiced in Rome in 1467; in Paris in 1469; in Spain in 1474; and in England in 1477, the first press in this last country being set up at Westminster Abbey by William Caxton (q.v.). The first press in the New World was established at the City of Mexico in 1540 and this was followed by one in Peru at Lima in 1584. The first press in the British colonies of North America was set up at Harvard College in 1638, and this press still continues under the name University Press.
In a brief review of the development of printing it is impossible more than to allude to the work of such famous printers as Aldus Manutius (q.v.), who, with other members of the same family, published the famous Aldine Editions (q.v.), the Elzevirs (q.v.), whose activities extended from 1583 to 1712, and the Stephens of Paris, famous for their editions of the Scriptures and the classics.
Modern Printing Types. Types of metal are manufactured by a process of founding. (See Type-Founding.) The earliest types used were of the style known as Gothic or black-letter, which was afterwards superseded, except in Germany, Russia and Greece, by the Roman letter. (See Black-Letter.) Printers have a distinct name for each size of type, and use about 16 sizes in different descriptions of book-work; by the older terminology the smallest is called brilliant, the next diamond, and then follow in gradation upward, pearl, agate, nonpareil, minion, brevier, bourgeois, long primer, small pica, pica, English, great primer, and double pica. The larger sizes generally take their names thus—two-line pica, two-line English, four, six, eight, or ten-line pica, etc. Other nations designate many of these sizes by different names. Some of these names were given from the first maker; others from the books first printed with the particular letter. Thus, Cicero is the name of a type in France and Germany, with which Cicero's letters were first printed (Rome, 1467); pica is from the ritual book, termed pica or pie; primer, from Primarius, the book of prayers to the Virgin; brevier, from breviary; canon, from the canons of the Church, etc. The following illustrates the size of the various types named:
|4—Agate or Ruby,||International.|
At present in Europe and America, generally, printers use a numerical nomenclature instead of the old nomenclature given above and commonly used by the layman. This nomenclature, as adopted by the United States Typefounders' Association in 1886, is as follows:
A complete assortment of types is called a font, which may be regulated to any extent. American founders assort characters by weight and not by count. As types of the same body vary in width (some thin and some wide), a specification by count of single types would be misleading as to weight. The following table shows the relative frequency of the letters in composition:
The types used in printing offices are sorted in different boxes of two shallow trays known as upper and lower case, the latter lying nearest the compositor upon the frame for their support. The lower case is placed immediately under his hand, the upper case directly above in a slanting position, and the under part of the frame is stocked with cases of different fonts. In the upper case are placed all the capitals, small capitals, and a few of the characters used as references to notes. In the lower case are all the small letters, figures, most of the points, and the spaces for blanks between the words. In the lower, alphabetical arrangement is not preserved; each letter has a larger or a smaller box allotted to it, according as it is more or less frequently required; the letters in most request are placed at the nearest convenient distance to the compositor. See article Case for illustration.
Type-Setting or Composing. The setting of printing types in proper order for printing is termed composing, and may be performed either by hand or by machine. (For machine composition, see Type-Setting Machines.) In hand composition, the compositor places the copy before him on the upper case, and standing in front holds in his left hand a short tray of iron, known as a composing-stick. The stick has a movable slide, which may be regulated to any width of line. One by one the compositor picks up and puts together the letters of each word and sentence, and the appropriate points, into his stick, securing each with the thumb of his left hand, and placing them side by side from left to right along the line. When he arrives at the end of his line, the compositor must separate the words, so that they will fill the width of the measure. Spaces of varying thickness are inserted as evenly as possible between the words. When the compositor has set up as many lines as his composing-stick will hold conveniently, they are lifted by grasping them with the fingers of each hand, as if they were a solid piece of metal. He then places the mass upon a shallow tray termed a galley, which has a ledge on two or three sides.
The printer's unit of measurement by which the compositor is paid is the em in America and the en in Great Britain. An em is the square of the body of the type selected; the number of ems that fill a line, multiplied by the number of lines in a page gives the total number of ems of type in the page. The piece compositor is paid an agreed rate per 1000 ems, but the rate varies with different kinds of composition. Tabular matter, mathematical formulas, etc., are usually paid for on a time basis.
