Achievements Of The 19th Century:
Exploration And Discovery
Medical Science, Hygiene, And Surgery
Printing And Publishing
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Printing And Publishing
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In these days of printing presses that turn out acres of thought transferred to paper quicker than the twinkling of an eye, it is strange to think that the beginning of all this complicated machinery of today was so recent as 1803. Books, magazines and newspapers are so cheap and plentiful nowadays that it is impossible to realize that in the "good old times," less than a hundred years ago, the library of the man of average intelligence and moderate means generally consisted of nothing more than Pilgrim's Progress, Fox's Book of Martyrs, Johnson's Dictionary and the Bible. This meager catalogue was sometimes supplemented by a copy of Shakespeare's plays, or a book of poems, either of which were literary treasures that conferred upon the owner no small measure of distinction among the appreciative inhabitants of sparsely settled and bookless communities. This paucity of reading matter was by no means con-fined to the illiterate lower classes. The biography of almost every great American statesman or author of a generation ago, bears ample testimony to the fact that books were, in his youth, considered a luxury, and that their acquisition, in any great numbers, was a privilege enjoyed only by the wealthy. Magazines were practically unknown, and the few that did exist were necessarily high priced. The newspapers, erroneously so-called, were diminutive, poorly printed sheets, containing stale "news" prepared in a more or less ludicrous style. How great a misnomer the term "newspaper" was in those days can be readily understood when we read the Boston News-Letter's regret over being thirteen months behind time in supplying European intelligence. Very frequently the newspapers were delayed several weeks in their appearance owing to lack of paper. As soon as one of these paper famines threatened the press, its patrons were notified of the fact by conspicuously printed appeals to the "fair dames and maidens" respectfully begging the privilege of purchasing their "worn-out frocks, petticoats, and such other discarded raiment as might contribute to the composition of paper," and indicating when the "ragman" would call to make collections.
Such were the conditions a hundred years ago. And now what a marvelous change ! A library of generous proportions is within the reach of the humblest working man who earnestly desires it. Magazines and periodicals of the highest literary excellence and artistic design may be bought for considerably less than the proverbial song, and of newspapers it will suffice to say that they are indeed well named when they can keep us posted from hour to hour of the progress of human events in the uttermost parts of the earth.
In reviewing the great inventions of the century which contribute so largely to the cheap dissemination of literature, it is most fitting to consider first the marvelous progress that has been made in the field of book and magazine making. Here a complete revolution has taken place in methods of printing, in illustration and in machinery and processes for binding and covering. Up to 1813 very little progress had been made in the making of books since the days of Gutenberg or of Caxton. For a period of 350 years all printing was done on the old platen press, the almost identical counterpart of Gutenberg's invention. The press used by Benjamin Franklin, now exhibited in the National Museum of Washington, is a fair type of the platen style of printing press. A brief description of it and the methods employed in its operation may give an adequate idea of the crudity of the industry as it obtained up till. the beginning of the present century. The press is constructed almost entirely of wood, and consists of a flat "type bed" upon which the "form" (the type) is placed, above which is suspended the "platen" or impression plate. The bed is rolled under the platen by the "rounds" (a wooden cylinder and straps). To the platen is attached an impression screw by which power is applied when it is de-sired t0 make an impression; a pulling of the handle causing a revolution of the screw, forcing the latter down upon the type bed. The press, of course, was operated entirely by hand, and the marks of the statesman-printer's ink-besmeared fingers are impressed upon the clumsy frame. The type was inked with what were known as inking balls. These consisted of large round pads or balls of leather stuffed with wool. These balls were charged with ink and rubbed briskly one upon the other until there was an even distribution of the printing fluid. Then the apprentice applied them to the face of the type with both hands until the letters were uniformly inked. It is in connection with this process that the term "printer's devil" had its origin. The manipulation of the inking balls being the most disagreeable task in the old-time printing office, it was always consigned to the newest apprentice, in most cases a raw and awkward youth, who in his first endeavors invariably succeeded in getting more ink on his face, hands and clothing than on the balls. The appearance which he presented with visage besmeared with the black fluid was extremely suggestive of his satanic majesty, and that title became the inheritance of the printer's apprentice and so remains to the present day, although the inking balls have long since been consigned to oblivion. In 1798 the Earl of Stanhope made a press entirely of iron, which was an improvement, though not a radical one, over the machine used by Franklin. The frame was cast in a single piece, and the power was applied by a combination toggle joint and lever. The machine was able to turn out about 250 impressions per hour, and was considered a marvel in those days.
