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being almost wholly concealed within the head of the press. There are some minor varieties of the press, which are cursorily mentioned by the author : but the credit due to the invention of the steam printing machine is liberally awarded to the proper source, as is evident from the following passage:
The honour of firet having so far carried out the idea of a steam printing machine, as to deserve the appellation of its inventor, belongs to another in. dividual, a native of Saxony, named König, who was assisted by his countryman Bauer. These two ingenious individuals, supported by the munificence of some persons concerned in the printing business in London, succeeded, after long trial, the purchase of successive patents, and some of the usual mortifications of theorists, in bringing to perfection a very large, expensive, and complete apparatus. “ At length,” says Johnson, “ this machine, which had been made in obscurity, was brought forth (in 1813-14) to astonish the world by its wonderful action, in receiving and delivering an almost incredible number of sheets per hour. The place selected for this experiment was the office of the Times newspaper, when the very extraordinary impression that is daily taken of this journal was struck off in a very short space of time, compared with what would have been necessary by manual labour at the presses, which required such great exertion, that the stoutest constitutions fell a sacrifice to it in a few vears : yet others were eager to fill their stations, therefore this could not be assigned as an excuse for their (the machines) introduction.”
The machine thus successfully set up, was followed by others, manufactured to order, for various printers in the metropolis. This course, and the concomitant practice of stereotyping popular or standard works, so alarmed the journeymen, that they set themselves against what they considered so inimical to the welfare of the trade; and, for a time, compositors and pressmen, countenanced by some of the master printers, refused to work for those houses who had so daringly innovated on the old system. These feuds, which are now happily forgotten, are alluded to, in the work already quoted, in a manner that cannot fail to excite surprise that a really ingeninus mind could be so warped by prejudice, and so blinded by a false view of self-interest.
The flail-user may complain of the threshing-machine, and the sail-maker of the steam ship, because these latter inventions are, as it were, but the recent invasions of science upon the primitive modes of beating out corn and appointing vessels in this country; but the printing press, in its rudest form, was a machine substituted for manual labour, at a time when it was infinitely less easy than at present for a race of ingenious and even literate men to find their subsistence by a new employment: with how much reason the scriveners of the fifteenth century would deprecate the use of the new-fangled printing press, we may easily conceive. It would be strange, indeed, if the press, to the justly boasted liberty of which we are indebted so largely in all our scientific improvements, were to set itself exclusively against the enlargement of its own immense capabilities. Whatever cheapens knowledge deserves our applause, certainly not less than that which merely beautifies its exhibition. If literary and intellectual excellence had been at all conservated by the use of hand presses alone, or even had fine printing vanished on the introduction of machines, then there would have been good ground for the complaint above quoted. The reverse, however, of both these issues has literally taken place. How different from the querulous apprehensions of Mr. Johnson are the sentiments of the excellent and learned Dr. Olinthus Gregory, in a lecture delivered by him before the Mechanics’ Institution at Deptford, in 1826. Among other topics illustrative of the patronage afforded to the arts and sciences by the intelligence and enterprise of this country, the venerable lecturer directed the attention of his audience to “the case of Mr. König, a truly ingenious foreigner, and his invention of an improved printing press, in which, by duly blending the alternating and rotatory principles of motion, the apparatus is capable of working off 1100 sheets in an hour, with the superintendence of two boys. Tracing the history of his invention, of his difficulties, and of his want of encouragement, through the greater part of the continent of Europe, Mr. König says, 'I need hardly add, that scarcely ever was an invention brought to maturity under such circumstances. The well-known fact, that almost every invention seeks, as it were, refuge in England, and is there brought to perfection, seems to indicate that the Continent has yet to learn from her the best manner of encouraging the mechanical arts. I had my full share in the ordinary disappointments of continental projectors; and, after having spent in Germany and Russia upwards of two years in fruitless applications, I proceeded to England.'
" What could not be accomplished by the encouragement of princes on the Continent,” proceeds Dr. Gregory, “ was effected by the aid of private individuals in London. A few enterprising printers--and their names cannot be mentioned but with honour on such an occasion-Mr. Thomas Bensley, Mr. George Woodfall, and Mr. Richard Taylor-liberally assisted this ingenious foreigner in bringing his invention to maturity. The machine was set to work in April, 1811, and 3000 copies of sheet H of the New Annual Register for 1810, were printed by means of it. This was, doubtless, the first part of a book ever printed solely by a machine. Messrs. Bacon and Donkin were, it is true, simultaneously at work upon analogous contrivances; and, since then, other ingenious artists, especially Applegath and Cowper, have contributed greatly to the simplification of this class of machinery."