Composed type that has served the purpose for which it was set is known as dead matter, and its separate letters have to be distributed into the case for re-use, in new work. The compositor first wets the composition so that the separate types will slightly cling together. He then places a number of lines upon his composing rule, picks up a few types between thumb and forefinger, and drops them one at a time, into their proper compartments in the case.
Make-Up is done by taking composed type from the galley in sufficient quantity to make a page of prescribed size. It is then tied up so that it can be safely handled and is put upon an imposing-stone or iron-topped table. When the page consists of several columns, as in newspapers, the type of one column is placed after another, upon the stone. The pages are separated by suitable blanks, and the whole mass of type is ‘locked up’ by filling the angular space around the type and inside the iron frame with strips of wood or metal and by wedging them with screw clamps or quoins, so tightly that none of the type can fall out. Proofs are taken from the type in galley and in page form, which are read for errors, so that corrections may be made before the type is sent to press. At least two proofs of the type—a galley proof and a page proof—are always taken and read for errors, and very often in careful work several proofs of each kind are ‘pulled’ and read by different persons. See Proof-Reading.
The printer's form may consist of any number of pages from 2 to 128. ‘Imposition’ is a method of arranging pages so that they will follow one another upon the printed paper in the proper consecutive order. The method of imposition or the order of arrangement differs according to the number of pages in the form, but the general principle of the process may be understood from the following diagram of a 16-page form, in which the numeral in each case indicates the number of the page in that form and its location the top of the page. To guide the binder in arranging the printed sheets in their proper order, letters or numerals known as signatures are placed at the foot of the first page of each section. The letters J, V, and W are not used for this purpose.
Stereotyping is a process by which the composed types of a page are founded in one piece. The object is to preserve composition so that it cannot be distributed, to cheapen cost, and save wear of type. Many methods have been invented, but two only are now in use: stereotyping by the papier-maché process, and electrotyping. The papier-maché process is preferred for its speed by daily newspapers; electrotyping by book printers for its greater accuracy, and its applicability to fine engravings in relief. Crude experiments at soldering composed types together and at making duplicates by the pressure of pages on type metal softened by heat were made in the eighteenth century, but the first practical work was done by William Ged, a goldsmith, of Edinburgh, in 1725. His invention was not kindly received by the printers and publishers of England, and soon fell into disuse, but it was revived and improved by Earl Stanhope of London, about the year 1802. For nearly fifty years afterwards it was preferred for book work, and was generally known as the plaster process. The page of type to be stereotyped was put in an iron pan and a preparation of plaster of Paris poured over it, which was afterwards baked dry in an oven. The dried mold so made was then submerged in melted type metal that penetrated every crevice. When properly cooled, the mold was broken, and a duplicate of the composed type appeared on one side of the plate. The rough side of the plate was planed down, its edges were beveled, and faulty letters corrected, until it became a presentable duplicate of the type work. Stereotyping by plaster was brought to Newark by David Bruce in 1813. Stereotypes have also been made by pressing the types upon prepared dampened china clay, but the clay process is rarely used. The papier-maché process, invented by Genoux, of France, in 1820, was neglected for many years, but is now in favor with all daily newspapers. Sheets of thin tissue paper, pasted together and backed with damp unsized thicker paper, constitute the mold or matrix for the papier-maché process. They are firmly and evenly impressed on the page of type, which may be flat or curved, and are then dried upon the page. When dry the matrix is removed, and adjusted to an iron mold on which melted type metal is poured from several openings. The plate so made is then cooled, planed, and beveled to fit the press. All the operations, aided by machinery, are made with great speed. Ten minutes is the ordinary time.
Electrotyping. For fine book work and for duplicating engraved illustrations, electrotyping is the process preferred. By this process the type page is impressed in a thin sheet of wax which is first dusted with a coating of powdered graphite and then with a coating of iron filings. The wax mold so prepared is immersed in a bath containing a solution of sulphate of copper through which passes an electric current from a dynamo. This deposits a thin film of copper on the wax mold. (See Electro-Chemistry, Industrial Application of.) When thick enough to be stable the film or shell of copper is backed with a solder of tin, and afterwards with a firmer basis of type metal, applied in a melted state. This type metal base is then planed and beveled, so that it can be neatly fitted to a thicker base of hard wood that makes it type-high. Electrotype plates may be curved by passing them through shapers or suitable bending rolls. Electrotype plates for printing were made by Joseph A. Adams, a wood engraver of New York City, in 1839-41, but they did not supplement stereotype before 1850.
