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Title: The Building of a Book - A Series of Practical Articles Written by Experts in the - Various Departments of Book Making and Distributing
Author: Various
Language: English
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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all
other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has
been maintained.]

                    THE BUILDING OF A BOOK


                    WITH AN INTRODUCTION
                   BY THEODORE L. DE VINNE

                          EDITED BY
                   FREDERICK H. HITCHCOCK

                [Illustration: Editor's arm.]

                     THE GRAFTON PRESS
                PUBLISHERS       NEW YORK

                     Copyright, 1906,
                  By THE GRAFTON PRESS.
                Published December, 1906.

                TO READERS AND LOVERS
                 OF BOOKS THROUGHOUT
                      THE COUNTRY


"The Building of a Book" had its origin in the wish to give practical,
non-technical information to readers and lovers of books. I hope it
will also be interesting and valuable to those persons who are
actually engaged in book making and selling.

All of the contributors are experts in their respective departments,
and hence write with authority. I am exceedingly grateful to them for
their very generous efforts to make the book a success.

                                        THE EDITOR.



    INTRODUCTION                                                     1
        By THEODORE L. DE VINNE, of Theodore L.
        De Vinne & Company, Printers, New York.

    THE AUTHOR                                                       4
        By GEORGE W. CABLE, Author of "Grandissimes,"
        "The Cavalier," and other books. Resident of
        Northampton, Massachusetts.

    THE LITERARY AGENT                                               9
        By PAUL R. REYNOLDS, Literary Agent, New York,
        representing several English publishing houses and
        American authors.

    THE LITERARY ADVISER                                            16
        By FRANCIS W. HALSEY, formerly Editor of the
        _New York Times Saturday Review of Books_, and
        literary adviser for D. Appleton & Company. Now
        literary adviser for Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York.

    THE MANUFACTURING DEPARTMENT                                    25
        By LAWTON L. WALTON, in charge of the
        manufacturing department of The Macmillan Company,
        Publishers, New York.

    THE MAKING OF TYPE                                              31
        By L. BOYD BENTON, Mechanical Manager of the
        Jersey City factory of the American Type Founders'

    HAND COMPOSITION AND ELECTROTYPING                              41
        By J. STEARNS CUSHING, of J. S. Cushing &
        Company, Norwood, Massachusetts, one of the three
        concerns forming the Norwood Press.

    COMPOSITION BY THE LINOTYPE MACHINE                             53
        By FREDERICK J. WARBURTON, Treasurer of the
        Mergenthaler Linotype Machine Company.

    COMPOSITION BY THE MONOTYPE MACHINE                             66
        By PAUL NATHAN, a member of Wood & Nathan,
        New York, selling agents for the Lanston Monotype

    PROOF-READING                                                   77
        By GEORGE L. MILLER, with the Charles Francis
        Press, New York.

    PAPER MAKING                                                    89
        By HERBERT W. MASON, of S. D. Warren & Company,
        Paper Makers, Boston, Massachusetts.

    PRESSWORK                                                       99
        By WALTER J. BERWICK, of Berwick & Smith
        Company, Norwood, Massachusetts, one of the three
        concerns constituting the Norwood Press.

    THE PRINTING PRESS                                             112
        By OTTO L. RAABE, with R. Hoe & Company, New
        York, Printing Press Manufacturers.

    PRINTING INK                                                   139
        By JAMES A. ULLMAN, of Sigmund Ullman Company,
        Ink Makers, New York.

    THE PRINTER'S ROLLER                                           144
        By ALBERT S. BURLINGHAM, President of the
        National Roller Company, New York.

    THE ILLUSTRATOR                                                154
        By CHARLES D. WILLIAMS, Artist, New York.

    HALF-TONE, LINE, AND COLOR PLATES                              164
        By EMLYN M. GILL, President of the Gill
        Engraving Company, New York.

    THE WAX PROCESS                                                176
        By ROBERT D. SERVOSS, Engraver of maps,
        etc., by the wax process, New York.

    MAKING INTAGLIO PLATES                                         180
        By ELMER LATHAM, Manager of the mechanical
        department of M. Kramer & Company, Photogravure
        Makers, Brooklyn, New York.

    PRINTING INTAGLIO PLATES                                       190
        By GEORGE W. H. RITCHIE, Printer of
        photogravure plates, etchings, etc., New York.

    THE GELATINE PROCESS                                           198
        By EMIL JACOBI, Manager of the factory
        of the Campbell Art Company, New York, and
        Elizabeth, New Jersey.

    LITHOGRAPHY                                                    204
        By CHARLES WILHELMS, late of
        Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing
        Company, Brooklyn, New York.

    COVER DESIGNING                                                216
        By AMY RICHARDS, Artist, New York, her
        specialty being cover designs.

    THE COVER STAMPS                                               221
        By GEORGE BECKER, of Becker Brothers
        Company, Die Cutters, New York.

    BOOK CLOTHS                                                    226
        By HENRY P. KENDALL, of the Holliston Mills,
        Book Cloth Manufacturers, Norwood, Massachusetts.

    BOOK LEATHERS                                                  234
        By ELLERY C. BARTLETT, of Louis Dejonge &
        Company, Dressers and Importers of Book Leathers,
        New York.

    THE BINDING                                                    237
        By JESSE FELLOWES TAPLEY, President of
        J. F. Tapley Company, Binders, New York.

    SPECIAL BINDINGS                                               248
        By HENRY BLACKWELL, Fine Binder, New York.

    COPYRIGHTING                                                   257
        By FREDERICK H. HITCHCOCK, Member of the
        New York Bar; President of The Grafton Press,
        Publishers, New York.

    PUBLICITY                                                      269
        By VIVIAN BURNETT, formerly in charge of
        the Publicity Department of McClure, Phillips
        & Company, Publishers, New York.

    REVIEWING AND CRITICISING                                      292
        By WALTER LITTLEFIELD, a Member of the Staff
        of the _New York Times Saturday Review of Books_,
        and literary correspondent of the _Chicago
        Record-Herald_, and other papers.

    THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN                                        303
        By HARRY A. THOMPSON, formerly representing
        John Lane, and Small, Maynard & Company, Publishers.
        Now one of the Associate Editors of the _Saturday
        Evening Post_, Philadelphia.

    SELLING AT WHOLESALE                                           320
        By JOSEPH E. BRAY, formerly with A. C.
        McClurg & Company, Wholesalers, Chicago. Now with
        the Outing Publishing Company, New York.

    SELLING AT RETAIL                                              328
        By WARREN SNYDER, Manager of the Book Stores
        of John Wanamaker, Philadelphia and New York.

    SELLING BY SUBSCRIPTION                                        339
        By CHARLES S. OLCOTT, Manager of the
        Subscription Department of Messrs. Houghton,
        Mifflin & Company, New York.

    SELLING AT AUCTION                                             350
        By JOHN ANDERSON, Jr., President of the
        Anderson Auction Company, New York.

    SELECTING FOR A PUBLIC LIBRARY                                 362
        By ARTHUR E. BOSTWICK, Chief of the
        Circulation Department of the New York Public Library.

    RARE AND SECOND-HAND BOOKS                                     370
        By CHARLES E. GOODSPEED, Dealer in Rare and
        Second-hand Books, Boston.



By Theodore L. De Vinne.

To the hasty observer printing seems the simplest of arts or crafts.
The small boy who has been taught to spell can readily arrange
lettered blocks of wood in readable words, and that arrangement is
rated by many as the great feature of printing. With his toy
printing-press he can stamp paper upon inked type in so deft a manner
that admiring friends may say the print is good enough for anybody.
The elementary processes of printing are indeed so simple that they
might have justified Dogberry in adding typography to the
accomplishments of the "reading and writing that come by nature." With
this delusion comes the desire for amateur performance. Men who would
not undertake to make a coat or a pair of shoes are confident of their
ability to make or to direct the making of a book.

In real practice this apparent simplicity disappears. Commercial
printing is never done quickly or cheaply by amateur methods. The
printing-house that undertakes to print miscellaneous books for
publishers must be provided with tons of type of different faces and
sizes. It needs type-making and type-setting machines of great
complexity, printing-presses of great size and cost, and much curious
machinery in the departments of electrotyping and bookbinding; but
these machines, intended to relieve the drudgery of monotonous manual
labor, do not supplant the necessity for a higher skill in
craftsmanship. They really make that craftsmanship more difficult.

The difficulty of good book-making is greater now than ever.
Improvements made during the last century in processes of engraving
and the making of ink and paper and the increasing exactions of
critical readers and reviewers, compel a closer attention to the petty
detail of manufacture. The novice soon finds that some of the methods
recently introduced are incompatible with other methods. For the
production of a superior book practical experience and theoretical
study of all processes are needed to harmonize their antagonisms. One
has but to read over the headlines of the foregoing table of contents
to note how many different arts, crafts, and sciences are required in
the construction of a well-made book. A reading of these articles
makes one understand the scope and limitations of each art and the
necessity for its proper adjustment in its relation to the
workmanship of other crafts with which it may be associated.

For this purpose this book has been prepared. It is believed that a
compilation of the experience of men eminent in their respective
departments will be a useful guide to the amateur in authorship or the
novice in publication.


By George W. Cable.

In a certain fine and true sense books of imaginative writing--and the
present writer cannot undertake to speak of any others--are not built,
but born. Nevertheless, there has always been an unlucky tendency on
the part both of writers and readers to overstate this non-mechanical
nature of poetic works, whether in prose or verse, and to give the
processes of this production that air of mystery--not to say
miracle--in which art is always tempted to veil its methods. There is
an anatomy of the book, which is not its life, but is just as real as
its life, and only less essential. There is an architecture awaiting
the book while it is still in its author's brain; and for want of due
regard to this architecture's laws, for want of a sound and shapely
anatomy, many a book misses the success--not commercial only, but
spiritual as well--which the amount of toil and talent spent on it
ought to earn. And now that reading has become so democratic that the
fortunes of a book of the imagination are largely in the hands of the
Crowd, which cares nothing and feels nothing as to grace of form and
tone in what it reads, the commercial risk in the physical deformities
of a book is not so great as the risk of its spiritual failure. Now,
too, that the magazines have made it so very desirable to the author
that his work should be printed first in them, their mechanical
limitations, which are legion, bear upon the author and often seem to
him (and his personal friends) to bear cruelly. This difficulty is not
a flattering or gentle discipline, nor are its discriminations always
good or always bad. It works almost as crudely as that of the stage
works on the theatrical dramatist. A cunning subservience to it covers
a multitude of sins, and often achieves for the literary craftsman
place and preference over the truer artist, if he overlooks the need
of being also a craftsman. Yet it is the hard demand, not of the
magazines alone, but of every highest interest, that the cure for this
injustice be found in the truest artist making himself also the
cunningest craftsman. "He that would be first among you let him be the
servant of all."

Well, then, what are some of these mechanical rules of construction?
The space here allowed--see there, for instance!--gives room for but a
hint or two; but, first of all, an author should know before the
actual constructure of his creation begins to rise, how long it is to
be. Of course he would like to say he cannot tell; that he is in the
hands of his muse, and all that; but the truth is, his "artistic
temperament" is trying to shirk the drudgery of the engineering
problem involved. It is far better for him as an artist that he should
thoroughly solve that problem; it will take time and labor, but it
need not waste them. The length of his work will, or should, depend
upon the breadth of it; by which we mean that a certain fulness of
treatment involves a certain length. For instance, one cannot
reasonably hope to keep a story short if it is about several persons
and involves a conflict of their characters or fates. That is the
second necessity; the length must be planned in proportion to the
breadth. But, thirdly, both length and breadth should be governed by
the importance, the dignity, the substantial value, the business, the
substance, the spiritual stuff, of which the projected book is to
consist. Hence the writer of true literary conscience will put the
first, as above named, last, and the last first: spiritual substance,
then breadth, then length.

In order to make fairly sure of these essentials, as well as for other
reasons, the author should have a clear determination of all the main
features of the structure he proposes to raise. Especially the bridge
should not be itself begun until its builder knows very definitely
where and how it is to reach the other shore; nothing between the
beginning and the end is so important to be sure about from the
beginning, as the end. There is a great difference among writers as
to the sense of need for a complete preliminary framework on which to
build. But beyond doubt many feeble, many abortive, results come of
having too little preparatory framework, too slender a scenario, to
use a playwright's word which authors and editors are borrowing more
and more.

It seems good that a literary artist should always write for himself.
Yet, of course, he should write unselfishly; we may say he would do
well always to aim at the entertainment of the noblest minds, even
when he does not exhort their loftiest moods. But he certainly
achieves much besides if, while he does these things, at the same time
and in the same doing he entertains the great commonalty of readers.
If he does this, and all the more if he has the rare genius to do all
these in one, his books, we may almost say, _ought_ to go first
through the magazines. If he wants them to do so, then it will be a
godsend to himself as well as to the editors if he will lay his plans,
as far as they have any arithmetical character (and they can have
much), according to the magazines' mechanical exigencies. He should
know just how much of any magazine page his own typewritten pages will
occupy; how many of its own pages that magazine commonly allows to
writings of the kind he proposes to offer--how many yearly, and how
many monthly; and so on. It is well that he should know the best time
of the magazine's business year in which to seek to arrange with
them. To a certain degree magazines actually "lay in stock" for a
coming season and after that, for a time, are languid buyers.

Be it understood that these remarks are as impromptu as a letter, and
are intended only as hints and pointers. Yet much as they leave
unstated, let a word be said as to the relation of the author to his
book after he and all the later artisans of it have done their several
parts in its building, and it is built. The care of the edifice ought
still to be, far more than it commonly is, in the author's hands. The
publisher has the fortunes of hundreds of works to promote and keep in
repair; the author has but his own. Even an author may say that any
publisher is glad to have suggestions from any author as to plans for
keeping the children of that author's own brain alive in the world.


By Paul R. Reynolds.

The work of the literary agent in the building of a book may be
roughly divided into two parts, first, in relation to the author, and
second, in relation to the publisher. When the author has finished his
manuscript, he brings it to the literary agent to be placed. The
literary agent reads it and decides what house is most likely to
publish such a book. He does not offer a book on Nervous Disorders to
a house which never publishes that kind of book. He does not offer a
sensational novel to a conservative house. He offers a book on
Political Economy to a house which publishes that class of book and
which is in touch with the people who buy books of that order. Among a
number of houses which bring out books of any definite class, he can
select the house that is most energetic in pushing its books, that has
behind it a prestige and name which will help its publications, and
which possesses the requisite skill to lay its wares before the public
advantageously. The success of many a book has depended more on the
shrewdness of the publisher in laying it before the public in
attractive and seductive guise than either the public or the author
often realize.

If the publisher accepts the manuscript offered to him by the literary
agent, the latter arranges terms with the publisher, making as good a
business arrangement as all the conditions justify. He draws up the
contract with the publisher, and after the book is published, he
collects the royalties from the publisher as they fall due. He enables
the author to avoid any house that has a reputation for sharp
practices. Knowing the personnel of the different houses, he knows the
proper man to approach in offering his book, and he is of aid to the
author in blowing his trumpet for him, telling what his previous work
has been, in a way that the author, sensitive as he often is, cannot
properly do. In short, the agent takes off the author's shoulders all
the business end of publishing, leaving him free to devote himself to
his own proper vocation without the vexatious business worries which
he finds all the more vexatious because he has not had any training or
experience in coping with them.

I think the literary agent can be, and as time goes on, will be, of
increasing use to the publisher. The literary agent, if he understands
his business, takes up no manuscript in which he does not believe.
When he brings the publisher a manuscript, it is because he thinks
there is money in such manuscript for the publisher, for the author,
and as far as commission is concerned, for himself. While it is an
advantage to the author that he should have the judgment of the agent,
because the agent looks at any manuscript from a cold-blooded business
point of view, it is also of advantage to the publisher to know that
the agent, free from the confidence and perhaps the bias that the
author has about his own wares, is offering him any individual
manuscript because he (the agent) believes it will sell. The result is
that the publisher gets to know that the agent won't offer him a
manuscript that is not up to a certain standard, and which, even
though it should in the end not prove suitable to this publisher's
special list, must receive careful consideration. In this way the
agent becomes of use to the publisher because he tries never to offer
him anything that is mere trash or that simply wastes the publisher's
time. Some time ago a publishing house wrote to an agent telling him
they wanted a certain kind of novel for the next season, and
describing, with a good deal of particularity, the kind of book they
wanted. The agent, after thinking the matter over, submitted two
manuscripts. The publisher considered them and accepted both. In such
a case the agent had certainly been of great use to the publisher. He
had given him what he was looking for, and had saved him the nuisance
and the actual expense of reading through a large number of
manuscripts before finding the right one.

It may be admitted frankly that the agent is sometimes accused of
asking more for his wares than they are worth. In reply to this
accusation it may be said that asking is not getting, and the agent
who asks more than the market justifies, and thereby spoils the
chances of a satisfactory arrangement, is not serving the best
interests of his client. On the other hand, he will get the best price
obtainable in the market, taking into consideration the character of
the publishing house, its prestige and ability in pushing books, and
as he is offering and selling every day he can generally obtain a
better price and make a better arrangement than the author can.
Realizing that the author and publishers are partners in an enterprise
whose success depends upon a frank and clear understanding, he will do
his best to make such relations friendly and harmonious and to the
mutual advantage of both parties to the contract, never forgetting,
however, that his especial client is the author, and that it is his
duty to represent the author's interests.

One of the notable features of the times is the growth of magazines.
The arrangement for the serialization of a long story in a magazine,
the placing of short stories and articles in magazines, the selling of
stories, articles, and books in England, and arranging the
simultaneous issue in both countries,--all this involves an immense
amount of detail which one has to encounter fully to realize.
Sometimes, where an author is putting out a good many manuscripts, the
complications are numerous and perplexing. In the case of one author
living abroad whom we will call Smith, a book was arranged with a
house A, and a second with a house B. The author was taken ill, could
not finish the first book in time so that A had to postpone it till
the next year, and this meant that B had to postpone his book. Then a
publishing house took a story which the same author had sold direct to
it for magazine publication, without reserving book rights, and
brought such story out in book form. This meant another complication.
After B had postponed his book twice the author produced another book
which he thought better than the second book, and wished published
before B's book. Four times B was asked to postpone his book and each
time agreed to, though not without certain _quid pro quos_. All these
matters the agent had to straighten out, while the author was living
three thousand miles away.

The agent can also be of use to the author because he looks at any
manuscript in an objective rather than in a subjective way. The
author, who has toiled and striven over the child of his brain,
regards it as fathers generally regard their children. Sometimes he
cannot see its faults, sometimes he misjudges its virtues. It is too
much a part of himself to be regarded coldly and calmly. When the
publisher makes an offer for a book the author may with hasty disdain
wish to reject it as entirely inadequate, or he may wish to accept it
with eager haste, so glad is he for the chance of seeing the book in
print. In this state of hasty acceptance or hasty rejection, the agent
can look upon an offer calmly and dispassionately, to be accepted or
rejected as the author's best interests shall dictate. Then again, as
time goes on, more and more authors must live at a distance from the
great centres. Some of them live in the uttermost parts of the earth.
One author wrote recently to his agent from the wilds of Africa,
saying, "I have found a nicely secluded spot, surrounded by gorillas
and chimpanzees." To such authors it is essential that they should
have an agent who is in touch with the publishers who are publishing
their works.

Then again, the agent can be of use to the author in sparing him some
of the bitterness that the author feels when his manuscript is
rejected. Who that has read it can ever forget the story of how
Hawthorne, while still struggling for success, submitted a collection
of short stories to a publisher, and of how the publisher, not having
much capital, laid the manuscript aside, intending to publish it when
things were a little easier; and how Hawthorne, after months of dreary
waiting, wrote an angry letter to the publisher, and when he got the
manuscript back, in bitter, hopeless rage burned it up? Years
afterward the publisher admitted that the manuscript contained some of
the most exquisite work Hawthorne had ever written. This story
emphasizes the intense sensitiveness of the author about his work.
Often after two or three rejections he will give the manuscript up as
hopeless and of no value, while it may be that he has only failed to
find the house that is looking for that kind of book. An agent, if he
has once taken the book up, does not drop it so quickly. Only recently
an agent sold a book which had been declined by fifteen houses to the
sixteenth. He is willing to persevere with a manuscript and with an
author, in spite of rebuffs and discouragement, if he believes that
the author has merit; and if he is willing to persevere with an author
in the day of small things, he will reap his reward later on.

In conclusion the writer believes that the agent, as he has tried to
indicate, can perform a definite and valuable service to both author
and publisher by helping the author to bring his wares to the man who
will publish them most advantageously, and by obtaining for the author
the prices that such wares are worth in the open market, and he can
help the publisher by acting as a sifter and bringing before the
publisher and editor manuscripts that are really worthy of


By Francis W. Halsey.

The position of literary adviser to a publishing house differs in its
duties, according as the adviser may be employed in a house highly
organized, or in one that is not. When the organization is such that
the duties in the various departments are not well differentiated, the
adviser's work will be likely to involve many things that properly
belong to the manufacturing and advertising departments. These
conditions, however, if they exist at all, will be found in the
smaller houses, or in houses which, as to personnel, are undergoing
reorganization; they are, and ought to be, exceptional.

The adviser's actual duties should pertain almost exclusively to the
manuscripts, and to the relations of the house with those who produce
them. In this way, the adviser acts as an intermediary between the
publisher and the author. This relation seems, on the surface, to be
somewhat delicate, and it usually is confidential, but most men find
the occupation an agreeable one. Authors as a class, so far from being
an irritable race, will usually be found, at least in their relations
to publishers, not only interesting men and women, but candid and
reasonable human beings. Probably the most delightful rewards of the
literary adviser's calling come from the opportunities it gives him to
extend his friendships among charming people.

Any house which is large enough to employ a literary adviser will
probably receive, in the course of a year, at least one thousand
unsolicited manuscripts, which will come from every part of the
country. They will naturally be of widely varying degrees of
excellence; quite two-thirds of them will be fiction, and a
considerable number will bear convincing evidence of having already
been for some time in search of a publisher. Testimony from various
houses has at different times been given as to the percentage of
volunteered manuscripts which eventually find acceptance. It does not
materially vary, being from one to two per cent. Some years ago, in
order to test this estimate, I went carefully over the unsolicited
manuscripts which had reached a large publishing house during a period
of several months, and found that exactly one and one-half per cent of
them had been published.

This small showing should not imply that the remaining ninety-eight or
ninety-nine per cent could in fairness be called worthless. With
occasional exceptions, rejected manuscripts have been prepared with
considerable intelligence; knowledge of themes is shown in them;
there is some real literary skill in evidence, and particular care has
been taken to secure legibility, about nine-tenths of them being in
typewritten form. What they lack is certain other qualities more vital
in the formation of a judgment as to their availability. In the case
of fiction, they lack novelty of treatment, or for some other reason
fail to be interesting, and in general there has not been infused into
them the real breath of life. When they deal with serious subjects,
they often cover ground which has been better covered before, or they
attempt to achieve the not-worth-while, or the impossible.

There is always a small number of manuscripts against which no other
objection can be raised than that it would be impossible to secure
from the public an adequate return in sales for the expenditure
necessary in the manufacture and distribution of the books. One of the
pathetic sides of the publishing business is the fact that manuscripts
of this kind cannot oftener, in this day and generation, secure the
amount of attention they deserve from the reading public. When a sale
of one or two thousand copies would be necessary to make good the cost
of publication, the publisher is confronted with the fact that he
could not secure a sale exceeding five hundred. Indeed, when one
considers the almost certain fate that awaits them, pathos of the most
genuine kind is closely associated with volunteered manuscripts--those,
I mean, which come from new writers. Hardly any form of endeavor to
which educated minds devote themselves should more often awaken
sympathetic feeling. Those who produce them almost always have their
rewards far to seek, and seeking will not find them, and yet they
"wrought in sad sincerity."

The public is familiar with stories of successful books which, in the
course of their peregrinations, were several times rejected by
publishers. This, doubtless, has been the experience of all authors
who have made notable successes with first books, and it doubtless
always will be the experience of new authors. But along with this we
must set down the further, but consoling fact, that probably no
meritorious manuscript, possessing the possibilities of a great sale,
ever yet failed ultimately to find a publisher. The best proof of this
seems to be the absence of any notable instance of a book which, after
being rejected by all the regular houses, finally was brought out
privately, or at the author's expense, and then made a hit.

It is a common impression that manuscripts are not carefully read in
publishing houses. Again and again has this fiction been exploded by
houses whose word should be accepted as final, but it now and then
lifts up its head as if untouched before. Of course there are
manuscripts which no one ever reads completely through from beginning
to end, chapter by chapter, and page by page, simply because it has
been found not to be necessary to do so. Every conscientious reader,
however,--and most readers known to me have been nothing if not
conscientious,--reads at least far enough into a manuscript to learn
if there be anything in it that in the least degree is promising. He
understands full well the danger of overlooking a meritorious work,
and experience has taught him to be careful. Moreover, he is usually
fired with the worthy ambition to make a discovery; but he acts
according to his light only, and hence makes mistakes. The conditions
in which his work is done, however, preclude the possibility of
careless reading.

It is doubtless true--indeed, I believe the records of every
publishing house in the country will sustain this statement--that
while no house has failed at some time in its career to reject at
least one manuscript that was afterwards a highly successful book,
mistakes of this kind have been extremely few; whereas the mistakes
made by the same houses in accepting manuscripts that were afterward
found to be unprofitable have been numerous. A further fact, which is
seldom borne in mind, although it ought always to be remembered in any
discussion of literary success, is that highly successful books
usually bring to their publishers as much surprise as they do to any
one else. This is distinctly true of novels by new writers, whose
"big-sellers" have seldom or never been anticipated. It is well known
in the trade that at least two, and probably a half-dozen, books
highly successful during the past ten years, and all the works of new
writers, were sent to press for the first edition, with a printing
order for only two thousand copies.

The public has gotten very much into the habit of judging the fortunes
of a publishing house by the successful fiction which it puts forth,
and this is also true of many men in the trade, whose means of knowing
better ought to be ample. Probably the literary gossip prevalent in
newspapers and periodicals is largely responsible for this habit. The
facts are, however, that, from these books alone, no publishing house
in this country is, or could be, well sustained. Unless there be in
the background some other publishing enterprise that is producing
constant revenue from year to year, mere fiction will accomplish
little to make or save the publisher. The real sources of stability
lie elsewhere, far beyond the ken of the superficial observer, and
they are very commonly overlooked. In one instance, this mainstay is
religious books; in another a cyclopædia; in another medical books, or
educational; in another a dictionary; in another a periodical; and
fortunate the house that has not one, but two or three, such sources
of prosperity.

It might be set down as an axiomatic statement that no large
publishing house in this country could possibly live exclusively from
what are known as miscellaneous books, by which is meant current
fiction and other ephemeral publications. The worst thing about such
books is that they create no assets; their life is short, and once it
is ended, the plates have value only as old metal. A house, therefore,
in publishing this class of books finds that each season it must begin
all over again the work of creating business for itself. Books of the
more substantial kind, however, whether they be religious,
educational, scientific, medical, or in other senses books of
reference, do not perish with the passing of a season. Once the right
kinds have been found, they are good for at least ten years, and not
infrequently for a generation.

But this is wandering somewhat away from the subject of the literary
adviser. His duties primarily are to preserve and to create good-will
from authors toward the house which employs him, for that good-will is
an asset of the first importance to a publishing house. Other kinds of
good-will at the same time are essential to its fortunes,--notably the
good-will of the bookseller and that of the book buyer,--but behind
these, and primarily as the source of these, lies the good-will of the
author. Houses now known to be the most prosperous in this country
possess this good-will in abundance. So, too, the houses which are
destined to much longer life are those which, by all legitimate
means, shall seek to preserve and increase that good-will. Equally
true is it, that the houses which in future shall fail will be those
which do not cultivate and cherish the good-will of authors as the
most valuable asset they can ever hope to possess.

It is because of this possession that a publisher gets an author's
book. It was by this means that he got the books he already has, and
by this will he get those which will make him successful in the
future. His books being good, it is through them that the bookseller's
good-will is acquired, and through them also that the publisher will
secure the good-will of the book buyer. No wiser words on this subject
have been uttered in our generation than those which may be found,
here and there, in "A Publisher's Confession," which I hope was
written, as reputed, by Walter H. Page, for it is certainly sound
enough and sane enough to be his:--

     "The successful publisher sustains a relation to the
     successful author that is not easily transferable. It is a
     personal relation. A great corporation cannot take a real
     publisher's place in his attitude to the author he serves."

     "Every great publishing house has been built on the strong
     friendships between writers and publishers. There is in
     fact, no other sound basis to build on; for the publisher
     cannot do his highest duty to any author whose work he does
     not appreciate and with whom he is not in sympathy. Now,
     when a man has an appreciation of your work, and sympathy
     for it, he wins you. This is the simplest of all
     psychological laws,--the simplest of all laws of friendship,
     and one of the soundest."

     "Mere printers and salesmen have not often built publishing
     houses. For publishing houses have this distinction over
     most other commercial institutions--they rest on the
     friendship of the most interesting persons in the world, the
     writers of good books."

     "And--in all the noisy babble of commercialism--the writers
     of our own generation who are worth most on a publisher's
     list respond to the true publishing personality as readily
     as writers did before the day of commercial methods. All the
     changes that have come into the profession have not, after
     all, changed its real character, as it is practised on its
     higher levels. And this rule will hold true--that no
     publishing house can win and keep a place on the highest
     level that does not have at least one man who possesses this
     true publishing personality."

These are golden words. Men who knew them as self-evident truths laid
the foundations, and in a few instances reared the superstructures, of
the most famous publishing houses known to modern literature. Let us
in part call the roll, restricting it to the dead: James T. Fields,
the first Charles Scribner, George P. Putnam, Fletcher Harper, William
H. Appleton, Daniel Macmillan, and the second John Murray. These men
were more than publishers, adding as they did to that vocation the
duties of the literary adviser, and becoming the ablest of their kind.
Well may the literary adviser of our day, who is seldom himself a
publisher, read the story of their lives and take heart from it in the
discharge of his own duties.


By Lawton L. Walton.

The manufacture of a book consists primarily of the processes of
typography,[1] or type composition, or the setting up of
type--presswork or printing--photo-engraving or other methods of
reproduction--designing--die-cutting--and binding, all of which are
involved in transforming a manuscript into the completed book as it
reaches the reader.

                   [Footnote 1: The word "typographer" is used to
                   differentiate between the compositor and the
                   printer, the latter being the one who does the

In the machinery of a modern publishing house the manufacturing man is
the person who follows these processes in their devious volutions and
evolutions, until the finished production comes from the binder's

After a manuscript has been accepted by a publishing house, it is
turned over to the manufacturing man with such general instructions
regarding the make-up of the book, as may have been considered or
discussed with the author, who invariably and sometimes unfortunately,
has some preconceived notion of what his book should look like.

The manufacturing man then selects what he considers a suitable style
and size of type and size of letter-press page for the book, and sends
the manuscript to the typographer with instructions to set up a few
sample pages, and to make an estimate of the number of pages that the
book will make, so as to verify his own calculations in this respect.

If these sample pages do not prove satisfactory, others are set up,
until a page is arrived at finally that will meet all the requirements
that the publisher deems necessary. This is then invariably submitted
to the author for his approval.

This detail settled, the typographer is now instructed to proceed with
the composition and to send proofs to the author. Sometimes a book is
set up at once in page form but more often first proofs are sent out
in galley strips, on which the author makes his corrections before the
matter is apportioned into pages; another proof in page form is sent
to the author on the return of which the typographer casts the
electrotype plates from which the book is printed, unless, as in rare
instances, the book is to be printed from the type, when no
electrotype plates are made.

The manufacturing man keeps in touch with this work in its various
stages as it proceeds, and as soon as the number of pages that the
book will make can definitely be determined, he places an order for
the paper on which it is to be printed.

Meanwhile, if the book is to be illustrated, an illustrator must be
engaged, and furnished with a set of early proofs of the book from
which to select the points or situations to illustrate. When the
drawings are finally approved they are carefully looked over, marked
to show the sizes at which they are to be reproduced, and sent to the
engraver for reproduction.

Upon receipt of the reproductions from the engraver, the proofs are
carefully compared with the originals, and if the work has been
satisfactorily performed, the cuts are sent to the typographer or the
printer for insertion in their proper places in the plates or type
matter of the book.

The matter of the paper on which the book is to be printed has now to
be considered: First, the size of the page, _i.e._ the apportionment
of the margins around the page of letter-press, is decided. Second,
the quality of paper to be used, and the surface or finish is then
selected; and finally, the bulk or thickness that the book must be, to
make a volume of proper proportions, is determined. The paper is then
ordered, to be delivered to the printer who will print the book.

Time was when paper was made by hand in certain fixed sizes, and the
size of the book was determined by the number of times the sheet of
paper was folded, and the letter-press page was adapted to the size
of the paper. In these days of machinery, when paper can be made in
any size of sheet desired, the process is reversed: the size of the
letter-press page is determined and the size of the sheet of paper
adapted thereto. Upon receipt of the paper the printer sends a
full-sized dummy of it to the manufacturing man so that he may compare
it with the order that was given to the paper dealer. The book is then
put to press, and as soon as the printing has been completed, the
printed sheets are delivered to the binder.

If the book is to have a decorative cover, a designer has been
employed to furnish a suitable cover design. When the design has been
approved, it is turned over to the die cutter to cut the brass dies
used by the binder in stamping the design on the cover of the book.

The dies when finished are sent with the design to the binder to be
copied. He stamps off some sample covers until the result called for
by the designer has been attained and is then ready to proceed with
the operation of binding the book, as soon as the printed sheets have
been delivered to him from the printer.

The binder is usually supplied by the printer with a small number of
advance copies of the book, before the complete run of the sheets has
been delivered. These advance copies are bound up at once and
delivered to the manufacturing man so that any faults or errors may
be caught and improvements be made before the entire edition of the
book is bound.

Printed paper wrappers for the book have been made and supplied to the
binder for wrapping each copy, and as soon as the books are bound,
they are wrapped and delivered at the publisher's stock rooms.

The manufacturing man sees that early copies of each new book, for
copyright purposes, are furnished to the proper department that
attends to that detail, and that early copies also are supplied to the
publicity department, to place with editors for special or advance

The manufacturing man also provides the travelling representatives of
his house with adequate dummies (_i.e._ partly completed copies) of
all new books as soon as the important details of their make-up have
been decided.

This brief outline covers all of the steps in the process of the
evolution of a book. Reams, however, could be devoted to the
innumerable details that interweave and overlap each other with which
the manufacturing man has to contend, when, as is often the case in
our larger publishing houses, he has from forty to fifty books, and
sometimes more, in process of manufacture at one time. I know of no
man to whom disappointment comes more often than to him,--from the
delays due to causes wholly unavoidable, to the blunders of stupid
workmen and the broken promises of others; but these are all
forgotten when the completed book, that he has worried over in its
course through the press, in many instances for months, reaches his
hands completed, "a thing of beauty."


By L. Boyd Benton.

Type are made of type metal, a mixture of tin, antimony, lead, and
copper. As antimony expands in solidifying, advantage is taken of this
quality, and the mixture is so proportioned that the expansion of the
antimony will practically counteract the shrinkage of the other
ingredients. The proportion of the mixture is varied according to the
size and style of type and to the purposes for which it is used.

Type are cast separately in moulds, a "matrix" at the end of the mould
forming the letter or other character.

Machinery is used very largely in modern type-making. The steps of its
manufacture are in this order: drawing the design, producing of a
metal pattern therefrom, placing the pattern either in the engraving
machine to produce steel punches and type-metal originals, or in the
matrix-engraving machine to produce matrices, adjusting the matrix to
the mould, and finally, casting the type.

The design for a new style of type is made generally with pen and
ink, the capital letters being drawn about an inch high and the others
in predetermined proportions. When the design is for a plain text
letter, similar to that with which this book is printed, it is
essential to have the letters proportioned and shaped in such a manner
as will cause the least strain on the eye in reading, and, at the same
time, produce a pleasing effect when the page is viewed as a whole.
When the printed page conveys information to the reader, without
attracting attention to itself, it is ideal.

While this is true in regard to a design for a text letter, the design
for a display type is often made to attract attention, not only to
itself, but to what it proclaims, by its boldness and beauty and
sometimes even by its ugliness.

After the design has been drawn, it is placed in a "delineating
machine," where an enlarged outline pencil copy, or tracing, is made,
so large that all errors are easily seen and corrected. New designs
may, however, be drawn in outline by hand on the enlarged scale, thus
rendering unnecessary both the pen-and-ink drawing and the tracing.

With the aid of the delineating machine, the operator, besides being
able to produce an accurately enlarged outline pencil tracing of a
design, is also enabled, by various adjustments, to change the form of
the pencil tracing in such a manner that it becomes proportionately
more condensed or extended, and even italicized or back-sloped. That
is, from a single design, say Gothic, pencil tracings can be made
condensed, extended, italicized, and back-sloped, as well as an
enlarged facsimile.

The next operation consists in placing the enlarged outline pencil
drawing in a machine which enables the operator to reproduce the
outline drawing, reduced in size, on a metal plate, evenly covered
with wax, with the line traced entirely through the wax. The plate is
then covered with a thin layer of copper, electrically deposited, and
is "backed up" with metal, and trimmed and finished, similar to an
ordinary electrotype plate of a page of type. A copper-faced metal
plate is thus produced, on which are the raised outlines of a letter.
This is called the "pattern." From this pattern all regular type sizes
may be cut. It determines the shape of the letter, but the size and
variations from the pattern are determined later by the adjustments of
the engraving machine in which it is used.

The pattern is now sent to the engraving room. Machines have
superseded the old-fashioned way of cutting punches and originals by
hand, and they have enormously increased the production of new type
faces. Whereas in the old days it took about eighteen months to bring
out a new Roman face, or style of letters, in seven different sizes,
to-day it can be done in about five weeks. The reason is that formerly
only one artist, known as a punch-cutter, could work on a single face,
and he had to cut all the sizes, otherwise there were noticeable
differences in style. By machine methods, where all sizes can be cut
simultaneously, it is only a question of having the requisite number
of engraving machines.