In 1803 two new principles were discovered, which in their development and modification have made the marvelous product of the presses of today possible. During that year Frederich Koenig, a Saxon, commenced experiments with the view of rendering the then existing hand press more rapid and useful. His idea was to substitute the composition roller for the inking balls, and the impression cylinder for the platen. After years of experimenting he finally succeeded in inventing a machine embodying both of these principles, and to be operated not by hand power, but by steam. In 1812 Mr. Walter, proprietor of the London Times, ordered two of these machines and had them secretly erected in the very next room to that in which the paper was being printed by hand. He was obliged to conduct the work clandestinely, as he had already experienced consider-able trouble with his workmen, who opposed every improvement that was likely to interfere with hand labor. Under these circumstances the work of construction progressed very slowly, and it was not until two years later. at 6 o'clock on the morning of November 29, 1814, that Mr. Walter entered the press room of his office with several damp, printed sheets in his hand, and informed the astonished hand pressmen, who were waiting for the "forms," that the edition of the Times for that day had been printed by steam. This press was capable of turning out 800 copies of the Times in an hour a marvelous production in that time. Each of the machines erected by Koenig for the Times printed only one side of the paper, so that when the sheet had been half printed by one machine it had to be passed through the other in order to be "perfected." The first improvement on the Koenig press was made by Cowper and Applegath, who contrived a modification by which both sides of the sheet could be printed in one and the same machine. The principles of the Koenig and Applegath machines have been followed, with more or less diversity of detail, in most of the printing machines at present in use for ordinary book and magazine work.
Until quite recently many of the very finest books, where it is necessary to have great clearness and definite color, were done by platen presses constructed after the Stanhope model. The successive improvements on the Stanhope press were the Columbian, introduced in 1817, in which the power was applied by a compound lever; and the Washington, invented by Samuel Rust, in 1829. In 1830 Adams applied the principle of the hand press t0 a machine operated by steam and known as the Adams book press, capable of giving 5,000 and 7,000 impressions per day of good book work, the impression being given by raising the bed upon which the form rested against the stationary platen. The latter has superseded other platen presses. In the first stages of their mechanical construction, the processes of making the ordinary book are identical to those used in magazine work. The Adams presses are still used in some degree for this work. But the presses in general use are the flat-bed cylinder and the rotary perfecting press. Flat-bed presses use sheets of paper made to some definite size to suit the book. The rotary perfecting press is necessarily printed from rolls of paper and cut on the printing machine to the required size.
As the work required for magazines and books is quite different from newspaper work, the speed at which the rotary book perfecting press is run is much slower, The advertising and plain text forms are run at the rate of about 6,000 sheets per hour, each sheet containing either thirty-two or sixty-four pages. As the cuts and half tones have to be printed upon clay-coated and calendered paper, which cannot be put up in rolls, this kind of work has to be done on the flat-bed presses. There is used at the present time, in connection with these flat-bed presses, a marvelous automatic mechanical device known as a "feeder," which does the work once done by hand feeders.
Probably the most remarkable of these machines is that invented very recently by George F. Leiger, of Chicago. It takes on a maximum load of about 20,000 sheets, thus assuring a run of about two days for the press without reloading. The table holding the load of paper rises automatically to correspond with the sheets as fed off, thus keeping the top of the pile always at the same level. By means of a suction pump a vacuum is formed of sufficient force to pick up the heaviest cardboard, or it can be adjusted so finely as to pick up the thinnest paper. This makes the machine a great boon to the book-making industry, as it gives the machine a range from French folio to cardboard, something no other feeding machine has yet accomplished. The vacuum is carried through a series of pipes to the "pick-up" fingers, which come in contact with the sheet of paper at each of the four corners. The vacuum is cut off and again put in use by means of irregular cams so timed that the fingers release the back end of the sheet before the forward fingers let go. The latter remain in contact long enough to allow a forward movement to engage the sheet with a series of rollers connected by tapes, which conduct the sheets to the guides and grippers of the press. In order that the sheets cannot be held together by electricity, as is often the case, a continual current of air circulates between the top sheet and pile by means of blow pipes. Should two sheets, or a badly wrinkled sheet, pass down to the guides, the machinery is instantly stopped by another ingenious contrivance, so that it is impossible for two sheets or an imperfect sheet to pass into the press. With the saving in labor and the increase in production over hand feeding the earnings of a printing press are about 25 per cent greater with the aid of this automatic device.