In the earliest attempt to substitute rollers for vertical pressure in type printing, the most plausible idea as to practicability was, as we have already seen, suggested by Mr. Nicholson, namely, the making of the types to stand together in the segment of a circle on the surface of a cylinder, like the stones which form an arch. With loose types, as must be at once apparent, this ingenious scheme was in reality impracticable. It led, however, to the curving of stereotype plates for the purpose of fixing them on a cylinder, for which, in 1815, Mr. Cowper obtained a patent. Machines constructed in this way were found capable of printing 1000 sheets per bour on both sides, and twelve of them were at one time made for the use of the Bank of England. The final improvement, however, resulted from the invention of König already mentioned, and which consisted in taking the impression, by means of rollers, from the table or form of types lying in a horizontal position, as in the common press.-Vol. ii. pp. 219-222.
The engine of Applegath and Cowper is yet an improvement on that of König, whereby nearly forty wheels were removed from the latter. But the most remarkable feature of the former machine is
the invention by Mr. Cowper of the hand-roller, for distributing the ink equally upon the types. This process, though apparently of great facility, was one of the least superable points of attainment in the construction of printing machines. The invention here spoken of, has effected a complete revolution in the art of printing, as may be determined by those who will take the trouble of examining an early number of the Edinburgh Review, and comparing its typography with that of a recent one. In the former, he will see the great inequality in the colour of the page, some parts appearing dark and others light--some letters almost crushed beneath the accumulation of ink, whilst others are scarcely half covered. In the latter, on the contrary, he will find no trace of this inequality.
But the utmost that could be accomplished by this improvement of Applegath and Cowper was not sufficient to enable the Times newspaper to meet the demands of its customers within the necessary time; these accomplished mechanics made a series of observations on the process, and soon found out that the rapidity looked for was not prevented by the imperfection of the inherent faculties of the machine, but by the insufficient rate at which it was fed, i.e. supplied with paper. The machine was, therefore, re-constructed on a plan which admitted of a multiplication of the feeders; and thus was it that the Times was able to announce, on the 14th February, 1828, that the machine, under the influence of fresh improvements, was able to print four thousand journals per hour, whereas the maximum of the former machine never exceeded one-thousand-onehundred an hour.
The author next notices the wooden-roller press for plate-printing—the cast-iron roller press—Dyer's patent press for printing with Perkins's plates—the Lithographic press—the Standing press -the Athol and Hydraulic presses—the Copying machine-Hawkins's polygraph, with other contrivances for copying letters.
Of the latter, in consequence of the great convenience of which they are the source to merchants, we shall insert a specimen or two :
It may not be amiss to conclude this chapter with some notice of a contrivance which has become very common among merchants and men of business generally, under the appellation of a copying machine. As the object in using this machine, however diversified its form, is to obtain facsimile duplicates of Ms. letters, the operation may not improperly be designated printing. When it is considered how vast an amount of writing in letters and invoices must be daily accumulated and dispatched in any large mercantile concern, and at the same time how desirable it is that most, and absolutely necessary that much, of this writing should be copied, the importance of any invention to save the time of clerks with reference to this tiresome and often unprofitable labour, must immediately become apparent. Accordingly, the schemes that have been published, within the period of a century, having for their object the multiplication of written
letters without the trouble of transcription, may be said almost to have equalled, in number at least, the machinery for letter-press printing..