As to the quality of machine work, it is superior to hand work both in
accuracy and uniformity. The artist formerly cut the punches, or
originals, by hand under a magnifying glass, and the excellence of his
work was really marvellous. However, when changing from one size to
another, there were often perceptible variations in the shapes of the
letters, or the sizes were not always evenly graded. By the machine
method the workman uses the long end of a lever, as explained below,
and has therefore a greater chance of doing accurate work. In addition
to this, a rigid pattern forms the shape of the letter, and to it all
sizes must conform.

Another gain the machine has over hand-cutting is its greater range.
When the old-time artist made an unusually small size of type for
Bible use, he did it with great strain on his eyes and nerves. At any
moment his tool might slip and spoil the work. With the machine, on
the other hand, and with no physical strain whatever, experimental
punches have been cut so small as to be legible only with a
microscope--too small, in fact, to print. At present there are two
styles of engraving machines employed,--one cutting the letter in
relief,--called a "punch" if cut in steel, and an "original" if cut in
type metal,--and the other cutting a letter in intaglio,--called a
"matrix." Both machines are constructed on the principle of the lever,
the long arm following the pattern, while the short arm moves either
the work against the cutting tool, or the cutting tool against the
work. The adjustments are such that the operator is enabled to engrave
the letter proportionately more extended or condensed, and lighter or
heavier in face, than the pattern. All these variations are necessary
for the production of a properly graded modern series containing the
usual sizes. In fact, on account of the laws of optics, which cannot
be gone into here, only one size of a series is cut in absolutely
exact proportion to the patterns.

As it is impossible to describe these machines clearly without the aid
of many diagrams and much technical language, only a brief description
of their operation will be given.

When the letters are to be engraved in steel, blocks or "blanks" are
cut from soft steel and finished to the proper size. A blank is then
fastened in the "holder," the machine for cutting the letter in relief
adjusted to the proper leverage, and the pattern clamped to the "bed."
The long arm of the lever, containing the proper "tracer" or follower,
is moved by the operator around the outside of the pattern on the
copper-faced metal plate, causing the blank to be moved by the
shorter arm around and against a rotating cutting tool. This operation
is repeated several times with different sizes of tracers and
different adjustments to enable the cutting tool to cut at different
depths, until finally a steel letter in relief is produced, engraved
the reverse of the pattern and very much smaller. After being hardened
and polished, this is called a steel punch, and, when driven into a
flat piece of copper, it produces what is known as a "strike" or
unfinished matrix.

If in the same machine type metal is used for blanks, the resulting
originals are placed in a "flask," or holder, and submerged in a bath,
where they receive on the face of the letter a thick coating of
nickel, electrically deposited. As soon as the deposit is of
sufficient thickness, they are removed and the soft metal letters
withdrawn, leaving a deep facsimile impression in the deposited metal,
which also is an unfinished matrix.

The machine for engraving a matrix in intaglio is operated in much the
same manner as that for engraving a punch in relief. The same patterns
are used, but the operator traces on the inside of the raised outline
instead of on the outside. Besides following the outline, the operator
guides the tracers over all the surface of the pattern within the
outlines; otherwise the letter would appear in the matrix in outline
only. The matrices are cut in steel and in watchmakers' nickel, and
the work is so accurately done that about half the labor of finishing
is saved.

It will be noted from the foregoing that all three processes of
engraving end in the production of an unfinished matrix.

The adjusting of the matrix to the mould is technically called
"fitting," and requires great skill. If type are cast from unfitted
matrices, be the letters ever so cleverly designed and perfectly cut,
when assembled in the printed page they will present a very ragged
appearance. Some letters will appear slanting backward, others
forward, some be above the line, others below; some will perforate the
paper, while others will not print at all; the distances between the
letters will everywhere be unequal, and some will print on but one
edge. Indeed, a single letter may have half of these faults, but when
the matrices are properly fitted, the printed page presents a smooth
and even appearance.

The mould for this purpose is made of hardened steel, and in it is
formed the body of the type. The printing end is formed in the matrix.
The mould is provided at one end with guides and devices for holding
the matrix snugly against it while the type is being cast, and for
withdrawing the matrix and opening the mould when the type is
discharged. At the opposite end from the matrix is an opening through
which the melted metal enters. The moulds are made adjustable so that
each character is cast the proper width, the opening of course being
wider for a "W" than for an "i." Only one mould is necessary for one
size of type, and with it all the matrices for that size may be used.
Commercially, however, it is often necessary to make several moulds of
the same size in order to produce the requisite amount of type.

After the adjustments are made, the casting of the type follows. Type
are now cast in a machine which is automatic, after it is once
adjusted to cast a given letter. The melted type metal is forced by a
pump into the mould and the matrix, and when solidified, the type is
ejected from the mould and moved between knives which trim all four
sides. The type are delivered side by side on a specially grooved
piece of wood, three feet long, called a "stick," on which they are
removed from the machine for inspection. Type are cast at the rate of
from ten to two hundred per minute, according to the size, the speed
being limited only by the time it takes the metal to solidify. To
accelerate this, a stream of cold water is forced through passages
surrounding the mould, and a jet of cold air is blown against the

The automatic casting machine performs six different operations.
Formerly, all of them, except the casting itself, were done by hand,
and each type was handled separately, except in the operation of
dressing, or the final finishing, where they were handled in lines of
about three feet in length.

After the type have been delivered to the inspector, they are examined
under a magnifying glass and all imperfect type are thrown out. The
perfect type are then delivered to "fonting" room, where they are
weighed, counted, and put up in suitable packages in proper proportion
of one letter with another, ready for the printer.

Formerly the various sizes of type were indicated by names which had
developed with the history of type making. It was a source of
considerable annoyance to printers that these old standards were not
accurate, and that two types of supposedly the same size, and sold
under the same name, by different makers, varied so much that they
could not be used side by side. Of recent years the "point" system, by
which each size bears a proportionate relation to every other size,
has done much to remedy this trouble, and now nearly all type is made
on that basis. An American point is practically one seventy-second of
an inch. Actually it is .013837 inch. It was based on the pica size
most extensively in use in this country. This pica was divided into
twelve equal parts and each part called a point. All the other sizes
were made to conform to multiples of this point. The point is so near
a seventy-second of an inch that printers frequently calculate the
length of the pages by counting the lines, the basis being twelve
lines of 6 point, nine lines of 8 point, eight lines of 9 point, and
six lines of 12 point to the inch. This calculation is really quite

The following table will show the old and new names for the various

  3-1/2 Point,      Brilliant.
  4-1/2 Point,      Diamond.
  5 Point,          Pearl.
  5-1/2 Point,      Agate.
  6 Point,          Nonpareil.
  7 Point,          Minion.
  8 Point,          Brevier.
  9 Point,          Bourgeois.
  10 Point,         Long Primer.
  11 Point,         Small Pica.
  12 Point,         Pica.
  14 Point,         2-line Minion or English.
  16 Point,         2-line Brevier.
  18 Point,         Great Primer.
  20 Point,         2-line Long Primer or Paragon.
  22 Point,         2-line Small Pica.
  24 Point,         2-line Pica.
  28 Point,         2-line English.
  30 Point,         5-line Nonpareil.
  32 Point,         4-line Brevier.
  36 Point,         2-line Great Primer.
  40 Point,         Double Paragon.
  42 Point,         7-line Nonpareil.
  44 Point,         4-line Small Pica or Canon.
  48 Point,         4-line Pica.
  54 Point,         9-line Nonpareil.
  60 Point,         5-line Pica.
  72 Point,         6-line Pica.


By J. Stearns Cushing.

The form of the book, the size of the type page, and the size and
style of the type having been determined, the manuscript is handed to
the foreman of the composing room, with all the collected directions
in regard to it. He fills out a scheme of the work which tells the
whole story,--somewhat as shown in illustration opposite page 42.

Under the heading "Remarks," in the scheme shown, are noted general
directions as to capitalization, punctuation, and spelling (whether
Webster, Worcester, or English spelling--which means generally not
much more than the insertion of the "u" in words like "favor,"
"honor," etc., and the use of "s" instead of "z" in words like
"recognize," "authorize," etc.). Sometimes these directions are given
by the publisher, sometimes by the author, but more often by the
superintendent or foreman of the printing-office. The office generally
has a fairly well established system, which is followed in the absence
of other orders. It is rarely the case that it is not the wisest
course, if one is dealing with a reputable firm of printers, to leave
all such details, except deciding the dictionary to be followed, to
them. It is their business, and they will, if allowed, pursue a
consistent and uniform plan, whereas few authors and fewer publishers
are able, or take the pains, to do this. Too often the author has a
few peculiar ideas as to punctuation or capitalization, which he
introduces just frequently enough to upset the consistent plan of the
printer. He will neither leave the responsibility to the latter nor
will he assume it himself, and the natural result is a lack of
uniformity which might have been avoided if the printer had been
allowed to guide this part of the work without interference.

The compositors who are to set the type are selected according to the
difficulty of the matter in hand, and each one is given a few pages of
the "copy," or manuscript. The portion thus given each compositor is
called a "take," and its length is determined by circumstances. For
instance, if time is an object, small takes are given, in order that
the next step in the forwarding of the work may be started promptly
and without the delay which would be occasioned by waiting for the
compositor to set up a longer take.

When the compositor has finished his take, the copy and type are
passed to a boy, who "locks up" the type on the galley--a flat brass
tray with upright sides on which the compositor has placed his
type--and takes a proof of it upon a galley-or "roller"-press. This is
the proof known as a "galley-proof," and is, in book work, printed on
a strip of paper about 7 × 25 inches in size, leaving room for a
generous margin to accommodate proof-readers' and authors'
corrections, alterations, or additions.

[Illustration: MEMORANDUM No.

  Date: ____
  Name and Address of Author: ____
  Name and Address of Publisher: ____
  Uniform with ____
  Size of Page: ____
  Type,--Old Style or Modern face: ____
  Text in ____ leaded with ____
  Foot-notes ____ in leaded with ____
  Extract in ____ leaded with ____
  Other Types: ____
  Running Titles in ____
  Left-hand Running Title: ____
  Right-hand Running Title: ____

  PROOFS to be sent as follows:

  1st Rev. and Copy to ____
  2d Rev. and Old Rev. to ____

  (Put Changes of Orders as to Proofs in this column.)

  F. Proofs: ____
  When begun: ____ When to be completed: ____
  REMARKS. ____]

[Illustration: Example of a proof-read page of "Address at Gettysburg".]

The galley-proof, with the corresponding copy, is then handed to the
proof-reader, who is assisted by a "copy-holder" (an assistant who
reads the copy aloud) in comparing it with the manuscript and marking
typographical errors and departures from copy on its margin. Thence
the proof passes back again to the compositor, who corrects the type
in accordance with the proof-reader's markings. Opposite page 44 is a
specimen of a page proof before correction and after the changes
indicated have been made.

New proofs are taken of the corrected galley, and these are revised by
a proof-reader in order to be sure that the compositor has made all
the corrections marked and to mark anew any he may have overlooked or
wrongly altered. If many such occur, the proof is again passed to the
compositor for further correction and the taking of fresh proofs. The
reviser having found the proof reasonably correct, and having marked
on its margin any noticed errors remaining, and also having "Queried"
to the author any doubtful points to which it is desirable that the
latter's attention should be drawn, the proof--known as the "first
revise"--and the manuscript are sent to the author for his reading and
correction or alteration.[2]

                   [Footnote 2: If the book is to be illustrated, the
                   author or publisher should be particular to
                   indicate the position of all cuts by pasting proofs
                   of them on the margin of the galley-proofs nearest
                   the place desired. The time occupied by the
                   "make-up" in "overrunning" matter for the insertion
                   of cuts is charged as "author's time," and they can
                   be inserted at less expense in the galley-proofs
                   while making-up the type into pages than at any
                   other time. All alterations, so far as practicable,
                   for the same reason, should also be made in the
                   galley-proofs, especially those which involve an
                   increase or decrease in the amount of matter, since
                   changes of this nature made in the page-proof
                   necessitate the added expense of a rearrangement of
                   the made-up pages of type.]

On the return of the galley-proofs to the printer, the changes
indicated on the margins are made by compositors selected for the
purpose, and the galleys of type and the proofs are then turned over
by them to the "make-up." The "make-up" inserts the cuts, divides the
matter into page lengths, and adds the running titles and folios at
the heads of the pages.

At this stage the separate types composing the page are held in place
and together by strong twine called "page cord," which is wound around
the whole page several times, the end being so tucked in at the corner
as to prevent its becoming unfastened prematurely. The page thus held
together is quite secure against being "pied" if proper care is
exercised in handling it, and it can be put on a hand-press and
excellent proofs readily taken from it. A loosely tied page, however,
may allow the letters to spread apart at the ends of the lines, or the
type to get "off its feet," or may show lines slightly curved or
letters out of alignment. The proof of a page displaying such
conditions often causes the author, unlearned in printers' methods,
much perturbation of mind and unnecessary fear that his book is going
to be printed with these defects. These should in reality be no cause
for worry, since by a later operation, that of "locking-up" the "form"
in which the pages will be placed before they are sent to the
electrotyping department, the types readily and correctly adjust

Proofs of these twine-bound pages are taken on a hand-press, passed to
the reviser for comparison with the galley-proofs returned by the
author, and if the latter has expressed a wish to see a second revise
of the proofs, they are again sent to him. For such a "second revise"
and any further revises an extra charge is made. The proofs to which
an author is regularly entitled are a duplicate set of the first
revise, a duplicate set of "F"-proofs,--to be mentioned later,--and
one set of proofs of the electrotype plates; though it may be added
that the last is not at all essential and is seldom called for.

Usually the author does not require to see another proof after the
second revise, which he returns to the printer with his final changes
and the direction that the pages may be "corrected and cast," that
is, put into the permanent form of electrotype plates. Some authors,
however, will ask to see and will make alterations in revise after
revise, even to the sixth or seventh, and could probably find
something to change in several more if the patience or pocketbook of
the publisher would permit it. All the expense of overhauling,
correcting, and taking additional proofs of the pages is charged by
the printer as "author's time." It is possible for an author to make
comparatively few and simple changes each time he receives a new
revise, but yet have a much larger bill for author's changes than
another who makes twice or thrice as many alterations at one time on
the galley-proof, and only requires another proof in order that he may
verify the correctness of the printer's work. The moral is obvious.

After the pages have been cast, further alterations, while entirely
possible, are quite expensive and necessarily more or less injurious
to the plates.

The author having given the word to "cast," the pages of type are laid
on a smooth, level table of iron or marble called an "imposing stone."
They are then enclosed--either two or three or four pages together,
according to their size--in iron frames called "chases," in which they
are squarely and securely "locked up," the type having first been
levelled down by light blows of a mallet on a block of smooth, hard
wood called a "planer." This locking-up of the pages in iron frames
naturally corrects the defects noted in the twine-bound pages, and not
only brings the type into proper alignment and adjustment, but
prevents the probability of types becoming displaced or new errors
occurring through types dropping out of the page and being wrongly

When the locking-up process is completed, the iron chase and type
embraced by it is called a "form." A proof of this form is read and
examined by a proof-reader with the utmost care, with a view to
eliminating any remaining errors or defective types or badly adjusted
lines, and to making the pages as nearly typographically perfect as
possible. It is surprising how many glaring errors, which have eluded
all readers up to this time, are discovered by the practised eye of
the final proof-reader.

The form having received this most careful final reading, the proof is
passed back to the "stone-hands"--those who lock up and correct the
forms--for final correction and adjustment, after which several more
sets of proofs are taken, called "F"-proofs (variously and correctly
understood as standing for "final," "file," or "foundry" proofs). A
set of F-proofs is sent to the author to keep on file, occasionally
one is sent to the publisher, and one set is always retained in the
proof-room of the printing-office. These proofs are characterized by
heavy black borders which enclose each page, and which frequently
render nervous authors apprehensive lest their books are to appear in
this funereal livery. These black borders are the prints of the
"guard-lines," which, rising to the level of the type, form a
protection to the pages and the plates in their progress through the
electrotyping department; but before the plates are finished up and
made ready for the pressroom, the guard-lines, which have been moulded
with the type, are removed.

After several sets of F-proofs have been taken, the form is carried to
the moulding or "battery" room of the electrotyping department, where
it leaves its perfect impress in the receptive wax. Thence it will
later be returned to the composing room and taken apart and the type
distributed, soon to be again set up in new combinations of letters
and words. The little types making a page of verse to-day may do duty
to-morrow in a page of a text-book in the higher mathematics.

After the type form has been warmed by placing it upon a steam table,
an impression of it is taken in a composition resembling wax which is
spread upon a metal slab to the thickness of about one-twelfth of an
inch. Both the surface of the type and of the wax are thoroughly
coated with plumbago or black lead, which serves as a lubricant to
prevent the wax from adhering to the type.

As the blank places in the form would not provide sufficient depth in
the plate, it is necessary to build them up in the wax mould by
dropping more melted wax in such places to a height corresponding to
the depth required in the plate, which is, of course, the reverse of
the mould, and will show corresponding depressions wherever the mould
has raised parts. If great care is not taken in this operation of
"building-up," wax is apt to flow over into depressions in the mould,
thereby effacing from it a part of the impression, and the plate
appears later without the letters or words thus unintentionally
blotted out. The reviser of the plate-proofs must watch carefully for
such cases.

The mould is now thoroughly brushed over again with a better quality
of black lead than before, and this furnishes the necessary metallic
surface without which the copper would not deposit. Then it is
"stopped out" by going over its edges with a hot iron, which melts the
wax, destroys the black-lead coating, and confines the deposit of
copper to its face.

After carefully clearing the face of the mould of all extraneous
matter by a stream of water from a force-pump, it is washed with a
solution of iron filings and blue vitriol which forms a primary copper
facing. It is then suspended by a copper-connecting strip in a bath
containing a solution of sulphate of copper, water, and sulphuric
acid. Through the instrumentality of this solution, and the action of
a current of electricity from a dynamo, copper particles separate
from sheets of copper (called "anodes," which are also suspended in
the bath) and deposit into the face of the mould, thus exactly
reproducing the elevations and depressions of the form of type or
illustrations of which the mould is an impression. After remaining in
the bath about two hours, when the deposit of copper should be about
as thick as a visiting card, the mould is taken from the bath and the
copper shell removed from the wax by pouring boiling hot water upon
it. A further washing in hot lye, and a bath in an acid pickle,
completely removes every vestige of wax from the shell. The back of
the shell is now moistened with soldering fluid and covered with a
layer of tin-foil, which acts as a solder between the copper and the
later backing of lead.

The shells are now placed face downward in a shallow pan, and melted
lead is poured upon them until of a sufficient depth; then the whole
mass is cooled off, and the solid lead plate with copper face is
removed from the pan and carried to the finishing room, where it is
planed down to a standard thickness of about one-seventh of an inch.
The various pages in the cast are sawed apart, the guard-lines
removed, side and foot edges bevelled, head edge trimmed square, and
the open or blank parts of the plate lowered by a routing machine to a
sufficient depth to prevent their showing later on the printed sheet.

Then a proof taken from the plates is carefully examined for
imperfections, and the plates are corrected or repaired accordingly,
and are now ready for the press.

Although, owing to the expense and to the fact that the plate is more
or less weakened thereby, it is desirable to avoid as much as possible
making alterations in the plates, they can be made, and the following
is the course generally pursued. If the change involves but a letter
or two, the letters in the plate are cut out and new type letters are
inserted; but if the alteration involves a whole word or more, it is
inadvisable to insert the lead type, owing to its being softer and
less durable than the copper-faced plate, and it will therefore soon
show more wear than the rest of the page; and so it is customary to
reset and electrotype so much of the page as is necessary to
incorporate the proposed alteration, and then to substitute this part
of the page for the part to be altered, by cutting out the old and
soldering in the new piece, which must of course exactly correspond in

As a patched plate is apt at any time to go to pieces on the press,
and may destroy other plates around it, or may even damage the press
itself, it is generally considered best to cast a new plate from the
patched one. This does not, however, apply to plates in which only
single letters or words have been inserted, but to those which have
been cut apart their whole width for the insertion of one or more

The plates having been finally approved, they are made up in groups
(or "signatures") of sixteen, and packed in strong boxes for future
storage. Each box generally contains three of these groups, or
forty-eight plates, and is plainly marked with the title of the book
and the numbers of the signatures contained therein.

The longevity of good electrotype plates is dependent upon the care
with which they are handled and the quality of paper printed from
them; but with smooth book paper and good treatment it is entirely
possible to print from them a half million impressions without their
showing any great or material wear.


By Frederick J. Warburton.

The Linotype, pronounced by _London Engineering_ "the most wonderful
machine of the century," was not the product of a day. Its creator,
whose early training had never touched the printer's art, was
fortunately led to the study of that art, through the efforts of
others, whose education had prepared them to look for a better method
of producing print than that which had been in use since the days of
Gutenberg; but his invention abolished at one stroke composition and
distribution; introduced for the first time the line, instead of the
letter, as the unit of composition; brought into the art the idea of
automatically and instantly producing by a keyboard solid lines of
composed and justified type, to be once used and then melted down;
rendered it possible to secure for each issue new and sharp faces;
abolished the usual investment for type; cheapened the cost of
standing matter; removed all danger of "pieing," and at the same time
reduced greatly the cost of composition. The story is an interesting

In the autumn of 1876, Charles T. Moore, a native of Virginia,
exhibited to a company of Washington reporters a printing machine upon
which he had been working for many years, and which he believed to be
then substantially complete. It was a machine of very moderate
dimensions, requiring a small motive power, and which bore upon a
cylinder in successive rows the characters required for printed
matter. By the manipulation of finger keys, while the cylinder was
kept in continuous forward motion, the characters were printed in
lithographic ink upon a paper ribbon, in proper relation to each
other; this ribbon was afterwards cut into lengths, arranged in the
form of a page, "justified," to a certain extent, by cutting between
and separating the words, and then transferred to a lithographic
stone, from which the print was made. Such print was not, of course,
of the highest character, but it was a beginning; and the machines
were used in Washington and New York, mainly in the transcription of
stenographic notes taken in law cases and in the proceedings of
legislative committees. A number of these machines was built, but
mechanical difficulties became so frequent that the parties interested
resolved, very wisely, before proceeding to build upon a large scale,
to put the machine into the hands of a thorough mechanical expert, so
that it might be tried out and a determination reached as to whether
or not it was a commercially practical one. At the head of the little
company of men who nurtured this enterprise and contributed most
largely by their labors and means to its development, were James O.
Clephane, a well-known law and convention reporter, and Andrew Devine,
then the Senate reporter of the Associated Press. In their search for
an expert, a Baltimore manufacturer named Hahl, who had constructed
some of these machines, was consulted, and upon his recommendation his
cousin, Ottmar Mergenthaler, was selected to undertake the work, and
thus the future inventor of the Linotype was discovered.

Mergenthaler was born in 1854, in Würtemberg, Germany, had been a
watchmaker, and at this time was employed upon the finer parts of the
mechanical work done in Hahl's shop. The contract was that
Mergenthaler was to give his services at a rate of wages considerably
beyond what he was then receiving, and Hahl was to charge a reasonable
price for the use of his shop and the cost of material. The task
undertaken, however, proved to be a far larger one than had been
anticipated, and the means of the promoters were exhausted long before
the modifications and improvements continually presented had been
worked out. The circle of contributors was therefore necessarily
widened, and indeed that process went on for years, enough, could they
have been foreseen, to have dismayed and disheartened those who were
there "in the beginning." Mergenthaler and Moore, assisted by the
practical suggestions of Clephane and Devine, continued to work upon
the problem for about two years, by which time the lithographic
printing machine had become one which indented the characters in a
papier-maché strip, and this being cut up and adjusted upon a flat
surface in lines, the way was prepared for casting in type metal. The
next step of importance was the production of the "bar indenting
machine," a machine which carried a series of metal bars, bearing upon
their edges male printing characters, the bars being provided with
springs for "justifying" purposes. The papier-maché matrix lines
resulting from pressure against the characters were secured upon a
backing sheet, over this sheet was laid a gridiron frame containing a
series of slots, and into these slots type metal was poured by hand to
form slugs bearing the characters from which to print. This system was
immediately followed by a machine which cast the slugs automatically,
one line at a time, from the matrix sheets.

It was in this work that Mergenthaler received the education which
resulted in his great invention and in due time he presented his plans
for a machine which was known as the "Band" machine. In this machine
the characters required for printing were indented in the edges of a
series of narrow brass bands, each band containing a full alphabet,
and hanging, with spacers, side by side in the machine. The bands
tapered in thickness from top to bottom, the characters being arranged
upon them in the order of the width-space which they occupied. By
touching the keys of a keyboard similar to a typewriter, the bands
dropped successively, bringing the characters required into line at a
given point; a casting mechanism was then brought in contact with this
line of characters, molten metal forced against it through a mould of
the proper dimensions, and a slug with a printing surface upon its
face was thus formed. This was recognized as a great advance and was
hailed with delight by the now largely increased company. The
necessary funds were provided and the building of the new machine
undertaken. But Mergenthaler continued active, and before a second of
the "Band" machines could be built, he had devised a plan for dealing
with the letters by means of independent matrices. These matrices were
pieces of brass measuring 1-1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch and of the
necessary thickness to accommodate the character, which it bore upon
its edge in intaglio; they were stored in the newly devised machine in
vertical copper tubes, from the bases of which they were drawn, as
required, by a mechanism actuated by finger keys, caught by the "ears"
as they dropped upon a miniature railway, and by a blast of air
carried one by one to the assembling point. Wedge spacers being
dropped in between the words, the line was carried to the front of the
mould, where "justification" and casting took place.

Success seemed at last to have been reached, and now the problem was,
first, how to obtain means to build machines, and second, how to
persuade printers to use them. The first of these was the easier,
although no slight task; the second was one of great difficulty. The
field for the machine then in sight was the newspaper, and the
newspaper must appear daily. The old method of printing from founder's
type, set for the most part by hand, was doing the work; a
revolutionary method by which the type was to be made and set by
machine, although promising great economies, was a dangerous
innovation and one from which publishers naturally shrank. They could
see the fate which awaited them if they adopted the new system and it
proved unsuccessful. However, a number of newspaper men, after a
careful investigation of the whole subject, determined to make the
trial; and the leaders of these were Whitelaw Reid of the _New York
Tribune_, Melvin Stone of the _Chicago News_ (to whom succeeded Victor
F. Lawson), and Walter N. Haldeman of the _Louisville Courier-Journal_.
Into these offices, then, the Linotype went. To Mr. Reid belongs the
honor of giving the machine a name--line of type--Linotype, and of
first using it to print a daily newspaper. Of the machine last
described, two hundred were built, but before they were half marketed,
the ingenious Mergenthaler presented a new form, which showed so
great an advance that it was perforce adopted, and the machines then
in use, although they gave excellent results, were in course of time
displaced. The new machine did away with the air blast, the matrices
being carried to the assembling point by gravity from magazines to be
hereafter described, and the distributing elevator was displaced by an
"arm" which lifted the lines of matrices, after the casting process,
to the top of the machine to be returned to their places.

The improvements made in the Linotype since Mergenthaler's time (who
died in 1899 at the early age of forty-five) have been very great;
indeed, almost a new machine has been created in doing what was
necessary to adapt it to the more and more exacting work which it was
called upon to perform in the offices of the great American book
publishers. These improvements have been largely the work of, or the
following out of suggestions made by, Philip T. Dodge, the patent
attorney of the parties interested in the enterprise from the
beginning, and later the president of the Mergenthaler Linotype
Company. They went on year after year under the supervision of a corps
of gifted mechanical experts, the chief of whom was John R. Rogers,
the inventor of the Typograph, until from the machine of Mergenthaler,
supplying through its ninety keys as many characters, a machine
appeared yielding three hundred and sixty different characters from
the like keyboard. The magazines, too, were capable of being charged
with matrices representing any face from Agate (5-point) to English
(14-point), and even larger faces for display advertising and for
initial letters, by special contrivances which cannot be described
without carrying this article beyond reasonable limits. Among the
ingenious devices added are: the Rogers systems of setting rule and
figure tables, box heads, etc.; the reversal of the line so as to set
Hebrew characters in their proper relation; the production of
printers' rules of any pattern; the making of ornamental borders; a
device for the casting of the same line an indefinite number of times
from one setting. The machine was also greatly simplified in its

The amount of money expended in the enterprise before the point of
profit was reached was very great; it aggregated many millions of
dollars; but the promoters had faith in the success of the machine and
taxed themselves ungrudgingly. Among those who contributed largely to
the ultimate result by substantial aid and wise counsel in the conduct
of the business the name of D. O. Mills should be particularly

It was Mergenthaler's great good fortune to have had as his supporters
many men of the character of those mentioned above, and in thus being
relieved of all financial anxiety and permitted to work out thoroughly
and without delay every idea that suggested itself either to him or
to the ingenious men who had been drawn into the enterprise. His
profits, too, were proportionate to the company's success, and
although he did not live to enjoy them for his natural term of years,
he had the satisfaction of knowing that a handsome income would
continue to flow into the hands of his wife and children.

The company's principal works are situated in the Borough of Brooklyn,
New York City, and have a space devoted to manufacturing purposes of
about one hundred and sixty thousand square feet. Approximately one
hundred Linotypes, besides a large number of smaller machines and a
vast quantity of supplies, are turned out from there every month; but
the growing demand from abroad for American-built machines has led to
the consideration of plans for an entirely new establishment, to be
built in accordance with the latest modes of factory construction.
About ten thousand Linotypes are now in daily use.

The machine as at present built is shown in part by the accompanying
cut, and its operation may be briefly described as follows:--

The Linotype machine contains, as its fundamental elements, several
hundred single matrices, which consist of flat plates of brass having
on one edge a female letter or matrix proper, and in the upper end a
series of teeth, used for selecting and distributing them to their
proper places in the magazine. These matrices are held in the
magazine of the machine, a channel of it being devoted to each
separate character, and there are also channels which carry quads of
definite thickness for use in tabular work, etc. The machine is so
organized that on manipulating the finger keys, matrices are selected
in the order in which their characters are to appear in print, and
they are assembled in line side by side at the point marked _G_ in the
illustration, with wedge-shaped spaces between the words. This series
of assembled matrices forms a line matrix, or, in other words, a line
of female type adapted to form a line of raised printed characters on
a slug which is cast against them. After the matrix line has been
composed, it is automatically transferred to the face of a slotted
mould, as shown at _K_, and while in this position the wedge spaces
are pushed up through the line, and in this manner exact and
instantaneous justification is secured. Behind the mould there is a
melting pot, _M_, heated by a flame from a gas or oil burner, and
containing a constant supply of molten metal. The pot has a perforated
mouth which fits against and closes the rear side of the mould, and it
contains a pump plunger mechanically actuated. After the matrix line
is in place against the front of the mould, the plunger falls and
forces the molten metal through the mouth pot into the mould, against
and into the characters in the matrix line. The metal instantly
solidifies, forming a slug having on its edge raised characters
formed by the matrices. The mould wheel next makes a partial
revolution, turning the mould from its original horizontal position to
a vertical one in front of an ejector blade, which, advancing from the
rear through the mould, pushes the slug from the latter into the
receiving galley at the front. A vibrating arm advances the slugs
laterally in the galley, assembling them in column or page form ready
for use. To insure absolute accuracy in the height and thickness of
the slugs, knives are arranged to act upon the base and side faces as
they are being carried toward the galley. After the matrices have
served their purpose in front of the mould, they are shifted laterally
until the teeth in their upper ends engage the horizontal ribs on the
bar _R_; this bar then rises, as shown by the dotted lines, lifting
the matrices to the distributor at the top of the machine, but leaving
the wedge spacers, _I_, behind, to be shifted to their box, _H_. The
teeth in the top of each matrix are arranged in a special order,
according to the character it contains, the number or relation of its
teeth differing from that of a matrix containing any other character,
and this difference insures proper distribution. A distributor bar,
_T_, is fixed horizontally over the upper end of the magazine and
bears on its lower edge longitudinal ribs or teeth, adapted to engage
the teeth of the matrices and hold the latter in suspension as they
are carried along the bar over the mouths of the magazine channels by
means of screws which engage their edges. Each matrix remains in
engagement with the bar until it arrives at the required point,
directly over its own channel, and at this point for the first time
its teeth bear such relation to those on the bar that it is permitted
to disengage and fall into the channel. It is to be particularly noted
that the matrices pursue a circulatory course through the machine,
starting singly from the bottom of the magazine and passing thence to
the line being composed, thence in the line to the mould, and finally
back singly to the top of the magazine. This circulation permits the
operations of composing one line, casting from a second, and
distributing a third, to be carried on concurrently, and enables the
machine to run at a speed exceeding that at which an operator can
finger the keys. A change from one face of type to any other is
effected by simply drawing off one magazine and substituting another
containing the face required, so that the variety of faces needs to be
limited only by the number of them which the printer chooses to carry
in his stock.

[Illustration: A Linotype Matrix.]

[Illustration: Diagram of the Linotype Machine.]

[Illustration: Linotype Slugs.]

[Illustration: The Linotype Melting Pot and Mold Wheel.]

Matrices are also made bearing two characters, as the ordinary body
character and the corresponding italics, or a body character and a
small capital or a black face, and either of these is brought into use
as desired by the touching of a key, so that if, for instance, it is
required to print a word in italics or black face at any part of the
line being composed, it is effected in this way, and composition in
the body letter is resumed by releasing the key.

The latest pattern of machine is supplied with two magazines,
superimposed one above the other, each with its own distributing
apparatus. The operator can elect, by moving a lever, from which
magazine the letter wanted will fall--the same keyboard serving for
both. It is thus possible to set two sizes of type from one machine,
each matrix showing two characters as described above.


By Paul Nathan.

Though for more than half a century machines adapted for the setting
of type have been in use, it is only within a few years that the
average printer of books has been enabled to avail himself of the
services of a mechanical substitute for the hand compositor. The fact
seems to be that despite the ingenuity that was brought to bear upon
the problem, the pioneer inventors were satisfied to obtain speed,
with its resultant economy, at the expense of the quality of the
finished product. Thus, until comparatively recently, machine
composition was debarred from the establishments of the makers of fine
books, and found its chief field of activity in the office of
newspaper publishers and others to whom a technically perfect output
was not essential so long as a distinct saving of time and labor could
be assured. Thanks, however, to persistent effort on the part of those
inventors who would not be satisfied until a machine was evolved which
should equal in its output the work of the hand compositor, the
problem has been triumphantly solved, and to-day the very finest
examples of the printed book owe their being to the mechanical

The claim is made for one of these machines, the monotype, that, so
far from lowering the standard of composition, its introduction into
the offices of the leading book printers of the world has had the
contrary effect, and that it is only the work of the most skilful hand
compositor which can at every point be compared with that turned out
by the machine. The fact that the type for some recent books of the
very highest class, so-called "editions de luxe," has been cast and
set by the monotype machine would seem to afford justification for
this claim, extravagant as at first glance it may appear.

The monotype machine is, to use a Hibernicism, two machines, which,
though quite separate and unrelated, are yet mutually interdependent
and necessary the one to the other. One of these is the composing
machine, or keyboard, the other the caster, or type-founder. To begin
with the former: this is in appearance not unlike a large typewriter
standing upon an iron pedestal, the keyboard which forms its principal
feature having two hundred and twenty-five keys corresponding to as
many different characters. This keyboard is generally placed in some
such position in the printing office as conduces to the health and
comfort of the operator, for there is no more noise or disagreeable
consequence attendant on its operation than in the case of the
familiar typewriter, which it so markedly resembles.

It has been said that the machines are interdependent; yet they are
entirely independent as to time and place. The keyboard, as a matter
of fact, acts as a sort of go-between betwixt the operator and the
casting-machine, setting the latter the task it has to perform and
indicating to it the precise manner of its performance. A roll of
paper, which as the keyboard is operated continuously unwinds and is
rewound, forms the actual means of communication between the two
machines. The operator, as he (or she, for in increasing numbers women
are being trained as monotype operators) sits facing the keyboard, has
before him, conveniently hanging from an adjustable arm, the "copy"
that has to be set in type. As he reads it he manipulates the keys
precisely as does an operator on a typewriter, but each key as it is
depressed, in place of writing a letter, punches certain round holes
in the roll of paper. Enough keys are depressed to form a word, then
one is touched to form a space, and so on until just before the end of
the line is reached (the length of this line, or the "measure," as it
is termed, has at the outset been determined upon by the setting of an
indicator) a bell rings, and the operator knows that he must prepare
to finish the line with a completed word or syllable and then proceed
to justify it. "Justification," as it is termed, is perhaps the
most difficult function of either the hand or the machine compositor.
On the deftness with which this function is discharged depends almost
entirely the typographic excellence of the printed page. To justify is
to so increase the distance between the words by the introduction of
type-metal "spaces" as to enable the characters to exactly fill the
line. To make these spaces as nearly equal as possible is the aim of
every good printer, and in proportion as he succeeds in his endeavor
the printed page will please the eye and be free from those
irregularities of "white space," which detract from its legibility as
well as from its artistic appearance.

[Illustration: The Monotype Keyboard.]

[Illustration: The Monotype Caster.]

That the monotype should not only "justify" each line automatically,
but justify with a mathematical exactness impossible of attainment by
the more or less rough-and-ready methods of the most careful human
type-setter is at first thought a little bewildering. The fact
remains, however, that it does so, and another triumph is to be
recorded for man's "instruments of precision."

Monotype justification is effected as follows: an ingenious
registering device waits, as it were, on all the movements of the
operator, with the result that when he has approached as close to the
end of the line as he dare go, he has merely to glance at a
cylindrical dial in front of him. The pointer on this dial signifies
to him which of the "justifying keys" he must depress. He touches
them in accordance therewith, and the line is justified, or rather it
_will_ be justified when, as will be seen later on, the casting
machine takes up its part of the work. That is the outward
manifestation; it remains to be seen in what manner the machine
accomplishes its task. Firstly, the machine automatically notes the
exact width of the space left over at the line's end; then, also
automatically, it records the number of spaces between the words
already set which form the incompleted line; finally, it divides the
residuary space into as many parts as there are word-spaces, and
allots to each of these one of the parts. Thus if there is one-tenth
of an inch to spare at the end of the line and ten word-spaces, then
one-hundredth of an inch added to each of these spaces will justify
the line with mathematical accuracy. But the machine will do something
more wonderful than this. It will separately justify separate parts of
the same line. The utility of this is comprehended when it is pointed
out that when the "copy" to be set consists of what is technically
termed "tabular" matter, the various columns of figures or so forth
composing it are not composed vertically but horizontally and so each
section must of necessity be justified separately.