From the presses the paper is carried on trucks to the folding machines and loaded, in lots of from 6,000 to 8,000 sheets at a time. These folding machines also are among the most wonderful labor saving devices of the age. These modern folding machines are 0f three or four different makes and do their work in various ways. One is known as a quadruple folder, another as a double sixteen folder, and another as a four-eight folder. Automatic feeders are also used to deliver the sheets to the folding machines at the rate of 3,000 per hour. The quadruple folder takes the sheets as delivered by the feeder and folds the sixty-four pages, cutting and delivering the same in four separate sections of six-teen pages each. The double sixteen folder takes the clay-coated sheets with the cuts, consisting of thirty-two pages, cuts, folds, and delivers the same in sections of sixteen pages each, collecting each sixteen page separately or inserting one within the other when desired. From the folding machine the sheets are taken to a hydraulic press, where they are subjected to a pressure of 70,000 pounds. The process compresses the paper for convenience in handling through the subsequent stages of the work. The folded sheets are then laid upon tables, where girls take one of each section until the full book or magazine is gathered together. This work is all done by hand. After the sheets have been gathered into a complete book, they are wire-stitched or sewed with thread by machines and sent to the covering machines. This cover machine puts the covers on magazines at the rate of 25,000 copies per day. The books are fed into a clamp at one side, and are let down, one at a time, and passed over wheels that rub glue on the back, and as each book comes along the platform on which the covers are piled automatically rises and presses a cover against the book, which is then carried along until it comes in contact with iron presses, fastening the cover still more firmly.
In the process for binding in cloth or more expensive material, the folded sheets are pressed solidly together by the smashing machine, whence they pass into the sewing machine, and then to the trimming machine, which trims the three sides smoothly and accurately a work that was formerly done altogether by hand. The next process is to round the backs, a thin coat of glue previously applied holding the round in shape. A piece of muslin is then put over nearly the entire length of the back and extends an inch or so over the sides. If the book is to have gilt, sprinkled or marbled edges, those are the next processes. A number of the books are se-cured between two boards. The fine dust-like coloring seen on the edges of books is obtained by sprinkling the color selected on the upturned edges with a large brush. In marbling, the fine colors are mixed by the workmen and are dropped on the surface of a long pan especially constructed for the purpose and partially filled with a mucilaginous mixture. The colors remain on the surface and are given their blending and beautifully formed shapes by "combing." The edge of the book is then dipped sufficiently to take up the colors from the surface of the mixture. If the edges are to be gilded, they are scraped smooth and dusted with red chalk. The size on which the gold is laid consists of albumen and water, and the burnishing is done with a bloodstone or agate. In cloth-bound books the cases are made almost entirely by machinery, the cloth and the boards being cut to the exact size; the cloth is then glued on the boards, and the case is then ready to be embossed in the style desired, then the book is "cased in" and put in the standing press to set it.
Besides the innumerable mechanical inventions in the way of printing machinery, folding machines, feeders, type-setting devices, etc., all of which have considerably cheapened the production of books and magazines, there have also been devised a vast number of processes for printing and illustrating. Of printing processes, the most important in book and magazine work is that known as electrotyping, introduced about 1840. At first the results were full of imperfections, but now the method is in universal use for book making and wood-cut illustrations. If electrotype plates were not used, after a few thousand impressions both the type and wood cuts would become worn and damaged to such an extent that they would be useless. Their reproduction entailed a great expense of time and money and the only way the publisher could reimburse himself was to place a correspondingly high price on his book. As it is now, few books are printed from movable type unless it is absolutely certain that no reissue will be required. The mold used for electrotyping is made of wax, the wax is melted for the purpose and poured into shallow pans and after it has become solid a treatment of finely powdered pure black lead is applied. The latter is sprinkled over the surface and any excess is removed by blowing of bellows. The wax thus prepared is placed in contact with the type form or wood cut, which have also been covered with black lead, and a powerful press is applied. In a few minutes the wax takes a sharp impression, embracing all the most delicate de-tails of the work, and becoming at the same time very hard. Black lead is then applied to the face of the mold with a soft brush, then it is put into a battery consisting of a solution of sulphate of copper, and upon being re-moved after some hours the black leaded surface is covered with a compact deposit of copper in which is reproduced the most minute details of the engraved block or letter-press form. The wax is removed from the cop-per plate by exposing the molds to a gentle heat. The thin copper shell is tinned on the back and a molten metal poured on to the depth of about one-eighth of an inch. This is called backing, and gives solidity to the copper plate. After it has been screwed through a block of wood of specific and accurate fitness, the plate is ready for the printers' hands.
Modern methods of illustration began about the beginning of the century, with the discovery of the art of lithography, which happened as follows :
Aloysius Senefelder, a musician employed in one of the theaters in Munich, was arranging his musical composition on a slate formed of flakes of limestone, when by accident the score he was thus preparing was knocked into a slop-bucket full of greasy water. When the slate had been recovered he was surprised to see that the grease remained upon the musical characters, while the background of the stone was comparatively clean. A brilliant idea struck the musician, and he set to work with enthusiasm. Within four years from his first observation he had succeeded in contriving a suitable press for taking impressions, and in securing proper crayons and appropriate acids for acting on the stone. Al-though he guarded his secret jealously, it leaked out, and a number of persons, through experiment, succeeded in rediscovering the art for themselves; so that Senefelder never profited by his invention. In 1810 the first lithographic press was established in London by Mr. Hullmandel, and its value as a means of multi-plying works of art became generally recognized.
