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time as well as for his trouble. But what we quarrel with Mr. Savage for is this, that he is so little acquainted with the transactions of life, as to choose the very plan of all others the best calculated to cut off any hope whatever of profit from his work. As long as the present price is affixed to it, very few will be purchasers : few of those who want it most will be either willing or able to afford such a diminution of their profits. The consequence will be, that one copy must do for many; it will be bought by general contributions, it will pass from hand to hand, and in a few hours the whole of the valuable receipts may be transferred to a note book. Such is the fate of these ingenious contrivances to which false principles always give rise. Mr. Savage is thus caught in his own trap, for he has brought out his work on a plan so preposterous in its nature, as to be capable of producing a consequence the very reverse of that which it was intended to bring about; for it is quite certain that that information for which Mr. Savage charges the round sum of two guineas, may be had in as much perfection for the few shillings which an amanuensis may require for copying it from the original. Had the author allowed his work to take its chance amongst the common herd of the bookseller's stock, we are quite sure that he would have found in the number of his purchasers at a low price, a return which he must in vain look for amongst the very few
who will buy at a high one. Leaving, however, for the present, these erroneous views of the author, we shall proceed to the more proper subject of this paper, the contents of the book itself. Mr. Savage begins by asserting, that the manufacture of printing ink has never yet been adequately treated by a practical man. This being the case, it was scarcely necessary for him to take much trouble in proving that the authors who have written on the subject failed egregiously in their object. The principles and details which constitute the contents of the present work, may be said, therefore, to form the first appropriate contribution given to the art of printing by a practical man. He tells us that his directions are not theoretical, but are all the result of a practice of thirty-six years; and that no article enumerated in the volume is recommended or described as fit for use, unless the result of Mr. Savage's experience has justified the eulogy. We are, therefore, taught to expect that the receipts, in every instance, will faithfully realize the promises given of them by the author, who says that he has used them himself, and superintended the use of them by others, without finding the least necessity for washing or cleaning the form (a technical term for the types when composed and bound up for the press), though thousands of impressions had been worked off. No ink, in short, according to Mr. Savage, can be produced which would work in a cleaner and freer manner, or would produce an impression more capable of retaining its freshness without staining the paper. So deeeply did the Society for the Encouragement of Arts feel the value of this invention, that they bestowed their large
medal and a sum of money on Mr. Savage, for his imitations, with his inks, of drawings printed from engravings on wood. Perhaps it would only be just to Mr. Savage to premise that he has defined exactly the advantages which are to be derived in practice from an acquaintance with the contents of this work. By it any printer may prepare a good ink himself, and have it always of an uniform quality ; he can have it in this superior condition without any risk or danger; he can, at half an hour's notice, prepare an ink of any hue that his fancy may suggest, which will work with freedom, and be quite as clean as the black ink ; and, lastly, he may print bank cheques and the like documents with a changeable ink, which will be a complete safeguard against fraudulent alterations.
In looking to the history of printing ink in this country, the author mentions that an ink made by a secret process was employed in the printing establishments of Bensley, Bulmer, Davison, Whittingham, &c. At the period to which allusion is made, but which is not particularly specified by the author, a great degree of emulation in printing was excited by the publication of Macklin's Bible, Bowyer's History of England, and Boydell's Shakspeare; together with some admirable specimens of typography from the press of Bodoni, at Parma, and Didot, at Paris. This spirit was still further increased by the more diffusive scale on which education was placed by the Sunday and other economical schools. All these sources of improvement in the art of printing were considerably assisted by a cause which, though it operated indirectly, was still one of the most powerful. The act of the thirty-ninth of George the Third, for the suppression of seditious societies, rendered it obligatory on all printers to set their names and address to the article printed by them: thus every printer became responsible before the world for his own acts; and it is needless to state how human nature, under such circumstances, was inclined to act. Many were the efforts which were then had recourse to for the purpose of refining the prime material of the art,—the ink. Very little improvement, comparatively, is allowed by the author to have taken place; and it is in consequence of this failure, that he is now induced to reveal the arcana of his professional knowledge to his brethren of the press.