Should the compositor be required to "over-run illustrations," as the
term goes, in other words to leave a space in which the "block" for a
cut may be inserted, so that it may have type all around it or on one
side of it only, the machine offers no difficulty at all. All that the
operator has to do in this case is to carry the composition of each
line as far as necessary and then complete it with a row of "quads,"
or spaces. Thus, when the composition is cast by the casting-machine
the space into which the block is to fit is occupied by a square of
"quads." These have only to be lifted out, the block inserted, and the
trick is done.

We will then imagine that the operator has finished his task. Of the
bank of two hundred and twenty-five keys in front of him (the
equivalent of a full "font" of type, with figures, italics, and
symbols complete), he has depressed in turn those necessary to spell
out the words of his copy, he has put a space between the words he has
justified in accordance with the dictates of the justifying dial, has
arranged the spaces for the insertion of blocks or illustrations, and
as the result of his labors he has merely a roll of perforated paper
not unlike that which operates the now familiar pianola or
piano-player. Yet this roll of paper is the informing spirit, as it
were, of the machine. Its production is the only portion of the work
of the monotype for which a human directing agency is necessary, every
other function being purely automatic.

The roll of perforated ribbon is lifted off the keyboard and put in
place on the casting-and setting-machine. As it is swiftly unwound it
delivers to the casting-machine the message with which the operator
has charged it. Through the perforations he has made compressed air is
forced. Now, as has been explained, the holes correspond to the
characters or typographic symbols of the "copy," and the jet of air
forced through them sets in motion the machinery, which controls what
is known as the "matrix-case," a rectangular metal frame about five
inches square, which contains two hundred and twenty-five matrices, or
little blocks of hardened copper, each one of which is a mould
corresponding to a character on the keyboard. This frame is mounted
horizontally on a slide, which by an ingenious mechanical movement
brings any one of the two hundred and twenty-five matrices over what
is termed the mould. The particular matrix thus placed in position is
determined by those particular holes punched in the paper ribbon at
the keyboard, through which the compressed air is at that precise
moment being forced.

The mould referred to is closed by the matrix, a jet of molten metal
is forced in, and in an instant the type is cast, its face being
formed by the matrix, its body or shank by the mould. The cast type is
ejected and takes its place in the galley, to be followed by another
and that by yet others in their regular rotation. It must, however, be
pointed out that the composition emerges from the machine hind part
foremost and upside down as it were. This enables the justification
holes, which were originally punched at the _end_ and not at the
beginning of each line, to direct the proper casting of the spaces in
the lines to which they correspond.

It will be seen, therefore, that the casting portion of the monotype
machine is actually automatic. It performs all its operations without
human assistance or direction. Occasionally it will stop of its own
accord and refuse to work, but this merely means that it has found
something amiss with the perforated instructions, a mistake as to the
length of a line or so forth, and it refuses to continue until the
workman in charge of it puts the error right, then it starts on again
and continues on its even course, casting letters and spaces and
punctuation marks, and arranging them first in words, then in lines,
next in paragraphs, and finally in a column on the galley.

The casting-machine works at so high a rate of speed (casting from one
hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty characters per minute) that
it can in its output keep well ahead of the operator on the keyboard.
This, however, so far from being an inconvenience or leading to any
loss of time, is an advantage, for four casting-machines, which can
easily be looked after by one man and a boy, can cope with the work of
five keyboard operators, or if all are engaged on the same character
of composition two casters can attend to the output of three
keyboards. This suggests a reference to the facilities offered by the
machine for the production of matter composed in various faces of
type. The machine casts practically all sizes in general use from
five-point, or "pearl," to fourteen point, or "English." Owing to the
number of characters included in the matrix-case, it can at the same
time set upper and lower case, small capitals, and upper and lower
case italics, or any similar combination of two or even three
different faced alphabets. To change from one complete set of matrices
to another is a simple operation, performed in about a minute of time,
while the changing of mould, which insures a corresponding change in
the size of the "body" of the type, takes about ten minutes.

To return, however, to the perforated roll of paper, which it must be
imagined has passed entirely through the casting-machine and has been
automatically re-rolled. Its present function has come to an end, and
it is now lifted out of its position on the machine and placed away
for future reference in a drawer or cabinet. This is a by no means
unimportant feature of the Monotype, for it is thus no longer
necessary to preserve the heavy, cumbrous, and expensive "plates" of a
book in anticipation of a second edition being called for at some
future time. As a matter of fact, indeed, "plates," or electrotypes of
monotyped matter, are by no means a necessity. Many thousand
impressions can with safety be printed from the types themselves, and
these latter at the conclusion of the job can be remelted and new type
cast from the resultant metal. The paper rolls, occupying but a few
square inches of space, can be kept, and when the time arrives may be
passed through the casting-machine again, to supply a new printing
surface identical in every respect with the original.

But the galley of monotyped composition has been waiting during this
digression. It is lifted off the machine by the attendant and a rough
proof pulled, which is corrected by the proof-reader. The advantage of
the individual types is then apparent, for the composition is
corrected and otherwise handled precisely as would be the case had the
matter been set entirely by hand. Indeed, the operation consumes even
less time, for the discarded characters, instead of being placed back
carefully in their proper compartments in the case for future use, are
merely thrown aside by the corrector, to find their way eventually
into the melting pot. It may be added, however, that the Monotype
itself furnishes the types used in the correction of its
matter--"sorts," as they are termed by the printer. These are cast by
the machine during the times when it is not employed upon more
important work.

Indeed, an attachment has recently been added to the machine, whereby
its use as a type-caster is still further extended. As has been
mentioned, the machine casts and composes type of any sized face, from
five to fourteen point. With, however, the attachment referred to, it
can now cast for the use of the hand compositor complete fonts of type
up to and including thirty-six point in size, so that an entire book,
title-page included, nowadays often owes its typographical "dress" to
the ingenious machine known as "The Lanston Monotype."


By George L. Miller.

When part of a book has been set up in type, in what is called "galley
form," an impression is taken, technically known as "first proof," and
this proof is handed to the proof-reader. This long-suffering
individual lives in a chronic state of warfare with the compositors on
the one hand and the author on the other. His first duty is to see
that the proof agrees with the author's manuscript, that nothing has
been omitted, and nothing inserted that is not in the copy. He must
see, further, that the spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar,
and so forth, are correct, and the book set according to the "style"
ordered. He first of all, therefore, compares the proof with the
manuscript, or an assistant reads the manuscript aloud, the
proof-reader listening intently for any variation from the proof
before him and marking any errors he may find.

Now this seems easy enough, and if every author prepared his copy
carefully, so that there could be no possible mistake as to his
meaning, nothing would be easier; but in practice a number of
questions arise which would never be thought of by an outsider. On a
new work being put in hand, some half-dozen compositors are given a
few sheets of copy apiece, and if the proof-reader happens to be
readily accessible he is bombarded within the first half-hour or so
with, "How am I to spell centre?" "Has travelling one or two l's?"
"Shall I capitalize the word State?" "Shall I spell out two hundred?"
"Do you want ships' names in Italic?" and so on and so on. As to
punctuation, every compositor thinks he knows better than proof-reader
and author combined and follows his own sweet will. As every error on
the first proof must be corrected by the compositor at his own
expense, here arises the cause of war mentioned in our opening

Much has been written about printers' errors and the mistakes of "the
intelligent compositor." Aside from those caused by illegible
manuscript, mistakes arise from faulty "distribution," that is to say,
the type has been thrown into the wrong boxes. Thus we get _c_ for
_e_, _h_ for _n_, _y_ for _p_, etc., these boxes being contiguous and
the letters of the same thickness; if, for instance, the compositor
picked up _u_ instead of _t_ the difference in thickness would at once
be noticed by him and the mistake rectified. Then letters are
sometimes set upside down and we find letters of a different "face"
which have got into the case by mistake. In type set on machine,
errors arise from striking adjacent keys, or some matrix will stick
in the channel and make its appearance later, sometimes even in the
next line. But the chief source of error is illegible or carelessly
prepared manuscript, and to the author's slips of the pen must be
added in these days the slips of the typewriter.

It is quite possible for a man to be an expert in astronomy, medicine,
or natural history and yet have hazy ideas on spelling and
punctuation. "When in doubt use a dash" is an old standing joke, but
some authors use dashes all the time, making them do duty for commas,
semicolons, and periods. They will write indifferently 4 or four and
frequently their capital _a_'s _c_'s, _m_'s, and _n_'s cannot be
distinguished from the small letters. They will commence a story
telling that the "Captain" did so and so, and lo, on the next page the
"captain" sinks into a common noun; and so with "Father," "mother,"
"Aunt," "uncle," etc. Just see what the story would look like if set
according to copy!

Now the proof-reader is expected to rectify all this, thereby drawing
on his head the wrath of the compositor, who says "he followed the
copy," and occasionally incurring the wrath of the author as well for
departing therefrom. Sometimes instructions are given that the
author's spelling, punctuation, etc., are to be carefully followed,
when of course no question can arise; and the proof-reader will query
on the proof submitted to the author anything which does not seem to
him to be correct.

The great newspapers and magazines have what they call a "style sheet"
for the guidance of their compositors and proof-readers and insist on
its being faithfully followed. Only by this means could uniformity in
the appearance of the paper be secured. In this style sheet careful
and minute directions are given for the use of capital letters, the
use of Italic, spelling out of numbers, compound words, etc. In the
Government printing-office in Washington they have a style book of
some two hundred pages. Some book printing-offices have what they call
"the style of the office," which will be followed if no instructions
are received from the author to the contrary, while some publishing
houses with connections in England insist on English spelling being
followed in all their books, as books with American spelling will not
sell over there.

Here is an outline of an "office style":--

"Spell and divide words according to Webster's dictionary.

"Capitalize President and all Secretaries of State, Senator,
Congressman, Governor, Government (of U.S. or other country), King,
Emperor, Republican (and all political parties), all pronouns relating
to the Deity, Legislature, State, Nation, Street, Avenue, (Hudson)

"Use small capitals for B.C., A.D., A.M., and P.M.

"Use Italics for names of ships, names of characters in plays, names
of newspapers and magazines, and all foreign words.

"Use quotation marks for names of books.

"Spell out all numbers under 100.

"Compound co-operate, to-day, to-morrow.

"Use period after per cent., and Roman numerals I. VI., etc.

"Bible references in this style: 2 Kings vii. 29.

"All poetical quotations to be in smaller type than text."

Now, some authors will not accept the above style and insist on one
entirely different. Many will accept Webster's spelling but draw the
line at _theater_, which they want spelt _theatre_, and balk at
_skillfully_ and _skillful_ or _installment_. They will order spelling
according to the Standard Dictionary, yet will not accept _sulfur_,
_rime_, or _worshiping_. One man wants all his numbers in figures, and
another does not like compound words. Still another abhors dashes or
colons, or quotation marks, and yet another will not have Italic type
used in his work.

So it frequently happens that a proof-reader will have passing through
his hands three or four books in entirely different styles, each of
which he must bear in mind and conform to if he would avoid trouble.
But whatever style be adopted, it is essential that it be strictly
adhered to throughout the work; therefore in large printing-offices
where there are many proof-readers care is always taken that, however
many compositors may be engaged in setting up the work, the same
reader handles it from start to finish.

If the proof-reader finds any passages whose meaning is not clear, or
sentences of faulty construction, he will call the author's attention
thereto. He will also call attention to Biblical or poetical
quotations which he may know to be incorrect. Many authors will quote
Scripture or poetry from memory, which is found to vary in many
respects from the original on verification. And then they complain
because "the printer did not set it up right,"--when they are charged
for corrections. But why should the compositor bear the expense of
correction--or the master-printer for that matter--when the copy was
clearly wrong in the first instance? A moment's thought will show the
injustice of such a procedure.

From what we have said may be seen the importance of the reading of
"first proof." Many offices have the proofs read twice, first without
referring to the copy, when the more glaring errors may be corrected
at leisure, and then again carefully read by copy. The proofs are then
returned to the compositors for correction, each man correcting the
portion he set up.

A second proof is now taken which is put in the hands of another
proof-reader (or "reviser") for revision. His business is to see that
the corrections of the first reader have all been duly made. Should
he find any palpable errors that have been overlooked by the first
reader, he will call his attention thereto and on approval mark them.
It may be necessary to return the proofs again to the compositors for
correction, and even a third time. When found to be what is called
"clean," they are sent to the author (usually in duplicate) along with
the copy.

And now the author sees himself in print, perhaps for the first time.
He will notice that his work presents a different appearance from what
it did in manuscript. Here and there a passage can be improved, a
phrase polished, an idea amplified--the same man will think
differently at different times; and lo, here, the stupid printer has
made him speak of a marine landscape when he wrote Maine landscape!
(That proof-reader must be disciplined.) And here a sentence has been
left out which he wrote on the back of his copy and has been skipped
by compositor, copy-holder, proof-reader, and reviser alike! Then the
queries of the proof-reader must be answered, and a few commas here
and there would improve things,--and so he proceeds to mark up his
proofs, for all of which corrections he has to pay at so much per
hour--second cause of war.

The proofs are now returned to the printer and corrected, and a revise
(after passing through the proof-reader's hands) sent to the author,
which process may be repeated _ad infinitum_, until the author gives
the order to make up into pages.

The type is now handed over to the "make-up," and inasmuch as his work
must be carefully revised by the proof-reader, we may describe it
here. Having first of all made a gauge showing the size of the
page--supposing the page to be seven inches deep, he will cut a notch
in a thin piece of wood showing that size--he must "cast off" or
estimate how the pages are going to "break." There must not be any
short lines, or "widows" as the printers call them,--that is, the
concluding lines of paragraphs which are not full length,--at the
heads of pages. The first line of a paragraph should not appear at the
bottom of a page (but this rule is more honored in the breach than the
observance), and the concluding page of a chapter should not be less
than one-quarter page in length. These difficulties are avoided by
"saving" a line here and there,--that is, where the last line of a
paragraph consists of only one or two words, in squeezing them into
the line above, or by "making" lines, which is accomplished by
spreading long lines out and driving one or two words over. Any line
containing one word only at the end of a paragraph ought to overlap
the indention of the first line of the next paragraph. Such a word as
"is" or "it" will not do so and should be turned back to the line
above. Then again, where cuts or illustrations are inserted in the
text a page will sometimes break in the middle of a cut, which, as
Euclid says, is impossible, therefore the cut must be moved, sometimes
necessitating slight alterations in the text, _e.g._ "The following
illustration" must be altered to "The illustration on the next page,"
or "The illustration above," as the case may be. And here we may
remark that all cuts or illustrations should be made and furnished to
the printer in time to be inserted in the first proof. The writer
calls to mind an instance where the cuts arrived after the whole book
had been made up into pages, necessitating a re-make-up at
considerable expense.

Proofs of the pages being furnished to the proof-reader, he first of
all compares them with the author's last galley proof to see that
nothing has been omitted (frequently lines fall off the ends of
galleys), that they are in due sequence and "join up," and that the
author's last corrections have been made. He then sees to the
pagination, the running heads at top of each page, and sees that the
foot-notes have been inserted in the pages where they belong and
verifies the reference marks. The author will probably have used the *
[symbol: dagger][symbol: double-dagger] § and they will have been so
set up, as they appeared on each page of the original manuscript. But
when in type and made up into pages they will probably fall
differently, the note bearing the § mark may come on the following
page and of course must be altered to an *, a corresponding change
being made in the text. A much better plan is to number foot-notes 1,
2, 3 and so on, when no alteration on making-up will be required.

The proof-reader must also look after the "widows" and other matters
before mentioned. If the book is set in linotype, the make-up will
have been unable to make these changes. He will simply allow the
proper space and the changes required will be marked by the
proof-reader and a number of pages corrected at a time. This is a
point of economy.

All corrections having been made and revised, proofs are submitted to
the author for his final approval. The author may find it advisable to
make alterations even after his book is made up into pages,
necessitating further revises; but everything finally being in order,
he gives the order to print or to electrotype.

If the pages are to be electrotyped or made into plates, they are
"locked up" in an iron frame called a "chase," two or four together,
and proofs are given to the proof-reader for a final reading.

If the book is to be printed from the type, the pages are "imposed" in
sheets of eight, sixteen, or thirty-two, so arranged that the folios
will be in order when the sheet is folded up. They now make what is
called a "form," and a proof of this--known as the "stone proof"--is
taken for final reading.

The proof-reader now reads the work all through, looking carefully to
the spelling, punctuation, and grammar, as in reading "first proof,"
and more especially looking out for bad or imperfect letters. If many
corrections have been made, the type is very apt to be broken and the
spacing between words to become irregular. All imperfect letters must
be replaced and bad spacing rectified. Then again, commas, hyphens,
periods, and thin letters, such as _l_, _f_, or _t_, are apt to slip
out of place at the ends of lines. And here a serious source of error
may be mentioned which can be found out only by reading the whole page
over. In type set on the linotype machine every line is one solid
piece of metal. Any correction to be made involves resetting the whole
line. Now the compositor in inserting the new line is very apt to take
out a line _beginning with the same word_, replacing it with the new
one, thus making a very serious blunder, and of course the
proof-reader or author who sees the next proof has no intimation that
the wrong line has been tampered with. On reading the page over,
however, it will be noticed that something is wrong, previous proofs
can be referred to, and the mistake rectified.

The proofs having been finally read, revised, and marked O. K., the
pages are sent to the foundry or to press, as the case may be.

But the proof-reader has not done with them yet. If the book is
electrotyped, the plates may turn out faulty; sometimes the type will
sink in places under the enormous pressure applied in moulding. It is
therefore highly advisable that proofs should be taken of the plates
and gone over for imperfections; this may save valuable time later
when the book is on the press. Some authors don't mind the expense of
making changes in their work even after the pages are cast.

The proof-reader only takes leave of the book when it is on the press
and all is ready to go ahead and print. A sheet is submitted to him
which he must _visé_ for bad letters, see that nothing has fallen out
in transit to the pressroom, and that the pressman has not taken out
any cuts to underlay and reinserted them upside down. He will also
verify the folios again (if the book is printed from plates this will
be the first opportunity of doing so) and see that the pages join up
to what has gone before. Here his work ends.


By Herbert W. Mason.

The word "paper" derives its name from the ancient Greek word
"papyrus," the name of the material used in ancient times for writing
purposes, and manufactured by the Egyptians from the papyrus plant,
and which was, up to the eighth century, the best-known writing
material. Probably the earliest manufacturers of paper were the
Chinese, who used the mulberry tree and other like plants for this
purpose, and may be called the inventors of our modern paper
manufacturing, as they have practised the art of paper making for
almost two thousand years.

In the ordinary book papers of to-day the materials used are largely
rags and wood fibres. "Esparto," a Spanish grass, is used in England
to a great extent, but it is too expensive to import to this country,
and is, therefore, not used here. Many other materials could be used
to advantage, such as "bagasse," the waste material of sugar cane, and
corn stalks, both of which make good book paper; also hemp, wild
clover, and other plants which have a good fibre.

Only two kinds of rags are used, linen and cotton, of both of which
there are several grades. Linen rags make a very strong paper, and are
mostly used in manufacturing fine writing papers, ledgers, and covers
for books where strength is necessary. Cotton rags may be divided into
three distinct kinds, whites, blues, and colors, and these in turn are
subdivided into several grades. Most of the blue rags are now imported
from Germany, Belgium, and France; none from Japan as formerly. The
whites and colors are bought in this country.

Wood fibres are divided into two classes, the harder woods, such as
spruce, fir, etc., and the softer, such as poplar, cottonwood, etc.
There are three ways of reducing or disintegrating wood fibres: first,
by sulphurous acid or bi-sulphite of lime fumes, which gives the name
"sulphite fibre"; second, by caustic soda, which is called "soda
fibre"; and third, by grinding. The last is usually only used for
stock in very low grades of paper, such as newspaper and wrapping
paper; it is rarely used for book paper. Many persons think that this
ground wood, which is merely spruce ground very fine into pulp, is
used in book papers; but if it were, the paper would not last long,
and would almost immediately discolor on exposure to light and air.
There is a theory that no paper made from wood fibres is lasting, and
that therefore high grades of paper for fine books should be made
only of rags, but this is erroneous, for wood stock and rag stock
nowadays are treated and prepared in the same way, and only
practically pure cellulose matter goes into the paper. It would be a
different matter, however, if _ground_ wood were used for fine papers,
for in this stock the cellulose matter is not separated.

Rags are usually purchased by the paper manufacturer in solid bales,
which have been graded into whites, blues, or colors. After being
opened, they are thrown into a thrashing machine, which thrashes and
shakes out the greater part of the loose dust and dirt. Later, they
are sorted more carefully by hand into several grades, according to
their colors and cleanliness. All the woollens, gunny, buttons, hooks
and eyes, silks, and foreign materials are thrown aside. As the rags
are usually too large to be thrown into the boilers to be cooked, they
are cut into very small pieces by means of sharp revolving knives, to
which they are fed rapidly from an endless belt. When cut, they are
packed into a revolving kettle or boiler, called a "rotary," and
cooked with caustic soda and lime for several hours, to disintegrate
the fibres, separate the cellulose matter, and "start" the colors. The
rags, after coming out of the boiler, look very dark, and are all
mashed together. They are then thrown into a tub of water and revolved
horizontally by means of a large wheel fitted with radial knives,
which tear and bruise them while water continually runs in and out,
carrying away the dirt. In a few hours the rags look much cleaner, and
a small amount of chlorate of lime and sulphuric acid is run in to
bleach them white. After having been thoroughly stirred for a while,
the stock is run into what is called a drainer, where it is allowed to
stand for several hours to drain off as much water as possible. Liquid
chloride of lime, which is used for bleaching, and sulphuric acid is
then run over the fibre, which in turn is drained and washed off
again. By this time the pulp is white enough to be sent to the
beaters, to be prepared for the paper machines, and is called

Wood fibres for book papers are usually treated in the same general
way as rags. First, the logs are peeled and are cut into suitable
lengths to be thrown into a wood chopper and cut up in very small
pieces. If the wood is treated by sulphurous acid or bi-sulphite of
lime fumes, it is called the "sulphite process"; if by caustic soda,
the "soda process." This wood is cooked in large upright kettles
called "digesters." In one case the sulphite fumes are allowed to
permeate through the wood under a high pressure, and in the other the
caustic soda is put in "straight," and the wood is cooked under a high
pressure of steam. This is done to dissolve out all the gum and
resins, in order to leave the pure cellulose matter. After the cooking
is done, the stock has to be bleached in very much the same way as
the rags and washed thoroughly before it is ready for the "beaters."

For "beating," the stock is thrown into a large revolving tub. Rag and
wood fibre may be mixed in different proportions, according to the
grade of the paper wanted. The stock is then washed a little to be
sure that it is clean and white. Water at first is mixed in with the
fibre until it is so diluted that it will flow freely; then it is
beaten for several hours by means of an iron wheel covered with iron
or steel knives about one-quarter of an inch thick, which revolves
over an iron bed-plate with similar knives. During this beating
process, clay is mixed with the stock, mainly to give the paper a
well-filled and better appearance, and not, as most people think, to
add weight, although this is sometimes an object. Sizing material is
also added, which helps to keep the fibres together and hold the ink
in printing. If it is desired to give the paper a white shade, a small
amount of aniline blue or pink is mixed in; otherwise it is called
"natural" or "unblued."

The beating part of the process of paper making is the most important.
The stock has to be beaten up so that all the fibres are separated and
broken into just the right lengths according to the weight and
strength of the paper to be made. The harder the roll is set down on
the bed plate, the shorter the fibre will be and _vice versa_, but if
the roll is not put down hard, the stock has to be beaten so much

"Machining" may be divided into five processes:--

_First._ When the stock leaves the beater it is run into a large
"stuff" chest, and is continually being stirred so that it will not be
lumpy. By this time the pulp is about as clean as possible and is
ready for the paper machines. The first thing to be done on the
machine is to dilute the stock with pure water to the consistency of
buttermilk, according to the thickness of the paper required. Then
this liquid stock runs through what are called "sand settlers," which
are supposed to collect what dirt, iron, etc., remain.

_Second._ From the sand settlers the stock runs on to a screen,
through which it is drawn by means of suction. This process prevents
fibres which are lumpy and too long from getting on to the machine,
and allows only those of a certain size and length to go forward to be
made into paper. An endless and very fine wire cloth, which is
continually moving at the same rate of speed as the rest of the paper
machine, takes the stock after it has been screened. This is the first
step toward making the material into actual paper. Thick rubber straps
on each side of the wire determine the width of the paper. This wire
shakes a little in order to weave the fibres together while in a state
of suspension. At this period the stock looks like thick cream, but
soon changes its appearance to the form of a sheet more or less solid
on coming to the end of the wire, where there is what is called a
"dandy,"--a roll covered with similar wire cloth pressing lightly on
the paper as it runs along the wire. Designs in relief on the surface
of this roll produce the well-known marks called "water marks." Just
beyond the "dandy," underneath the wire, is a suction box which draws
enough of the water out so that the paper can go through the "couch"
roll at the end of the wire without being crumbled.

[Illustration: Cross-section of a Paper Machine.]

_Third._ The couch roll is a small hard roll covered with a thick felt
called a "jacket," and is used on the paper machine to prevent the
paper from being crushed, for it presses out much of the water and
flattens the paper so that it will pass from the wire to the felts
without breaking and through the press rolls without crushing. From
this couch roll the paper leaves the wire and is carried along on an
endless woollen felt to the press rolls, which are made of hard
rubber, steel, or brass. These rolls press the fibres together well,
squeezing out more of the water and flattening the sheet.

_Fourth._ From the press felts the paper is carried to the "dryer
felts," which in turn carry the paper to the "dryers," which revolve
and by means of the felt carry the paper along to the next dryer, and
so on. The dryers are hollow iron or steel cylinders, heated by means
of the exhaust steam from the engines which run the machine. More or
less steam is allowed to run into the dryers, according to the quality
of paper being made.

_Fifth._ As soon as the paper has been carried over all the dryers,
during which time it becomes, perfectly dry, it is run through a set
of so-called steel "chilled rolls," at the end of the machine, which
are under pressure and which give the paper a fairly smooth surface
for ordinary type printing. If a rough surface is desired, the paper
is simply wound on reels from the dryers.

Super-calendered papers are those which have a high finish and smooth
surface, and are used for cuts, lithographic work, magazine papers,
and ordinary illustrations. To calender paper, it is run through a
series of alternate "chilled" and "paper" rolls. The chilled rolls are
made of steel and have a very smooth and even surface. The "paper"
roll is made of circular discs of thin, but strong manila paper,
clamped together on an iron shaft, and then put under hydraulic
pressure, this pressure being increased constantly until it reaches
one hundred tons of pressure to the inch. The rolls are sometimes kept
under this pressure for five or six weeks, and then are turned on a
lathe into a true and smooth cylinder, and finally burnished by being
revolved against each other.

A "cotton" roll, used at times in place of the "paper" roll, is made
in the same manner, except it is made of pieces of cotton cloth
instead of thin manila paper. There is a heavy pressure on these
rolls, and the paper goes through at a high rate of speed. When an
especially smooth surface is wanted, steam is run on the paper as it
unwinds, dampening it and giving the web a surface like that on ironed

"Coated" paper is treated differently, being covered with a fine
coating, which, after super-calendering, gives the paper a glazed and
smooth surface for fine half-tone illustrations. Clay, mixed with
casein, the product of skimmed milk, or glue, is the chief material
used for coating. It is put on the paper by means of large brushes.
Then it is dried by fans and passed through a long passageway heated
by steam to a high temperature. After being reeled, it is allowed to
stand for a while to harden; then is run several times through the
calenders to get the smooth surface. If a high, glazed finish is
necessary, steam is put on while running through the calenders. This
gives a very bright surface for fine lithographic work. For the best
coated papers, instead of clay, sulphate of lime and sometimes
sulphate of barium is used, with glue or casein. Formaldehyde, a
chemical compound, is used to prevent decomposition in the coating
materials; and soda or borax is used to "cut" or dissolve the casein
or glue.

If the paper is to be printed "from the web," that is, from the roll,
it first has to be trimmed to the correct width, then wound tightly
under a high pressure to a certain thickness, then the rolls are
packed up in wrapping paper ready to be shipped. Some rolls contain as
much as five miles of paper. When the paper is to be put up in
sheets, it has to be cut to exactly the correct width and length on
the cutting machine. It is all very carefully sorted--the imperfect
sheets being thrown out--counted and packed in wooden cases, or done
up with strong wrapping paper in bundles, ready to be sent to the


By Walter J. Berwick.

Books are printed in "forms," or sheets, of four, eight, twelve,
twenty-four, or thirty-two pages at a time, the number being
determined to a great extent by the size of the type page and by the
class of the work.

An ordinary twelvemo book, without illustrations in the text, is
usually printed in forms of thirty-two pages, on what is known as a
single-cylinder flat-bed press, which prints only one side of the
paper at an impression. For large editions, the size of the sheet of
paper is sometimes doubled and sixty-four pages printed at a time. The
class of work in question may also be printed on perfecting presses
which print both sides of the paper at one time, and in this way as
many as one hundred and twenty-eight pages are frequently printed on
one sheet, there being sixty-four pages on each side. Large editions
of books having small pages, such as small Bibles, are often printed
two hundred and fifty-six pages (one hundred and twenty-eight on each
side) at one time.

High grade, illustrated books are always printed on one side of the
sheet at a time, the reverse side being printed after the first
impression has dried properly. Thus a smooch, or "offset," the result
of handling the paper before the ink has become dry, is prevented.

For convenience, I shall describe the process of printing a book from
electrotype plates on a press which prints thirty-two pages at a time
and on only one side of the paper.

Before ordering his paper, the publisher must first determine the size
of the paper page of his proposed book, and from this arrive at the
necessary size of the sheets of paper. He must also determine the
thickness of the paper needed to give the finished book its proper

If the book is to be trimmed on top, bottom, and front, about
one-eighth of an inch must be allowed on top and front for the binder
to trim off, and about one-fourth of an inch on the bottom. The
dimensions from back to front, including the amount left for the
"trim," should be multiplied by eight; and the page dimension the
other way, including the trim, by four. This would give the size of
paper needed. As an illustration, if the trimmed size of a book is
7-7/8 × 5-3/8 inches, the paper should be 32 × 44 inches. If the book
is printed 16 pages at a time, the paper should be 22 × 44; and if 64
pages at a time, 44 × 64.

The quality of the paper and the size of the sheet being decided upon,
and the number of pages known, any large paper house can tell the
weight necessary to give the required thickness to the book.

On receipt of the printing order, with directions as to whether the
book is to be trimmed or not, the printer first makes up what is
called a "form" of so-called "patent" blocks on which the stereotype
or electrotype plates are placed during the printing of the book.
These blocks are made of wood or iron planed to an even thickness of
about three-fourths of an inch, so that when an electrotype plate is
placed upon one, it will take only a few thicknesses of thin paper
between it and the electrotyped page to make the whole "type-high,"
that is, as high as an ordinary piece of type.

Two adjacent edges of these blocks are bound with strips of brass,
which project above the block and are turned over slightly, so as to
receive the two bevelled edges of the electrotype plate. The other two
edges are provided with movable clamps, which are screwed tight
against the flat edges of the electrotype plate by means of ratchets,
thus holding the plate firmly in its place.

In practice, the longer of the two brass-bound edges is called the
"back" of the block and the shorter one the "head," the other long
edge being known as the "front" and the other short edge, the "foot."
These terms, as a matter of fact, originated from the use of the same
words in describing the printed page of a book, the "back"
corresponding with the side of the page next to the binding of the
book, the "head" being the top of the book, and so on.

One-half of a set of blocks--thirty-two being a set in this case--are
made with the backs on the left and one-half with the backs on the
right edge of the block. The common way is to place thirty-two of
these blocks, in four rows of eight blocks each, in a "chase," or iron
frame, with a cross-bar in the centre. Thus sixteen blocks are on each
side of the cross-bar, and all have their backs toward it. The form
then appears like this:--

[Illustration: Blocks, cross-bar.]

Strips of wood, called "furniture," are then used to fill up the
spaces between the blocks, care being taken to see that all the backs,
fronts, and heads are in uniform positions. As some people prefer the
printed pages of a book to be near the centre of the paper pages,
while others like the head and back margins to be much narrower than
the margins at the front and foot, the distances between the blocks
must be arranged according to the taste of the publisher or the

After the blocks have been spaced as desired, and the spaces filled
with furniture, the form is "locked up," or tightened securely, with
wedge-shaped pieces of iron called "quoins," and it is then placed in
position on the bed of the press, securely fastened by screw clamps,
and "making ready" for printing is begun.

Notwithstanding the care that has been taken to have all the "patent"
blocks and the electrotype plates of even and uniform thickness, there
is almost never a case where a form can be put on the press and
printed off properly without considerable work being required to make
the surface of the plates absolutely flat so that the entire printed
part of the page will receive the same amount of ink and will press
evenly on the paper.

The first step in making a press "ready" is to place a sheet of heavy
cardboard around the cylinder, and over it draw a smooth piece of
muslin or cotton cloth. This is called the "packing." In many of the
best offices this sheet of heavy cardboard is not used, but in its
place is a patent make-ready called "Tympalyn."

Over this a thick sheet of manila paper is shrunk, it being pasted
under clamps on the front of the cylinder, and carried around and
fastened to hooks on a rod on the back. The rod is then turned until
the sheet is perfectly tight and smooth.

While the pressman is laying out his plates the feeder should be
cutting thin sheets of paper the size of one of the plates. Some of
these papers are cut about one inch shorter than the plates for
"bevels," and these are pasted on the middle of the full-size pieces.
These bevels and the larger "blank" sheets are to go between the
plates and the blocks to overcome any variation there may be in the
thickness and to make the surface of the form as nearly level as
possible. The "bevels" raise the centres very slightly above the edges
of the plate, thus reducing the pressure of the cylinder at the points
of contact and departure, and saving the plates from wear.

The cylinder being properly packed, and the form of blocks fastened on
the press so that the impression of the form will come in the middle
of the paper sheets, it is necessary to know whether the binder is to
fold the sheets by hand or by machine, and if the latter, what kind of
machine, as different ones require different "imposition" or
arrangement of pages. This being decided, the plates are fastened on
the blocks so arranged that when the sheet is cut and folded the pages
of the book will run consecutively. Before levelling up the form with
the bevels and blank sheets, the plates of all open or short pages, if
any, are replaced with solid pages, as these sheets and underlay are
to remain through the printing of all the forms of the book. The
rollers are now put in the press and adjusted to just touch the inking
table, the ink put on the rollers and distributed, and one impression
printed on one of several sheets of thin paper which are run through
the press together.[3] This printed sheet is then turned face down by
the pressman and any unevenness of the impression noted. One of the
printed pages is taken as a standard and by removing as many pieces of
the thin sheets as necessary from under the plates where the
impression is too heavy, and by adding where it is not heavy enough,
the surface of the form is finally "evened," or made as nearly equal
as possible.

                   [Footnote 3: If one sheet of paper were run through
                   the press before "making ready," it would not
                   receive any impression, there being a space equal
                   to the thickness of ten sheets of paper between the
                   cylinder and the surface of the type. A bunch of
                   six or eight sheets is therefore run through to get
                   an impression for "make-ready" purposes.]

After this another impression is taken, and of this sheet an
"underlay" is made to further "even up" the form. The low places in
the individual plates are carefully marked with crayon or a soft
pencil on the impression, and the spots so marked are covered with a
piece of thin paper. The printed pages are then cut out a little
larger than the type page, and placed under the plates from which
they were printed. The plates of the solid pages, which had been
substituted for the open pages, are now removed, and the open pages
are put back in their places on the form.

Up to this point, all the "making ready" which has been done, is of
permanent use in printing all of the forms of the book in question.
The work that follows has to be done on each form as it is put on the

More thin sheets of paper are now run through the press, the number
run through together being one less than were printed for the
underlay. These printed sheets are used for "overlays," which are very
much like an underlay except that much more care is taken in marking
any uneven places. A thinner paper is used to bring up the low places
in the plates. An impression of the form is then made on the manila
paper sheet which had, as before mentioned, been drawn around the
cylinder, and on this printed manila sheet this overlay is pasted, the
impression on the manila paper being a guide for the placing of the

Another overlay is now made in the same way as the first; only it will
now be found, if the work has been properly done, that there will be
only a few spots to be covered with tissue. After this overlay has
been made and the necessary pieces pasted over the first one, a thin
sheet of manila is smoothly and tightly drawn around the cylinder,
covering completely the thick manila sheet with the pasted overlays on
it. The form is then ready to print.

While the feeder, as the man who feeds the paper into the press is
called, has been "filling in" the overlay, the pressman should have
been getting "register,"--that is, moving the plates so that the
headlines and the sides of the plates align properly, and that when
both sides of the paper have been printed, the pages will exactly back
each other. The ink fountain should also have been so regulated by
means of thumb-screws that the right amount of ink will run on the
rollers and be distributed evenly over the form. Where too much ink
shows on the printed sheet, the thumb-screws on the fountain are
tightened a little, to decrease the flow, and where not enough ink
shows the thumb-screws are loosened to increase its flow. This process
is repeated until the "color" is all right. The grippers, which seize
and carry the sheets of paper through the press, the reels, cylinder
bands, and many other things have also to be adjusted. These cannot
well be described, but have to be learned by actual experience.