Although it required years of patient endeavor to perfect the art, it is simple enough. The stones used in the process, the best of which come from Germany, are prepared by rubbing one slab against the other with sand and water. If the stone is to receive written characters it is polished by means of pumice stone, but if it is in-tended for a drawing the stone is grained by means of the friction of a finely-sifted sand. If it is desired to re-produce written characters or drawings done with a pen, lithographic ink is applied with a fine brush or a pen, as the case may demand. The ink is composed of wax, gum-mastic, gum-lac, lampblack, and soap. The professional lithographer must possess a great amount of dexterity, as it is necessary for him to write the characters on the stone in a reversed position. In order to see the characters in their usual position a looking glass for viewing his work is used. For drawing, a litho-graphic crayon is used. The composition of this crayon differs, but is usually of soap, wax, grease and lamp-black with other minor ingredients. Exactly the same method is followed as in the reproduction of written characters, save the necessary reversals. After the de-sign has been placed on the stone, a mixture of nitric acid and gum is allowed to run over it. This process renders all parts of the stone not protected by the ink or crayon incapable of receiving ink, while at the same time it more strongly fixes the outlines of the drawing. After being thoroughly cleansed of any traces of foreign matter, the stone is subjected to a treatment of turpentine, which apparently obliterates the very design itself. Then it is wiped with a damp sponge or cloth, a roller charged with printers' ink is passed over it, and the characters reappear more plainly defined than be-fore. To obtain an impression it is now only necessary to lay a sheet of damp paper on the inked stone, and to apply the necessary pressure. After each impression the stone is wiped off with the damp sponge before the inking roller is again applied.
For some time after the discovery of the art impressions were only taken in ink and crayon of one color. Then a new branch of the art, termed chromo-lithography, was introduced, and now facsimilies of paintings in oil, water-color drawings, etc., can be successfully reproduced at prices so cheap that the homes of the humblest are adorned with transcripts of the works of the best artists. The principle of chromo-lithography is necessarily the same as that of the original discovery, the only difference being that each color in the picture to be reproduced requires a separate stone. If there are twenty-five shades of color to be reproduced it is necessary to prepare twenty-five stones. The first thing to be done is to place an outline of the picture on a litho-graphic stone. This outline by various dots and crosses conveys to the artist just where the impressions of the successive tints are to be placed on the press so that the colors will blend correctly. The gradations of the colors, and their blendings by superposition, require true artists who can thoroughly enter into the spirit of the work. The stone that is to give the blue tints to the picture is prepared with its especial crayon, as are the red, green, yellow, etc. When the stones have all been treated, the printing of the whole series of impressions is proceeded with. The same sheet of paper is laid on each stone in succession as regards the proper order and colors, and with the greatest possible accuracy of register.
The artistic beauty of the modern book or magazine owes much to the art of photography as developed during the latter half of the present Century. The half-tone cuts and photogravures with which even the cheapest periodicals are now replete were unknown less than fifty years ago. The first experiments in photographic printing were conducted unconsciously by Niepce when he was wrestling with the problem of fixing the image of the camera Obscura, in the early days of photography; indeed, his first successes in photography were in the reproduction of engravings. In 1852 the engraving process known as the calotype was patented by Fox-Talbot,. who has, like Niepce, been introduced to the reader in the chapter dealing with the photographic art. -This constituted the first effective printing process in which photography is the primary agent. Since its publication the number of printing processes gradually evolved out of the photographic art are legion. To treat them exhaustively would require a large volume, and for this reason only a brief general account of those most important to the publishing industry will be given here.