Considerably more than half this volume is dedicated to the details of every receipt for printing ink which has been from time to time given to the world. The space thus prodigally wasted is another proof of the strange want of judgment so uniformly exhibited by Mr. Savage, even within the limited compass of this work. Surely it requires but little consideration to find out that a system, or a series of systems, which are exploded, and for which we are ourselves about to supply a permanent substitute, cannot, with any sort of propriety, receive from us the same minute attention as the remedy deserves. We have done with all the old plans and receipts
- they are exploded, and the object of this very book is to show that they ought to be buried in oblivion. Then why present them
to our view with such a sacrifice of time and of space ?-which latter, by the way, the author is not entitled to trifle with, seeing that his book is set down at the moderate price of a couple of guineas. We shall, of course, pass over all this dead weight, and proceed at once to the materials and implements for making printing ink, as these are described and recommended by the author.
Printing ink, in the view which Mr. Savage entertains of its nature, is a composition of varnish and colouring matter. The varnish consists of several materials, the first of which is linseed oil. This substance is so generally used as the basis of varnish, that the author deems it unnecessary to speak of its properties. He remarks, however, that the older it is the better. The next ingredient is resin, of which the variety called amber resin, is that most generally chosen ; but for no other reason, perhaps, than that it is most easily procured. The resin being melted down in the linseed oil, when the latter is sufficiently boiled and burned, the two form, by admixture, a compound which approximates to the character of a natural balsam. The principal service rendered by the resin seems to be through its power of preventing the oil from separating from the colouring matter, and therefore from staining the paper : it gives an astringent quality to the ink, which prevents its smearing, and the quality so given may be modified to any extent. As the linseed oil does not boil till it is heated to 6000 Fahrenheit, and as resin becomes thoroughly liquid at a heat of 306°, it follows that the resin put into the boiling oil must be speedily reduced to a state of solution. This fact is stated for the purpose of showing the propriety of recommending, that as the resin will be sure to be melted when thrown into the boiling oil, so will it be quite useless to continue the vessel containing both, for a moment longer on the fire, particularly as the resin would lose considerably by any subsequent evaporation. Upon the utility of soap as an ingredient, Mr. Savage next proceeds to make the following commentary :
This is a most important article in the preparation of printing ink, and what is surprising, it is not noticed in any of the old receipts that have been published: the Encyclopædia Britannica is the only work I have seen that mentions it, and the use of it in England is kept a profound secret. · It may be fairly presumed, that neither Moxon, when he published the detailed account of the Dutch method of making printing ink, nor any of the French writers, knew the use and value of this material ; and this presumption explains why the old printers were obliged to knock-up their balls so often; why they were obliged to wash their forms so frequently with hot lie; and why they directed water to be put over their ink, to prevent it skimming over :-for the want of soap in the preparation would cause all these imperfections—without it the ink would accumulate on the face of the types, so as to completely clog it up after a comparatively few impressions were printed; it would dry so hard on the types as to require to be frequently washed with hot lie to clean it, which would be attended with great trouble and delay; and would cause the ink to skin over, which
would occasion waste, and also cause picks in the form in working, that would spoil the appearance of the work, and give great trouble to the workmen; and would also harden the balls in such a manner, as to make it necessary to take the pelts off and steep them every dinner time and every night when the pressmen gave over work, which was the custom when the ink was prepared without it. In fact, without soap, printing ink at the present day could not be used. I have only reasoned on printing by means of presses; with machines, which require a weaker ink than presses, it would be totally impossible to use it.
Its properties are—to cause the ink to adhere uniformly to the face of the type, and to give it a complete coating with the smallest quantity ; to cause the ink to leave the face of the type clean, and to attach itself to the damp paper by the action of pressure, and, during the process of printing, to continue to do this through innumerable impressions; also to cause the ink to wash easily off the type; and to prevent the ink skinning over, however long it may be kept.
For black and dark coloured inks, the best yellow or turpentine soap may be used; but it should be well dried. For light and delicate coloured inks, curd soap is preferable, which is white, and does not affect their tincts.