The "making ready" and watching the sheets as they come from the press
to see that the "color" does not vary, is the skilful part of the
process. The feeding can be done by a bright boy after a few weeks'
experience, but is now done automatically by machines to a great

While the press was being made ready, another set of men in charge of
the paper have taken it out of the cases or bundles, counted out the
number of sheets required for each form, piled it on hand trucks,
keeping that required for each form separate, and have delivered it to
the press. If a machine feeder is used, the paper is piled on the
elevator of the feeder, from which it is automatically taken, one
sheet at a time, and delivered on endless tapes to gauges on the feed
board of the press, thus bringing every sheet in the same position
each time. The number of sheets required for the order are printed
from one form on one side and then from another form on the other

From the preceding it can be seen that to get a press ready may be a
matter of hours, while, in the case of ordinary book work, a press
generally prints from 1200 to 2000 impressions and more per hour.

The principal difference between making ready a form on a flat-bed
perfecting press with two cylinders and on a single-cylinder press is
in extra work necessary to obtain correct registering of the plates
and in preventing an offset of the fresh ink on the second cylinder.
Otherwise, a perfecting press is very much like two cylinder presses
joined together. It has two sets of rollers, two ink fountains, two
cylinders, two forms, etc., but only one feed board and one delivery.
The sheet is fed to one cylinder and printed, taken from this
cylinder by the second and printed on the second side, and delivered
on the "fly board" ready to go to the shipping department.

The process of making ready forms containing illustrations is
practically the same as for plain ones, except that a new underlay is
made for each form, and much more care and skill must be used on the
cuts themselves. It frequently happens that one or even two days are
spent making ready a form of half-tone cuts, before the actual
printing, which takes perhaps half a day to do, can be begun.

In most offices, a special "cut overlay" is made for forms with cuts,
or illustrations. The cut is placed on a hand press before the form is
made up, and proofs on four different thicknesses of paper are made.
The heaviest paper is used as a bottom sheet, and the others are
pasted on it. Out of the next to the thickest paper of all, the solid
blacks are cut and pasted accurately on the same places on the bottom
sheet. From the second or next thinner sheet, the medium shades
including the solid blacks are cut and pasted on the bottom sheet,
thus building up the blacks and strong shadows. From the thinnest
sheet of all, the high lights and very light shades are cut, and the
rest of the sheet is pasted on the bottom one. In this way the solid
blacks and dark shadows on the cut have three thicknesses on the
overlay; the next shades two, and the light shades one, where the high
lights are cut out altogether. This is the common form of "cut
overlay" used in most offices; but there are many other kinds, some
being made on metal by chemical action. All kinds are fastened
carefully over the impression of the cut made on the heavy manila
sheet covering the cylinder, and the cut must not be moved on the form
after the overlay has been fastened on the cylinder, or the effect of
all the work will be entirely lost.

One of the great troubles which the printer has to contend with, is
electricity in the paper. The pressman is unaware of its presence
until he lifts a printed sheet from the pile and receives a slight
shock, and finds the sheets stick together. In the case of a cut form,
the ink is almost sure to be offset, and in printing the second side
of the paper the feeder will have to stop frequently to separate the
sheets. Much money has been spent and many devices originated to
overcome this trouble. Ink manufacturers make a liquid preparation to
be applied to the packing. A row of lighted gas-jets placed near the
point where the sheet goes on to the "flyboard," a heated steam-pipe,
and many other things have been used, but a new device by which
electricity is generated and carried into the press, and there
neutralizes the electricity in the paper, is the best of them all.

The printed sheets are counted automatically by the press, and as fast
as enough accumulate, they are piled on hand trucks and removed to the
shipping room. Here they are "jogged up" so that the edges are even
and are counted again by hand. If they are to be shipped away, they
are tied up in bundles or nailed in cases and marked for shipment. If
the bindery is connected with the pressroom, they are simply jogged,
counted, and piled on trucks and delivered in this way.


By Otto L. Raabe.

Throughout the stages of development of the book-printing press the
chief object has been to lessen the cost of printing. Whether the
direct purpose of an improvement has been to increase the working
speed of the press, to lessen the necessary operating power, to
simplify the mechanism, to strengthen the parts, to lighten the
pressman's labor, or to better the quality of printing, the ultimate
aim has always been the same. It has been the constant incentive to
invention and the standard for judging the adaptability of a press.

The first printing press was the "wooden screw" press, which came into
use about the middle of the fifteenth century, and was built upon the
same mechanical principle as the linen presses in the homes of the
well-to-do. This was the press used by Gutenberg.

It consisted of two upright timbers held together at the top and the
bottom by crosspieces of wood and with two intermediate cross-timbers.
One of these intermediate cross-timbers supported a wooden or stone
"bed" on which the form of type was placed, and through the other
passed a large wooden screw, the lower point of which was attached to
the centre of a flat, wooden plate, called the "platen." The lower
side of the platen was covered with a soft "packing" or "blanket" of
cloth. After the type had been inked, a sheet of paper was laid on it.
This paper had previously been dampened so that it would take a better
impression of the type. The screw was then turned down until the
platen pressed the paper against the inked type, and produced a
printed sheet.

The form of type was incased in a frame called a "coffin." These
coffins and the type within them were very heavy, but they had to be
lifted in and out of the press by hand. After each impression the
platen was screwed upward so that the sheet of paper which had been
printed could be removed and hung up to dry.

This simple form of press continued in use without material change
until the early part of the seventeenth century. The first
improvements on it came about 1620, and consisted of a device for
rolling in and out the wooden or stone bed on which the type rested
instead of lifting it by hand, of a new form of iron hand-lever for
turning the screw, and of an iron screw in place of the wooden one.
These were the inventions of William Janson Blaeuw, a printer of
Amsterdam. Blaeuw's press was introduced into England and used there
as well as on the continent. It was substantially the same press as
that on which Benjamin Franklin worked when in London in 1735.

After this first type of printing press had been in use for three and
a half centuries, a much-improved form was invented by the Earl of
Stanhope in 1798. The frame of his press was made of iron, cast in one
piece; the bed, the impression plate, or "platen," and the other large
parts were also of cast iron, while the working parts were of iron,
steel, or brass. The iron impression screw was retained, but connected
to it was a combination of levers whereby its power was greatly
increased. This enabled the printing of larger forms and the use of a
thinner and harder "packing," or "tympan," between the platen and the
sheet of paper to be printed, resulting in a sharper and clearer
impression. Much less exertion was required to work the lever, and at
first, on this account, a printer, who was accustomed to use all his
physical force on the old screw press, found it difficult to work on
the new one.

This improved style of press was received with so much favor by
printers that several persons took up its manufacture, and competition
soon reduced its cost and brought it into general use for printing
newspapers as well as books. The process of printing remained about
the same as in the earlier presses. Two men were required to work it.
One spread the ink on a wooden block, rolling over it with two
leather-covered balls, about six inches in diameter, stuffed with
wool or horsehair, and fastened to round wooden handles. Holding one
of these inking balls in each hand, he then rolled one upon the other
to distribute the ink evenly over both of them, and applied the ink to
the face of the type by rocking the balls over it until the entire
form was inked. While this was being done, the other man was placing
the sheet of paper on the "tympan." This was a light frame, in two
parts, really forming two frames, one inside the other, and both
covered with parchment. There was a woollen or felt blanket between
them, and the two frames were held together by hooks. The outer frame
was hinged at its lower end to the outer end of the bed of the press,
and when ready to receive the paper, it stood in a nearly upright
position at about right angles to the bed. On the frame were two or
four pins, upon which the sheet of paper was impaled.

Attached to the upper end of the inner frame by hinges was a thin and
narrow frame, called the "frisket," of the same length and width as
the inner tympan frame. This frisket was covered with strong paper in
which were openings, cut a little larger than the size of the pages of
the type-form. When the sheets of paper had been placed upon the
tympan frame, the frisket was folded down upon it, and the two were
then turned down over the form of type. The bed was then "run in"
under the platen by means of a crank at the side of the press, and
the platen was screwed down to make the impression. After the
impression had been taken, the platen was screwed up, the bed "run
out," the tympan frame and frisket lifted, and the printed sheet taken

The introduction of this Stanhope press gave a great impetus to the
development of the printing press in other countries as well as in
England, and many varieties were devised during the thirty years
following. Although as early as 1811 Koenig had made a cylinder press
which had proved fairly successful, the better grades of printing
could be obtained only by the flat pressure of the hand-presses. In
some of these hand presses, the platen, or upper impression plate, was
moved into position over the bed and remained stationary while the bed
with the type-form upon it was forced upward to make the impression.
In others, the platen was hinged to the bed, but in all of them the
mechanism was complicated.

The "Columbian" press, devised by George Clymer, of Philadelphia, in
1816, gained considerable distinction both in this country and in
England, where it was introduced in 1818. It differed from the
Stanhope in that the screw was dispensed with, the platen being
depressed by a combination of levers and lifted by the aid of a
weighted balance-lever.

The reduction of the hand-lever movement to its simplest and most
powerful form is now seen in the Washington hand press, devised by
Samuel Rust, of New York, in 1827. His patent was later purchased by
R. Hoe & Co., who made nearly seven thousand of these presses in
different sizes and still make many of a greatly strengthened pattern
for taking fine proofs from photo-engraved plates. Some of these
presses made before 1850 are still in use, and occasionally one hears
of a Washington hand press being used for printing upon handmade paper
an edition of a small and limited number of copies of a book. Of all
the hand presses, this is the only one that has survived to the
present day.

With the introduction of other means for applying power than the
hand-lever, a distinction came to be drawn between printing _presses_
and printing _machines_. The term "machine" might perhaps be more
appropriately used for the huge printing presses of the present day,
yet, as the first essential is the impression power, all other
features being subordinate, the term "press" is still the proper one
to apply, even to the greatest combination of printing units yet

The "bed and platen" system of printing as first used in hand presses
occupies such an important place in the history of the book-printing
press that a further description of its career is necessary.

In December, 1806, Friedrich Koenig, a Saxon, who later gave to the
world the first practical cylinder press, went from Germany to England
to seek assistance in carrying out his plans for the construction of
a greatly improved printing press, having failed in his efforts in his
own country and in Russia. He succeeded in enlisting the support of
Thomas Bensley, a London printer, and constructed a press in which all
the operations but laying on and taking off of the sheet were
performed mechanically.

An accurate description of this press is not extant, but it is known
to have consisted of a large wooden frame, a platen worked by a
vertical screw and gears, a type-bed drawn forward and backward by
means of straps fastened to a large roller underneath the bed, a
tympan frame and frisket arranged to open and close automatically with
the movement of the bed, and an inking apparatus, consisting of an
ink-box with a narrow slit in the bottom through which the ink was
forced by a piston upon a roller below, from which it was transmitted
by two intermediate rollers to another and lower roller which inked
the form as it passed underneath. The two intermediate rollers had an
alternating, lateral motion which spread or distributed the ink
sideways before it reached the lowest roller.

This press was the first to have ink-distributing rollers and the
first to be run by steam power. In April, 1811, the "Annual Register"
for 1810 was printed on it by Mr. Bensley at the rate of eight hundred
impressions an hour. Nothing further is recorded about this press, and
it was probably abandoned as being too complicated.

In the following year, Koenig's first cylinder press was completed, to
be followed two years later by an improved cylinder press made for the
_London Times_, which will be referred to farther on.

In his experiments, the Earl of Stanhope had tried, without success,
to find a substitute for inking-balls by making rollers covered with
different kinds of skins. He also tried other materials, such as
cloth, silk, etc., but the unavoidable seam and the impossibility of
keeping these materials soft and pliable defeated his purpose. About
1813 inking-rollers made of a composition of glue and molasses came
into general use, and this important invention was of great assistance
in the further improvement of the printing press.

Other cylinder presses with mechanical inking appliances were devised
and patented, the most notable of which were those of Rutt, Bacon,
Cowper, Applegath, and Napier, but the mechanical imperfections of
these presses unfitted them for the better grades of book printing.

Further efforts were, therefore, directed to increasing the output of
the bed and platen presses by the application of improved inking
devices, sheet-feeding, and impression mechanisms. About 1825 there
was constructed by D. Napier, a machinist in London, a press
containing such appliances which produced six to seven hundred
impressions an hour. Other presses constructed upon the same
principle, but with two type-beds, two sets of friskets, two inking
mechanisms--and only one platen, in the centre of the press--were made
by Hopkinson & Cope and by Napier, and were known as "double platen
machines," though this is really a misnomer as there was only one

Napier's invention achieved the greatest popularity and came into
general use. At each end of his press there was an inking device, a
type-bed, and a frisket, each set of which operated alternately with
the other, but either could be made inoperative if the "feeder," or
"layer-on," failed to place the sheet in time. Four boys, besides the
printer, were required--two to lay on, and two to take off the sheets.

When the type-bed and the frisket carrying the sheet of paper were in
position under the platen, the latter was drawn downward to make the
impression by means of a "toggle" joint which acted upon two strong
rods, one on each side, and was then raised again by a counterbalance
weight. Owing to the awkward method of handling the paper, the working
speed of the press was necessarily slow, and the size of the sheets
limited to double royal, or 25 × 40 inches.

The best presses of this type were those devised and patented by Isaac
Adams, of Boston, in 1830 and 1836, and by Otis Tufts, also of Boston,
in 1834. R. Hoe & Co., of New York, acquired Adams' business in 1858
and continued the manufacture of his presses. Over one thousand in
many different sizes were made by this firm, the largest printing a
sheet 33 × 46 inches at a working speed of one thousand impressions an
hour. The last Adams press was made in 1882, but quite a number are
still in use in prominent printing-offices in New York, Boston, and a
few other cities, where the results on fine book work are still
considered better than from the faster cylinder presses. The
mechanical principle employed in the Adams press for exerting a flat,
parallel pressure has now been generally adopted for heavy stamping
and embossing presses.

To go back to the early part of the nineteenth century, when Koenig
found his bed and platen press impracticable, he immediately set to
work, assisted by one of his countrymen, Andreas Bauer, a mechanic who
had helped him formerly, and in the latter part of 1812, the first
flat-bed cylinder press was erected by them in Bensley's office. The
cylinder of this press had three impression surfaces with spaces
between them, and each covered with a soft blanket. With each forward
movement of the type-bed the cylinder made one-third of a revolution
and then came to a standstill, while the bed returned to its
starting-point. The spaces between the impression surfaces allowed the
type-form to pass under the cylinder without touching the blankets. At
the end of the cylinder and at equal distances along its circumference
were hinged three frisket frames, each fitted with tapes having reel
springs at one end. The frisket frame of the uppermost impression
surface rested in a vertically inclined position against the high
framework of the inking mechanism. The sheet of paper was placed upon
the blanket, and the cylinder then turned forward, drawing the frisket
frame down with it, while the tapes, kept taut by the reel springs,
adjusted themselves to the curvature of the cylinder and held the
sheet upon it. After one-third of a revolution, the cylinder came to a
stop to let the type-bed return. On the next forward movement of the
bed and the next one-third of a revolution of the cylinder, the
impression was made, and on the next repetition of these movements,
the sheet was taken off by hand, and the cylinder returned to its
original position to have another sheet placed on the first frisket.
At every complete revolution of the cylinder and three complete
reciprocating movements of the bed, three sheets were printed.

The inking mechanism was similar to that employed on the bed and
platen press, but the mechanism for forcing the ink through the slit
in the bottom of the fountain was improved. The inking-rollers were
covered with leather as before. The type-bed was moved by a very
ingenious mechanism which is in use even at the present time, and is
described farther on, when the two-revolution press is mentioned. The
different parts were not connected with each other, the cylinder, the
type-bed, the inking-rollers, and the fountain being operated
independently by separate driving mechanisms. This press printed eight
hundred sheets an hour, on one side. A part of Clarkson's "Life of
William Penn" was printed on this press, and was the first book ever
printed on a cylinder press.

Printers and publishers were sceptical as to the practical value of
this novel invention, but Mr. John Walter, the proprietor of the
_London Times_, with better foresight than the others, and needing
increased facilities for printing his paper, contracted for two
presses, each to have two impression cylinders. These were constructed
for him with great secrecy in a building adjoining the pressroom of
the _Times_, and on November 28, 1814, the entire edition of that
paper was printed on them,--the first cylinder presses driven by steam

The mechanical principles were the same as in the first cylinder
press. There were two impression cylinders, but only one type-bed, and
the latter had, therefore, to travel a greater distance than in the
single-cylinder press. This made it impossible to obtain quite double
the output of the single-cylinder press, but each of these new presses
produced eleven hundred impressions an hour, a very respectable
performance for that early stage. The threefold motion of the
cylinders was retained, but the frisket frames were displaced, and
tapes running over rollers and underneath the cylinders held the
sheets against the impression surfaces. An improvement was also made
in the inking mechanism by the addition of an intermediate roller
between the fountain and the upper distributing cylinder roller.

The next step in advance was the construction of the first of the
so-called perfecting presses, which was patented, December 24, 1814,
and erected in Mr. Bensley's office in 1815 or 1816. This press had
two type-beds and two impression cylinders, one of each near either
end of the press. The cylinders instead of having a threefold motion
revolved continuously. The circumference of each corresponded
approximately to the distance traversed by one of the beds. The part
of the cylinder which made the impression was a little larger in
diameter than the remainder, the low portion giving the necessary room
for the type-bed to return without touching it. The board from which
the sheets were "fed" was near the centre of the press, and at the top
adjoining the feed board was an endless belt made of cloth as wide as
the board and running with an intermittent motion over two rollers.

The sheet of paper was laid upon this belt, which then moved forward,
carrying the sheet between the tapes and leading it to the top of,
down and around, the first cylinder where it received the first
impression. Thence the sheet was conveyed by the tapes to the top of
and around the second impression cylinder and was printed on the
reverse side, that is "perfected," and it was then taken from the
lower side of the second cylinder by hand and laid upon a board in the
centre of the press, between the two impression cylinders and
underneath the feed board. This press printed both sides of a sheet
21 × 34-1/2 inches at a speed of nine hundred to one thousand an hour.

Shortly afterward a single-cylinder press was constructed upon the
same principle, the forerunner of what is now known as the single
large or drum cylinder press.

Within the next few years, Applegath and Cowper greatly simplified the
presses in the _Times_ and in Bensley's office by removing many of the
gear wheels. They also invented the first inking-table, a flat, iron
plate attached to the type-bed which enabled the rollers to distribute
the ink more evenly than before. They placed rollers at an angle
across the ink-table and introduced the revolving roller and the
scraping blade in the ink-fountain.

More important, however, were Napier's inventions about 1824, of
"grippers" which seized the sheet of paper at its front edge and drew
it from the feed board, while the cylinder was in motion, and of a
method of alternately depressing and raising the impression cylinders
on the forward and backward stroke of the type-bed, making it
unnecessary to have a part of the cylinders of smaller diameter than
the rest to allow the type to pass under it as the bed returned. This
made it possible to use cylinders of a smaller diameter. These
improvements were first embodied in a perfecting press made for
Hansard, a London printer.

Although a number of presses were already being operated by steam
power, Hansard, in his description of the Napier bed and platen press
(the "Nay-Peer," he called it) finds a peculiar advantage in that "it
supersedes the necessity of steam power, as the motion of this machine
is gained by two men turning a fly-wheel which acts as the impelling

I have described the development of the printing press up to this
state with considerable detail, because it discloses the main
principles of the book press of the present day. During the first
quarter of the last century, the manufacture of cylinder presses was
confined to England, not only because London was then the leading
centre of civilization, but because nowhere else could be found the
mechanical facilities for constructing the large metal frames and
parts. Koenig left London for his native land in 1817, dejected by the
treatment he had received at the hands of Bensley, both in financial
matters and in the attempts to disparage his achievements. He was
followed two years later by his friend Bauer, and together they
founded the firm of Koenig & Bauer at Oberzell, where it still thrives
as one of the largest factories in Germany.

It was not long, however, before the United States took the lead in
the number of presses manufactured as well as in their improvement,
and the present high state of efficiency of American presses makes
them models which are copied in all other countries. These
improvements and the perfections of details often presented problems
which were more difficult to solve than those of the earlier
inventors, and thousands of patents have been granted to Americans for
new and ingenious devices.

The firm of R. Hoe & Co., which as early as 1822 was already engaged
in the manufacture of hand-presses in New York, commenced about 1832
to manufacture flat-bed cylinder presses, beginning with the single
large or drum cylinder press which was followed soon afterward by the
single small cylinder and the double small cylinder press, the
flat-bed perfecting press, the stop-cylinder press, the two-revolution
press, and the rotary book press. They also made and are still making
large newspaper and color presses which are used all over the
civilized world, but of these we will not treat here.

As stated at the beginning of this article the chief object in press
making has always been to lessen the cost of printing, but after
increased speed had been attained, there came a demand for a press
that would produce the finest quality of printing without sacrificing
the quantity produced.

To meet this no press has ever surpassed the stop cylinder. It has
been made in several different sizes, the largest having a type-bed
45 × 65 inches. Resting upon and attached to a heavy iron foundation
are two iron side frames which are securely braced together by an
upper iron frame, called the "rib." This upper frame contains four
tracks faced with hard steel, on which run a series of friction
rollers, supporting the iron type-bed. Attached to the front of the
type-bed is an iron plate, called the ink-table, its surface level
with the surface of the type-form as it lies upon the bed.

At the front of the press is the ink-fountain and a number of steel
and composition rollers, called the "distributing rollers." The ink is
delivered a little at a time from the fountain to the revolving
distributing rollers, and from them to the ink-table which moves under
the rollers with the motion of the type-bed. By this means the ink is
distributed upon the entire surface of the ink-table in a thin, even
film. From the ink-table the ink is taken by a set of six rollers,
called the "form rollers." Resting on the form rollers and moving in
contact with them are additional rollers which help to distribute the
ink still finer before it reaches the type.

The impression cylinder is located at a distance from the front of the
press of about two-thirds of the entire length of the press. The
circumference of the cylinder is equal to the distance that the
type-bed travels in one direction. When the type-bed moves from the
front to the rear, the cylinder rotates in unison with it, and thus
the cylinder makes one revolution. While the bed returns the cylinder
does not move.

Near the rear of the press is a large wooden board extending across
the press and lying in a slightly inclined position with its lower
edge almost directly above the centre of the impression cylinder. This
is the "feed board" upon which the sheets of paper lie before they are
printed. The impression cylinder has a set of grippers, and when the
cylinder is at rest, these grippers are close to the edge of the feed
board and stand open to receive the edge of the sheet of paper.
Extending a little over the front of the feed board are two gauges
against which the front edge of the sheet of paper is placed, while
one side edge of the sheet is placed against a gauge at the side of
the feed board. Just an instant before the cylinder commences to
rotate, the grippers seize the front edge of the sheet, and the gauges
lift out of the way. The cylinder then carries the sheet around, meets
the moving inked form, and makes the impression. Before the cylinder
completes its revolution, the grippers open and release the sheet, and
at the same instant another set of grippers on an adjoining cylinder,
called the "delivery cylinder," seize the sheet. From this delivery
cylinder the sheet runs down over a set of strings, and is lifted off
the strings by a sort of fan, or "sheet flier," and deposited on a
table at the rear of the press. This method of delivering the sheets
is known as the cylinder or rear delivery. This press may also be
fitted for "front delivery." By this method the sheet of paper after
being printed is carried around on the impression cylinder until the
front edge comes again to the feeding point. Just as the impression
cylinder comes to a stop, a set of grippers seize the front edge of
the printed sheet, draw it over and away from the impression cylinder,
and deposit it, with the printed side up, upon a table near the front
of the press and above the ink-fountain and distributing rollers.

The average speed of one of these presses is from one thousand to
fifteen hundred impressions an hour, depending upon the desired
quality of the work.

Notwithstanding the excellent qualities of the stop-cylinder press,
commercial necessities often demand a sacrifice of quality to speed,
and this has brought the two-revolution press into very general use.
As the name implies, the cylinder makes two revolutions, one to print
the sheet, and the other, an idle one, to allow the bed to return.
While the bed is returning, the impression cylinder is lifted to clear
the type-form. As the cylinder rotates continually at a uniform speed,
the type-bed must also travel at a constant speed. The reversal of the
movements of the bed must, therefore, take place in a short space of

The study of inventors has been concentrated upon this subject more
than upon any other connected with flat-bed presses, and hundreds of
patents for "bed motions" have been taken out. Considering the fact
that in the larger presses the weight of the bed and form is about one
and a half tons and that this weight moving at a speed of about six
feet in a second must be brought to a full stop and put into motion
again in the opposite direction at full speed in about one-quarter of
a second, it is obvious that the problem was not an easy one,
especially when the reversal of the bed must be accomplished without a
jar or vibration. The mechanism employed has always been a driving
gear and one or two toothed racks. In Koenig's original movement, the
driving gear on the end of a rising and falling shaft ran on top of a
rack attached to the bottom of the bed in order to drive the bed in
one direction, and then descending around the end of the rack ran in
the bottom to the same rack to drive the bed in the other direction
and ascending at the other end to repeat the movement. This, as
already stated, has proven a very efficient mechanism and is employed,
with improvements, by some of the press manufacturers of the present

In a pamphlet entitled "A Short History of the Printing Press" (New
York, 1902), by Robert Hoe, the writer describes a method of reversing
the bed. Although somewhat technical, it seems desirable to quote him
as follows: "As early as 1847, Hoe & Co. patented an entirely new
bed-driving mechanism. To a hanger fixed on the lower side of the bed
were attached two racks facing each other, but not in the same
vertical plane, and separated by a distance equal to the diameter of
the driving wheel, which was on a horizontal shaft and movable
sideways so as to engage in either one or other of the racks. By this
means, a uniform movement was obtained in each direction. The reversal
of the bed was accomplished by a roller at either end of the bed
entering a recess in a disc on the driving shaft, which in a
half-revolution brought the bed to a stop and started it in the
opposite direction. This involved a new principle; a crank action
operating directly upon the bed from a shaft having a fixed centre,
and within recent years modifications of this patent have been
successfully employed to drive the type-bed at a high velocity and
reverse it without a shock or vibration."

This invention appears to have been the forerunner of the more recent
improvements in bed motions. A notable one is that employed in the
Miehle presses, which have gained much celebrity, run at a high rate
of speed, and are used in many printing-offices in this and other
countries. The reversal of the bed movement is accomplished by a
so-called "true crank" movement and with an absence of jar and
vibration never before obtained in any other than the stop-cylinder

At the present time, the latest development in printing presses is Hoe
& Co.'s new two-revolution press, in which, also, the reversal of the
bed is accomplished by the true crank movement, but with an
improvement which brings it to an easy stop and returns it without the
least vibration.

On all two-revolution presses there are employed, to assist in the
reversal of the bed, air-chambers or cylinders, without which the
reversing mechanisms could not withstand the enormous strain to which
they are subjected. These are iron cylinders, closed at one end,
approximately six inches in diameter and eighteen inches long, and
varying in size according to the size of the press. Some presses have
two and others four of these cylinders, one or two at each end. The
open ends of the cylinders are toward the bed, and attached to the bed
are two or four pistons which enter the air-chambers as the bed nears
the end of its stroke. The compression of the air in the cylinders
makes a cushion and checks the momentum of the moving bed. The pistons
can be adjusted to regulate the air compression to suit the velocity
of the bed and the weight of the form, which vary in different kinds
of work.

The delivery of the printed sheets is performed either by a delivery
cylinder or by a front delivery with the printed side of the paper
uppermost as already described for the stop-cylinder presses. Grippers
are not used in the front delivery carriage, as the sheet is
discharged from the cylinder by its continuous rotation.

The average running speed of a two-revolution press is about one-third
greater than that of a stop cylinder, or about eighteen hundred
impressions an hour, as against from one thousand to thirteen hundred
and fifty impressions from the stop cylinder, this being the
comparison in presses of the average size, printing sheets about
33 × 46 inches. The driving power required is in the proportion of
about five for the two-revolution press to three for the stop
cylinder, and the wear and tear is in about the same proportion.

Another press, which is still employed to a small extent for
book-work, is the flat-bed perfecting press. This press is virtually
two two-revolution presses combined into one, with the advantage that
they require only one man as "feeder," but with the disadvantage that
they produce only about two-thirds as much work as two separate
single-cylinder, two-revolution presses. Their greatest disadvantage
lies in the difficulty of preventing the fresh ink on the side of the
sheet first printed from "setting off" on the packing of the cylinder
which prints the reverse or second side. Mechanisms are employed to
move the "tympan sheet" or outside covering of the second cylinder
along at fixed intervals, but they are complicated and troublesome.
These presses are expensive and cumbersome, and can generally be used
only for inferior grades of work in large editions. Under the care of
a skilful and painstaking pressman, good work can be produced from
them, but fine book-work is always done on stop-cylinder and
two-revolution, single-cylinder presses, which have now been brought
to a high state of perfection.

Nearly a hundred years ago Hansard wrote, "The printing machine in its
present state appears susceptible of little improvement." He was, in
truth, right so far as the main principles of the flat-bed cylinder
press are concerned, but there have been immense improvements in many
of the details. With the introduction of automatic sheet-feeding
devices, and improvements in the driving, inking, and delivery
arrangements, mechanical ingenuity seems to have been exhausted. The
temptation is strong to apply Hansard's prediction to the flat-bed
cylinder press of the present day, but with the many surprises that
meet us in other fields this would border on temerity.

Already there have been great advances in adapting the entirely rotary
principle to the printing of high-grade work, although its use is
still restricted to the production of large editions.

As early as 1852 Hoe & Co. made a rotary press for D. Appleton & Co.,
especially for printing the famous Webster spelling-book. The types
were locked up on the cylinders in curved beds, called "turtles," and
the sheets were delivered by a sheet-flier. Probably thirty million
copies were printed on this press, which was dismantled nearly
twenty-six years ago.

In 1886 this same concern made a press which is still used for
printing some of the forms of the _Century Magazine_. This press had
two pairs of cylinders, and curved electrotype plates were used on it.
The paper was in a roll at one end, and at the other end there were
delivered, to each revolution of the cylinders, eight eight-page
signatures already folded to the size of the _Century_ page. This was
the first rotary press made for a good grade of book-work. Two similar
presses were afterward made for _Harper's Weekly_ and for the _Strand
Magazine_ of London.

What is known as the rotary art press was made in 1890 for printing
the fine half-tone illustrations in the _Century Magazine_.

This has one plate cylinder and one impression cylinder, and curved
electrotype plates are used. The sheets are "fed" by hand in the usual
manner, and are printed on one side at a time and delivered by a
sheet-flier. It produces as much work as four flat-bed cylinder
presses and of better quality. The plates are inked by sixteen
rollers. The performance of this press is another demonstration of the
superiority of the rotary over the flat-bed principle of printing.

Since then hundreds of rotary presses have been made for magazine and
book printing, most of them equipped with attachments for folding the
sheets as they are printed, and all having a high rate of speed. C.
B. Cottrell & Co. have made many rotary presses for magazine printing,
most of which deliver the sheets flat, without folding, and most of
them made to suit some predetermined size or sizes of sheets or pages.

In the evolution of the printing press there are three sharply defined
stages: first, the flat impression surface and the flat printing
surface, requiring the exertion of all of the impressing power upon
the entire surfaces; second, the cylindrical impression surface and
the flat printing surface, requiring the exertion of all of the
impressing power upon only a narrow line or a small portion of the
printing surface; third, a cylindrical impression surface and a
cylindrical printing surface, still further reducing the area upon
which all the impressing power is exerted.

Just as the second stage has, particularly for book-work, virtually
superseded the first, so the third is destined to supersede the
second. It is only an adaptation of the means to the ends. The
mechanical principles of the rotary press are, in fact, simpler than
those of the flat-bed cylinder press, and it may be said that so far
as the purely mechanical part of the press is concerned, they have
been fully developed, but much still remains to be done in other
directions. The variety in the sizes of the pages of different books,
the smallness of the editions, and the fact that the finer grades of
paper, especially coated paper, cannot be obtained in roll form, are
obstacles to be removed. As most book forms are electrotyped for
flat-bed presses, and as it requires but little additional expense to
curve the plates, this one item is not much of an obstacle to
overcome. It is, however, still difficult to curve the plates
perfectly, and the pressmen, even if they can produce excellent work
from flat-bed presses, require considerable training if they have had
no experience on rotary presses. All these difficulties are sure to be
overcome in time.


By James A. Ullman.

The process of making printing ink consists of grinding a pigment,
black, white, or colored, into a suitable varnish. The pigment is that
constituent which makes the impression visible, while the varnish is
the vehicle which carries the pigment during the operation of grinding
and during its distribution on the press to the type, from the type to
the paper, and ultimately binds it to the paper.

A complete factory for the production of printing ink consequently
consists of three distinct plants,--one for the production of the
varnishes, one for the manufacture of the pigments, and one for the
grinding of the pigments into the varnishes.

Roughly speaking, the varnishes are divided into three classes, the
first and second of which are the varnishes proper, _i.e._ the resin
and the linseed varnishes, while the third class consists of dryers,
etc., whose purpose is to influence the drying and consistency of the

Taking up first the proper varnishes, we find that these are produced
by the destructive distillation of resin in huge cast-iron stills. By
this process, the solid resin of colophony is split up into water,
various resinic acids or naphthas, and resin oils of various specific
gravities and consistencies, all of which are separated from each
other into separate containers which are ready to receive them. As one
distillation is not sufficient to purify the resin oils from the water
and acid, which would not only give the resulting ink an obnoxious
odor but be detrimental to type, plates, etc., the distillation is
repeated a number of times until the oils become perfectly pure. The
grades of varnishes made from these resin oils are used for the
cheaper classes of printing inks, not only on account of their lower
cost, but because they are more suitable for the class of work for
which such inks are used.

The linseed varnishes are made by boiling refined linseed oils at a
very high temperature. The linseed oil loses its acrid elements by
volatilization, and gradually becomes thick and viscous, the various
"numbers" or consistencies of these varnishes being dependent upon the
length of time during which the oil is subjected to the process, and
to the temperature applied.

The dryers are made by adding to the linseed oil during the boiling,
suitable oxidizing agents, such as compounds of lead or manganese, by
means of which the oil is chemically affected, _i.e._ it is oxidized.
Such dryers, when added to printing ink, attracts the oxygen of the
air and transfer it by catalytic action to the varnish of the ink,
thus causing it to oxidize more rapidly, or to become, as it is
commonly called, dry.

Having disposed of the manufacture of the varnishes and dryers, we now
come to the manufacture of pigments. This is such a large field that
it can be only cursorily covered within the limits of a short article.
The pigments are of many kinds and classes. The blacks alone would
form a large chapter by themselves; yet all of them consist of carbon,
produced by the combustion of hydrocarbons of various kinds, and
according to their origin they are the so-called carbon blacks, lamp
blacks, spirit blacks, oil blacks, Frankfort blacks, etc., each of
which has its distinct and peculiar properties and value for its
specific purpose.

The other pigments fall naturally into two divisions,--chemical colors
and the so-called "lakes." The chemical colors are in general of
mineral origin, produced by the action of one chemical upon the other,
or in some cases by physical or chemical action upon earths and ores.
In the first group, we have such colors as vermilions, white lead,
chrome yellows, the ferrocyanide blues (Milori blues, bronze blues,
Prussian blues, Chinese blues, Antwerp blues, Paris blues, Berlin
blues), ultramarines, etc.; in the second group, such colors as
cyanides, umbers, Indian red, and many others.

The lakes are principally formed by the use of coal-tar derivatives,
and are usually incorrectly grouped as anilines. They are produced by
precipitating water-soluble dyes upon a suitable substratum or base.
Their shades, strength, brilliancy, permanency, and working qualities
are dependent upon the nature of the dye itself, upon the nature and
percentage of the substratum or base, and also upon the suitable
selection and manipulation of the precipitating agents. This class of
colors is to-day by far the most important of all, since through great
progress made in chemistry in recent years, it is possible to make
them of the greatest possible strength and permanency, together with a
brilliancy of shade which was for many years an ideal earnestly
striven for, but apparently impossible to accomplish.

Having thus considered the products which are the principal raw
materials of printing ink, we now come to the ink itself. Being
provided with all the varnishes, pigments, dryers, etc., of suitable
qualities and shades, it is necessary to combine them in proper
proportions, after selecting such as will be mutually compatible, and
to grind them to the utmost fineness. The machinery to accomplish this
purpose consists, first, of mixers, in which the ingredients are
thoroughly incorporated with each other. This being done, the
resulting mixture or "pulp," as it is called, is ground upon mills
formed of rollers or cylinders, which are set in close contact by
means of screws and made to revolve by power. Between these rollers
the pulp is passed again and again, the number of times being
dependent upon the consistency of the ink and the nature of the
pigments, until it is ground or comminuted to the utmost fineness. The
result is printing ink as it is known to the printer, varying in
consistency, strength, intensity, permanency, brilliancy, drying, and
other working qualities, according to the nature of the various
varnishes, dryers, and pigments with which it is made.


By Albert S. Burlingham.

Notwithstanding the fact that no one thing connected with the art of
printing has done more toward the advancement of that art than the
simple inking appliance familiarly and commonly known as "the
printer's roller,"--without which, indeed, the evolution of the power
printing press from the primitive hand machines of the fathers would
not have been possible,--it is an inexplicable truth that historians
and encyclopædia makers who have made investigation of the origin and
progress of the art seem to have attached so little of importance to
the invention or introduction of the composition roller that only
meagre and casual reference is made to it. Even its predecessor, the
"ink-ball," receives but scant courtesy at the hands of these
chroniclers, for while they enter into the minutest detail (and
properly so) in investigating as to whom the world is indebted for the
idea of movable types and the invention of the printing press, they
have not thought it worth their while to rescue from oblivion the
suggester or adapter or constructor--whatever he may have been--of
the device by which those types were inked to receive the impression
from that press, and without which neither types nor press would have
been of any avail.

It seems to be established beyond doubt, however, that the first
suggestion of a roller to take the place of the ink-balls in applying
ink to type forms was that of William Nicholson, with whom, also, the
idea of the cylinder press originated, in 1790. He recognized the fact
that no power press on the cylinder principle could be of practical
use without an inking apparatus different from the primitive
ink-balls. These were hollowed-out blocks of beech, mounted with a
handle, the cavity stuffed with wool and covered with untanned
sheepskin which had been well trodden until it was soft and pliable.