The most popular method of applying photography to the production of printing surfaces is that wherein the portions to be printed stand out like type, receive ink, and are printed in the ordinary manner of letter press. This process owes its origin to Poitevin and Pretch about the middle of the Century and has been perfected in late years by the work of Woodbury, Ives, and Meissenbach, the latter's process having been patented as late as 1882. To obtain pictures by this process of photo-engraving the artist makes what is known as a wash drawing, lour times as large as the illustration is to be. The drawing then goes to the engraver, who makes what is known as a half-tone cut. The process employed is an interesting one. A glass screen, with diamond-scratched lines, ruled at right angles so closely together that the spaces are hardly distinguishable, is placed one-eighth of an inch in front of the sensitive plate in the photographic camera. Looked through, the effect is much the same as gazing through a fine sieve. These lines reappear in the half-tone engraving when printed. The wash drawing is photographed in the usual way and with the usual sensitized plate, with the screen in the camera between the plate and the picture. This produces the negative of the picture, and in order to have the same position of the object in the engraving as in the original, the film of the negative is treated to one or two coats of collodion, which gives it a consistency to permit of its being removed. This film is trans-posed to the opposite side of another glass. The new negative is carefully mounted, and used as a medium for printing on a zinc plate, which has been polished to a high degree, coated with a solution of albumen and gelatine and sensitized with bichromate ammonia. It is then dried and placed in the printing frame, the coated side next to the negative film. Upon being exposed to the light for a sufficient period, the plate is removed from the frame in a dark room and washed under running water, then dried and heated until the picture appears of a dark-brown color. The back of the plate is rubbed with wax while hot to protect it from the etching solution, which eats only where the plate is unprotected that part which is blank in the unfinished engraving. The plate is allowed to remain in the acid bath for fifteen minutes, or until sufficient depth is obtained. It is then washed, trimmed and mounted for the printer.
The mode of illustration known as photogravure differs from the half-tone engraving in two respects. First, it is printed from an intaglio plate, and second, it is not capable of being used in a type press under any conditions. Where the steam cylinder press can turn out 10,000 perfect half-tone engravings per day, the expert printer cannot produce more than 200 good photogravures. The perfecting of the process, whereby this beautiful style of illustration, is due to Walter B. Woodbury, who took out his first patent for the method in 1866. The process consists in getting an intaglio impression of the image to be copied. The intaglio plate is filled while warm with a hard, stiff ink, which is pressed into every depression. The deepest portions of the mold naturally take the most ink, and represent the darkest shadows, while the shallowest portions represent the more delicate tones. After the high lights of the plate are carefully wiped off by hand, the plate is run through the press, in connection with the paper, and the latter lifts from the sunken surface of the plate all the ink it has previously received, holding it on the surface of the paper in masses of color differing in depth and consequently in tone, according to the series of graduations from the pure, high light of the clear paper to the rich, velvety black of a solid body of ink spread over the surface of the paper and not pressed into it. The photo-mechanical process for letter-press printing, which has already been referred to in the chapter dealing with photography, contributes greatly to the cheap production of illustrated books and magazines.
In methods of composition Benjamin Franklin saw no improvement over the infancy of printing. The same monotonous pick, pick, pick, continued through nearly five centuries. In 1875 Ottmar Mergenthaler, a Swiss mechanic and inventor, living in Baltimore, constructed a machine that has been an immeasurable revolutionizing factor in the composing-room. The Lino-type is a machine controlled by finger keys, like a type-writer, which creates the type matter as demanded, ready for the press, to be used once and then melted down. Instead of producing single type of the ordinary character, it casts type metal bars or slugs, each line complete in one piece, and having on the upper edge type characters to print a line. These bars are called linotypes and are assembled automatically in a galley side by side, in proper order, so that they constitute a form, answering the same purpose and used in the same manner as the ordinary, forms consisting of single types. After being used the linotypes, instead of being distributed at great expense, like 'type forms, are simply thrown into the melting pot attached to the machine to be recast into new linotypes. The Linotype is operated by a single attendant sitting at the key-board. The manipulation of the finger keys by this single operator results in the production, delivery and assemblage of the linotypes in the galley ready for use. In the hands of a skillful operator it will do the work of five men "at the case," or setting type by hand, and will make better wages for him, without half the wear and tear of bone, and blood, and muscle. Within two hours the operator on the machine is able to cast as much new type as the fastest printer can set in seven or eight hours' hard and steady work by the old method. There have been numerous modifications and improvements made upon the original model.
The only formidable rival of the Linotype is the typesetting machine. While the former is a line-casting machine, the latter actually sets the type. One style of the typesetting machine is constructed in the form of a cylinder divided into two parts, having a vertical channel for the reception of the type of exactly the width and depth of the type in use. The upper half of the cylinder is entirely dependent on the lower half, which is stationary, and revolves by a step-by-step movement upon the lower half, in such a manner that the channels in the upper half are superimposed upon those of the lower half, so accurately that, in the very brief pause made by the upper half as it revolves, the type from the upper half are permitted to drop into the channels of the lower half where they belong. The lower cylinder being filled the machine is ready for operation. By the manipulation of the finger-board the type drop, one by one, until there are enough to form a line. At the side of the operator sits the "justifier," who takes, from the long line of type creeping out of the machine, just enough to make one line of the length required, and, as in hand composition, this is spaced out and mechanically moved out of the machine into a galley attached thereto.