One of the most early and obvious applications of a contrivance for the purpose alluded to, would of course be that of impressing, by means of a rolling press, one letter, before the ink with which it was written became quite dry, upon the surface of a blank sheet of writing paper; the latter receiving the impression of the original with a sufficient degree of distinctness to admit of the matter being read, either backward, from the right hand to the left, or, if the paper were very thin, in the usual manner, by holding the copy up to the light, and reading through the paper. In 1780, Mr. Watt obtained a patent for an improvement on this process. His method was to place a thin unsized sheet of paper, wetted, between two woollen cloths, which absorbed the unnecessary moisture. This paper was then laid upon the surface of the letter to be copied, whilst the writing was recent; the sheets were then either pressed together through a rolling press, or subjected to the pressure of a screw. Mr. Bell had a patent for a method of copying letters, &c., into a book, by a process similar to the last men. tioned. Dr. Franklin proposed a method of making these transfers, which, although ineligible in practice, was still more analogous to printing than the preceding plans. The doctor wrote the original letter with a gummy kind of ink, upon which was strewn a covering of flour emery, which adhered to the ink. The letter in this state was placed on a smooth pewter plate, and subjected to the operation of a rolling press, by which an im. pression was made by the emery on the pewter plate, to which printing ink being applied, an impression or copy of the letter could be taken on damped paper.
The method most commonly practised in mercantile houses is to take the impressions in a book of unsized paper, through each leaf of which the prepared ink of the autograph letter so completely strikes, as to render the fac-simile perfectly readable on either side. The press used in this operation is entirely of iron, and often got up with great neatness; the platten and bed are, of course, adapted to the size of the paper to be copied. In using the machine, a leaf of damp copying paper is laid upon every page to be copied, with a sheet of dry oiled paper; these are then placed within the press book, and the whole submitted to such a pressure as a man of moderate strength can give without difficulty.
The press has been in some cases dispensed with altogether, either by the use of tracing paper, or a metallic foil placed under the sheet during the writing, or by means of Hawkins's polygraph. The latter is a somewhat complex machine, consisting of a peculiar frame-work carrying two pens, and so connected by joints, that whatever motion is given by the hand to one pen the other pen describes a similar figure; by which contrivance, whilst a person is employed in writing a letter with one of these pens, the other makes a copy on a separate sheet of paper. In 1806, an individual of the name of Wedgwood obtained a patent for a plan of producing duplicates as follows:-A sheet of paper is blacked over on both sides with printers' ink, and afterwards placed for five or six weeks between leaves of blotting-paper to dry. A sheet of letter-paper being laid on a smooth pewter or copper plate, the blackened paper is laid upon this, and above, a leaf of thin paper, oiled to make it more transparent. On the paper thus arranged the person writes with an agate style, ground and polished to a smooth neat point. The letter-paper receives an impression from the blackened sheet, which, as the writing is in the right direction, is used as the original, while the upper or oiled paper presents the impression reversed, and must of course be read through the paper.—Vol. ii. pp. 242—244.
We think that no reader will rise from a perusal of even the very partial view which we have now given of this admirable work, without a fixed determination to obtain it for himself. He will see that the contents are composed of a mass of the most curious and valuable details, which are not only read with eager curiosity, but should stand in every man's library, whatever be its size, as a source of reference on subjects that immediately concern him. We never met with a work in which a practical mind was more completely developed than in this. It does not yield as much as a single line to any sort of hypothetical indulgence—not a word have we of systems or theories, or speculations ; the whole is strictly historical, forming a most striking and faithful portrait, quite as natural as the portraits of the Dutch masters, of the workshops, the forges, and The bazaars of this industrious country. The uniformity with which the author so accurately and so copiously illustrates every one of the varied branches of mechanical trade which he describes, is truly a monument of individual labour and assiduity.
The style adopted in this work is excellently well adapted to the theme, or rather to the readers most likely to refer to it. Whilst a deep knowledge of mechanical science, and of the arts founded upon it, are perfectly visible in every page, the style of the author places his descriptions on a level with the apprehension of the most ordinary capacity; and, upon the whole, we regard this work as one of the most instructive and interesting which has, in modern times, adorned our scientific literature.
Art. III.- The Wife; a Tale of Mantua. A Play in Five
Acts. By JAMES Sheridan KNOWLES, Author of “ Virginius," “ The Hunchback," &c.—Second Edition. - London: Moxon. 1833.
If we attentively examine the characters of the national drama as these are presented to us in the compositions which the last and the present centuries have produced, we shall find a very considerable difference between them. For a long time after Shakspeare lived, he formed the model, particularly in tragedy, of all those who are now worthy of being remembered as dramatic writers; and, in general, it may be said that one common principle, up to a recent period, will be found to pervade the whole of the tragedies which have been deemed worthy to be incorporated in our literature. At the time that Shakspeare wrote, the “ business of the stage,” as it is expressed, was quite in its infancy. Neither in the scenery