The early printing presses were made of wood, and two men were
required to work a press--one to make the impressions and one to ink
the forms with the balls. The ink was contained in a receptacle called
the ink-table. It was enclosed on three sides, and was attached firmly
to one post, or cheek, of the press, on which were the racks for
holding the ink-balls when not in use. A beechen implement, resembling
somewhat our potato masher, and called the "brayer," was used to
manipulate the ink as it lay on the table; an iron shovel, known as
the "slicer," being used to portion out from the mass of ink such
quantities as were needed from time to time for the brayer.

It required much strength to manipulate the ink-balls properly, and
thus it was a man's work. Taking up ink with them from the table, the
operator vigorously beat the balls together with a rolling movement,
turning them a little at a time so as to make the ink cover the entire
surface and distribute it perfectly thereon. Then the type-forms were
beaten with them until they were properly inked. The work of printing
off an edition was divided between the two men, one manipulating the
ink-balls for an hour, and then taking his turn at the press, while
for the next hour his fellow-workman attended to the inking.

William Nicholson, seeing at once that the idea of a cylinder press
could never be worked out to practical perfection with such a process
of inking as that, built up an inking roller with manifold layers of
cloth, which he covered with the trodden sheep-pelt surface used in
the ink-balls, the distribution of the ink on the roller to be made by
contact with a revolving cylinder of wood. The idea was there, but
that it would have had the intended result was never known, for
although Nicholson's press contained nearly all the principles on
which the cylinder presses of our day are constructed, it lacked one
vital feature--the attaching of the type-forms to the cylinders--and
was consequently not of any practical use.

The Earl of Stanhope, who, in 1798, invented the first iron frame and
"platen" press, with the improvement of levers in addition to screws
to give the impression, coupled with his object Nicholson's idea of an
inking roller or revolving cylinder. He spent large sums in trying to
find a substance that he could utilize for that purpose. He
investigated with the skins of many animals, domestic and wild, and
tanned and dressed in various ways. Different textures of cloth and
varieties of silk were used, but without success. The seam that was
necessary down the entire length of the roller was one great
impediment to success, and even if that could have been overcome, the
proper softness and pliability of surface for receiving and depositing
the ink evenly and smoothly on the type could not be obtained from any
of the processes experimented with; and Stanhope's improvement in
printing presses was still subject to the inconvenience of the ancient

In 1807 a printer named Maxwell made a sheepskin roller which he
introduced into Philadelphia. It failed of success, and the printers
returned to the ink-balls. This Maxwell roller was reintroduced by
Fanshaw, a New York printer, in 1815, but the printers of that city
rejected it.

The inventors in England were still busily engaged in trying to solve
the problem of the cylinder press that Nicholson had more than
suggested in 1790, and the one great obstacle to success was the
absence of a proper substance for supplying the need of an inking
roller, the difficulty of the type and cylinder having been overcome
by the invention of the "turtle" form. In 1813 a man whose name one
historian gives as B. Foster, another as T. B. Foster, and to whom
another refers as "Forster, an ingenious printer, employed by S.
Hamilton, at Weymouth, England," one day visited the Staffordshire
pottery. In a coloring process in use there Forster, or Foster,
noticed a peculiar composition that covered the surface of the
potter's "dabber." It was moist, pliable, and elastic. The historians
do not say so, but we may well imagine that this "ingenious printer,"
seeing in that composition what he believed to be the long-sought
substance that would do away with the sheep pelt as an inking device,
with all that implied to the progress of the art of printing, must
have awaited with feelings of acute anxiety the answer of the potter
to his query as to what that composition was.

And what was it? "Glue and treacle,"--two of the simplest of articles,
and the easiest to obtain. The printer experimented with them, and
although he was the first to put to practical use in the art of
printing the thing that revolutionized it and advanced it to its
present state of wonderful perfection, yet so far as the printed
chronicle of him goes, we do not know what his Christian name was, or
whether his surname was Foster or Forster; and one chronicler states
that it was in 1813, and another that it was in 1815, that he
discovered roller composition to his fellow-printers.

The collateral evidence, however, is to the effect that it was in
1813. Forster (admitting that to have been his name), proved the
availability of glue and molasses as an inking surface, not by using
it in the form of a roller, but by coating a canvas with it, and using
the canvas thus prepared in place of the sheep pelt on inking balls.
From this the press inventors got the idea of coating a wooden
cylinder with the composition. Applegath & Cowper, inventors of the
Applegath cylinder press, were the first to adapt it in roller form,
and for a time held a patent on the use of it; but the courts of
England decided that there could be no patent on the composition, and
substitutes for the manufacture of rollers having been devised which
were no infringement on Applegath & Cowper's moulds, the compound came
into open use, and Koenig, who had so improved and perfected
Nicholson's ideas and plans for a power cylinder press, was able, in
1814, by the adaptation of the glue and molasses roller, to print the
first edition of a newspaper that was ever run from a cylinder
press--the historic edition of _The London Times_. The problem of the
inking apparatus solved, there was no longer any limit to the exercise
of inventive genius in the advancement of the printing art; and it
is, therefore, to the printer's roller, more than to any one thing,
that that art owes its wonderful preëminence to-day.

There is no record in any of the histories of printing, or in
encyclopædias, of who it was that introduced the composition roller
into use in this country, or any reference to the date when it came
into service. De Vinne, in his "Typographia," published in 1876, says
that ink-balls were in use here "fifty years ago," or in 1826; but it
must have been only in isolated and out-of-the-way rural printing
offices, for it can hardly be supposed that Yankee "go-aheadativeness"
would have failed to recognize at once the importance of the
discovery, or have long delayed its general adoption, although the
hand press, with many improvements, remained the universal printing
machine in the United States until 1822, when the Treadwell power
press gave the first impulse to more rapid printing. The Treadwell was
not a cylinder press, but its invention would have been of no
consequence without the composition roller. It is certain, however,
that more than sixty years ago the melting pot and roller mould had
become an important adjunct to every rural printing office, and the
making of a new roller was an event in the routine of the
establishment. The orthodox mixture for the composition in the
printing office where the writer of this was the "devil" forty-seven
years ago was "a pint of sugar-house molasses to every pound of the
best glue, with a tablespoonful of tar to every three pints and three
pounds." And that was the customary composition of that day among
country printers.

There is a tradition among printers and roller-makers that the first
roller turned out in this country was moulded in a stove pipe; but
whether it was or not, and no matter who the first roller-maker might
have been, it is a fact that the advance in the art of roller-making
has had to be rapid in order to keep pace with the vast improvements
in the cylinder press which the first composition called into use, and
the old-fashioned glue and molasses rollers would be now of no more
service to them than would the primitive ink-balls which the roller
replaced. A comparison between the mode of making a roller in the
early days of the business and the methods in use to-day will be of

In the old days the composition was cooked in a caldron over a coal
fire, with water between two jackets to make the steam that forced the
melting. The cast-iron moulds were placed near a stove to give them
the necessary warmth of inner surface, a warm mould being required to
give a good "face" to the roller in the casting. While cooking, the
composition was constantly stirred with a stick to assist in the
proper assimilation of the ingredients. After it had reached the
proper stage, it was strained from the melting kettle into pouring
kettles, similar to ordinary milk pails. The composition was poured
from the top. Naturally, this let into the moulds, with the
composition, the air bubbles and froth that were always present, which
caused imperfections in the rollers. After pouring, it was necessary
to let the moulds stand all night, so the composition might become
sufficiently cool to permit the "drawing" of the rollers. This was
effected by placing a stick against the iron journal at one end of the
roller core and pushing until the roller was forced out of the mould.

But the roller factory of to-day is quite a different affair. Instead
of separate moulds standing about a stove to get ready for the
pouring, there are moulds in nests, or cylinders, resembling a Gatling
gun, or a tubular boiler. There will perhaps be twenty roller moulds
in a nest. The cylinders are balanced in the centre on journals, thus
enabling the workman to place them at any angle desired, for purposes
of oiling the moulds and loading them with the roller cores. The
cylinders have hot and cold water contact, by which they may be
surrounded by either at will. To warm the moulds the cylinder is put
in an upright position, and hot water circulated about it the required
length of time.

The composition--which is something more than the old-time glue and
molasses--is prepared for pouring by melting in a double-jacketed
steam kettle, the stirring being done by a mixer run by steam power.
When ready, the composition is drawn off from the bottom of the
cooking kettles into pouring kettles which have air-tight hoods. To
these a hose is attached, the other end of the hose being connected
with a tank which is charged with air by a pump. The hose being then
attached to the cylinder, the air is introduced from the tank into the
pouring kettle, forcing the composition upward into the cylinder, and
all air from the moulds. This insures a perfect roller.

When the composition has reached the top of the roller stocks, the
valve at the bottom of the cylinder is closed, and the process is
continued to the next cylinder ready for pouring. The cooling of the
cylinders is effected by turning the cold water current around them,
and a nest of moulds may be filled and emptied four or five times a
day. After the cooling, the bottom plate of the cylinder is removed;
the rollers drop out, are trimmed, and are ready for the shipping box.


By Charles D. Williams.

It is only in comparatively modern times that the art of illustration
has received the encouragement that makes for perfection. For this,
the cheapening of the manufacturing cost in printing is mainly
responsible. An illustration proper should always accompany text and
in days past the making of a book was so costly in itself that the
possibility of illustration was almost beyond thought. Only the
wealthy could afford illustrated books and as their reading was very
limited, naturally illustration was crowded to the wall. Those with
money to spend on pictures preferred decorations or portraits,
consequently the endeavors of artists were aimed at supplying what
suited the tastes of buyers. Illustration is and always has been the
art of the people. It makes clearer to the imagination their stories
and their songs, it mirrors their manner of life, interests, and
pursuits in a way that brightens what would otherwise often be

Art seems to entwine itself about the strongest figures in a
community, absorbing with its nourishment the ethical qualities of
the leader. Thus we have Michael Angelo in a community ruled by the
church, creating, at its demands, a "Day of Judgment," a "Magdalen at
the Cross," a "Moses," and Velasquez, evolving a marvellous technique
while immortalizing in wonderful portraits the vanity of his Spanish

So that at the present day, with the people in ascendency, what is
more probable than the perfect development of the art which most
appeals to their tastes? Every day, artists of the highest
intelligence find in illustration an opportunity to give the best that
is in them, and the chances that illustration will reach the heights
of perfection attained by other branches of art are exceedingly good.

The opportunities for an illustrator are without end, and the problems
are beyond number. It is a difficult performance to hand out, to
order, pictures in which human emotions stand counterfeited. In the
fact that illustration springs from and stands with the written tale
and must finally serve its proper place between board covers, the man
who labors at it finds some of his work already finished for him by
the author. But it is a saving that tantalizes more than it assists.

The technical equipment of the artist must twist into realistic
semblance, clear to the eye, the imaginary product of the author. He
must not add to it nor take away from it--even for the sake of beauty
in his picture--one iota of the facts given him. His imagination,
grasping all the ideas of the author, must assemble them and find a
place for each one, good, bad, and indifferent, and present them to
the reader in a form that will command his approval.

The artist cannot tease the mind with the vague influence of
description, as can the author, nor can he veil his products with the
pleasing glamour of unreality. Without haze his work stands forth,
bold facts in half-tone reproduction and printer's ink, fighting an
uncertain fight at best with the imagination of the reader.

People will have illustrations, though. If the pictures do not
literally fill the bill, they nevertheless please. Something definite,
carrying a story idea, is always acceptable.

Something which excites the imagination invariably challenges
interest, and the illustrator who is true to his calling and above
shirking his task enhances the interesting features of a book a
thousand fold, if he spares no pains in arriving at an actual
expression of the author's intention.

The knowledge that an illustrator brings to his work should be as
broad and varied as human history. Above and beyond his ability to
draw or execute in a manner technically pleasing, should stand his
knowledge of people, places, and events. It should include all Things,
Ologies, and Isms. A living Index he must be, knowing just enough to
readily discover more, and with this knowledge he must make others
feel and imagine.

If the author would tell of wars, Trojan, Egyptian, or Siamese, the
illustrator must follow him and be truthful. He must know enough of
Troy, Egypt, or Siam to make clear to the reader the face, form, and
clothes of the characters, their weapons of bloodshed, their way of
killing, how they marched to do it and through what manner of country.
He must know or find out all these things, and within all his pictures
must carry the spirit of terror and murder that stalked at the time,
so carefully expressed that the terror and murder will be of that
particular epoch and no other. All this must be shown as clearly as
that the characters belong to their helmets or shields, their war
chariots or bamboo lances. Simple the task may seem in these days of
public libraries and ready reference, yet it is a most nerve-racking
business, this placing an embossed helm or set of greaves on the hero
of a story, so that he may stand out a Roman, and when the labor is
finished having him stare genially out at you, insistently proclaiming
the masquerade, and seemingly proud of his resemblance to a St. Louis
button salesman.

When all is said and done the illustrator's strongest asset is spirit.
Technique and a grain of insight will help a man over many a rut in
portraiture, and a knowledge of patting clay and using a chisel has
saved many a sculptor, but technical equipment alone never made an
illustrator, because he deals too directly with life in action. Slack
drawing and impatience of method will always be pardoned in an
illustrator, if his picture convinces.

Let a writer tell of a pair in love and the illustrator pictures their
kiss; if he convinces the reader that the kiss is in earnest, the
drawing may be full of faults, but the point is made and nothing more
is asked, save that "she" be pretty and "he" manly. Consider the
difficulty of this trick of convincing, when the words of love
carefully weighed and prepared by the author and set into the
atmosphere of a scene equally well prepared will often occasion
derisive smiles. So it may be explained that the purpose of
illustration is to carry the spirit of action rather than to serve as
a basis for deft expression of technical skill, and illustration will
reach its highest development along the lines which give it an excuse
for its existence.

The mechanical processes for the reproduction of illustrations have
served to develop various methods of drawing the original picture. The
half-tone screen in connection with photography has made possible an
almost exact copy of the artist's work, and at very small cost.
Formerly an illustration was drawn on a wood block and turned over to
a wood engraver, who laboriously cut it into the block and as he cut
away the drawing as he worked it was impossible to compare his
reproduction with the original. It can be readily seen that only a
very good engraver was to be trusted to reproduce anything of value,
and as there were never very many engravers of the first class,
artists' work usually suffered. Half-tone engraving reproduces a
drawing by photography and necessarily shows much of the individual
method of the artist. Zinc etching of pen-and-ink drawings is even
more exact in its results. Lately, methods of reproducing colored
originals and paintings have been brought forward, and the results are
surprisingly good. Scientific photography is at the bottom of this,
and the old method of lithography, which demanded ten or twelve
printings in reproduction, and then fell short, seems to have seen the
last day on which it will break the heart of the artist.

Because of the sun and the dry plate, illustrators had to find inks
and methods which would aid the engraver as much as possible. The use
of opaque white as a ground for the mixture of tones, with its
resultant bluish cast in black-and-white drawing, has almost
disappeared. The camera will not find gradations in blue and artists
have found it better to use pure india ink washed out in water,
allowing the white of the paper to serve for high lights. Of course,
opaque has its uses, but it is only after much experience and many
disappointments that an artist can learn just where to use it and how.
Pen-and-ink drawings and crayon drawings on rough paper in which the
crayon is applied direct, and not rubbed, will always please the
engraver most and return the best reproductions; but in this case
cleverness and technique demand the greater notice from the artist if
he would have the result interesting. A successful pen drawing is an
achievement almost equal to an etching and it is unfortunate,
considering the ease with which it may be successfully engraved, that
good pen drawing is so rare.

Black-and-white oil offers an inviting field to the illustrator who
aims at a sense of completeness in his work. Honestly handled, there
is no other method of working that can convey an equal feeling of
solidity and earnestness. By its use an artist can suggest all the
qualities of a full-color painting and impress one with the
last-forever look that thought and study gives to earnest work.

Most drawings for reproduction are worked in wash--why, it is hard to
say. Oil will shine and reflect lights, and the engraver has this to
overcome; but, barring the lightness and appearance of ease that wash
suggests, there is no very apparent difference in the reproductions,
and oil has the advantage of greater simplicity in detail.

For deftness and brilliancy illustrations finished in crayon rubbed
into tones easily surpass those done by other methods, but the process
has the disadvantage of appearing thin in the reproduction, unless
the plate is very carefully tooled and printed.

When the illustrator has chosen his subject and decided on the method
of treatment that will best serve the demands of the story to be
pictured, fully half his labor is completed.

The preliminary sketches necessary to the condensing of his ideas open
the door to the real pleasure in his work--standing up a model and
creating therefrom a character is pure joy, and it is for this alone
that the illustrator toils through the dry dust of reference libraries
and costume shops.

Models are either a great aid or a great drawback in the picturing of
characters, for while they assist the artist by simplifying the labor
of drawing, they often handicap him by intruding their own personality
into the work, thereby spoiling the sense of character aimed at. When
an illustrator allows this to happen, it does not matter how beautiful
or accurate his sketch may be, he fails in the first essential of his
craft, entering forthwith into the field occupied by painters and
decorators, who can do the same thing very much better. So, while the
model is often a necessary appendage to the construction of a
character, it is imperative that the spirit and sense spring from the
artist, whose business is, not to reproduce the model, but to use it
sparingly as he would a book of reference.

The illustrator finds that the speech an author puts into the mouths
of his characters is the best index to their personality. They may be
described as tall or short, dark or light, stout or thin, and their
creator may explain their capacities for love, hate, villany, or
dissipation, but it is only the words with which they express their
ideas that really describes them. His description of the beauty of a
girl will not be accepted on trust. He must supply her with deportment
and breeding before her beauty can be truly imagined. Thus it may be
explained that the measure of an author's conception and clearness
often determines the qualities in an illustration. The true
illustrator is sensitive to faults in the delineation of character,
and, although he may not be aware of it, his work will show it. Of
course it often happens that an artist is taken up with ideas of
technique and, author or no author, will make his pictures in just
such a way; but such work is hardly illustration and serves itself
better standing alone.

And thus it goes throughout the scene to be pictured--place, time, and
people, all must be imagined twice and equally clear, by both the
author and the illustrator, before the reader will agree.

To the illustrator, hampered by given quantities, falls the most
difficult task in this duet of imagination, and he can at best hope
only for the reader's approval, as all credit for conception goes to
the author. It is on this approval, though, that he builds, for if he
succeeds in making things clearer to the reader's imagination, he has
accomplished what he set out to do and has proved himself worth his

So the aims of illustration are set forth, but whether the laborer
completes his work well or ill, whether he brings great ability or
only honest intention to its accomplishment, he is engaged in a
business as fascinating as it is uncertain. Failure only drives him to
another try, and success is always just around the corner. The
illustrator who would live by his work must live with it. If he has a
thought in his mind that does not deal in some form with illustrations
and half-tone plates, he is wasting that thought and his time besides.


By Emlyn M. Gill.

Practically all book illustrations, as well as those in catalogues and
periodicals of all kinds, are made by some method of photo-engraving.
Wood engraving is almost a thing of the past, and many who are in a
position to know predict that after the present generation of wood
engravers has passed out of existence, artistic wood engraving will be
a lost art. It is certain that there is now no younger school of wood
engravers growing up to take the place of the engravers whose work in
the leading magazines, up to a few years ago, made them famous.

The quickly made and comparatively inexpensive process plates have not
only taken the place of wood engraving, but have increased the field
of illustration to a very large extent. They have made possible
hundreds and even thousands of publications which could not have
existed in the old days of expensive wood engraving. The use of
photo-engraved plates has increased enormously each year during the
past twenty years, and with this increased use has come the inevitable
decrease in cost, so that illustrations are no longer much of a
luxury to the publisher.

Photography is the basis of all the mechanical processes that come
under the general head of photo-engraving. These processes are
generally called mechanical, yet, as in photography, great skill is
required to produce the best results. The higher grades of half-tone
work require much careful finishing, which is all done by hand, and
which, moreover, must be done by a skilful, intelligent, and artistic
engraver. Practically all things may be reproduced successfully by
photo-engraving, but the vast majority of subjects that go to the
photo-engraver are either photographs or drawings.

All methods of relief plate photo-engraving come under two general
heads: "Half-tone" and "line engraving," the latter being very
generally known as "zinc etching." Zinc etching is the simplest method
of photo-engraving and should be thoroughly understood before one
begins to inquire into the intricacies of the half-tone process. It is
used to reproduce what is known as "black and white" work, or line
drawings. Any drawing or print having black lines or dots on a white
background, without any middle shades, may be engraved by this
process. The old-fashioned "wet-plate" photography is used in making
practically all process plates, either in line or half-tone.

I will describe briefly all the operations gone through in making a
line plate, taking for a subject a map drawn in black ink on white
paper or a head drawn by Charles Dana Gibson,--subjects wide apart in
an artistic way, but of absolutely equal values so far as making the
plate is concerned. The drawing is first put on a copy board in front
of a camera made especially for this work, in whose holder the wet
plate has already been placed by the operator. The subject may be
enlarged or reduced to any desired size, nearly all drawings being
made much larger than they are desired to be reproduced in the plates.
The exposure is much longer than in ordinary dry plate work, generally
lasting in the neighborhood of five minutes. The result is a black and
white negative. That is, the lines that were black in the drawing are
absolutely clear and transparent in the negative, but the rest of the
negative is black. From the photographer, the negative goes to the
"negative-turning" room. Here the negative is coated with solutions of
collodion and rubber cement, which makes the film exceedingly
tough--so tough that it is easily stripped from the glass on which it
was made, and is "turned" with the positive side up on another sheet
of glass. If this were not done, the plate would be reversed in
printing--that is, a line of type would read from right to left, or
backward. After the negative is "turned," it is ready for the etching
room. Here the surface of a sheet of zinc about one-sixteenth of an
inch thick, which has been polished until it is as smooth as plate
glass and without a scratch or a flaw of any kind, is flowed with a
sensitized solution, easily affected by light. The negative is placed
in a printing frame over the sensitized zinc and a print is made. That
is, it is exposed to the sunlight or to a powerful electric light, and
the light shines through the transparent parts of the negative, and
hardens the sensitized surface; while the black part of the negative
protects the sensitized surface from the action of the light. The
plate is next "rolled up" with a lithograph roller which distributes a
thin coating of etching ink over the entire surface. The plate is then
washed off carefully by the operator, but the ink adheres to all
portions of the plate that have been acted upon by the light. We now
have a fully developed print on the highly polished surface of the
zinc that is an exact reproduction of the original drawing. It is now
necessary to make this print acid proof, and this is done by covering
the plate with a coating of very fine resinous powder, called
"dragon's blood," which adheres to the printed portions of the plate.
The plate is subjected to enough heat to melt this powder, and is then
ready for the acid bath.

A strong solution of nitric acid is used for etching zinc plates. This
acid is placed in trays, which are rocked constantly, either by power
or by hand, while the plate is being etched. The melted dragon's
blood makes a perfect acid resistant and the acid, therefore, does not
affect the print (or picture itself), but eats away the bare surfaces
of the metal between the black lines and the dots. When this etching
has proceeded far enough to make a plate that may be used in printing,
the lines and dots of the picture stand up in bold relief, while the
metal around these lines and dots has been eaten away to a
considerable depth.

There are many details that cannot be described in a short article,
but these are the principal operations gone through in etching the
plate. One very important detail in etching is to prevent
"undercutting." It is obvious that if the acid will eat down, it will
also eat sidewise. The acid resistant is only on the surface. If means
were not taken to prevent it, as soon as the acid got below the
surface, it would begin to eat in under the print and the lines and
dots of the picture would disappear; therefore, as soon as the plate
has had its first "bite," it is taken from the acid, dried, and
dragon's blood is brushed against the sides of the lines. This powder
is then melted and the plate given another etching. While the plate is
being etched down, it is removed from the acid several times, and the
sides of the dots and lines are again protected. After leaving the
etching room the plate goes to the "router," an ingenious machine,
with a cutting tool revolving at a speed of fourteen thousand
revolutions a minute, which quickly removes the waste metal in the
large open places between the lines and dots. The zinc plates are
carefully looked over by a finisher, defects are removed, and the
metal plates are then nailed on wooden blocks, so that they will be
"type-high," that is, of exactly the same height as the metal
type-forms used in printing. Hand presses are a necessity in all
photo-engraving shops, and with these several "proofs" of each plate
are printed in order that the customer may judge of the quality of the

While the line, or zinc etching process is immensely useful, in
reproducing pen-and-ink drawings, maps, wood-cut prints, etc., yet the
half-tone process is the one that practically revolutionized all known
methods of illustration, after it had become perfected. While zinc
etching is limited in its capabilities to the reproduction of black
and white subjects, practically everything in art or nature may be
reproduced by the half-tone process. The half-tone "screen" makes it
possible to take a photograph or wash drawing and break the flat
surface of the picture up into lines and dots, with the white spaces
between that are an absolute essential in relief plate printing. If a
half-tone print taken from any magazine or periodical is examined
closely, either with the naked eye or a magnifying glass, it will be
seen that the entire picture is a perfect network of lines and dots,
and that there are two sets of lines running diagonally across the
plate at right angles to each other. In the darker portions of the
picture it will be seen that the lines are very heavy, with a small
white dot in the centre of each square, made by the intersecting
lines. In the lighter portions of the picture, these lines will be
found to be very fine, while in the lightest parts, or in the "high
lights," as they are called, the lines disappear and in their places
are a mass of fine dots, not much larger than a pin point.

To make a half-tone plate of a photograph or other subject, it is
necessary to break the negative up into lines and dots. It is for this
purpose that the half-tone "screen" is used. The screen consists of
two thin pieces of plate-glass, on the surface of which a series of
very delicate parallel black lines have been ruled running diagonally
across the glass. When these pieces of glass are placed together, face
to face, the parallel lines ruled on them intersect each other at
right angles, giving a very fine "mosquito-netting" effect. The method
of making the negative is very similar to that described in making
line negatives, excepting that in making a half-tone negative the
screen is placed in the plate-holder directly in front of the
negative. The subject is then photographed, and the result is a
negative completely covered with a mass of fine transparent lines and

Copper is generally used instead of zinc in making half-tone plates.
In making a print on copper the light shines through the transparent
lines and dots of the negative and hardens the sensitized surface of
the plate. The black parts of the negative between the transparent
lines and dots protect the sensitized surface. When the plate, after
printing, is placed under a water tap, the parts of the sensitized
surface that have not been acted upon by light wash away, leaving a
print that becomes acid proof after being subjected to an intense

The method of etching a copper plate is similar to that already
described for etching zinc plates, excepting that sesquichloride of
iron is used instead of nitric acid. In a half-tone the dots and lines
are so close together that great depth is neither desirable nor
possible, and no steps are taken to prevent undercutting.

The half-tone plate, after it has been carried as far as possible by
mechanical processes, is capable of great improvement in the hands of
skilful engravers. The plate as it comes from the etching bath may be
termed a mechanical product. Though great skill is necessary in making
the negative, the print, and the etching, the hand-finishing gives the
plate many of its artistic qualities. The unfinished plate is apt to
be more or less "flat" in appearance; the high lights may not be light
enough, while the dark portions of the plate are apt, in cases, to be
too light. The most common methods of finishing are reëtching and
burnishing. The finisher dips a camel's-hair brush in acid and
applies it to the high-light portions of the plate, or other places
that are too dark, and allows it to act on the metal until these parts
of the plate are lightened sufficiently. The parts of the plate that
are too light are made darker by rubbing down the surface of the plate
with a tool called the burnisher. The skilful, artistic finisher has
other methods at his command of making the plate reproduce as
accurately and as artistically as possible the original drawing or
photograph. High lights are sometimes cut out entirely, or a fine
engraver's tool may be "run" between the lines; while a
"wood-engraved" finish is produced by cutting, in certain portions of
the plate, lines similar to those used in wood engraving.

In the price-cutting that has been going on as a result of the fierce
competition that has existed among photo-engravers during the past few
years, the artistic possibilities of the half-tone have been lost
sight of to a certain extent. The product of the engravers is sold by
the square inch, regardless of the fact that the cost of one plate may
be double the cost of another plate of the same size, but from a
different subject.

A point also worth remembering is that until the plate reaches the
finishers' hands, it has been more or less of a mechanical product;
and that the plate is made an artistic creation by the skill, care,
and brains of an intelligent class of men earning from $25 to $50 a
week. Those expecting "the best" at "the lowest price" can easily
guess about how much of this high-priced finishing they will get when
the price paid barely covers the cost of the mechanical product. Then,
engravers striving for high quality in the product pay from
twenty-five to fifty per cent higher wages, as a rule, than the cheap,
commercial shops. But the idea of square-inch price has so generally
permeated the buying public, that the larger and better shops have
been compelled, to a greater or less extent, to meet the prices of
their less skilful competitors. They are enabled to do this and give
their customers much greater value for their money, only through
better business methods, more modern facilities, and by conducting the
business on a very large scale.

The screens used in making half-tones represent an enormous outlay in
the large shops. A comparatively small screen costs in the
neighborhood of $100. A screen 18 × 20, ruled 120 or 133 lines to the
inch, costs about $500. Screens are made with different numbers of
lines to the inch, from 65, for coarse, newspaper work, up to 400. The
screens in general use are 65, 85, 100, 110, 120, 133, 150, 166, 175,
and 200; but intermediate sizes are also used, such as 125 and 140. A
screen containing 200 lines to the inch is about the finest ever used
for ordinary printing purposes, though a few screens with 250, 300,
and 400 lines to the inch have been made. A well-equipped
photo-engraving establishment must have all these screens, and all of
them in many different sizes. In the writer's shop there are fifteen
cameras, all of them in constant use in the daytime and five or six of
them are always in use all night. Some days the bulk of the work in
the place will be a fine grade of magazine engraving calling for a 175
screen. In order to keep all the cameras at work all the time, a thing
that is very important in a well-regulated place, it is necessary to
have a number of 175 screens almost equal to the number of cameras.
The same is true of most of the other screens in general use.
Fortunately for the engraver and the consumer these screens
practically last forever if carefully handled.

The greatest developments in process work during the past few years
have been in the making of color plates. Beautiful results are
obtained in two colors by the "duograph" or "duotone" processes, the
plates being made for two printings. The three-color process aims to
reproduce all colors in three printings, by using inks of red, yellow,
and blue. This process is very interesting, but somewhat intricate.
Primarily, the results are made possible by color separations. The aim
is to take a colored subject--an oil painting, for instance--and by
photographing it three times, each time through a different colored
piece of glass, to divide all the colors into what are called the
three primary colors--red, yellow, and blue. From each of these color
separations a half-tone plate is made, and when these plates are put
on the printing-press, and the impressions are printed over each other
in yellow, red, and blue inks, respectively, the result is a printed
picture reproducing correctly all the colors of the original subject.

While many subjects may be reproduced accurately by this process, yet
the three-color process seems inadequate to give perfectly
satisfactory results in all cases. Nearly all three-color process
houses are now prepared to add a fourth, or key, plate, to be printed
in black, in case the subject seems to need it. The three-color
process has enabled many of the leading magazines to use illustrations
in colors, and there is not the slightest doubt but that there is a
great future for this class of work.


By Robert D. Servoss.

Almost all of the maps found in text and reference books, as well as
the geometrical diagrams used in mathematical and scientific works,
are made by what is known as the "wax process."

This process was invented and patented by an Englishman named Palmer
about 1840, shortly after the discovery of the method of making
electrotype plates for printing purposes. He announced that he would
furnish artists with copper plates covered with a waxlike composition
on which they could make their own drawings, in a manner similar to
but much simpler than the method followed by the etcher on copper.
After receiving the artist's work, the plates were to be returned to
Palmer, who then made an ordinary electrotype of the engraving. A
circular, issued about 1841, gives the necessary instructions for
engraving, and the prices for the wax-coated plates and the subsequent
electrotypes, and shows many beautiful illustrations made by artists
of that time. It was then called the "glyphographic process."

The process was first introduced into this country by a firm of
printers in Buffalo, New York, and was used by them for several years
for illustrating the United States patent office reports until it was
superseded upon the introduction of photo-lithography and the
subsequent adoption by the government of a uniform standard for patent

This process may be described in a general way as follows: A copper
plate having a highly polished surface is first blackened by the
application of a weak solution of sulphuret of potassium, or other
chemical which will oxidize the copper. Then a composition, made by
melting together in proper proportions, beeswax, zinc-white, and
paraffin, is "flowed" over the blackened surface, producing an opaque
whitish engraving ground. The thickness of the wax is varied according
to the subject to be engraved, but in general should not exceed that
of heavy writing paper. After it has been allowed to cool with the
plate lying perfectly horizontal, the wax is smoothed down to an even
thickness by a steel scraper, and the plate is then ready to receive
the engraving.

Taking for an example the engraving of a map, the original copy is
either photographed on the wax surface, or is transferred to it by
covering the back of the copy with red chalk and tracing over every
line with a steel point. The photograph, or the tracing, on the wax
must not be a reversed one, as might be supposed, but should "read
right." The outlines of the map are then gone over, with an engraving
tool which cuts out a small channel in the wax, down to, but not
into, the surface of the copper plate. The bottoms of these channels
will eventually form the surface of the relief lines in the resultant
electrotype plate, but now appear as dark lines against the whitish
groundwork of the wax.

The engraving tools are made in different sizes, and therefore
channels of varying widths at the bottoms may be cut in order to
produce lines of different sizes. In cutting lines to indicate
rivers,--which must be thin at the source and increase in thickness as
they approach the mouth,--tools are used in graduated sizes. The first
one cuts its own line of equal width for a very short distance, then
another and slightly wider tool is used, the next still wider, and so
on until the river line is completed. In reality a series of steps,
the work is so done that the line appears to the eye to increase in
width evenly and gradually from a very fine beginning to a heavy
ending. The wavy lines indicating hills and mountains are made in
substantially the same way. Special steel punches are pressed through
the wax to the copper to show town and capital marks, and after all
the lines and marks are completed, the plate is ready to receive the
lettering. The name of each individual town, city, state, or river is
set up in printer's type and stamped one name at a time into the wax.
The type is placed in a small tool resembling a vise, which holds it
in perfect alignment and on a perfect level. Tools of various shapes
are used for stamping the names in straight and curved lines. It is
necessary to wet the type to prevent its adhering to the wax.

The plate is then carefully compared with the original copy and after
any necessary corrections have been made it is gone over by an expert
operator, who cuts out any of the channels which may have been
obliterated by the burr of the wax, resulting from pressing in the

We now have a plate in which the lines have been cut in small channels
and the names stamped with type. This is a matrix, or mould, from
which an electrotype of the lines now sunken in the wax may be made in
high relief for printing, but the blank portions of the wax are so
thin that it is first necessary to fill in all these places on the
plates with wax in order to produce a sufficiently deep electrotype
plate. This is done by "building up" the plate. A small hook-shaped
tool, heated over a gas jet, is used to melt small pieces of wax which
are run carefully around all the names and in the spaces between
lines, thus filling up all these spaces with a round, smooth body of
wax. From this mould an ordinary electrotype is made by the method
described elsewhere in this book.

All these operations require much skill and patience at every step,
but the plates produced by the wax process are always much deeper and
stronger than those made by any other process.


By Elmer Latham.

The method by which a photogravure plate is produced, is probably the
least understood of all of the many photo-processes of reproduction.
This is chiefly on account of the difficulty of the process, which is
not an easy matter to explain in detail, and also on account of the
secrecy with which all plate makers guard their processes.

The reproduction of a mezzotint or line-engraved print, when made by a
good photogravure process, produces in most cases a print which cannot
be detected from the original. The originator of the process was
probably Fox Talbot, an Englishman. The writer has seen one of his
prints, made between 1855 and 1860, which was a very creditable piece
of work. Dujardin of Paris took up Talbot's process, and after much
modification, succeeded in developing a successful process which he is
working to-day. All photogravure plate makers of the present time have
more or less copied the process of Fox Talbot.

There are three different methods of making these plates known to the
writer. The reader probably knows that a photogravure plate is not a
relief plate, but an intaglio, and is printed on an etching-press in
the same manner as an etching and requires special skill in printing
on the part of the printer to produce the best results. I will give a
brief explanation of the three different processes.

The first is known as the transfer process. In this process a reversed
photographic negative is made from the copy, from which a positive or
"transparency" is made, either by contact or in the camera. A piece of
carbon paper is then coated lightly with gelatine, sensitized with
bichromate of potassium and allowed to dry. The paper is then placed
in contact with the positive and printed in daylight until the image
is imprinted on the gelatine coating of the paper, such portions of
which as have received the most exposure from the action of light
becoming quite insoluble. A copper plate, cleaned so that it is free
from grease, is introduced into a large box into which has been blown
a very finely powdered resin, which is allowed to settle somewhat
before putting in the plate. The plate is allowed to remain in the box
until a fine deposit of resin has settled all over it. It is then
carefully removed and heated over a gas burner until the resin adheres
firmly to the plate. The resin is melted only to such a point that it
forms a fine grain all over the plate, leaving interstices of bare
copper between. The paper, on the gelatine surface of which the
picture is printed, is now placed in a tray of warm water, and the
parts of the image which have had the least exposure are thereby
dissolved and washed away, the image being thus fully developed on the
paper. This is placed in contact with the grained plate, which has
been placed in the tray of water, and firmly squeezed in contact with
the plate. The paper is stripped off, leaving the gelatine film on the
copper. The plate is now removed from the tray and dried, and is then
ready for etching, which is accomplished by placing the plate
successively in several baths of acid of different strengths until the
desired results are obtained. This process gives a shallow plate, of
not great wearing quality, and, as a rule, requires a great deal of
work by the engraver to bring the plate up to anything like the copy.
The light tints come out very soft and smooth, but the black tones
etch "flat" and lose all detail. These blacks must be put in by hand.
The poor wearing qualities of these plates make them undesirable in
cases where a large edition has to be printed.

The next process is the "deposited" plate used by "Goupil" of Paris,
in which copper is deposited by electricity upon a swelled gelatine
film which has had a grain formed upon its surface chemically or
otherwise. The deposition has to be continued until the plate has
acquired the necessary thickness, which takes about three weeks; and
this is a long time to wait in these days, when a publisher usually
expects his order executed in ten days. These plates are practically
hand made. The process gives a plate that could not possibly be used
without a great deal of retouching by an expert engraver. Goupil turns
out a beautiful plate, due principally to his large force of
engravers, one man working on a particular part of the plate, then
passing it on to another who does some other portion, and so on, until
the plate is finished. In this way each engraver becomes exceedingly
skilful in one thing. Line engraving is reproduced by this process
exceedingly well, but such plates, like the transfer process, are
shallow and give out soon in the printing.