The invention of the process for the manufacture of paper out of wood pulp, described in the chapter on Labor Saving Machinery, has been an important factor in bringing about the cheap production of all kinds of reading matter. At the close of the war publishers used to pay 25 cents per pound for book paper which they can now buy for from 4 to 7 and 8 cents per pound. The very cheap books are made on paper which costs no more than 2 or 3 cents per pound. The commonest kinds of printing paper those used for newspapers cost 25 cents a pound thirty years ago, whereas they now only cost 2 or 2/ cents per pound.
Not less remarkable than the machinery and processes introduced into it, has been the development of the modern publishing business. This development has been distinctly along two lines, and represents two extremes. In the first place there was never a time when so many fine books were made. There is absolutely no limit to the sumptuousness of the editions de luxe. The demand for lavish books increases year by year. What makes it more surprising is that while the trade in fine books increases year by year the demand for cheap ones likewise grows. Within recent years an important branch of the business has grown in the publication of books for sale by subscription only. This kind of publication is becoming more and more popular every year, and justly so, for it is the only means whereby a large portion of the reading public are enabled to purchase books, and by the large editions printed enable the undertaking of vast tasks.
The modern newspaper, like the printing press itself, was of long development. Indeed, history claims for the newspaper a chronology of more than 2,000 years. As a matter of course such virtual newspapers as the ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans published on stone and parchment must be considered as the progenitors of the daily paper as we read it today, yet the first really important newspaper, by courtesy so called, was the Acta Diurna of the Romans. Although the news was necessarily all the way from two weeks to three and four years old at the time of its publication, the Diurna was nevertheless quite a gossipy sheet, and as people did not attach much importance to newspapers in those days, the Romans were well content. The Diurna was written not printed on parchment. Cicero's oration in defense of Cornelius Sulla was duly chronicled in this newspaper; as was also the fact that on the 4th of the Kalends of April an oak on Mt. Palestine was struck by lightning. The reporters employed on the Diurna and its contemporaries were called actuarii. During the rule of Julius Caesar copies of the Acta Diurna were posted in the public galleries, and attracted the same heterogeneous crowd of readers as do the modern bulletin boards.
With the advent of the Middle Ages the newspaper idea passed out of existence, and was not resumed until the founding of the Nuremberg Gazette in 1457. Among the most important bits of news which it was the good fortune of this paper to publish to the world was the discovery of Peru. The first Italian newspaper was the Notizie Scritte, issued monthly in Venice, in 1566. This paper was sold for a "gazzeta," a small Italian coin, whence is generally traced the newspaper title "Gazette." The first English newspaper was the English Mercurie, published during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and is said to have been founded specially to publish the reports regarding the approach and maneuvers of the Spanish Armada. In 1622 Nathaniel Butter began the publication of the Weekly News, the first regular English newspaper. He also introduced the custom of having newspapers hawked about the streets. The early English newspapers were an unique combination of the incredible, the grotesque and the ridiculous. In the Marine Mercury we read a solemn account of the appearance of a mermaid off the coast of England. The reporter who wrote the article had an extraordinarily vivid imagination, even for a reporter, for he writes that the lady carried a comb in one hand and a mirror in the other.
The contents of the papers were not more remark-able than their names. There were the Mercurius Bellicosus, the Mercuric Pragmatical, and a rival publication, the Anti-Mercurius Pragmaticus; the Parliamentary Kite, the Secret Owl, and a number of others of equally suggestive title. When the original copy was exhausted it was for a long time customary to fill up the gaping columns with appropriate extracts from the Bible, until the editor of the Flying Post hit upon the admirable idea of leaving one-half of his paper blank so that, as he announced editorially, "any gentleman, in sending his copy to family or friends, may dispatch with it his private business." During the reign of Charles the Second English newspapers became such mischief-makers that their number was restricted to twelve. In 1712 a law was enacted placing a tax of half a penny per sheet upon newspapers. Upon the accession of Queen Anne a new era of journalism began. Addison's Spectator and Steele's Tattler, both of which had their inception during this auspicious period, were the foreshadowings of the newspaper of today. To Addison belongs the credit of suggesting the modern newspaper in its chatty trivialities. During Anne's reign the Daily Courant, the first daily paper deserving of the name, was started. The St. James Gazette was established in 1724; the Morning Chronicle in 1769, and the Times in 1788, all three of which have survived until the present time. Although the largest and more prosperous papers in the British Empire, the circulation of none of these exceeded 5,000 copies at the beginning of the present Century. Even so late as 1834 the Times considered itself a marvelously important and prosperous paper with a circulation of 10,000 copies daily.