Inking Rollers. Printing ink is a trituration (not a chemical union) of boiled oil, smoke black, coloring matter, and other ingredients. By the old process for inking types, stuffed leather balls were made use of, but they were difficult to keep in proper order, and were inapplicable to cylinder printing. The first improvement on the stuffed balls consisted in covering them with the elastic composition of glue and treacle then employed in the Staffordshire potteries. Catching at this idea, the inventors of cylinder printing machines made inking rollers by casting them in a cylindrical mold. This invention came generally into use between 1814 and 1818, everywhere superseding balls, and rendering printing machinery practicable. Inking rollers for type work, now made of a mixture of glue, glucose, sugar, and glycerin, are found more durable than those made from glue and molasses only. The quantities of each constituent must be varied to suit the speed of the machine, the nature of the presswork, and the temperature of the press-room.
Printing Presses. The earliest engraving of a printing press shows a stout framework of wood posts, firmly braced against the ceiling to resist upward pressure, a bed plate of stone as a rest for the form of type, which could be exposed to receive ink, and then be slid upon ways under the platen or pressing surface. Impression was given by a large screw of wood over this platen and this screw was moved by a long bar of wood and iron. The sheet of paper to be printed (about 16×20 inches was a common size) was laid upon an inclined framework of wood covered with blanket or parchment, which was hinged to slide on the ways and to be placed under the platen. This platen impressed only one-half of one side of the paper; to print the sheet 16×20 on both sides the pressman had to give four pulls on the bar. To print with uniform margin and in accurate register, the sheet on its first impression was pierced with small perforations on the front side, and afterwards suspended from holes so made on properly placed points when the second side was printed. Although the mechanism of the press was rude and even petty, good printing was done upon it by a competent pressman. The first improvement in construction was made by Blaew, of Amsterdam, in 1601, who in addition to other devices attached springs to the platen moved by the screw, so that it could have a quick return movement without special exertion from the pressman. In 1786 M. Pierres, of Paris, invented a printing press entirely of iron, and strong enough to print one side of the sheet by one pull of the bar, but it did not meet with favor. About 1804, Earl Stanhope, of London, made great improvements on the large iron press of Pierres, adding many clever devices of his own for the lightening of labor. In 1806 Koenig, of Saxony, went to London with the model of an improved platen press, which he failed to introduce. His associates were more successful in reviving a patent issued to William Nicholson, of London, in 1790 for printing on a flat surface with cylindrical pressure. The new method was fairly tested upon a book form in 1811 and the new machine began to do the regular edition of the London Times in 1814. Soon after this all 30 daily newspapers had cylinder presses, for their greater speed and economy were advantages not to be neglected, but book work of all kinds continued to be done on platen presses of new construction. The Columbian Press, invented by George Clymer, of Philadelphia (1816); the Adams Power Press, made in 1830, by Isaac Adams, of Boston; the Washington Press, of Rust, of New York, in 1827, were for many years the favorites.
The last two mentioned are yet in daily use in many printing houses of the United States. Cylinder printing machines, the first made, although indispensable to early newspapers, were damaging to type, and for that reason were rejected after fair trial by all book–printers. The old publishing house of Harper & Brothers used hand presses only in 1835, but soon after introduced the Adams power press. A prominent firm of law-book publishers in New York had all their work done on hand presses as late as 1849. The preference for hand-press work has been more marked in Great Britain. The fine books of Pickering and Whitingham and more recently those of William Morris and his disciples were printed on a hand press. The hand press was found too slow and the cylinder press too cumbrous and costly for the small forms of commercial printing required before 1850. To supply this demand many small and inexpensive platen printing presses were devised for cards and circulars. In 1840 S. P. Ruggles, of Boston, invented a platen machine that printed a sheet of letter size at the speed of 1000 an hour, power being furnished by the foot of the pressman moving a treadle and attached crank. In 1850 George P. Gordon, of New York, patented a form of small platen press, in which the platen vibrated to the bed of type, and printed small sheets with great speed and accuracy.