The last process that I have to deal with is the one I am working
myself. In this process the plates are made in two or more etchings,
according to the requirements of the subject which is to be
reproduced. This method produces a plate of great depth both in the
light and black tints, and on account of the small amount of hand-work
required after the plate is etched, the copy is followed very closely.
With a good positive and favorable conditions, quite frequently a
plate is made upon which the retoucher needs to do no work at all, and
a more faithful reproduction is made than by any of the other methods
that I have mentioned. After a good positive is procured, the copper
plate is cleaned, and a sensitized solution of gelatine is flowed over
the plate, dried down, and then printed under the positive, with a
short exposure. The plate is grained as in the transfer process, and
is then etched.

This first etching, on account of the short exposure, goes over the
plate in about three minutes, and is simply intended to get the light
tints. The plate is again cleaned off and coated, this time in a
different manner, and given a much longer exposure under the positive.
The next etching takes about three hours, which gives the blacks great
depth. Comparing this with the transfer plate which has an etching of
from fifteen to twenty minutes, the reason for the difference in the
wearing qualities of the plate is quite evident. This process, whether
used by myself or others, I feel free to say is the best one that has
ever been worked, inasmuch as it gives a far more faithful
reproduction than any of the others with a minimum of work by the

Some plate makers claim to make all their plates without any
retouching, which cannot be done. As I have mentioned before,
occasionally a plate can be made as good as the copy without
hand-work. But to say that any chemical process gives such results
continually, or that a plate cannot be improved by a skilful retoucher
is, to say the least, misleading. All of the different processes are
very sensitive to atmospheric influences, and no small amount of
chemical as well as mechanical skill is required to keep things
running smoothly; and at certain times the best of operators are at a
loss to remedy some slight fault that may upset things temporarily.
Photogravure making is based upon a foundation of small details, that
must be looked after with the utmost care, and the neglect of any one
of which means failure at the end. So it may be surmised that at times
the operator has trouble of his own.

Every maker of plates, no matter which process he uses, has his
individual ways of doing things, so that except in a general way no
two processes are operated alike. This gives an individuality to each
man's work, and an expert can easily tell one from another. For
high-class illustrations, no other photographic process can compare
with photogravure, and no doubt it will be many years before anything
will be found to excel or even equal it. Much experimenting has been
done with other methods, but the results have always been inferior,
and I think it is safe to predict that the photogravure will always be

Etchings, mezzotints, and steel engravings are still occasionally used
in the illustration of fine books, and brief descriptions of how they
are made will be of interest.

An etching is usually made on a copper plate. The plate being covered
with a thin coating of wax, the artist works on it with an etching
point, sketching his subject on the plate in fine lines as he would in
making a pen-and-ink drawing, but cutting his lines through to the
copper. The plate is then "walled in" with a high rim of wax, forming
a sort of tray of the plate. Into this tray is poured a diluted
solution of nitric acid, which etches, or "bites," into the uncovered
lines on the plate. Some artists give a plate a short "bite," as the
etching is called, for the light lines, then cover these portions of
the plate with wax and give the plate successive "bites," stopping out
each part as it gains its required depth. Others remove the coating
and "prove" the plate by taking a print from it after each
"bite,"--each of these prints being known as a "state of the plate"
and showing what is still required to be done. In the work of an
etcher like Whistler the impressions of the "first state," "second
state," etc., are of considerable interest, as they show the progress
of the man's work, but, except as an object of interest or as a
curiosity, these prints can have no real value as they are unfinished
work, simply showing the various stages in the making of a work of

A mezzotint is also usually made on a copper plate. A texture, or
groundwork, is worked on the copper plate with a tool resembling a
cabinet maker's toothed plane iron, except it is rounded at the end.
The teeth are very fine, ranging from forty to one hundred and twenty
to the inch in different tools. This tool is called a "Bercier," or
"rocker." The rounded edge allows the tool to be rocked across the
plate, the rocking motion causing the teeth to form indentations in
the copper. The rocking has to be continued until the surface of the
plate is completely covered, and it then presents an appearance like
velvet. Rocking in from forty to sixty directions is necessary to
cover the plate properly. The durability of a mezzotint plate depends
entirely upon the pressure put upon the rocker, and the depth to which
it penetrates the copper. After the ground is thus laid, the outline
is sketched in on the rocked surface, which takes the pencil easily,
and then with steel scrapers and burnishers the light and middle tints
are worked down, leaving undisturbed the portions of the surface where
the strongest blacks are to be. From time to time, a print is taken
from the plate, to note the progress of the work, which advances
slowly to the finish. On account of the length of time necessary for
the laying of the ground and the scraping of the plate, many artists
hesitate to attempt mezzotint plates. There are very few men in this
country to-day who do mezzotint engraving, which, considering the
results to be obtained, seems somewhat surprising.

For flesh tones, drapery, and landscapes it has no equal. The velvety
richness of the blacks, the beautiful gradations of the middle tones,
and the extreme delicacy of the light tints give the artist a power of
expression not obtainable by any other method of engraving. Besides
this, as the engraving is done on the bare copper, the artist can see
at all times the progress of his work without having to take off the
wax ground as he must in making an etching. This is a great advantage,
for as the effect of each stroke can be plainly seen on the plate, the
element of uncertainty which always attends the production of an
etching is entirely eliminated, and it is then simply a question of
skill with the scraper. The difficulty of obtaining rockers is one
great drawback. I doubt if one could be obtained in New York to-day.
The teeth have to be very accurately cut, and a perfect tool has a
value to an engraver that cannot well be estimated. The lack of demand
has prevented their manufacture in this country, but they could be
made here by any fine tool maker.

Steel engravings are still used to some extent in this country,
although only in portrait work. A wax ground is laid on the plate as
in etching. A tracing is made from the photograph, from which the
picture is to be made, and is then transferred to the wax ground. The
engraver then follows the lines of the tracing with an etching point,
the hair, head, and outline of the features being gone over carefully.
Then the plate is etched with weak nitric acid. If the face is to be
"stippled," it is covered with fine dots made by a graver directly on
the surface of the metal after the plate has been etched and the wax
cleaned off. If the face is to be a mezzotint, that part of the work
is all rocked over, and then scraped down within the etched outline,
when the flesh is modelled as in a regular mezzotint. The drapery,
background, etc., is usually done by a ruling machine with fine or
coarse, waved or straight lines, as the texture may require. These
lines are ruled through a coating of wax, and then, by etching and
stopping out, the required results are obtained.

This method of engraving is also giving place to process work, and in
a few years more the steel engraved portrait will probably be a thing
of the past.


By George W. H. Ritchie.

The method of printing etchings, mezzotint, and other intaglio plates
is the same to-day as it was in the time of Rembrandt and Durer. The
modern inventor has found no way to economize time, labor, or expense
in the work--excepting that in the case of postage stamps, bond
certificates, and similar plates, which are printed in vast
quantities, the work has been adapted to the steam press.

In the olden time the engraver, or etcher, himself was to a
considerable extent his own printer. He worked at engraving his plate
until he needed a proof to show him how the work was progressing. Then
he printed, or "pulled," a proof and resumed his work, taking proofs
from time to time until he had completed the plate to his
satisfaction. Then, if only a small edition was required, he printed
it. Proofs taken during the making of a plate are known by plate
engravers and printers as the "states" of a plate, and it is due to
the whim of the etcher, the softness of the copper, and the wearing of
the plate in printing that we have prints representing many "states"
of a single plate which might otherwise have had but one state, thus
depriving one modern print collector of the privilege of discovering
in his proof three hairs more or less in a donkey's tail than his
rival finds in another proof, which makes the former's more valuable
by several hundred pounds.

One form of press is used for all manner of intaglio plate printing.
It consists of a framework supporting two heavy iron rollers, between
which moves a flat iron travelling plank, or bed, and on this bed the
plate to be printed is laid. The pressure of the rollers is regulated
by screws at each end of the top roller, which is covered with two or
three pieces of thick felt. This top roller is revolved by handles and
the bed moves along with it under the pressure of the roller. At one
side of the press stands a rectangular box, or "stove," made of iron,
or having an iron top. The top is heated by gas and on it the printer
puts his plate while inking and wiping it. The heat thins the ink as
it is applied, allowing it to be worked freely and to be "lifted"
easily by the paper.

The ink is made of fine bone dust, vegetable or other form of carbon,
which has been carefully cleansed from foreign matter and ground to
the necessary fineness in combination with burned linseed oil. Its
strength and consistency should be varied according to the plate which
is in hand, and the color also may be varied to suit the character of
the plate by the addition of pigments.

The paper used in plate printing may be one of several kinds, but the
usual variety is a fine white paper free from spots and imperfections
which might mar the appearance of the finished print. This paper is
made either by hand or machinery of selected bleached cotton rags, and
has a soft, spongy surface which yields readily under the pressure of
the plate. Before it can be used the paper is moistened and allowed to
stand for from one to twelve hours, or even longer, until it becomes
evenly and thoroughly dampened,--but not wet,--so that it will more
readily force itself into the lines of the plate and take therefrom
and hold the ink.

Before printing a photogravure, mezzotint, or other engraved plate the
printer must first carefully examine it to see that it has no
scratches, and that no dried ink remains in the lines from the last
printing, and, in fact, that there are none of the many possible
impedimenta which might prevent the production of a perfect print. The
plate being in proper condition, it is then thoroughly cleansed with
turpentine or benzine, all traces of which must be carefully wiped
from the surface before the ink is applied. The plate is then laid on
the heated iron box or "stove" until it has become thoroughly warmed.
The surface of the plate is covered with ink, put on by means of an
ink-roller, or perhaps the old-fashioned dauber, and the ink is
thoroughly worked into the lines or depressions in the plate. After
this the ink on the flat surface of the plate is entirely removed by
wiping with rags. The printer's hand, which has become more or less
covered with ink from the rags, is then passed over a piece of chalk,
or gilder's white, and lightly rubbed over the surface of the plate,
to remove the last vestige of the ink, leaving a highly polished flat
surface with the incised lines or depressions filled with ink to the
level of the surface.

The plate is then ready for printing and is placed on the bed of the
press, a sheet of dampened paper laid upon it, and both are then run
between the rollers of the press. As the top roller is encased in soft
blankets, the soft, dampened paper is forced into the ink-filled lines
of the plate, and when the paper is removed the ink clings to it and
shows an exact impression of the engraving. This entire process must
be repeated for each print made from an intaglio plate.

While the printing of a steel engraving or photogravure is a more or
less mechanical operation, the printing of an etching--and "dry
points" may be included--is oftentimes as much of an art as the actual
etching of the plate. The two styles of printing may be compared to
two kinds of fishing,--that of fishing for flounders with a drop line,
from a flat-bottomed boat at low tide when one must just sit tight
until one has a bite, and then haul in the fish, bait up, drop the
line and wait again, as against that of angling for trout on an early
spring day, dropping the fly in a likely spot without success at the
first cast, persevering until rewarded by a rise and then by the sport
of playing the fish, giving him line and reeling him in as about he
circles and finally is landed. A good one, perchance, but the sport
was in landing him. So it is with printing an etching. There is the
opportunity to play with, and work hard over, a plate. Perhaps the
etcher has not, for reasons only known to himself, put in the plate
all that can be shown in the print by ordinary printing. The printer
actually has to interpret in his printing the etcher's meaning, for
the which, as a rule, he gets "more kicks than ha'pence," and in the
end wishes he had stuck to plain plate printing as far as the profit
is concerned.

In the process of printing an etching, the printer first covers the
plate with ink and then wipes it with the rags, and, if necessary,
with the hand. It depends entirely upon the etched work of the plate
as to how it must be wiped, and it rests with the printer to prepare a
proof which is satisfactory to the etcher. The plate is wiped
"closely" where the high lights are required or a tint (a thin coating
of ink) left over certain portions where it needs to be darker. After
this the plate is "retroussed," which is accomplished by passing a
very soft piece of fine muslin, or a "badger blender,"--a soft brush
used by artists,--delicately over the work in the plate and drawing
the ink up and over the edges of the lines. This softens and broadens
the lines and gives a very rich effect, and, if continued
sufficiently, fills the spaces between the lines and produces an
almost black effect. All this work is varied according to the wishes
of the etcher. A plate that left the etcher's hand a mere skeleton may
be made to produce a print which is a thing of life. The possibilities
of an etching in the hands of a skilful printer are almost limitless;
the effects can vary with every impression, each showing a new
picture. His processes are as interesting as those of the etcher
himself, and it is within his capabilities to transform an etching
from a broad daylight effect into a moonlight scene, including the
moon, by judiciously, or injudiciously, inking and wiping the plate.

A "dry point" plate is produced by drawing on a copper plate with a
steel or diamond point, and without biting by acid. The lines are cut
into the copper and a burr thrown up which holds the ink in printing,
and produces a soft, velvety line. The method of printing such a plate
is similar to that of an etching, but the possibilities are not as
great in the printing, as they rest to a greater extent upon the work
of the artist. A great depth of color, producing wonderfully rich
effects, can be obtained and the finer lines can be made much more
delicate than by any other method.

The printing of intaglio plates in color flourished for a short period
in the latter portion of the eighteenth century, and the best prints
of that time now in existence are of rare beauty and bring enormous
prices. The process, now almost a memory, is a costly one, and this
prevents its use in book illustration excepting for volumes which
command a very high price. This kind of printing requires the plate to
be actually painted by hand with inks of such colors as the picture
may require, and the painting has to be repeated for every impression
that is taken. The colors are put on with a "dole,"--a small piece of
muslin turned to a point,--and great care must be taken that they do
not overlap, or run into, each other. As each color is placed, the
plate is wiped clean with rags as already described, and when all the
colors have been properly placed, the plate is pulled through the
press in the same manner as in ordinary printing.

The successful printer of color plates must be a rare artist or else
work under the direction of an artist. Little of this work is now done
except in Paris and Vienna, and the limited number of color plates of
this kind used for book illustration in this country does not warrant
the time and expense necessary to train printers capable of doing the
work. Even English plates are usually sent to Paris to be printed.

It is difficult to describe the work of what is termed artistic
printing. Every plate is a subject to be treated by itself, and no
hard and fast rule can be applied. It is really a matter of artistic
feeling, and to revert to the simile of the angler, one cannot explain
how a trout should be played, but can only say that it depends on the
fish, the water, and the circumstances. A fisherman can _show_ you, if
you are on the spot, and so can the printer.


By Emil Jacobi.

Of the many photo-mechanical processes which have come into existence
in recent years, the photo-gelatine, next to the half-tone process,
has shown the greatest adaptability for practical use in art and

Whatever the name may be,--Collotype, Artotype, Albertype, Phototype,
or Carbon-gravure,--the principle is the same; an impression is made
in printer's ink from a photo-chemically produced design on a gelatine
surface, either on the hand-press or on a power cylinder press similar
to that used in lithographic printing.

There is hardly any process which is more capable of producing fine
works of art. It is the only true method for reproducing, in the full
sense of the word, an etching, engraving, a drawing in pen and ink, an
aquarelle, a painting, or objects from nature. The depth and richness
of tone of an engraving, the delicate tints of an aquarelle or
india-ink sketch, and the sharpness of the lines of an etching or pen
sketch can be reproduced with such fidelity that it is often
impossible to distinguish the copy from the original, and this is
achieved the more easily as the printing can be done in any color and
on any material, be it paper, parchment, leather, or textile goods.

Another great advantage of a gelatine print is its inalterability and
durability, no chemicals being employed in transferring the picture to
the paper. The picture itself being formed by solid pigments, such as
are used in printer's ink or painter's colors, there is no possibility
of its fading or changing color, which cannot be said even of platino
prints, at present considered the most lasting of all photo-chemical

Like all new inventions, the photo-gelatine process, in its early
stages, had to undergo severe trials, and for some years almost
disappeared from public view, after many failures precipitated through
unscrupulous promoters and inefficient persons who claimed
impossibilities for the new process. It took years of patience and
perseverance to regain the lost ground and overcome the opposition of
those who had suffered by the failure of this process to produce the
promised results; but at present it is, in Europe, one of the methods
in most general use for illustrating, and in this country it is making
steady progress and rapidly finding favor.

The process, simple as it may seem to the casual observer, requires,
more than any other photo-mechanical process, skilled hands in its
different manipulations to keep it up to the standard of perfection.
The following short description will give the uninitiated sufficient
enlightenment to think and speak intelligently about it.

The foundation or starting point, as of all the other photo-mechanical
processes, is a photographic negative; that is, a picture on glass or
some other transparent substance, in which the light parts of the
picture appear dark, and the dark parts light in transparency,
graduated according to the different shades of tone in the original.
The next and most prominent feature is the printing plate. A perfectly
even glass, copper, or zinc plate is covered on the surface with a
solution of fine gelatine and bichromate of potassium, and dried. This
printing plate is then placed under a negative and exposed to the
light. The action of the light on the bichromated gelatine forms the
basis of this process. In proportion to the graduated density of the
negative, the light acts more or less on the bichromated gelatine,
rendering the latter, in proportion, insoluble and hardening it. After
sufficient exposure the plate is washed out in water to eliminate the
bichromate not acted upon by the light, and is then actually ready for
the press.

If the printing is to be done on a hand press, a lithographic leather
roller is charged with printer's ink, and the plate, which has been
fastened on a suitable bed-plate in the press, is rolled up while it
is still moist. Those parts of the plate which were acted upon by the
light and hardened, repel the water and take up the ink, and thus all
the graduating tones, up to the high lights or white parts, which have
not been affected by the light, will take the ink proportionately. The
white parts of the picture, where the light did not act upon the
gelatine during the exposure under the negative, retain the natural
property of gelatine to absorb water, and consequently repel the ink

From the foregoing it will be easy to understand that a certain degree
of moisture in the plate is necessary to get a correct impression.
After the leather roller, a composition roller, such as is used in
typographical processes, is employed to make the ink smooth and give
the fine details not obtainable from the rough surface of a leather
roller. A sheet of paper is then placed upon the plate and by pressure
the ink is transferred from the plate to the paper.

The printing, in former years, could only be done on hand presses; but
with the introduction of improved power presses especially adapted to
it the process itself has been so perfected that the finest work can
be executed on them, at the same time insuring greater evenness and
increased quantity of production, and also admitting the use of larger
plates than would be possible on a hand press.

The prevailing impression, whenever machinery is employed to supersede
hand-work, is that the production is increased to such an extent as to
reduce the cost to a minimum, but in the gelatine printing process,
even with the aid of power presses, the rapidity of printing is far
behind the possibilities of the lithographic or typographical printing
press, and the process, therefore, is only applicable to works of art,
and the better grade of illustrations in literary and commercial

The lesser rapidity of production and the greater cost is balanced by
the quality, where this item comes into consideration; and where only
small editions are required, even the cost compares favorably with
other methods, as the initial cost of preparing the printing plate is
small compared with the cost of photogravure or the better class of
half-tone plate. It is only in cases of large editions of many
thousands that the advantage of rapid printing reduces the cost of the
initial expense. But fine art publications and illustrations will
never be used in very large quantities, and, therefore, there is a
large field for the photo-gelatine process in this country, where it
is as yet so little used. In France, Germany, and Austria there are
dozens of establishments which employ ten or more power presses for
photo-gelatine work, while here only within the last few years has the
process been sufficiently appreciated to warrant the introduction of a
few steam presses; and these have to be imported from abroad at a high
rate of duty, as the present demand for the presses does not make it
advisable for our domestic press builders to invest in their
construction, especially after an isolated attempt in that line,
misguided by inexperienced and unpractical men, which turned out to be
a total failure.

Notwithstanding all these difficulties and obstacles, it is a fact
that the photo-gelatine process has gained ground sufficiently to
indicate a prosperous future, as its products are becoming more widely
known and appreciated.


By Charles Wilhelms.

As an embellishment to the modern book, chromo-lithographed
illustrations are quite popular and in some cases absolutely
necessary, being not only attractive, but conveying an accurate idea
of the color as well as the form of the object illustrated. Although
the illustration is nothing more than a colored print, it may be a
revelation to some when they learn of the numerous details incidental
to its production.

It may not be generally known, and yet of sufficient interest to the
reader to state that the art of lithography, or surface printing, was
invented accidentally. The inventor, Aloys Senefelder, had been
engaged for years endeavoring to find some process for etching copper
plates as a substitute for typographic printing plates; and the piece
of stone (of a kind now known as Solenhofen lithographic stone), which
eventually led him to the discovery of lithography had been used by
him as a slab upon which he had been accustomed to grind his printing
ink. The materials which he used for his acid-resisting mixture while
etching his copper plates were beeswax, soap, and lampblack, and in
selecting these materials he accidentally invented the basis for all
crayons or lithographic "tusche" or inks, now used so extensively for
drawing on stone. It seems that Senefelder finally became thoroughly
disheartened about his etched copper plates, mainly owing to the great
expense and labor connected with their production, and was about to
discontinue his efforts when the idea occurred to him to experiment
with the stone which he had used as an ink slab for so many months,
treating it in the same manner as the copper plates.

He knew that the calcareous stone was easily affected by acid and that
he could protect its surface against it by a layer of wax. After
polishing the surface of the stone and coating it with a slight layer
of wax, he made his drawing with a pointed tool, laying bare the
surface of the stone where he desired the engraving. Then applying the
acid and removing the remaining wax, he filled the etched lines with
printing ink, cleaned the surface of the stone with water, and was
enabled to obtain an impression on paper from it. This manner of
treating a stone has been employed by vignette engravers for many
years, but of late has become obsolete. The result gave encouragement
to Senefelder and induced him to renew his experiments, when he was
accidentally led a step farther in the direction of surface or
chemical printing.

Senefelder had just ground and polished a stone, when his mother
entered the room and asked him to take a memorandum of some clothes
which she was about to send away to be laundered. Having neither paper
nor ink at hand, he hastily wrote the items with a pen, dipped in his
acid-resisting mixture, upon the stone which had just been polished.
When he afterwards started to wipe the writing from the stone, it
occurred to him that it might be possible to reverse his process by
etching the surface of the stone, leaving the writing or drawing in
relief, which could be printed from in the same manner as from type.
He was fairly successful in this, and after many disappointments and
much hardship, he eventually succeeded in interesting a capitalist,
with whose assistance he was enabled to establish his new relief stone
process on a commercial basis.

The process, however, was at best only an imperfect one, and it seems
strange that the final discovery of surface or lithographic printing
should have been so long delayed, when Senefelder was in reality so
near it, when he first poured the acid over the stone containing his
laundry memorandum. If he had instantly washed off the acid and
cleaned the surface of the stone with water, he might have proceeded
to print thousands of impressions by simply keeping the surface of the
stone moist while passing the ink roller or dabber over it, then
drying and taking an impression, and repeating this operation
indefinitely. It is not surprising, therefore, that a man of such
persistence and capability as Senefelder should eventually discover
the best method for drawing and printing from stone; for it is a fact
that, since he perfected his invention, more than a hundred years ago,
it has been hardly possible to improve on his methods, so completely
did he cover the entire field of manipulation in this direction.
Continuing his experiments, Senefelder finally found that the
calcareous stone absorbed and held grease, and that it just as readily
absorbed water, where the surface was exposed and clean; that any
design drawn or transferred with a greasy crayon or ink upon a cleanly
polished stone would be firmly held, after being slightly etched; and
that after such a stone had been moistened, it could be inked with
rollers, the ink adhering only to the greasy matter constituting the
design (although it did not stand out in the relief) and that the ink
rollers would not smut the stone, the ink being repelled by the water
or moisture covering its surface. Upon this principle of chemical
affinity, the adherence of greasy substances to each other and the
mutual antipathy of grease and water, the art of lithographic printing
is based.

The methods or processes now employed in reproducing oil-paintings,
colored photographs, or water-colors by lithography are numerous, and
require great skill and experience, not only on the part of the
lithographic artist, but also on the part of the printer. Photography
has of late years been used to a great extent in creating the basis of
the color plates, to be afterwards perfected by the manipulation of
the experienced chromo-lithographer.

To insure a satisfactory result the first essential is, of course, a
good original, which can be made in water-color, oil, or pastel. The
number of printings to be employed should be predetermined and a color
scale adopted. The lithographer must carefully analyze the original
painting, making his calculations as to the best way of obtaining the
desired color effects by a judicious selection and use of his colors,
and the superimposing of one printing over the other, so as to obtain
true color values. It must be remembered that, while the average
painter has an unlimited variety of pigments at his disposal, the
lithographer is in this respect very much at a disadvantage, not
usually having more than from six to fourteen colors with which to
produce a facsimile of the original.

The first step is the making of the so-called key-plate. A piece of
gelatine is laid on the original, which is, let us say by way of
illustration, a water-color to be reproduced in ten printings, and a
careful tracing of the original is made by scratching, with an
engraving needle, the outline of each wash or touch of color composing
the picture. This being completed, the lithographic ink (tusche) or
transfer ink is carefully rubbed into the tracing, which is laid face
down on a polished lithographic stone, slightly moistened, and passed
through a hand press; thereby transferring the ink from the engraved
lines to the polished surface of the stone. The design on the stone is
then rolled in with black printing ink and etched, thus enabling the
lithographer to take the necessary ten impressions of the key-plate.
These, in their turn, are again transferred to as many lithographic
stones. This is accomplished by dusting the impressions with a red
powder, which adheres only to the design printed on the sheet. The
powdered outline design is then transferred to the surface of the
stone by passing both through a hand press. The key has been
previously provided with register marks (a short horizontal line
intersected by a vertical one) at top, bottom, and both sides. These
are of the utmost importance to the prover, and finally to the
transferrer, who prepares the work for the press, as without them it
would be impossible to register one color over the other in its proper
place. At any stage of the process, the register marks of all ten
colors, which have been made in succession on a single sheet of paper,
should coincide precisely and appear as a single mark in the form of a
small cross.

The lithographer now has before him the ten stones, each stamped with
the identical network of lines in red chalk representing his key. He
proceeds to draw each color-plate successively, at all times adhering
closely to the red chalk outlines, filling in with tusche where full
strength of the color is required and using lithographic crayon or the
stipple process to reproduce the various gradations of this color in
order to secure the full color value of each printing. The register
marks are ruled in on each stone corresponding to those on the key, so
that the prover or printer has these marks in the same identical
position on each and every color as a guide for register.

As each stone is finished it is etched; that is, treated with a weak
solution of nitric acid and gum-water, in order to remove all
accidental traces of scum from its surface, and to prepare it for
printing. Then proofs are made, which serve as a guide to the
lithographer during the progress of his work, and finally as a guide
to the transferrer and to the printer. The proving is done on a hand
press, and it is here that we have our first glimpse of chemical
printing, which, notwithstanding its simplicity, seems so mysterious
to one uninitiated in its secrets.

The writer recollects his own first experience. A stone had just been
placed fresh from the etching trough in the bed of the press, when, to
his amazement, the prover deliberately proceeded to eliminate every
trace of the drawing with a sponge saturated with turpentine. After
drying the stone by means of a fan, he passed over the surface a
sponge soaked in water, then applied black ink with a roller, when
behold, the drawing was restored in its entirety. The solution is very
simple: the greasy matter is absorbed and held by the stone and in its
turn repels water and attracts grease.

An impression is made with black printing ink on paper by passing it
through the hand press. The black impression approved of by the
lithographer, the stone is again cleaned with turpentine and proved in
the color required, and so with each color-plate, until the proof is
complete. When photography is employed, the half-tone negative takes
the place of the key. Prints are made from a reversed negative on the
sensitized surface of the stone, or on as many stones as the
color-plates require, and then manipulated by the lithographer, who
adds or modifies strength with his "tusche" or crayon, and scrapes or
washes out lights where necessary. The various modes of procedure are
too diverse to enter into here, but it may be well to mention that the
principal ones are the albumen, the asphaltum, and finally the
three-color process, the latter differing but little as far as the
artistic part of the work is concerned from that employed for making
relief printing plates for the typographic press.

The original drawing plates, or stones, are not used to print from
direct unless the edition be very small. Just as the typographic
printer uses electrotypes in place of the original type or cuts, the
lithographer makes transfers from the original stones to print his
edition and carefully preserves the original stones for future
editions. The transfers are prepared in a very simple manner. The
original stones are rolled over with a specially prepared transfer
ink, and impressions are taken from them on a paper, known under the
name of transfer paper, coated with a sizing of starch, flour, and
glycerine. By printing from the original, only one copy can be
produced at each impression, whereas by using transfers a number of
copies of the original can be printed at one impression. For example,
if the picture measures 8 × 10 inches of paper, a transfer can be made
containing fifteen copies on one sheet measuring 30 × 40 inches. In
this case fifteen impressions are made from the key-plate as well as
from each of the color-plates, on the paper, and with the ink
described above.

The first transfer to be made is that of the key-plate. The fifteen
impressions are laid in their proper positions on a sheet of paper of
the required size, and are held in position on same by indentations
made with a dull-pointed steel tool. The sheet is laid face down upon
a cleanly polished stone, which is then repeatedly pulled through a
hand press until all the ink has been transferred from the paper to
the surface of the stone. The transfer paper still adhering to the
stone is then moistened and washed off the stone, leaving the design
completely transferred to the stone. A slight solution of gum arabic
and water is then applied, the stone washed clean, and after being
repeatedly rolled in with printing ink and etched, is ready for
printing. An impression is then made in the usual manner from this
key-transfer, which impression is coated with a solution of shellac.
This is done for the purpose of rendering it impervious to the effect
of the atmosphere, thus insuring against its stretching or shrinking.
Upon this varnished key-sheet all subsequent transfer impressions of
the ten colors are "stuck up," to use the technical term, and
transferred to stone in the same manner as is employed in the making
of the key-transfer. The register marks serve as a guide in "sticking
up" the separate transfer impressions and insure an accurate register
of the colors laid over each other during the process of printing. New
register marks are placed upon the key-transfer at top, bottom, and
sides similar to those on the original (which are removed from the
transfer), and these new marks now appear on all color transfers to
serve as a guide to the steam-press printer in printing his edition.
He likewise uses the hand-press proofs of the picture as a guide in
mixing his inks.

The lithographic power printing press is constructed on the same
general principle as the ordinary typographic press, excepting that it
is provided with an apparatus for moistening the stone previous to
the application of the ink rollers. The stone containing the design is
placed in the bed of the press, and the moisture, as well as the ink,
is applied by means of rollers similar to those used in the
typographic printing press. All the ten colors are now successively
printed from the transfers on a steam press, and if it is a perfect
job, the pictures can be cut to size and delivered to the publisher.

At present the cumbrous stone and the slow-moving flat-bed press are
being supplanted by the light and pliable aluminum plates and the
fast-moving rotary presses. The aluminum plate has all the requisites
for the highest grades of lithographic or surface printing, and the
rotary press is beyond doubt a vast improvement over the flat-bed
press, not only as to speed, but also as to the quality and uniformity
of its product. The mode of procedure in making transfers to aluminum
plates is much the same as that employed in making transfers to stone.
The pliability of the aluminum plate and the ease with which it can be
adjusted to a printing cylinder has resulted in the successful
introduction and use of two-and three-color lithographic rotary
presses, printing at one operation two or three colors. It has been
demonstrated that the result is fully equal to that obtained from the
single-color press, provided good judgment be used as to the
succession of the colors or printings. This marks a new epoch in the
art of lithography and enables it to compete with the typographic
three-color process, which has been making such wonderful progress
during the last five years, and at one time seriously threatened
lithography as a medium for the reproduction of certain classes of
colored illustrations.

Our experience teaches us, however, that the surface or lithographic
and the relief or typographic method will never seriously interfere
with each other, but on the contrary by actively competing in all
matter relating to the reproductive art will continue to improve their
respective methods, and thus enable them to satisfy the continually
increasing demands on the part of the public for colored
illustrations, not only as to the quantity but particularly as to the
quality thereof.


By Amy Richards.

So many books of the present day have decorative book covers
especially designed to fit each book that many people who buy the
books are beginning to ask what suggests these designs and how they
are executed.

Having made book-cover designs for a number of years, I have been
asked to write a practical account of how these book covers are made,
which will give an answer to some of these questions. This account
will have no bearing on the designs used on hand-bound books with
their beautiful "tooled" covers. These are a different branch of the
art altogether from the so-called "commercial bindings" which I am
about to describe. The designs for these tooled covers are as a rule
made by the same hands that bind the books.

Every year hundreds of books are published that need "commercial" book
covers. In many cases these covers are used to help sell the book;
that is, they must be attractive enough to draw attention to the book
as it lies on the counter in the bookshops and other places where the
book is on sale.

Some publishers have artists, regularly employed, to make their own
designs exclusively; but as a rule each publisher keeps in touch with
a number of designers, sending for one or the other as the needs of a
particular book require. When a design is needed, the particular sort
of cover required is discussed with the publisher, the number of
colors that can be used is mentioned, also the exact dimensions of the
book and the material to be used in binding the book. Almost every
designer prefers to read the manuscript of the book, if possible, or
to have a synopsis of it, for, naturally, he can make a much more
suitable and successful cover if he has a complete idea of the subject
of the book.

Having read the book, or having been told what it is about, the
designer makes one or more rough sketches in color, giving a general
idea of the book cover, both as to design, color scheme, and material
to be used in binding. If one of these sketches is selected, the
designer then makes an accurate "working" drawing, either in color, or
black and white. If a black-and-white drawing is made, a rough color
sketch is sent with it to indicate how the die is to be cut.

A finished book-cover design can be made on water-color paper,
bristol-board, or a piece of book-cover linen. This last method is
popular with publishers, as it shows them how the cover will look when
finished. A designer keeps sample books of all the most popular
bookbinding materials, which the manufacturers are glad to supply. A
practical designer always chooses for the ground color of a design a
cloth that is to be found at one of the regular book-cloth

When a book-cover design is finished, it is neatly mounted on
cardboard and a careful note is written on the margin, telling how the
design is to be executed by the binder, the kind of cloth to be used,
and its number in a particular sample book. Unless the design is
executed on a piece of book cloth, a sample of the cloth desired is
pasted under the directions. The design is then cut in brass by a die
cutter, as described in the next chapter, and the covers are stamped
in gold or inks from this die by the binder. The design must be the
exact size of the future book or drawn larger in exact proportion for
reduction to the proper size.

Gold is of course the most expensive way of reproducing a cover
design, and a publisher generally tries to get as good an effect as
possible without the use of gold, or he limits its use to the title
lines or to a small part of the design. Four inks is usually the
extreme number used, and more often only two or three are used, or
gold and one ink.

Several styles of decoration are used in designing book covers; but
they may be put roughly into two classes,--those that are purely
ornamental and those that are pictorial. Personally I am in favor of
the purely ornamental cover, as being more dignified; but there are
books that seem to require a pictorial cover that is treated somewhat
in the fashion of a decorative poster.

A book-cover designer to be successful should be very versatile and
able to make use of figures as well as thoroughly versed in the use of

One of the most important parts of a book cover is the title, to which
the amateur and inexperienced designer does not always give sufficient
attention. The title must be clearly drawn and everything else in the
cover made subservient to it, so that the first thing the eye falls on
is the title. For this reason a thorough study of lettering is
necessary for the successful cover designer, and much practice in
order to become proficient. A very successful cover may be due simply
to a well-selected cloth with lettering properly drawn and placed so
that the eye is perfectly satisfied and the whole has an air of
distinction. Each designer grows insensibly into his or her own
particular style, which those who are interested in book covers grow
to know; but the more varied his style the more in demand will be the

The designing of book covers is a minor art, but since there is a
constant demand for ornamented covers, the more taste and skill that
can be devoted to the making of them, the better. When one looks back
to the covers of fifteen years ago, one realizes what an advance has
been made, and that the standard has been raised higher and higher,
until at the present time many a famous illustrator or decorative
painter occasionally turns his or her hand to the designing of book


By George Becker.

Not many years ago the crudest and most primitive devices were used in
the production of a book cover. The artist, if such he could be
called, who was responsible for the design, seldom went to the trouble
of furnishing the engraver with anything more than a pencil sketch,
which the latter transferred to a brass plate about one-quarter of an
inch thick by coating the plate with beeswax and laying the sketch on
it, face downward. When the paper was removed the beeswax retained the
marks of the lead pencil. He then began the tedious process of
outlining it by hand with a graver and afterward finished it with a

But the exacting demands of modern artistic taste, the improvement of
scientific methods and the pressure of competition have marked a
complete transformation in the business of making dies for book
covers. A few pencils and gravers, a vise bench, and a grindstone no
longer make an engraving establishment. Colored sketches of most
painstaking execution, accompanied by a working drawing in black and
white, have taken the place of the old pencil sketch. These artistic
productions, having passed the ordeal of critical examination, are
handed over to the photographer, who, if he understands his part, does
all that the beeswax did, and a good deal more. He takes the
black-and-white drawing above referred to and reproduces it, in the
size desired, directly on a brass plate covered with a sensitive
coating, and then having prepared it with acid-proof preparations, he
passes it over to the etcher.

The etcher in his turn, with unerring judgment in the strength of his
acids, does what the most careful outliner could not accomplish; he
produces a perfect facsimile of the original drawing, with all its
artistic freedom. The process used is practically the same as the zinc
etching process described in the chapter on half-tones and line
plates. The plate, having been etched as deep as is safe, is then
turned over to the router, whose business it is to cut out all the
metal between ornaments and lettering to the proper depth. This done,
the engraver, who in former years practically dug out the entire plate
with his hand tools, comes in to give the finishing touches and
correct any slight imperfection that may remain. It is of the utmost
importance, of course, that the dies should be clear-cut and deep, to
avoid clogging up in printing, particularly in the plates used for
stamping in inks. The experienced and watchful engraver is expected
to detect any spots where the etching process has not fully
accomplished its purpose. Lettering, especially, should be cut clear,
deep, and free from "feather," or ragged edges.