The first newspaper published in the United States appeared in Boston on September 25, 1690. It was a quaint little sheet, and bore the equally quaint title of "Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick. Published by Benjamin Harris at the London Coffee House. Printed by Richard Price." The editorial announcement was as follows : "It is designed that the country be furnished once a month (or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener) with an account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our notice." In 1704 John Campbell, the postmaster of Boston, established the Boston News-Letter, which regaled its readers with extracts from paragraphs in Latin, stating that they would also be favored with literary pabulum in Greek were it not for the lack of the proper type. The people were apparently satisfied with the journalism of the day, and in fact resented any departure from their time-honored traditions. When the Salem Gazette appeared as a bi-weekly there was much indignation over what seemed to the good New Englanders a needless waste of paper and energy. The popular prejudice was ex-pressed thus by a prominent citizen : "It is nonsense to disturb the people's minds by sending newspapers among them twice a week to take their attention from duties they have to perform."
The beginning of the Nineteenth Century did not see any material improvement in newspapers over those of Addison's time, but as the years went by and as improved machinery and processes for printing and engraving were introduced the modern newspaper gradually came into being. The application of the electric telegraph to the dissemination of intelligence domes-tic and foreign gave a new significance to journalism, and indeed completely revolutionized that institution. Sunday papers began to appear as the Century neared its first quarter, and in the next twenty-five years the great New York dailies the World, the Sun, the Tribune and the Times came into being. In 1843 a very important newspaper event occurred in England. This was the founding of the Economist by James Wilson. This was the first paper to devote itself to the journalism of public economies. When the French traveler, De Tocqueville, visited America in 1835 he was amazed at the number of our newspapers, at the same time deprecating their lack of dignity.
In 1848-49 the Associated Press was formed. This organization became the disseminator of intelligence from all quarters of the globe, and is to-day one of the most important factors in journalism. During the Civil War American newspapers and journalistic methods made great strides, nor have the chariot wheels of progress tarried since that time. Newspapers have been growing- better and better and bigger and bigger as the years go by, and in proportion as they have become better and bigger they have likewise grown more cheap and plentiful. The newspaper of to-day is incomparably the noblest and most useful purpose to which the invention of printing has been turned. It is by far the most glorious of the triumphs which typography, in all probability, is destined to achieve.
The first great step toward facilitating the production of the modern newspaper was made by Colonel Robert Hoe, of New York, in 1840, when the first of the type-revolving presses was built. This invention marked the beginning of an epoch in the history of the printing industry. The Hoe press embodied a new principle, the type being placed on the circumference of a cylinder which rotates about a horizontal axis. At about the same time a type-revolving press was devised by Mr. Applegath for the London Times. In deference to the proprietor of the paper it was called the Walter Press. The only material difference between the English and the American inventions was that in the former the type-holding cylinder revolved on a vertical axis. The capacity of these presses varied according to the number of impression cylinders arranged around the type cylinder, presses being successively made with four, six, eight, and ten impression cylinders, respectively. Among the first of the multiple cylinder presses erected by Robert Hoe was one for the Philadelphia Ledger in 1846, and one for the parisian daily paper, La Patrie, in 1848. The first eight-cylinder press was built for the New York Sun in 185o, and the first ten-cylinder press for the New York Herald in 1857. The modern perfecting press so called because both sides of the paper are printed in passing through the press became possible only after the perfecting of the stereotyping process.
Prior to 1860 all promptly issued editions of newspapers were printed from the type forms being locked together on the circumference of the cylinder by mechanical methods. To make stereotype plates with sufficient expedition for newspaper work had not before that time been considered practicable. In 1861 the difficulty was removed by the employment of a steam bed to dry a novel style of papier mache matrix, which could be conveniently used for making stereotyped reproductions of the type pages in the form of plates to fit around the type-bearing cylinders. For this process a number of sheets of tissue paper are pasted together and, while still moist, are pressed into the hollows of the type. A sheet of stout unsized paper, called "plate paper," is then laid on top, and a strong pressure applied. In this condition the paper matrix is dried and hardened by a gentle heat until it is fit to be used for casting the metal. For this purpose the matrix is placed on the internal surface of an iron semi-cylinder, with the face containing the impression of the type inward. The matrix is held in place by clamping screws, a cylindrical iron core occupies the central part of the semi-cylinder, a small space being left between the concave face of the mold and the convex surface of the core. This intervening space is then filled with a molten metal composed of an easily fusible alloy of lead, antimony and other metals. This takes the form of the mold with great accuracy, and when the metal is solidified, which happens very quickly, the core is first lifted out and then the plate in the form of a semi-cylinder, the internal surface of which has exactly the diameter of the external surface of the roller of the machine on which it is to be placed. This semi-cylindrical plate is one-half the length of the roller, and represents one page of the newspaper, so that four such plates are fixed on the circumference of each revolving cylinder. At first it required half an hour to make a single plate by this process, but now a plate is made in about seven minutes, and a half-dozen duplicates of the same plate can be made in 15 minutes, as the process of casting in no way injures the paper mold. The process of stereotyping is used for all styles of newspaper presses, and frequently for book work of the cheaper grades.