This Gordon press, with some modifications and under various names, is still preferred in all printing countries for small jobs. Cylinderpresses, impressing types upon a flat bed with a reciprocating movement, are made of many different constructions: (1) The drum cylinder, that makes one revolution and one impression to the forward and backward movement of the bed of type, is still in use for small job work; (2) the two-revolution cylinder, that rotates at greater speed, and gives impression at every other rotation, is much used for book work; (3) the stop-cylinder, that stops its rotation after each impression, has been preferred for its accurate register and superior printing of engraved illustrations; (4) the double cylinder, that produces two prints from the same form on each reciprocating movement of the bed, still finds some favor for newspapers of small editions; (5) the perfecting cylinder, that prints both sides of the sheet at the same operation. Other constructions, some of value, could be named, but those here specified are in most favor. The perfecting cylinder last mentioned is the only construction of flatbed press that attempts to print both sides at once, but its movement is relatively slow. The high speed required by daily newspapers can be had only by the full use of the rotary principle for the pressed and the pressing surfaces. In 1835 Rowland Hill, of England, devised a press on this plan purposed to print upon an endless roll of paper, but his scheme was never put to practical use. In 1850 Thomas Nelson, of Edinburgh, exhibited at the World's Fair a little cylinder which did print a handbill on both sides at great speed from this endless roll. It was not favorably regarded as a practicable apparatus. In 1865 William Bullock, of New York, constructed a rotary press, which printed from an endless roll, 10,000 copies in an hour. R. Hoe & Co., of New York, had produced in 1847 a type-revolving printing machine. In this construction a large central cylinder contained the form of type on a small portion of its circumference, the rest of that circumference being used for the movement of inking rollers. The types were held in place by grooved and rebated column rules and screw clamps. Around this large cylinder were placed at graduated distances 4, 6, 8, or 10 impression cylinders, for each of which separate piles of paper and separate feeders had to be provided. Every revolution of the central cylinder produced from four to ten copies, but these copies were printed on one side only, and this defect limited its value as a newspaper machine. In 1871 R. Hoe & Co. invented a rotary press, which printed on both sides, from curved stereotype plates at the rate of 12,000 an hour. This machine, a favorite at the start, has been reconstructed on new lines with many improvements for the different requirements of eight-page or forty-eight-page newspapers. Two or more distinct machines are geared together in one construction and are known as the quadruple, sextuple, and octuple machines.
A sextuple press built for the New York Herald in 1889 is composed of about 16,000 pieces and weighs 116,000 pounds. This press is fed from three rolls of paper and can print, cut, paste, fold, and count 24,000 papers of 14, 20, or 24 pages each, 36,000 papers of 16 pages each, 48,000 of 10 or 12 pages each, and 72,000 of 8 pages each during every hour of its daily operation. In 1900 three octuple presses were installed for the New York Journal. Each press weighs, when in running order, about 200,000 pounds, and has 11 pairs of printing cylinders, 40 ink-distributing cylinders, 100 composition rollers, 22 ink fountains, 5 sets of oil fountains, and 850 gear wheels.
1. HOE ROTARY PERFECTING PERIODICAL AND BOOK PRESS.
2. MIEHLE TWO-REVOLUTION CYLINDER BOOK AND MAGAZINE PRESS.
These presses are operated by electricity, and are 35 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 15 feet high. An 80 horse-power electric motor is required to start one of them from a state of rest until it attains its proper speed, after which it performs its work at a considerably less expense of power.
In these machines five-cylinder color presses are combined with a full black press, which also has extra facilities for turning out fine newspaper work from electrotype plates; consequently half-tone plates and colored illustrations can be printed in connection with the text.
HOE DOUBLE OCTUPLE NEWSPAPER PRESS—1903 MODEL.