The above process applies to single plates or to plates intended for
printing in one color only, or in gold. Where two or more colors are
wanted, the photographer has to make as many prints as there are
colors in the artist's design, as each one calls for a separate plate.
The proceeding otherwise remains the same, excepting that to the
engraver's task is added the necessity of making sure of a perfect
register or fitting together of the various parts.

The transformation in the demands of publishers and writers has become
so great since the days of the primitive little shop above referred
to, that a die cutter, working on those lines, would be hopelessly out
of the race at the present day. In order to meet satisfactorily the
artistic expectation of the present generation a first-class engraving
establishment must have: an accomplished staff of artists, supplied
with a library of standard authorities on the various schools of art,
as well as a good selection of modern art publications; a skilled
photographer with a complete photographic outfit, including, of
course, a suitable gallery with the best obtainable light, both
natural and artificial; and lastly a complete staff of routers and
engravers, some of whom should be specialists in lettering, while
others should devote their attention exclusively to figures.

Of all the elements that go to make book-cover decoration the
lettering is by far the most important. It should receive special
care, as in some cases it constitutes the entire decoration. In this
respect the critical taste of the present day shows itself even more
strongly than in the matter of decorative ornamentation, and no amount
of ornamentation, whatever its artistic value, can redeem a cover
whose lettering is lacking in style, character, or typographical merit
of some kind. Experience is such a good teacher that I can usually
tell, by looking at a die, not only who designed the lettering, but
also what workman engraved it.

Some dies are intended for stamping in gold or colored leaf and
consequently have to be heated sufficiently to cause the leaf to
adhere to the cloth cover, while others are meant simply for black
stamping or stamping in ink of various colors; but all are engraved on
brass for the sake of durability. Sometimes, where very large editions
are expected, as of school books, steel is substituted for brass.

The die, when finished, is used by the binder in a stamping press.
Color work calls for considerable skill on the part of the stamper,
who should be an expert in mixing inks as the best-cut die will
often show poor results if not properly handled. In fact, the success
of a book cover depends on three individuals,--the artist who designs
it, the engraver who cuts it, and the stamper who prints it.


By Henry P. Kendall.

The great increase in the number of books produced each year has
brought a corresponding development in the use of prepared cloth for
the bindings. Previous to the beginning of the last century cloth was
almost unknown as a material for covering a book. Books were then very
costly. They were printed laboriously by hand, on paper also made by
hand, and were naturally considered worthy of the most lasting
bindings. As the life of books depends on the strength and wearing
quality of the covers, such materials as wood, vellum, and leather,
often reënforced with metal, were generally used.

The nineteenth century has marked a great progress in the variety and
quantity, if not in the quality, of published books. Improvements in
methods and in machinery have progressed side by side with economies
in paper making. As the cost of producing the printed sheets became
less, a demand arose for a correspondingly cheaper material for
bindings. The want was satisfactorily met by the use of cloth, and
from the day that it was first used it has become more and more a
factor in book manufacturing.

When so commonplace a binding material as cloth was selected, artists
and binders and publishers considered that ornamentation on such a
material was almost a waste of time and money. So the libraries of our
grandfathers contained rows of gloomy and unattractive books, bound in
black cloth stamped in old-fashioned designs, with a back title of
lemon gold, and it is only comparatively a few years ago that binding
in cloth began to be considered worthy of the attention of the
designer and the artist, but since then the demand for a more varied
assortment and a wider choice of colors and patterns has been steadily

Let us consider briefly the different kinds of book cloths that are
most commonly used to-day and try to make clear to the lay reader the
different fabrics, whose nomenclature is so frequently confused even
by binders and publishers.

Book cloths, from their appearance and manufacture, fall into two
natural divisions, the first being the so-called "solid colors," in
which the threads of the cloth are not easily distinguishable. This
division contains two grades of cloth, generally known as common
colors and extra colors. The standard width of all book cloths is
thirty-eight inches. The commons and extras are sold by the roll, and
the standard number of yards to the roll of these fabrics is

The second division consists of the so-called "linens" and "buckrams,"
in which each thread, with the imperfections and peculiarities of the
weaving, are plainly seen and form a large part of their picturesque

The first of the "common colors" to be used was the black cloth
already referred to, but they are now made in many colors, though
chiefly in simple, pronounced shades, such as browns, blues, greens,
and reds. These cloths have been dyed, and sized with a stiffening
preparation. They are the cheapest of the solid colors and are used in
various patterns, which are embossed on the surface during the process
of manufacture.

The ordinary patterns which are in the greatest use to-day are
designated in the trade by letters. Perhaps the most familiar is the
"T" pattern, straight parallel ridges or striations, about forty to
the inch, and running across the cloth from selvage to selvage. When
properly used, these ribs run from top to bottom of a book cover. For
this reason it is not economical to use the "T" pattern if the height
of the cover is not a multiple of the width of the cloth, as it
results in a waste of cloth. This explains why the cost of the book
bound in "T" pattern is frequently somewhat higher than the same book
bound in another pattern of the same cloth.

A similar design is the "S" or silk pattern, made up of finer lines
running diagonally across the cloth, giving the surface a sheen
somewhat resembling silk. Also in common use are a group of patterns
composed of small irregular dots or points, the finest of which is
known as the "C" pattern, a coarser pattern of similar design, the
"J," and, coarser still, the "L," which has somewhat the appearance of
the coarse grain of a morocco leather. The pattern known as "H" is a
simple diamond made by intersecting diagonal lines similar to the ribs
of the "T" pattern. Other patterns in less common use are those
resembling morocco leather, pigskin, and patterns in fancy designs.

Following the increased use of the common cloths, attention was given
to the artistic effects which might be obtained by using colored inks
and gold on lettering and design, and also to the effect obtained by
pressure of hot binders' dies or stamps upon covers made with embossed
cloths, which latter process is known in binding as "blanking" or
"blind" stamping.

With these advances in the art of cover decoration came the demand for
the more delicate tints and richer shades of the colors, and as a
result finer colors than could be produced in the common cloths were
introduced to meet this demand; these fabrics were called the "extra"
cloths. They have a solid, smooth surface, more "body," and are in
every way firmer and better fabrics, and more costly, too, some of the
shades costing from twenty to forty per cent more than the common

Extra cloths are used largely on the better class of bindings, such as
the popular fiction, holiday books, scientific books, and books of
reference, and whenever fine coloring or a better appearance is
desired. These cloths are chiefly used in the plain fabric, which is
known as "vellum," and in the "T," "S," and "H" patterns. The trained
eye easily recognizes extra cloth from the common cloths, by the
appearance of the surface; but any one may readily distinguish them by
the appearance of the back, which in the extra cloths is not colored,
but in the commons is the same color as the face.

Of the second division of cloths, in which the appearance of the
threads becomes a part of the effect, there are first the "linen"
cloths. The name "linen" applied to this group is really a misnomer,
for many laymen are led to think that such cloths have flax as a
foundation and are therefore genuine linens. This is not so, for there
is but one genuine linen book cloth to be had, and that is a coarse,
irregularly woven cloth, dyed in dull colors, and manufactured by a
foreign house. It is quite expensive, costing sixty cents a square
yard, which is one of the reasons why it is seldom used.

The chief characteristics of the linen cloths are that the coloring
used fills the interstices, but allows all the threads to be clearly
seen. The irregularities of the weaving, therefore, stand out plainly,
and produce to a certain extent the appearance of woven linen fabrics.

Linen book cloths are made in two grades, and are sold by the yard
under special names given to them by the manufacturers. The cheaper
grade is sold under the name of "vellum de luxe," "X" grade, or
"Oxford." A better grade of linen book cloth sells (in 1906) at about
sixteen cents per yard under the names "art vellum," "B" grade, and
"linen finish." It is a very durable fabric and extensively used.

The linen cloths are made principally in the plain surface, and in the
"T" pattern, but almost never in any other patterns, the reason for
this being the fact that the character of the cloth is very little
changed by the embossing, which is used with greater effect on the
solid colors. These linen cloths are especially adapted for school and
other books which are constantly handled, as their construction shows
the wear less than do the solid colors.

The buckrams might have been properly classed with the linens, as that
is what, in fact, they are. Linen cloth observed through a microscope
which magnifies the threads to a coarseness of about forty to the inch
gives us the exact appearance of the buckram, which is a heavy, strong
cloth well adapted to large books, and which furnishes the most
durable binding of all the book cloths. The colors of buckrams
correspond closely with those of the linens; they are also sold under
trade names given them by manufacturers, such as "art canvas" and "E"

Buckrams are sometimes embossed to imitate in part the appearance of
an irregularly woven fabric called "crash." Crash is a special cloth
which might properly be classed with the buckrams, and when suitably
used is a very artistic material.

Basket cloth is still another material which could properly be
included with the buckrams. This grade of cloth gains its name from
the fact that the threads are woven in squares resembling a basket
mesh. They are made in the same coloring as the linen cloths.

In describing the cloths above, only those of American manufacture
have been considered. There are English cloths which correspond to
nearly all of these fabrics, but they are little used in America on
account of the delay in importing them and because of the duty, which
makes the price here higher than for corresponding grades of domestic

One cannot stand before the windows of the large book stores at
holiday time without being impressed by the possibilities offered by
the many colors and patterns of cloths and the varied hues of inks and
foil, in helping the artist to make books attractive to the eye, and
suggestive of the sentiment and motive of their contents. One feels
that the designer of book covers has surely a wider field to-day than
when he confined his attention entirely to making intricate designs
for single leather-bound folios.


By Ellery C. Bartlett.

There is hardly any part of the world that has not been drawn upon for
suitable skins to be made into leather for bookbinding. The skins
generally used are goat, seal, pigskin, cowhide, calf, and sheep, and
they vary in quality according to the country they come from and the
manner in which the animals are cared for, the stall-fed animals, or
those that are protected from storm and have regular food, producing
the best skins.

In preparing these skins for bookbinders, great care has to be taken
to extract as much of the natural oil as possible, as this is apt to
discolor the gold leaf decorations put on by the artistic binder.

Tanners usually buy skins with the hair on. They are first put into
water, for the purpose of softening them, after which they are laid
over a beam and a knife is drawn over them, to still further soften
them. They are then put into vats containing slack lime-water, which
loosens the hair and kills the animal life remaining in the skin.
After having been in these vats for a period of about ten days, they
are washed in water, to remove the lime and clean the skin. Afterwards
they are put through a process called "bating," which destroys any
animal matter in the skins which may have escaped the first process,
and they are then finally cleansed by a solution of bran and water,
which also prepares them for tanning.

After the skins have been in tan for a week or more, they are taken
out, tacked on drying frames and all the wrinkles stretched out of
them. When thoroughly dry, they are ready for the coloring process.
After being colored, they are again tacked on the frames; and when
they are thoroughly dry again they are taken to the graining room,
where the finishing processes are done by skilled workmen, the utmost
care being needed to produce the desired result.

The matching of shades is a very difficult process, as the question of
color must be decided while the skins are still wet. Weather
conditions have a very important bearing on the manufacture of
leather, and changes in the atmosphere often spoil all the careful
work that has previously been put on a skin.

The finest leather for books comes from France, although a good
quality is made in England and Germany, and the United States is
rapidly improving its output.

The graining of the leather to bring out the natural grain in the
skin, is done by hand and sometimes by electroplate reproductions of
the natural grain by means of the embossing press. When large grain is
wanted, the skins are shaved only slightly on the back; if small
grains are wanted, the skins are shaved thinner. This process removes
all roughness from the back of the skin, leaving it smooth and clean.

Formerly the binder, in preparing his covers, was compelled to pare
the edges with a knife, which was a slow and laborious process; but
now--thanks to the inventive American talent--he can have the whole
skin split to any desired thickness or thinness, without injury; or,
he can have the edges pared by cleverly devised machinery.

Leather manufacturers are able, by using splitting machines, to split
skins so that both parts of a skin can be used--the upper part of the
skin being called the grain and the lower the flesh. Were this not the
case, it would be impossible for the binder to supply the needs of his
customers, as the output does not keep pace with the constantly
increasing demand. In fact, binders are constantly looking for
substitutes, but, after all, there is nothing so good as leather.


By Jesse Fellowes Tapley.

The changes in the methods of bookbinding during the last sixty years
have been very great, and during the last twenty-five years the
invention of machines for doing the work rapidly has created almost a
revolution in the art.

Fifty years ago the pay of journeymen bookbinders ranged from eight to
ten dollars a week, for a day of ten hours, and the cost of binding an
ordinary 12mo volume of 500 pages in cloth was from sixteen to
eighteen cents. To-day the same volume can be bound for eight to ten
cents, with the pay of the journeyman from eighteen to twenty dollars
a week, for a day of nine hours. The pay of girls has, as a general
thing, been proportionally increased, while the amount of work they
can turn out with the newly invented machinery is triple as much as
could be done by hand, and on some branches of the work it is more
than six times as much.

The first process of making a book is the folding. The sheets are
usually printed so as to fold in sections of sixteen pages, with
signature figures, as 1, 2, 3, or alphabet letters, as A, B, C,
printed at the bottom of the first page of each section, for the
guidance of the binder in placing the signatures in regular order for
gathering the book.

Usually two or four forms are printed on one sheet. One girl could
fold by hand from 3500 to 4000 sections of 16 pages a day. With modern
machines the range is from 17,000 to 48,000, according to the make of
the machine and whether it is equipped with an automatic feeder or

There are three styles of machines in general use. The point machine,
fed by hand, has needle points on the feed board, on which is placed
the sheet, which has proper holes made by the printing press. The next
is called a drop-roll machine, which, if equipped with an automatic
feeder, will fold 24,000 sections a day, delivering two sections at
each revolution. The next is called a quadruple machine, which, with
an automatic feeder, will fold 48,000 sections a day or as many as
twelve girls could do by hand.

In binderies where large editions of books are done, it would be
almost impossible to keep the different sections from getting mixed,
unless they were put into compact bundles and tied up until the
complete book is folded. This is accomplished by putting a quantity of
each section into hydraulic or screw presses, with a board at the top
and bottom of the bundle, which is tied with a strong cord. They are
then marked with name and signature, and piled up until wanted for
gathering into books.

If the book has plates printed separately from the text, they have to
be inserted before it can be gathered. Plating is done by girls, 5000
being a day's work for an experienced hand.

Gathering comes next. The sections are laid out in separate piles in
consecutive order, and one signature taken from each pile, making a
complete book. From 30,000 to 45,000 sections is a day's work.

After gathering, the book is pressed to make it solid. This is done by
passing it through a powerful press, called a smashing machine. The
old-fashioned way was to pile the books between boards in a standing
press, running the screw down with an iron lever, and allowing them to
stay in same for several hours. In a modern smashing machine a book
can be made as solid in half a minute as the standing press will make
it by ten hours' pressing.

From the smashing machine it goes to the collator, by whom it is
examined to see if any signature is misplaced or left out.

It then goes to the modern sewing machine. This is one of the most
valuable labor-saving machines for the binder ever invented, as it
almost, if not entirely, supersedes hand sewing on what is called
edition work. This machine will sew from 15,000 to 18,000 signatures a
day, and do it better than it can be done by hand. Each signature is
sewed independently and with from two to five stitches, so that if one
breaks the signature is held fast by the others, while in hand sewing
the thread goes through the whole length of the signature, and if by
chance it is broken, the book is ruined so far as the sewing is
concerned. In addition the machine does more work, in the same time,
than five or six girls sewing by hand.

After sewing, the books are prepared for trimming by "jogging up" in
bunches of the proper thickness, for the cutting machine. If the work
is large or the paper highly sized and slippery, a light coating of
glue is applied to the centre of the back, to keep the signatures in
place. In olden times books were trimmed in a press having hardwood
jaws and wood screws near each end, worked with an iron lever. Into
this press the books were clamped, the rough edge to be trimmed off
projecting above the jaws. To trim the book, a plough was used, made
of two thick side pieces of hard wood about one foot long and six
inches high, with a long hand screw passing through them. (The end at
the right had a handle outside of the side piece, and the end at the
left engaged a screw in the left side piece.) At the bottom of the
right side piece, and resting on the jaw of the press, was a
sharp-pointed knife. The plough was worked back and forth, and at each
motion the screw in the plough was turned enough for the knife to
take a shaving from the book. To keep the plough in place, the
left-hand jaw had a deep groove on its surface, in which the plough
worked. This was slow and hard work.

Sometime between the years 1840 and 1850, a machine was invented in
which books were clamped, and a heavy knife descended perpendicularly.
This was an improvement on the old-fashioned press and plough, but it
was found that, unless the knife was very sharp, the tendency was to
draw the paper, and in effect jam it off rather than cut it.

To obviate this, the next move was to arrange the knife so that it
would give a drawing cut, or come down on a slant, rather than a rigid
descent. This is the principle on which most book and paper cutting
machines are made to-day.

About 1850 a machine was invented in which a vibrating knife worked
back and forth on the paper to be cut. This was thought at the time to
be the best principle for a cutting machine.

Ten or twenty years later a new machine made its appearance. This one
had a knife held rigidly in the frame of the machine, and the books
were clamped into a carriage drawn up by a chain against the edge of
the knife. It was the most rapid trimmer that had appeared, and held
its position for a good many years; but in the meantime, for general
work, the machines with a descending slanting knife held their own and

Within a very short time a new machine has appeared. This has two
slanting descending knives and doubles the work of the older machines,
as it cuts two sides at one blow, and will trim from 7000 to 8000
ordinary books a day, against 500 or 600 by the old-fashioned press
and plough.

After the edges are trimmed, the book is rounded and backed. In this
process, too, great improvement has been made. Originally this work
was done by hand with a hammer, the rounding being accomplished by
striking one side of the back as the book lay flat, and then the
other, forming it at the same time by the hand, to give the back the
convex, and the front the concave, form. Some persons are found now
who think the hollow or concave front of the book is made by trimming
it in that way.

The backing process gives the groove on which the cover is hinged. In
olden times this was done by clamping the book in a press between
backing irons, with the back projecting enough to give the proper
groove, and gradually drawing it over from the centre with the hammer.
In small job shops this is the practice to-day, but in large
establishments it has given place to modern machines. The first
innovation was what is called the roller backer. This makes the
groove, the book being first rounded as described. Then came the
rounder and backer, which is run by power, and both rounds and backs
the book at one operation.

To show the advance made, it may be stated that 500 books was a good
day's work with press and hammer. With the advent of the roller backer
1000 was a fair day's work, but when the power machine was invented,
the production jumped up to 4000 and over, a day.

After the book is rounded and grooved, the back is glued and a piece
of coarse woven cloth, wide enough to lap over each side an inch or
more, is put on, and over this another coat of glue and a piece of
paper the width of the back are applied.

The book is then ready for the cover, which is put on by pasting the
first and last leaf, drawing the cover on, and putting it in press
between boards whose edges are bound with a brass band, the rim
projecting above the surface of the board. This rim presses the cloth
between the covers and the back of the book, making a hinge upon which
the cover opens. Two men can paste and press 1500 to 2000 books a day.
A new machine has been put on the market within a year, that, with the
same help, will do the work at the rate of 4000 a day. This process is
termed "casing in."

The making of the book cover is a distinct branch in binding edition
work. The pasteboard formerly was cut by hand shears, one piece at a
time. It is now done by rotary shears, cutting from six to ten pieces
as fast as the sheets of board can be fed to the machine.

The cloth for the cover is cut to the proper size, glued by hand, the
boards laid on by gauge, and the edges turned in with a folder. A man
expert at the work can make from 600 to 800 covers a day. About
fifteen years ago a machine was invented, which turns out from 3000 to
4500 a day. This machine is automatic in its operation, gluing the
cloth, laying on the boards, turning in the edges, and delivering a
more perfect cover than can be made by hand.

Stamping the cover is a trade by itself. It requires long experience
and skill to make an expert. There are several branches in this trade,
such as blank or blind stamping, stamping with ink (or a colored leaf
made to take the place of ink), and stamping with gold. Laying gold
preparatory to stamping is a distinct branch, and is done by girls.
This is such a delicate operation that it requires long experience.
There has been no improvement in the principle of the stamping or
embossing press since the first machines came into use. The die or
stamp is held in the head of the press by clamps, and the cover is
placed on the platen or bed of the press, which is raised up to the
stamp by a "toggle joint" operated with a "cam."

Since covers began to be ornamented with ink, attachments have been
added to the presses for inking the stamps. There have also been
invented powerful printing presses, made for stamping covers in ink.
The process is the same as on common printing presses.

The dies used for stamping covers are cut on hardened brass, and are
capable of standing an immense pressure. They are not set in chases,
as are the forms on printing presses, but are glued to iron plates.
The head of the press to which the plates are clamped is heated,
either by running a jet of live steam through it, or by gas jets.

For gilt work, or colored leaf, heat is necessary. The cover is
prepared with a coat of size. The gold or ink leaf is then laid on and
an impression is given with the heated die, which melts the size and
fastens the leaf only at the point where the die strikes. The surplus
leaf is brushed off, leaving only the design visible.

The binding of cheap leather-covered books is essentially the same as
with cloth. The difference is that the covers must be made by hand. No
machine will do any part, except paring the edges of the covers. There
are several machines that will do this work, one machine doing as much
in a day as three men could with knife and paring stone in the old

Edge-gilding is another distinct branch of the trade, and is generally
done before books are rounded and backed. The books are clamped, after
trimming, between the jaws of powerful screw presses and the edges
scraped to make them perfectly smooth. They are then colored with a
mixture of red chalk, or black lead, applied with a sponge, to give
the gold a dark color. A size made of the white of eggs is then
applied with a brush, the gold leaf floated on, and when dry burnished
with an agate or bloodstone. No machine has yet been invented that
will do this work.

Edge-marbling is another branch. A shallow trough is filled with a
solution of gum hog or gum tragacanth of the consistency of thick
cream. Each color, which must be ground very fine, is mixed in water
and ox-gall, and sprinkled separately over the surface of the gum with
brushes. The ox-gall prevents the colors from mixing together on the
solution, every drop being distinct. If three or more colors are used,
the first one containing a little gall, the second more than the
first, and the third more than the second, each color will make a
place for itself by crowding the others into a narrower space. The
books are held firmly in a clamp, and as the edges are dipped into the
solution they take up the colors as they lie on the surface.

There are other edges called for besides the gilt, the marbled, or the
plain smooth cut. The deckle edge is left uncut, just as it comes from
the paper-maker. The uncut or rough cut is made by taking off any
projecting edges of the leaves. There are machines for doing this, one
having a circular knife rigged like a circular saw, the book being run
lengthwise against it. There are also other methods of removing
overhanging leaves, one by using hand shears, another by filing.

In fine leather binding, while the preparation of the book for the
cover is essentially the same as in cloth work, the covering is all
hand-work, requiring experience and skill, and is a distinct branch of
the trade.

Finishing by hand is another, and requires long experience to become
an expert. Gold ornamentation requires heated tools, and in the hands
of a practised finisher beautiful designs can be worked out with quite
a limited assortment of rolls, straight and curved lines, and a few
sprigs, dots, and stars.

In olden times, when all work was done by hand, the product of a
good-sized cloth bindery was from 500 to 1000 books a day. Now, with
modern machinery, in a well-equipped bindery, the product is from 5000
to 10,000 copies of an ordinary 12mo book.

There are a number of other machines in use, run by power, which have
not been enumerated in the above sketch, such as wire and thread
stitching machines, gluing and pasting machines, brushing machines,
and last but not least a gold-saving machine, out of whose bowels
large binders take from $200 to $400 worth of waste gold each month.
This waste gold comes from the surplus gold brushed from the covers
after stamping.


By Henry Blackwell.

Much has been written about the art of special binding, and many
lengthy treatises have been written on the various methods of early
and modern "extra," or fine binders. It will be my province to
describe the stages through which a book passes, from the time it is
received in the bindery until it is shipped out of the establishment.
I will take for my subject a rare old book that is to be rebound in a
half-levant morocco binding. In a good shop, all books, no matter what
the binding is to be, are treated alike in regard to workmanship,
care, and materials. If a binder puts his name in the completed book,
it is a sign that the book has been to the best of his ability
honestly and well bound.

When the customer brings the book to the binder, the style of binding,
color of the leather, amount and kind of ornamentation, and all the
other details are determined upon and entered carefully in a numbered
order book, and the number of the order is marked in pencil on an
inside leaf of the book itself, so that the original instructions may
be referred to from time to time. This number is usually left in the
book after it has been finished and delivered to the owner, and not
infrequently has been the means of identifying a lost or stolen

The book is then given to the first operator, usually a girl, who
removes the cover, if there is any, and takes the book apart,
separating carefully each of the "signatures," or sections, and
removing the threads of the old binding. If any of the pages are
loose, they are pasted neatly in their proper places and the "insert
plates" (illustrations, maps, etc.), which had been printed separately
from the text and pasted in the volume, are examined to make sure that
they are firmly fixed. Another operator goes over the entire volume
and cleans any of the pages that have become soiled.

The book is then prepared for the sewing by a man who hammers the back
until it is flat and all the edges of the signatures lie evenly. He
then divides it into sections of half a dozen or more signatures,
places each of these between smooth wooden boards, and puts the whole
into an upright iron press, in which it is subjected to a great
pressure, and where it ought to remain over night in order to make it
entirely flat and solid. A better way of pressing a book at this stage
of the operation is to pass it several times through a rolling
machine, which is made for this special purpose with two heavy iron
rollers, say twenty inches long and ten inches in diameter. These
machines are seldom used in America, but are invariably found in the
equipment of binders' workshops abroad, which is perhaps one reason
why English books are so solidly bound.

Following the pressing, or the rolling, the book is placed, back
uppermost, in another press, something like a wooden vise. By means of
a handsaw, several cuts, just deep enough to cut entirely through the
fold of each signature, are made across the back of the book. Seven of
these saw marks are usually made, the five in the middle being for the
cords on which the book is sewed, and the two at the ends for threads
which help to make the sewing more secure. If the book is to have a
binding with raised bands across the back, no actual cuts are made,
the back being simply scratched to guide the girl in sewing, so that
the heavy twine on which she sews will stand out on the back, forcing
the leather up in the five middle places and forming the raised bands.

After it has been sawed, or scratched, the book goes to a girl who
collates it--that is, examines it thoroughly, signature by signature,
and makes sure that everything is in its right place. If the volume is
old or especially valuable, it is gone over page by page. The first
and last signatures are then whip-stitched, or sewed over and over
along the back edges, and then put in their places.

The book is then sewn on a "sewing frame." This is a small wooden
table about twelve by eighteen inches, with legs only one inch high.
At two corners there are upright wooden screws, some fifteen inches
long with movable collars which support a crosspiece. To this
crosspiece are fastened three stout cords, their other ends being
attached to the table. The position of these cords are regulated to
fit the saw marks on the back of the book, then they are tightened by
means of the screw collars. The sections of the book are then placed
against these cords, one by one, and the threads passed through the
saw cuts and outside the cords, thus sewing them firmly to the back of
the book. When several books of the same size are being bound at one
time, the operator goes right on sewing book after book, one signature
after the other, until she has finished a pile of books a foot or more
high. When the sewing is finished the cords are cut so as to leave a
free end of an inch and a half on each side of the book, and to these
ends are fastened the boards, as described later.

Linen or silk thread is used in sewing, the heaviness of which depends
upon the size of the book and the thickness of the paper of the book.
If the book has many single leaves, or illustrations, it is sometimes
necessary to whip-stitch each signature before sewing.

The book, or the pile of books, then passes to the "forwarder," who
"draws off" or separates each book from the others in the pile, and
again hammers the book, to flatten out any "swell" which may be
present after the sewing. He then pastes, or "tacks," the first and
last whip-stitched signatures to the signatures next them, this
pasting being only, say, an eighth of an inch wide along the back

The paper is then chosen for the "end papers," usually matching
closely the paper of the book. They are cut a little larger than the
paper page of the book, and pasted along the edge to the outside and
whip-stitched signatures. Marble paper in suitable harmony or contrast
with the leather to be used on the book is then selected for lining
the inside of the covers cut to the same size as the "end papers," and
pasted to them, after having been folded so that the colored sides
come face to face.

When all this pasting has dried thoroughly, the back of the book is
covered with a thin coating of glue, to preserve its shape and then,
while the back is quite flat, the front edges of the leaves are
trimmed off evenly in a cutting machine. If this edge is to be gilded,
special care is taken to have the edges cut smoothly.

The back is then "rounded" by use of a hammer; if the book is to be a
"flat back" one, the rounding is very slight. It is necessary even in
the case of a flat back book to round it somewhat so that it will
retain its shape when the finished book is placed on the shelf. After
the rounding, the top, or "head," and the bottom, or "tail," of the
book are trimmed evenly in the cutting machine.

The book is then ready for the gilder, who places it, with the edge
which is to be gilded uppermost, in a press. This edge is covered with
red chalk, which shows all the uneven places, which are then scraped
with a steel scraper. This operation is repeated until the edge is
very smooth, and it is then treated with a sizing made of white of egg
and water, which is to hold the gold leaf to the edges of the leaves.
The gold leaf is laid on the still wet edge, and when slightly dry is
covered with a sheet of paper and rubbed down with a burnisher, and
when entirely dry is burnished again with a smooth piece of agate or

The boards, pieces of strong and durable binders' "boards" made of
paper or tarred rope, are then selected and cut to fit the book,
extending about one-eighth of an inch over the head, tail, and front
edges of the leaves. Each of the cords, on which the book has been
sewed, is moistened with paste, and put through two holes which are
punched side by side in the board and within a quarter of an inch of
the inside edge. The cord is carried down through one hole, and up
through the other, and the remaining end is cut off and hammered down
smooth where it stays firmly fastened by the paste. This is called
"lacing on the boards" and when finished makes, so far as strength
is concerned, the cover-boards and the inside of the book practically
one piece. The book is then given another long pressing.

The coverer then takes the volume. He first wraps the edges with paper
to keep them clean and then puts on the headbands. These are either
sewn directly on to the book or may be bought ready-made, when they
are put on with glue.

The back is covered with a strip of coarsely woven crash lined with
several pieces of paper. This is glued to the back to make it hard and
solid and to prevent it from cracking, or "breaking," when the book is

The leather is then cut out for the corners and for the back, in the
latter case allowance being made for its extension over and on to the
boards to the proper distance. The back lining is trimmed off to the
top of the headbands, and the leather is pasted on the rough side in
position and turned in at the "head" and "tail" of the back. The five
raised bands are then "pinched up" and the whole back is polished, or
"crushed," with a hot polisher until the leather is smoothed down to
the desired surface.

In decorating the cover, or "tooling" it, as it is called, the design
is first pressed into the leather of the back with heated tools. These
designs, appearing "blank," or sunken, in the leather, are washed over
with a thin coat of paste and water, followed by a sizing of albumen,
and finally with vaseline, to make the gold stick. Gold leaf is laid
over the "blank" designs and the same heated tools used to press the
gold into the leather. As many as three layers of gold are frequently
put on in this way until the design is full and clear. The waste edges
of the pieces of gold leaf are removed with a piece of soft rubber and
the whole back washed with benzine to remove the grease of the
vaseline and that of the natural leather.

The part of the leather which projects over the sides is pasted to the
boards, trimmed off straight, and pared down until the edges are very
thin. Another piece of plain paper is then cut out and pasted on the
board, covering it right up to the edges of the leather. This makes
the side board and the leather even in height and prevents the outside
marbled paper from showing ridges made by the edges of the leather.

When the outside has dried, a piece of paper is pasted on the inside
of each board. This paper has a tendency to shrink a little and to
warp the boards, so that they will hold tightly to the inside of the
book. If this paper were not put on the inside of the covers, the
marbled paper on the outside might cause the boards to warp away from
the book itself.

The end papers are then pasted down on to the board, and when
thoroughly dry all the leather along the inside and the outside edges
of the cover sides is carefully washed and polished with an iron
polisher. The book is then placed between plates made of steel, either
nickel or silver plated, and placed in the press to remain a day or
two, after which the back is polished again and the sides are finished
with gilt lines along the edges of the leather next to the marbled
paper. Then the book is finally inspected, a silk marker inserted, and
the volume is done and ready for delivery.


By Frederick H. Hitchcock.

Copyrighting a book is in most instances not a difficult matter, but
the present United States laws are so complicated and inconsistent
that an inexperienced author may readily fall into errors of one kind
or another.

In a modern publishing house, the routine work of complying with the
provisions of the copyright laws is usually in the hands of one clerk,
who is responsible for the preparation and filing of the necessary
documents at the proper time and for keeping a complete record of all
that he does. Experience soon brings such a clerk a really valuable
knowledge of the law, but as many questions of vital importance arise
from time to time, it is customary for one of the most responsible men
in the concern, generally a member of the firm or an officer in the
corporation, to exercise a general supervision of all copyright

When a book is ready to be sent to the bindery, the manufacturing
department will generally order a certain number of copies to be
finished in advance of the rest of the edition. Some of these will be
for the travelling salesman's use, some for the publicity department,
and at least two for copyright purposes. With the copies delivered to
the copyright clerk, the manufacturing department will send one or two
separate title-pages, either torn from the printed sheets or taken
from the early proofs made by the printer. With these in hand and with
information from the selling department as to the day when the book is
to be published, the clerk in charge will then take the first step
toward copyrighting it. This is the filing of the claim for copyright
and of the title of the book.

The Copyright Office in the Library of Congress at Washington supplies
free upon request application blanks, and one of these must be
carefully filled in. The information called for by this blank is as
follows: the amount of the fees enclosed, whether a sealed copy of the
record, or certificate as it is called, is desired, whether the volume
is to be classed as a book, periodical, or dramatic composition, an
abbreviated title of the book, the name of the author, or proprietor,
the name and address of the applicant, the name of the country where
the book was printed, whether the applicant is the author, or (having
an assignment from the author) the proprietor, the name of the country
of which the author is a citizen, or subject, and whether the whole or
a part of the book is sought to be copyrighted.

There is a blank page in the form where the print or proof of the
title-page must be pasted. If neither of these is available at the
time, it is customary to use a typewritten title-page, but as the law
distinctly calls for a "printed" title and as the courts have not
decided whether typewriting is printing within the intention of the
law, it is best to follow the exact letter of the law.

The fee for filing the application or claim for copyright is fifty
cents if the author is a citizen or resident of the United States, or
one dollar if he is a foreigner. If a copy of the record entered at
the Copyright Office is desired, an additional fifty cents is
required. The fees, preferably in the form of a money-order, are
enclosed in the envelope containing the claim, and the whole
forwarded, postage prepaid, to the Register of Copyrights at the
Library of Congress.

Upon receiving these, the Copyright Office will acknowledge the
receipt of the fees and make a record of the claim and of the title in
books provided for the purpose. The law specifies that this record
shall be in the following words:--

"Library of Congress, to wit: Be it remembered that on the___day
of________190________________ of_________has deposited in this Office
the title of a BOOK, the title of which is in the following words, to
wit:____________, the right whereof_______ claims as author and
proprietor in conformity with the laws of the United States respecting
copyrights. ______________Librarian of Congress."

It is generally the custom to obtain a copy of this record, which, if
the fee is enclosed, is sent to the claimant as soon after the receipt
of the application as it can be made out in the regular course of the
business of the Copyright Office. This copy is signed by the Register
of Copyrights and is sealed with the official seal of the Library of
Congress. The period of protection under an original claim is
twenty-eight years.

It is important to remember that the application and the title are
required by law to be delivered to the Register of Copyrights "on or
before the day of publication in this or any other country." If
delayed until after that day, the book cannot have the protection of
the copyright law.

Prior to 1891 none but citizens or residents of the United States
could obtain copyright, but in July of that year the privilege was
extended to the citizens, or subjects, of such other countries as
grant to the citizens of the United States the same copyright
privileges which they afford to their own countrymen. At the present
time these privileged countries are Belgium, France, Great Britain and
her possessions, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Portugal,
Spain, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, the Netherlands (Holland) and her
possessions, Cuba, China, and Norway.

The law also requires that a book desired to be copyrighted in the
United States must be printed in this country. It is, therefore, not
possible to copyright a book which has been put into type and
electrotyped in England and sent here for the presswork and binding.
Copies of a book manufactured in this country may, however, be sent to
England and copyrighted there.

The second step is to send two copies of the printed book for deposit
in the Copyright Office, and until this has been done, the copyright
is incomplete. These copies, like the title, must be delivered on or
before the day of publication.

A printed receipt-form for books to be deposited is supplied by the
Copyright Office, and it is the usual practice for the sender to fill
in his address, and the names of the book and of the author, so that
when the books are received, the Register of Copyrights needs only to
date and sign the receipt-form and return it to the sender. This
receipt-form should be enclosed with the books when they are
forwarded. The package must be plainly addressed (the Copyright Office
furnishes printed labels if desired) and sent, carriage prepaid,
through the mail.

It not infrequently happens that publication must be made before the
two copies of a book can reach Washington. In such cases the copyright
clerk may take the books to the nearest post-office and obtain from
the postmaster a dated receipt for them which is equivalent to
delivery to the Copyright Office. The package is not finally wrapped
until the postmaster has examined it.

When these steps have been properly taken, and the certificate, or
sealed copy, of the record and the receipt for the two copies have
been received, the copyright is secure so far as our laws can render
it. It should be borne in mind that the Copyright Office does not
grant a copyright in a manner similar to the granting of a patent
right by the patent office. Its function is simply to record in a
permanent place and in official form the claim made by the author, or
by the proprietor, of that right. When a book is "pirated" and the
offender sued, it must first be established by the records that the
provisions of the law have been complied with fully and correctly. In
this way a copyright is always subject to review by the courts.

Every copy of a book for which copyright has been claimed must have a
formal notice to that effect, printed on its "title-page or on the
page following." As prescribed by law, this notice must read either
"Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1906 by A. B. in
the Office of the Library of Congress," or simply, "Copyright, 1906,
by A. B." The omission of such a notice from the book would make it
impossible for its owner to prevent its being reprinted. There is a
penalty of $100 for using the notice of copyright in an uncopyrighted
book, and when the notice is used, there is a penalty of $25, if the
two copies as required by law are not deposited. This latter penalty
also applies in the case of failure to deposit one copy of a new
edition differing from the former one, if a notice of copyright is
used in the new edition.