The perfecting of the stereotyping process gave a great impetus to the development of the newspaper as we know it to-day. The type-revolving printing presses, with their capacity of from 10,000 to 20,000 sheets an hour, were the marvel of their time, and did good service during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Effective as they were, their supremacy was shortlived, and they are now only a memory. In 1863 the first web perfecting press was erected by Bullock, and the printing industry experienced another great revolution whose ultimate results are the marvelous machines now in use, capable of turning out from 50,000 to 100,000 papers, perfected and folded, in an hour. The Hoe Octuple press of the present day is indeed one of the modern mechanical wonders of the world. This press prints, folds and cuts 96,000 complete eight-page papers per hour, or 1,600 every minute, or 48,000 sixteen-page papers, the size of the page being that of the ordinary newspaper. The press is fourteen feet high and twenty-five feet long. It contains eight impression cylinders, each cylinder having a capacity for eight stereotype plates or pages on its circumference. The paper of double width is fed from four independent rolls, seventy-three inches wide, one side being printed upon as the paper passes over the set of stereotype plates on one cylinder, and the other side being printed upon as it passes over the plates of another cylinder. The paper travels through the cylinders at the rate of thirty-two and one-half miles per hour, the sheets being automatically cut, pasted, folded and counted out in bundles of twenty-five. Although the work is automatically performed after the press is started it requires the work of ten men and boys to operate the machine and to remove the folded sheets as fast as they are printed.
In 1893 an innovation was introduced into news-paper printing. This was the colored supplement, now so popular in the Sunday editions of the great metropolitan dailies. The idea had long been a fixed one in the minds of newspaper proprietors, but it was impossible to carry it out because up to the date mentioned no machine equal to the quality of work required had been produced. The press which finally met the requirements was that invented by F. Meisel. This press not only prints in four colors in one operation, but prints on both sides, folds, cuts and delivers the sheet free from smudge or offset. The principle involved in the printing of a sheet in three colors and black is that of the solar spectrum, which reduces light to the three primary and the four secondary colors, and by the application of the primary colors, one over the other, succeeds in the production of not only the three colors, but by different surfaces on the printing blocks, obtains the different tones which make color printing acceptable and artistic. The press frame is built in the form of two double arches, between which the different cylinders are placed, there being two cylinders for each color, one to carry the plates and the other on which the printing is done. When the paper is inserted between the first pair of rolls it strikes the yellow, the first color to be printed. This is the first color printed in all processes of printing, and in lithography is called the foundation color. The lates, which are electrotypes of engravings or the engravings themselves, are made flat, and afterward bent to a size suitable for the cylinder made to receive them. In close proximity to the cylinder is a semi-circular carriage holding the form rollers. These rollers are adjusted in sockets, so that when the carriage is brought into position the inking rollers' come in exactly the proper contact with the plates. To supply the rollers with ink the same device common to all presses is used. A fountain of ink is placed in close proximity to the rollers. An iron cylinder revolves slowly in the fountain, presenting a new surface to the fountain roller at every trip which the latter makes to the vibrating distributing roller, which first receives it. The latter is a large roller of steel, which comes in contact with two inking rollers. The ink is well distributed before it reaches the plates by a series of rollers. From the yellow the band of paper passes to the red plates, which are inked in the same way. The result thus far obtained is a sheet of paper clearly printed not only in yellow and red, but there also appear the different tones of orange produced where the red is made to cover the yellow, the depth of tone being dependent upon the relative strength of the yellow and red. The sheet having received its impress from the red cylinder now passes to the blue, from which it emerges colored in all the gorgeous tints of the rainbow. Not only do the yellow, red and blue appear upon the sheet, but all the tints which combinations of those colors naturally produce. After the colors are printed the paper passes to the black rollers. Then it is ready to be printed on the other side. As it leaves the black cylinder the paper is joined by an offset web of manila paper, and together the two webs pass through the last pair of printing cylinders. The idea of the offset web is to take the surplus ink from the first side, and as it constantly presents a fresh surface the printed paper is freed from smut. This press runs at a marvelous speed considering the complications involved in its work. Seven thousand eight-page sections are printed in an hour, and even a higher speed is possible at the risk, however, of an inferior output.