If too great a proportion be used, it has a tendency to render the colour unequal where a large surface is printed; to spread over the edges of the types, so as to give them a rough appearance ; and to prevent the ink drying quickly, and to set off when pressed. The proper proportion is when the ink will work clean, without any accumulation or clogging on the surface of the types or engraving, and then the impression will be clear; if the proportion be greater, the effect just described will be produced. It thus corrects, to any extent required, the binding quality of the resin in the varnish.
It appears to me that the use of this article in the preparation of printing ink, which is now indispensable, is a modern addition and a great improvement; for I am persuaded both Moxon and Papillon would not have omitted to mention it if they had been acquainted with its valuable properties, from the frankness and openness with which they both communicated their information-the one, in all that was connected with printing in his day; and the other, in what related to engraving on wood, and the process of printing the subjects when engraved.-pp. 109-112.
The next of the ingredients (for we follow the author in uninterrupted succession) is lamp-black. Of this well-known powder there are two sorts, the mineral and the vegetable. The mineral is the heavier article, and a larger proportion of it is required to make the ink of a proper consistency than of the other. The vegetable lamp-black is the lighter one, and, on that account, the one to be preferred. Mr. Savage has found, that the article sold in firkins takes by far the most varnish, and would be exclusively used, perhaps, only that the high price of it will not allow of its employment, except where
fine ink is to be manufactured. In the process of making the ink, great care is essential in adjusting with exactness the proportion of lamp-black which will be taken up by the varnish ; for if more of the former is mixed up than the varnish is able to bind, the ink will sooner or later smear, and will also set
off under the bookbinder's hammer. With respect to the method of making the lamp-black (the colouring matter of the ink), Mr. Savage recommends the adoption of a process described by Fertel, a high authority. This method consists of extracting the fume of pitch resin : a machine for this purpose is constructed of four sittle rafters, three or four inches square, and seven feet high, supported on two traverses of wood on each side ; that is, one at the top and one at the bottom, just like a bedstead with a small door for entrance; this is called by the French a sac-a-noir. The top of it should be plank, and it should be well jointed; and it would be advisable that the floor should be paved or flagged. The walls of this little fabric should next be lined with cloth, nailed and secured so as to close all the vents which may possibly exist; for one of the conditions of the process is, that no part of the fume, when once exhaled, should be allowed to escape. An iron vessel, suited to the size of the sac-a-noir, is then nearly filled with pitch resin, broken in pieces; it is then set fire to, and the door is perfectly closed during the time of the burning. When the resin is consumed, the return of the sac to a cool temperature will indicate that fact. The walls are then beaten all round, and the black falls from their inside surface, and may be gathered up when the door is opened.
But as a substitute for this sort of lamp-black, that which is called ivory-black may be used with advantage. As the substance is too heavy to be used by itself as the colouring mat of the ink, it is best to add it gradually after the ink is made, grinding it carefully on the stone; as, for example, for an engraving in wood, which is intended to be executed in a superior manner. There is, however, one obstacle to be got rid of, namely, the imperfect nature of the ivory-black of commerce, or rather its want of the true black colour. Mr. Savage recommends the following receipt as a method which every printer should practise :
Provide a crucible, of a size proportioned to the quantity of black that may be required, and fill it with small pieces of ivory, which may be procured at table-knife cutlers, and sold by the pound; the finest grained ivory I have observed makes the best black; close the top of the crucible with a cover that fits close, and that will bear a strong heat, or, in lieu of such a cover, close it with well-tempered clay; then place it in the middle of a hot fire, where every part of the crucible may be exposed to as equal a heat as possible, and let it remain till it is burnt to a charcoal to the centre; it should then be taken out of the fire and suffered to cool gradually. When the ivory is taken out of the crucible, it will be found that the outside of those pieces next to the sides will be burnt too much, and will be white, but the inside of them and that in the middle of the crucible will be of the most intense blackness. As the different pieces may vary in the intensity of the blackness, the most perfect should be picked out, any whiteness or discoloration on the outside be scraped off, and that selected reduced to a powder, when an article the most perfectly black that perhaps it is possible to make will be produced.-pp. 115, 116.