In 1903 a press of still greater dimensions was constructed by R. Hoe & Co., which uses when running at full capacity, eight rolls of paper, each four newspaper pages wide. This machine requires 125-horse power to drive it, and when running at its full capacity consumes in an hour about 70 miles of paper, the width of the roll, or 280 miles of paper of the width of the newspaper page. In addition to the eight rolls of paper already mentioned eight other rolls are in position, so that when any of the rolls run out the roll-carrier may be turned on a turntable, and the new roll of paper quickly pasted to the end of the depleted roll. The running speed of this press is 90,000 papers an hour, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen or sixteen pages, or 48,000 eighteen, twenty, twenty-two, twenty-four, twenty-six, twenty-eight, thirty, or thirty-two page papers, all delivered, folded to half-page size, pasted, and counted. Other rotary presses of merit are made in this country, and in France and Germany, but they contain no distinctive principle that calls for minute description.
Type-Setting Machines. The output of newspaper presses would have been much smaller if type-setting machines had not furnished composed type at greater speed and lower cost. In 1821 William Church, of Connecticut (but then a resident of London), proposed a method for casting and setting type by one operation with great rapidity, but the machine for this purpose was never put to practical work. In 1853 William Mitchell invented a type-setting machine that was used for many years in the printing house of John F. Trow, of New York, but it was not generally approved. Other machines succeeded, and many had merit. The Mergenthaler or linotype, a complex mechanism that casts composed types in solid lines, is the approved machine for daily newspapers, and is used to some extent for book composition. The Lanston machine by different apparatus casts and composes isolated types with nearly equal speed. Either machine, in the hands of a skilled operator, can produce as much composed type in one hour as was done in a day by the hand compositor. See Type-Setting Machines.
Paper. Improvements in paper-making have been great aids in the development of printing. In 1827 the Fourdrinier paper machine, that produced paper in the so-called endless roll needed for rapid newspaper printing, was introduced in the United States. It made paper of more uniform thickness, of larger size, and at lower price. Cotton rags were used until the supply diminished. In 1860 Henry Voeltner invented a method for grinding soft woods for conversion into paper pulp. His method has been improved by chipping the wood and treating it with suitable chemical agents, which have largely reduced its cost. Book papers that sold for 16 cents in 1850 are now sold for 5 cents or less, but the quality is not so good. See Paper.
The methods of book and news presswork have been seriously changed. Before 1870 the rough paper then in use had to be dampened before it was thought fit for press, and type work was impressed upon it against a thick woolen or rubber blanket, which produced thick and strong print. This elastic impression was fatal to engravings with close and shallow lines which were choked with ink, to the damage of proper light and shade. Then paper-makers began to provide paper with a smoother surface, and printers undertook to print this paper in its dry state. Soon after, the newly discovered art of photo-engraving, which became common in books and magazines, compelled the making of still smoother paper. To supply this demand, a thin fabric of paper was coated with whiting, which, after proper smoothing or calendering, had a surface as smooth as polished metal. To print photo-engravings on this paper the elastic impression resistance had to be abandoned, and an inelastic resistance of hard cardboard substituted. Under this treatment the delicacy of fine lines in an illustration could be properly preserved: the inelastic resistance improved the appearance of the illustration, but it did not improve the readability of the type work, and it did add to the cost of presswork.
The increasing circulation of magazines that were filled with illustrations compelled the abandonment of the flat-bed cylinder press about 1884. The rotary principle then and now employed in newspaper work had to be adopted, but with finer mechanism nicely adjusted. In 1886 R. Hoe & Co. made for the printing of the Century Magazine a rotary press that took on 64 large octavo pages and printed them in a satisfactory manner and with a speed not possible by any form of flat-bed cylinder.
Bibliography. The bibliography of printing is very voluminous, and only a few of the principal books treating of the art can be named here: Hansard, Typographia (London, 1825); De Vinne, The Invention of Printing (New York, 1878); id., Historic Printing Types (ib., 1886); id., Plain Types (ib., 1900); id., Correct Composition (ib., 1901); Faulman, Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst (Vienna, 1882); Ringwalts, Encyclopædia of Printing (Philadelphia, 1871); Thomas, History of Printing in America (Worcester, Mass., 1810, and Albany, N. Y., 1874); Hoe, A Short History of the Printing Press (New York, 1902); Bigmore and Wyman, Bibliography of Printing (London, 1880-86); Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking (New York, 1891-94); Waldow, Illustrirte Encyclopädie der graphischen Künste (Leipzig, 1880-84).