In order to obtain a renewal of a copyright, the claim and the title
must be filed on a form provided for the purpose with the Register of
Copyrights "within six months before the expiration of the first
term," which would be sometime between twenty-seven and one-half and
twenty-eight years from the date of filing the original title. The
copyright period runs from the date of filing the original claim, and
not from the time of depositing the books, and great care should be
taken to ascertain the date of the registration of the original title,
and to compute the time so that the filing of the application for
renewal will surely fall within the specified six months. The renewal
period is fourteen years, and the fees are the same as in the case of
the original application, but a certificate, or copy of the record, of
the renewal claim must be taken and paid for by the claimant.

Only one copy of a book is required to be deposited to complete the
claim for a renewal term of copyright. This copy also must be
delivered within "six months before the expiration of the first term,"
and should be accompanied by a receipt as in the case of the original
deposit. In order to complete the claim, a copy of the certificate
must be published verbatim, within two months of the date of renewal
for four weeks in one or more newspapers printed in the United States.

In obtaining international copyright, publication on the same day here
and abroad is necessary, and this is sometimes a cause of considerable
inconvenience in actual practice. When a New York publisher wishes to
copyright in England a novel which he is about to publish, he must
prepare six special copies of the finished book, bind them in cloth,
print the copyright notice on the back of the title-page, and the name
and address of the London firm or the individual who is willing to act
as the English publisher of the book, and forward the copies to that
person. At the same time he will write to this agent, telling him of
the shipment and requesting him to enter the book for copyright and
publish it in England on or about such a date. He will, of course,
allow sufficient time for the books to reach London, and he will
carefully point out in his letter any American holidays which occur
near the probable date of publication. Upon receiving the books, the
London agent will cable the New York publisher the date on which he
will publish the book, taking care to allow an interval of a day or
two, because of a possible delay.

On the day agreed upon, the New York publisher proceeds to copyright
and publish his book in this country in the usual manner, while the
London agent does the same abroad, delivering to the British Museum
one copy of the book, and to Stationer's Hall, for use in certain
libraries, four copies. Both of them will on that day sell at least
one or two copies which will constitute a legal publication.

It is the custom with many publishers to establish the publication day
of all of their books, by displaying a few copies, or by actually
selling one or more copies to some one. In the case of a very popular
copyrighted book which it is desirable to have the retailers all over
the country begin to sell on the same day, it is deemed safer to make
this technical publication before any of the books are distributed
through the trade. A record of the first sales entered in a
publisher's sales-book in the course of business would effectually
prevent any one from claiming in after years a right to reprint a book
on the ground that the claim, title, and copies were not originally
filed until after the book had been put upon the market.

Under a recent amendment in our law, an author of a book in a foreign
language, who is a citizen of one of the foreign countries which
allows to our citizens the same copyright privileges as are allowed to
its own countrymen, is permitted to file in the Copyright Office
within thirty days after its publication in a foreign country a copy
of his book with a formal declaration that he is the author and that
he intends to translate it or to print it in its original language and
to apply for copyright in the United States. After doing this, he is
allowed one year in which to complete his proposed translation or to
print it in the original language and copyright it here.

Before this statute was passed, two or more persons could translate a
foreign book, and each could copyright his own translation. Every copy
of a book for which such protection is desired under this law must
bear a notice stating, "Published ---- Nineteen Hundred and ----.
Privilege of copyright in the United States reserved under the Act
approved March 3, 1905, by A. B."

Only the author or his assignee (_i.e._ the proprietor) may secure
copyright in a book. An author may transfer orally all or part of his
rights before publication, but after publication it is necessary for
him to make the assignment by some form of written instrument. In
order to make it a valid assignment, the original instrument must be
sent to be recorded in the office of the Librarian of Congress within
sixty days after its execution. The fee for recording an assignment is
one dollar. After the original document has been recorded, it is
signed and sealed and returned to the sender, who should preserve it
with the certificate.

It is a common practice to have in the contract between the author and
his publisher a clause assigning to the publisher all of the author's
rights for the "full term of copyright and for any and all renewals."
The agreement, of course, includes other provisions such as for the
payment of the usual royalties, accounting, etc. Having been made
before publication such an assignment does not need to be recorded in
the Copyright Office.

The history of copyright is an extremely interesting subject, but it
cannot be properly treated in the limits of this article. It may be
mentioned, however, that the first copyright law was enacted by
Parliament during Queen Anne's reign and is known as "8 Anne, c. 9."
This statute provided that an author should have complete control of
his literary productions during a first term of fourteen years after
publication, and a renewal term of the same length, and provided
penalties against piracy. A great many questions concerning this law
arose from time to time in trials before various courts, but perhaps
the chief one of interest was that of whether the limitation of the
period during which it granted protection had destroyed the author's
rights which had existed previously. For fifty years after the passage
of the law, the decisions were that the right of ownership existed for
all time as a right in common law unaffected by the statute, but in
1774 the highest English court held that while the rights of the
author before the publication of his book remained unaffected, after
publication he had no rights except during the period specified by the
statute. This decision is still believed by many authorities to have
been a wrong one, but it has been the basis for all subsequent
copyright law in this country as well as in England. Therefore in the
United States to-day, the right of ownership lies in the author until
his work is published, but upon publication he has no rights except
those given him by law, and these he can obtain only by a strict
compliance with the requirements of the law. Any one who is
sufficiently interested to read the first hundred pages of Drone's
"Treatise on the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions" will be
well repaid for the effort, and will obtain considerable light upon
how the "right of copying," or printing, a book developed, why its
duration is not unlimited, and why we must observe certain formalities
in order to protect our literary work by it.


By Vivian Burnett.

The duty of bringing the productions of a publishing house to the
attention of the public is a very important one, and much depends upon
the cleverness and energy with which it is discharged. It can easily
be seen that no matter how good the books brought out by a firm, they
would be likely to remain on stockroom shelves if readers were not
properly made aware of their issue. The name "Publicity department" is
the most descriptive title that can be given to the part of the staff
devoting its energies to the many variations of news-spreading
involved in this work.

Publicity involves both editorial and commercial elements. From the
editorial side it is of prime importance that the person in charge of
the publicity have at the very beginning a complete and definite idea
of the reasons that have ruled in the acceptance of a book,--what
class of people it was published for, and just what species of a book
it is considered to be. Is it purposed to appeal to a certain
religious class of people? Is it for the distinctly literary? Perhaps
it is one of those volumes on the border line between a juvenile and
an adult's book, which may be presented either as a volume for young
or for grown-up folks. The publicity man must be in full understanding
of this estimate before he can do his work properly. On the commercial
side, he must know just the feeling of the trade in regard to an
author and any type of book; and must be in close touch with the
salesmen, not only at the beginning, but all through the life of the
volume. He can learn from them what amount of success the author's
previous books have met, and thus be enabled to present his volume in
a way that will hitch on to a previous success or avoid the odium of a
recent failure. Salesmen can help him to know the interests of every
section of the country, so that advantage can be taken of them in
bringing the book to the local bookseller's attention and influencing
him to a special effort in its behalf.

Few people are aware of the influence exerted by the book clerk, who
can substitute something "just as good" much more easily than a drug
or dry goods clerk, especially if he has a good argument to offer. The
largest part of the publicity of a publishing house is aimed to
influence the general reader, but more and more attention is to-day
being paid to the salesman in the bookshop, and quite wisely, too. He
cannot be expected to read all the books, and any effort made to give
him an acquaintance with your books that goes beyond their covers is
clear gain to him, to the publisher, and distinctly to the book-buying

Now, a book can be made or marred by the publicity it gets. If it is
wrongly launched, it will have an uphill climb, whatever its virtues.
This is especially true, as a result of the fact that a good deal is
written and printed about a book before it is off press and present to
speak for itself.

One general rule should be most strictly adhered to in publicity, and
that is, be honest and be sincere. Nowhere is the rule "honesty is the
best policy" more unanimously justified. You may be as enthusiastic as
you please, but the book should be put forward for what it really is.
Only under such handling does it stand a chance for the full success
its qualities warrant. This all reverts to the question of the
editorial conception of a volume. Some books are not made for great
sellers; they are written for the keen enjoyment of a select educated
few; and if so presented that they fall into the hands of the popular
novel devourer, they will surely be condemned, and the condemnation
will reach and have its effect upon many who should legitimately have
bought the book. On the other hand, a novel of no literary quality
thrust into the hands of a person of bookish tastes will make an
influential enemy, who will doubtless have among his followers many
persons to whom the book would appeal. It is best to find out what
people will take the book, and advertise it to them. The process of
emasculating your presentation of it by cutting out everything that
would keep _anybody_ from reading it is a dangerous one. The dislikes
of the world of readers are too many for one to be able to dodge them
all, and, after all, most of us like a positive rather than a negative
volume. Just because many people do not read essays,--to take an
extreme case,--is no reason for avoiding the statement that yours is a
volume of essays. Fortunately, there are thousands upon thousands of
people who do read essays; and if the book is a good book of essays,
they will bring their influence--that word-of-mouth influence which is
almost as powerful as a "puff" by President Roosevelt--to bear upon
non-essay reading people, and you will be the gainer by that much for
your wisdom and honesty.

These observations are germane, and worthy consideration because
commercialism and the endeavor to produce big sellers are always an
influence to overstate, misstate, and be extravagant in the praise of
a volume. But such extravagance always discounts itself in the mind of
the reader, and experience has pretty definitely proved that what a
prospective buyer wants is a straightforward concise indication of the
story and its quality. A word of praise quoted from a review may help
him make up his mind, yet he probably knows it is a pretty poor book
of which _some_ newspaper doesn't say "Holds the reader's interest
from cover to cover" or "We hail the author of this volume as one of
the most promising of our American writers."

In considering the practical details of publicity, it will be clearest
to take them in chronological order. First: The book should be
thoroughly and critically read. The person in charge of the publicity
ought to have every volume put into his hands as soon as it is
accepted. When he has read it thoroughly and has formed his idea of
it, he discusses it thoroughly with the person responsible for its
acceptance. From this discussion, in which the sales department is
represented, evolves naturally the "editorial attitude" upon which
every line of future publicity and every sentence of salesman's talk
will be based. Without a complete understanding throughout the
establishment of the "editorial attitude" the entire publicity will be
aimless and unconvincing.

The first work in publicity on a season's book is probably the
catalogue, which must be had ready for the salesmen when they go off
on their trips. The aim of the catalogue is to present as full an
account of the book as possible. It is meant for the eye of an
interested person, who can be counted upon to read rather a lengthy
notice. Every possible detail of price, number of illustrations,
paper, size, kind of binding, table of contents, previous works by the
same author, are given, and thus it becomes a complete reference book.
It is the general custom of publishing houses to issue a complete
catalogue in the Fall, with a supplemental catalogue in the Spring
containing the books of the Spring season. Most firms also bring out a
Fall list, to present their Fall books, which would be buried beyond
notice in a bulky complete catalogue. In this Fall list not
infrequently the Spring books are included, making what is really an
annual catalogue. These three catalogues are essential, and they are
as a rule supplemented by many special book lists and pamphlets. A
holiday catalogue is a steady institution in nearly every publishing
house. Its aim is to present to Christmas buyers the most attractive
volumes of the house's issue, and it is usually elaborate, with many
illustrations, a fine cover, and it is often printed in colors. Then
there are frequently issued catalogues of books on special subjects,
art, children's books, special editions, etc.

The uses of catalogues are many. A large number are sent to the
publisher's best friend, the bookseller,--sometimes imprinted with his
name,--who distributes them. They also go out by mail to special lists
of people who are known to be interested in books, and a large number
are sent to persons who write asking information.

In elaborateness the circular follows close on the catalogue, and it
has quite as wide if not a wider field. It is large or small,
depending upon the importance of the book. Sometimes it reaches the
dignity of a bound pamphlet, but it is usually a single leaf or at
most a four-page folder. Here again, all necessary information of
price and contents is given at length. But as the person into whose
hands the circular falls cannot be counted on to be interested
beforehand, the whole make-up and arrangement of the circular is
calculated for drawing attention and fixing interest. The circular,
therefore, must be made attractive.

And here should be introduced a word in general on the appearance of
the printed matter that is sent out by a publishing house. It must be
good printing. It must be attractive printing. It is the indication to
the people whose eyes it meets of the work of the house it advertises.
Few people want to buy badly made books; and, unconsciously, if a
circular or catalogue is commonplace and badly printed, those
qualities will be attached to the book advertised. And it is quite
true, on the other hand, that the distinction and comely appearance of
a circular will prejudice in favor of the book. Moreover, a circular's
service can be rendered only when it attracts attention, and what is
spent in aiding it to catch the eye, through making it artistically
beautiful and printing it in color, will bring its return and more in
the added efficiency produced. There are, doubtless, people who would
not be affected by bad printing, but people of taste, the people who
most influence the sale of books, are sure to be antagonized.

Probably, the most useful circular of all is the little leaf or
"slip" circular. It is printed on both sides, and is inserted between
the leaves of books of similar interest to the one it advertises,
usually about three to a book. It is made the size of the ordinary
business envelope, for it is also used in direct circularization of
lists and as an enclosure with bills, statements, and sometimes with
general correspondence. Often, when advertising two or more books, it
has four or even eight pages, though the latter makes it almost too
bulky for insertion in books. These larger circulars have an order
form attached giving the list of books, and a place for the name and
address of the prospective buyer,--a device to make it as easy as
possible for him to order his selection. When such circulars are
inserted in books either the order form is left off, or something
substituted in its place, for, as can readily be seen, the order form
is a bid for direct business by the publisher which would naturally be
obnoxious to the bookseller. Larger and more elaborate circulars than
these as a rule are used only for direct circularization. The subject
of circularization is much too important and complicated to be
exhausted in a few paragraphs, or even in an extended article. Enough
has been said here, however, at least to suggest the circular's field.

The next problem in publicity to be taken up is the poster. The poster
has had its ups and downs, and in some quarters is a somewhat
discredited form of advertising, but it has its value. The
booksellers always demand posters. The one great argument against them
is that posters good enough to attract attention, that is, with a good
design and in colors, are somewhat expensive for book advertising. If
properly exhibited, they sell books, but the difficulty lies in the
fact that if they are _too_ attractive, they are likely to find their
way into a poster collector's portfolio before they have been exposed
long on the board. Yet, especially with leading books of fiction, this
is one of the risks that must be taken, for with each such
publication, the public eye must be caught with the fact of the book's
issue, and for this purpose a striking poster has no equal. For
serious books inexpensive clear type posters are quite sufficient.

The book being now nearly off press, there will be needed some matter
for the paper jacket that slips over and protects the cloth cover
while the book is on the stall. Most important is the brief note on
the front that serves to indicate the quality of the volume and thus
guide the purchaser. On a book of fiction fifty or not more than
seventy-five words of the very best possible presentation of the book
is required. Here is the place where most of all the prospective
purchaser's interest must be aroused. Here the most felicitous
publicity inspiration is needed--and the problem is to indicate the
story, yet not tell it, and to pique curiosity to the buying point. On
books of a serious nature a jacket note is just as essential, if not
more so, but the problem is different. The prospective purchaser of
such a book as "Irish History and the Irish Question," "The Flower
Garden," for example, has an interest in the subject already aroused.
What he wishes to know is the scope of the volume and the manner in
which the subject is treated. The note for such a volume, therefore,
should contain a plain, straightforward statement of the importance of
the book, the point of view taken, a brief table of contents
indicating the most important divisions of the subject, and some
mention of the author's special qualification for writing the volume.
On the back of the paper "jacket" and on the little flaps that turn at
the sides of a book, it is customary to put advertisements of cognate
books. Often these paper jackets are treated in elaborate poster
style, and for good reason, since as a rule they are the first part of
a book a buyer sees, and his attention is not likely to be attracted
if only cheap paper be used.

The date of the book's publication has probably now been set, and the
next step in publicity--a most important one--is the sending out of
review copies. This is the last thing in which haphazard methods would
be permissible. The list of newspapers who get complimentary copies
should be carefully selected, not so much with an eye to size of
circulation, as to quality and standing. A paper that is known to give
attention to books is worth two that have merely large circulations
and no distinction; first, because the books sent will be
appreciatively reviewed, and, second, because people in the habit of
buying books will consult the review columns and be influenced by
them. There are possibly one hundred and fifty or one hundred and
seventy-five papers in the United States to whom it would be
profitable to send a book. A great many more, however, think they
should receive them. With even the most popular novel two hundred
review copies is a generously sufficient number to place for review.
In deciding where these should go, the contents of the book itself is
of course the guide. Some books can be calculated to appeal more to
one section of the country than to another because of their
subject-matter. Certain classes of people--ministers, school-teachers,
sportsmen, doctors--can sometimes be drawn upon by the judicious
distribution of a few complimentary copies, to assist the sale of a
book, and then there is the home of the author, where special
attention can always be expected.

Opinions differ as to the amount of influence exerted by reviews upon
the fortunes of a book. It is certainly true that to trace direct
returns from reviews is often difficult. Frequently books which are
splendidly reviewed move slowly, and there seems no explanation of
their failure to "catch on." They may be, and frequently are, books of
real value and quality. The history of publishing is full of such
mysteries. On the other hand, _returns_ are visible enough when a book
is slated by the press; there its power is amply evident.

The American press is notably fair, notably discriminating, and
notably independent. It gives its own views fearlessly, and resents
any efforts made by publishers to get their own adjective-besprinkled
puffs printed. In rush seasons it will make use of publisher's
description, after carefully blue-pencilling obtrusive adjectives, but
it goes no farther. In fact, the newspaper-review part of publishing
publicity is best left alone. The book must do the work itself.

The book has now reached the place where that which is commonly called
advertising should begin; that is, publicity in newspapers and
magazines. The use of newspapers, to any great extent at least, is a
comparatively recent development in the publishing business, dating
back not much more than ten years. Its efficiency, that is to say, its
proportion of return to outlay, is far from being established. While
at the beginning of the movement great rewards were reaped, the light
of more mature experience seems to show that those books which, under
heavy newspaper advertising, reached editions of 100,000 to 150,000
were really special cases,--books of a peculiarly popular, almost
low-grade, quality, that had an exceptional public. It is sure that
what brought success with them would not succeed with the average
publication. For this reason, publishers to-day are by no means as
lavish as they used to be with their appropriation for newspaper
advertising. Yet even in this era of retrenchment a very large
proportion of the money devoted to publicity still goes to the

While it would be foolish to attempt formulating a set of fixed rules
for newspaper advertising, there are certain underlying principles
that should be borne in mind.

Books are in the class of luxuries; most books at least. There is no
natural demand for them to assist the advertiser, such as there is for
food-stuffs. With a book, it is the advertiser's business to persuade
the buyer that he will be interested or instructed or amused by the
volume to the value of his outlay, be it a quarter or fifty
dollars,--where in the matter of necessities and food commodities the
advertiser's task is the much more simple one of proving that his
product is intrinsically better or better value than any similar thing
on the market. The sale of a book depends entirely upon the almost
artificial desire that is created for it, whereas with other things
there is a real need, and it is necessary only to prove that the
article fills this need. For these reasons book advertising--with
piano, picture, music, candy, and perhaps automobile advertising--is
difficult to carry out profitably. It is the class most expensive
proportionately to the value of the product, for it can count in
only the smallest degree upon what is known as the "cumulative" effect
of a campaign. Every advertisement of such an article as a breakfast
food, for example, whether it be on a bill-board, in a newspaper, or
in a circular, adds to the effect of every other one. The repetition
of the name, whether it be consciously or unconsciously observed by
the public, assists in forcing attention and thus interest, and
finally results in a sale. Half a million dollars can be spent in
making "Whipped Oats" a household word. Every dollar backs up every
other dollar, and the demand for Whipped Oats will last for years.
"The Return from Davy Jones," which can have at the very most say
$5000 spent on it, benefits the very least from the cumulative effect,
and the demand for the book is practically over in a year, especially
if it be a popular novel. Each newspaper advertisement of a book must
in fact bring returns to pay for itself, and this, of course, demands
the very cleverest kind of "copy."

Many elements enter into the popularity and sale-ability of a book,
but no one seems to know just what they are. Even the best and most
experienced readers fail to pick successes--let big books go by them,
and conversely praise volumes that turn out flat failures. Yet certain
things in the line of publicity can be counted upon to assist in
making a volume's success. The name of a well-known author is the best
asset a book can have. That gets it good advance sales and a quick
and appreciative attention from the book reviewers. In this respect,
nothing could better exemplify the New England homely proverb, "Sich
as has, gits." The work of publicity on a book by a well-known author
is easy, if care is taken always to bring that author's name forward
in connection with his previous achievements. This is especially true
in regard to newspaper advertising.

Doctors violently disagree over book advertising principles, and
possibly it is best to start by saying that there _are_ none and that
each book is a rule unto itself. Certainly a close and careful study
of a book's points and the class of people to whom it would likely
appeal, its "editorial qualities," is the only proper basis for a
campaign. For the average novel by a well-known author the main
problem is to let the world know it has been issued. Therefore, in
advertising in a newspaper, the announcement of the book's publication
should be made in such a manner that all the readers of that paper
will notice it. The campaign should start with what is technically
known as a "must be seen" notice. It is the publisher's business to
shout loud enough to be heard above the clatter of the small
advertisements, "Just out--New book by Donan Coyle, 'The Return from
Davy Jones.'" If some piquant description of the book follow, this
should be sure to send all those readers of the paper interested in
Donan Coyle to the bookshop in search of the new volume. Much smaller
"ads." following from time to time, that may catch the eye of the
forgetful ones and arouse their interest by some words of personal or
press commendation on the volume, would close a campaign of this kind,
which would have naturally gathered in its trail many readers and even
non-readers not distinctly interested in Donan Coyle. It would at
least have started the mouth-to-mouth advertising of the book, to
which paid-for advertising can after all be regarded only as assistant
and support. In fact, when all is said and done the greatest service
advertising does is in reminding people of books they have heard
praised, and the best advertising is that placed on the road to the
bookstalls, a strong argument for the poster, since it is exhibited in
front of the bookshop, where it can catch the passer-by. In tune with
this conception of the advertisement as an announcement is this
general rule--advertise prominently the name of the book, and the
author's name if it is important. These are commodities you have to
sell, the things you wish people to ask for--just as the bacon-maker
wants you to ask for "Blank's Bacons."

For books that have no well-known author's name to assist them, or
those for which a large sale cannot be forecasted at the start,--books
that appeal to the select few,--other and more inexpensive methods
must be pursued. In most such cases it is probable that any
advertising in newspapers would be unwise, and this leads to the
subject of magazine advertising, which is much higher grade and more
suited to such books of quality. There are many distinctly literary
publications, the subscribers to which are always searching for books
of a fine type--an interested clientele who will read advertising
pages rather thoroughly, and gladly pay good prices for good books.
Small advertisements--perhaps a page of small advertisements of good
books--in a magazine of this class will bring returns, especially if
the books have been well reviewed. There are also trade journals,
which go to the booksellers, and in these the publisher must announce
his new issues well,--describe them thoroughly, and give some idea of
what he intends doing in the way of energetic general advertising. The
aim of this is to influence booksellers to increase their orders.

These few paragraphs only scratch the surface of a broad subject of
extreme interest. Each publishing firm has developed through its
experience its own principles of the psychology of public opinion, its
own idea of the qualities a book should possess, and its own way of
getting at the people. Results are frequently so surprising that one
is inclined to class publishing among the games of chance. It is
certain that everybody cannot make a success at it, and there is no
doubt that it requires a definite endowment of genius.

There falls to the publicity department the writing of a great many
letters,--numbers are in answer to questions concerning books and
authors, but by far the larger number are in the nature of circulars.
The personal typewritten letter or the printed typewritten letter that
masquerades as such, has a power equal to a hundred circulars. It
claims attention at once, if it does not declare itself an
advertisement on the outside, where a printed circular gets swept into
the waste-paper basket unread. It's expensive--about three cents a
letter if done properly, but when there are special ends to be
accomplished, such as calling the attention of the clergy to a novel
that would suggest sermons, or the members of an Audubon society to a
book on birds, it is the surest and most profitable method.

It is especially in a mail order or subscription book concern that the
circular letter is of most use. The expensive sets of such concerns,
and the large profit figured on them, justify such a costly method of
publicity. It is generally made more expensive by the enclosure in the
envelope of return postal cards and other printed material.

This subscription business is a business by itself and conducted quite
differently from average publishing. The advertising is lavish, and
the underlying principle of it is, that the prospective purchaser
wishes a complete description of the wares. Attractive premium, and
short-time low-price offers are always made, and the endeavor is to
get the prospective customer to permit the set of volumes to be sent
on inspection, reliance being held in the ability to make him keep
them through the real quality of the books, assisted by a series of
"follow up" letters enlarging upon the virtues of the set. Lists of
names are circularized, and "follow up" letters used here also to
bring orders.

An important form of publicity is that which has grown up as a result
of the interest shown by readers, especially in America, in the
personality of authors and the desire to know what is happening in the
world of books. This very natural and legitimate curiosity affords the
publisher a chance to push his products forward in an unobtrusive way.
Because it is to all appearances unbiased, it wields quite a deal of
influence, especially in building up the reputation of an author.
Every paper that pretends to any literary standing prints regularly or
occasionally a column of Literary Chat, in which is given brief news
of authors and books. There will perhaps be a humorous anecdote of the
author of a prominent novel, a brief summary of a book shortly to be
issued, some comment by a well-known person on a well-known book, a
biographical sketch of a new author, a telling extract from a book of
serious value, a note that "The Return from Davy Jones" is in its
_n_th edition--all of it really news and of interest. Some newspapers
write their own chat, but the majority print, with small alteration,
such as is furnished by the publicity departments of publishing
houses, which send out weekly or monthly printed or typewritten sheets
of such brief items. In this way Donan Coyle as the author of "The
Return from Davy Jones" is kept before the public. The public also has
a legitimate desire to know something of the appearance of the author
of a popular novel or important books of essays, and the newspaper
reviewer frequently wishes to print a portrait with his review. Here
the publicity department steps in and helps him, by furnishing
suitable electrotype portraits upon request, and not infrequently, by
sending out proofs with interesting notes, suggests the use of the
portrait. The relation between a literary editor who wants to print
the book news and a manager of publicity is a mutually beneficial one.
If they coöperate thus, they can be of great assistance to each other,
and in the exchange each one gets value received. By a thousand little
methods and devices the person in charge of publicity can furnish
desired information and get this undersurface publicity, and by
putting out _bona-fide_ news and really good stories about them, bring
even his lesser light authors into prominence. In this field, as in
all others, the well-known authors advertise themselves and set up a
demand for publicity.

The financial end of Publicity is full of complexities. The question
of how much an expenditure per volume is warranted is one that cannot
be answered generally. There are many limiting and defining
considerations. First of all, the book itself. If it is the kind to be
a "big seller," a risk can possibly be taken on a larger advertising
investment than would be warranted in the case of a good book of finer
quality and limited appeal. Certain books of coarser, more obvious
qualities have a large public if it can be reached. In such cases an
exceptional effort will bring exceptional returns. By the risk of a
large advertising outlay the firm may get big profits; while a flat
failure, because the large, non-book-buying public had not been
reached through newspaper and lavish poster advertising methods, might
result if only a few hundreds were spent. Judgment of the finest kind
is required here, and it cannot always decide rightly.

How much to spend depends essentially upon the book, and there is no
hard and fast rule. Books have been known to reach their public and
reach good sales at an advertising outlay of about one cent per copy.
Others have had fifty cents per copy sold spent upon them, and fallen

The publishing business is not one in which there are great profits,
and the margin between the cost of manufacturing and the wholesale
price is small. This small amount must furnish the author's royalty,
the advertising appropriation, the publisher's cost of doing business,
and his profit. It can be seen then that the amount of royalty paid
on a book in a certain degree rules the amount of advertising that
can be done,--the publisher and author are, in a measure, partners,
and if the author demands a large royalty, he thereby cuts down the
amount the publisher can afford to expend in advertising his book. The
larger the appropriation for advertising, the larger the chance for
increased sales.

It is difficult to make any generalization on the amount that should
be devoted to publicity. Taking the $1.50 novel as a standard, it
might be said that figuring in all kinds of publicity--newspaper,
magazine, circular, literary notices, etc.--from ten to twelve per
cent of the wholesale price on the first edition of 10,000 would be a
liberal allowance. On more expensive volumes, handled as subscription
books, a much larger proportion would be the rule. On new books other
than fiction, where the sale could not be expected to reach more than
a few thousand, there would be no business justification in spending
so much. Such books have more or less to make their own way.

Publicity is an essential part of the publishing business, and the
breadth of its field, as well as the proper way to apply its
influence, is beginning to be more correctly understood. Fortunately,
for all concerned, the author as well as the publisher and the
book-buying public, it is a power that can work only for good, and in
a good cause. It hastens the fame and the sales of a really good book,
but its power with a bad book is very small indeed. One fact has
developed from the thousands of book advertising campaigns, and it is
this--that you cannot force a really worthless book down the throat of
the American reading public however much money you put into
advertising. You may create a big sale for a very light and frothy
story, with little to recommend it from the literary critic's point of
view, but you can be sure, if it succeeds, your novel has certain
positive, if rather superficial virtues, either in the story, in the
local color, or in the method of telling. And when one contemplates
the huge success of Mrs. Humphry Ward's and Edith Wharton's
distinguished novels, one is obliged to accept the comforting
conviction that the reading public of this country knows a good book
when it sees it.


By Walter Littlefield.

About 60,000 volumes are annually published in Germany, France, Italy,
Great Britain, and the United States. Germany heads the list, with
something less than 25,000, and the United States ends it, with
between five and six thousand titles, although it should be added that
Continental figures refer to all material bearing an imprint published
for circulation whether pamphlet or book. Aside from purely scientific
and specialistic publications those intended for public perusal of all
grades of literacy and intelligence may be classified as history,
biography, travel, _belles-lettres_ (including art, criticism, and
poetry), and fiction. It is the work of the literary critic to write
about these books in such a manner that neither the author nor the
public may suffer injustice by their purchase or non-purchase. The
critic must explain their purpose, point out their merits and
imperfections, and compare their features with the features of other
books on the same subject. In short, he should tell the public whether
to read the book or not. He should do so in an entertaining manner.

Now the way this end is achieved in America often excites the derision
of the literary foreigner; for although most American reviews are
readable enough, they often lack the critical emphasis and literary
scope and color so conspicuous in the literary criticism of the
British and Continental reviews. But the foreigner overlooks the fact
that American reviewers usually have something to say about every
publication which claims to appeal to a reading public, and that many
of these would be absolutely ignored by foreign critics, who are
possibly right--when we consider their readers--in selecting only what
they deem worthy of their knowledge and critical acumen. The foreign
man-of-letters' idea of what should constitute the functions of the
critic I find most admirably laid down in Mr. Arthur Symons's
introduction to a new edition of Coleridge's "Biographia Literaria" in
Everyman's Library. Mr. Symons writes:--

     The aim of criticism is to distinguish what is essential in
     the work of a writer; and in order to do this, its first
     business must be to find out where he is different from all
     other writers. It is the delight of the critic to praise;
     but praise is scarcely a part of his duty. He may often seem
     to find himself obliged to condemn; yet condemnation is
     hardly a necessary part of his office. What we ask of him
     is, that he should find out for us more than we can find out
     for ourselves: trace what in us is a whim or leaning to its
     remote home or centre of gravity, and explain why we are
     affected in this way or that way by this or that writer. He
     studies origins in effects, and must know himself, and be
     able to allow for his own mental and emotional variations,
     if he is to do more than give us the records of his likes
     and dislikes. He must have the passion of the lover, and be
     enamored of every form of beauty; and, like the lover, not
     of all equally, but with a general allowance of those least
     to his liking. He will do well to be not without a touch of
     intolerance: that intolerance which, in the lover of the
     best, is an act of justice against the second-rate. The
     second-rate may perhaps have some reason for existence: that
     is doubtful; but the danger of the second-rate, if it is
     accepted "on its own merits," as people say, is that it may
     come to be taken for the thing it resembles, as a wavering
     image in water resembles the rock which it reflects.

Obviously, here in America we have a sympathetic tolerance for the
"second-rate." But such tolerance is not without its excuse. The fault
of the uncritical element in many of the book notices which appear in
American newspapers and magazines lies to a large extent at the door
of the author who gives us material which humiliates and silences
criticism, although a certain expository attention must be given for
the very fact that the book invariably has a public awaiting it. For
such gratuitous attention the author should be grateful. At least his
public is not misled.

Literary criticism is a distinct department of literature, with its
functions and limits as clearly defined as are those of any of the
creative departments,--history, biography, fiction. It presupposes on
the part of the writer the possession of a knowledge of permanent
literature, of the rules of literary construction, of trained taste in
selecting models, and of a quick imagination capable of perceiving
pertinent comparisons and setting forth vivid impressions. Writers
like Lessing, Victor Cousin, Matthew Arnold, and Jules Lemaître have
exercised in criticism a system which is quite as capable of
exposition and analysis as that of the historian, the poet, or the
novelist. In America this system has also done its best, without
entirely prostituting its art, to meet the exigencies and claims of
pseudo-literary production and its sympathetic, impressionable public.

Until within quite recent years there were only two acknowledged
schools of criticism: the scientific and the classical. The former
gauged the work to be criticised by rule and measure; the latter
compared it with models which had long been established as criterions
of good taste. Then came the impressionistic school, in which the
critic, while not unmindful of accepted and approved rules of
construction and expression or of classical paradigms, allowed the
author more license, more individuality, and permitted himself the
same freedom in noting a thing good, bad, or indifferent, because it
so appealed to his personal taste at the time of perusal and quite
independent of what had gone before. This impressionistic criticism is
essentially a personal view, and without it very few current books
could be considered critically at all.

Now of the 5000 odd books annually brought out in the United States
there are possibly not more than 100, including half a dozen novels,
which are worthy subjects for the professional critic. If this be
deemed an exaggeration, one has only to look over the Publishers' List
of twenty-five years ago and see how many books then published are
read to-day. Why, then, do the 4900 receive any attention?

Books, like every other commercial commodity, whether presented under
the guise of art or science, have their production regulated by the
law of supply and demand. The ability to read print in the United
States is pretty general, and this ability is diffused among all sorts
and conditions of people of vastly varied ideas as to what may give
instruction, satisfaction, or pleasure in the form of books. We know
that a large majority of the people who read do not read what is
considered the best. The enormous circulation of the "Yellow Press,"
the low literary value of books of rapidly succeeding phenomenal
editions, prove this. Criticism, except in acknowledged "literary"
reviews, has been obliged to take into account the mental limitations
and tastes of the readers of the 4900 books, and so it fixes its
standard of popular exposition and elucidation at a little above the
average taste, and does its best to explain according to the author's
own lights what to criticise would be remorselessly to condemn.

But do all the one hundred worthy and elect books receive correct
treatment according to the tenets of criticism? it may be asked.
Probably not at every hand and in all cases. And here may be
introduced another cause of the lack of proficient literary criticism
noticed by the literary foreigner in American magazines, and
especially in those pages of the daily and weekly press devoted to
books. The discussion of books which once occupied several pages in
American monthly magazines is now principally confined to the books
issued by the publishing house which also publishes the magazine. What
has come to be known as the "news value" of books cannot suffer a
review of a novel by a prominent author or of a book on a current
political or sociological topic to appear a month or two or three
after the publication of the book itself. The eagerness of the public
can hardly wait for an elaborate review in the press. Thus the
newspapers rival one another in setting before their readers the first
"news" of the book. It is usually impossible to expect "criticism" in
such active circumstances. The public neither expects nor desires it.
This leads to expositions in which are incorporated generous citations
from the book, and from this the public is invited to form its own
opinion. When such an exposition is properly done, a reader can tell
whether he wishes to peruse the book as a whole. In late years this
system of exposition has been growing in popularity,--a popularity no
doubt augmented by the reader's increasing desire to be his own
critic,--so now only the more important historical, biographical, and
travellers' books receive expert criticism. Why wait months to get
expert opinion on a popular book on Russia, Ibsen, or a journey in
search of one of the poles, while the public is impatient to find out
simply whether the book is entertaining? And again, how expert is
expert opinion? I know of one famous biography of a famous man which,
having been accepted as "the" authority for five years, finally had
its pretensions demolished, its citations proved a mass of forgeries,
by one tireless and persevering critic who would not accept the
"expert" opinion which lauded it to the skies shortly after its

Now that criticism, or rather the lack of it, has been explained, it
may be of some interest to learn how the vast number of books which is
annually put forth is handled by the editors of literary reviews and
the "book pages" of the daily press. Having for nearly ten years been
connected with the literary supplement of a New York daily which
prides itself on ignoring nothing which is published with the idea of
being read, my experiences for observation have been somewhat unusual.
The increase in the number of books, and the eagerness of the public
to learn about them at the earliest possible moment, have caused the
daily press to usurp some of the functions formerly enjoyed by the
monthly reviews. The latter do little more than mention the vast
majority of publications and confine more and more their critical
talents to what they consider conspicuous and distinctive literary
productions. Purely literary periodicals have come and gone and left
few mourners. The pages of The Bookman, for example, are no longer
confined to literary criticism, to essays on bookish topics, to gossip
of author and publisher.

There are four distinct publishing periods in the book world. The
early spring season, principally confined to those books which could
not be made ready to meet the recent holiday season, and to routine
books,--books which on account of copyright exigencies have to be
published then, books which for prestige the publisher would have bear
his imprint, etc. Then comes the late spring season, which is
principally confined to novels of the lighter sort and to books for
supplementary school reading for the coming autumn. Toward the end of
August the first Holiday books usually make their appearance. They
increase in number until the end of September, when there is a lull.
From the middle of October until the end of November there is a
perfect outpour of books. The months of November and December until
Christmas Day are the busiest times in the year for the reviewer.

As the books come in they are carefully looked over by the one who is
known as the "critic" of the review or paper. He has men and women on
his lists whose pens he has tried before--they may be lawyers, college
professors, sportsmen, society men, professional novel readers, etc.
He considers the author of the book at hand, its seeming importance,
etc., and despatches it to a critic. An expert writer of expositions
is usually ready to relieve him of volumes upon which for some reason
he does not feel justified in requesting expert opinion. Occasionally
he makes a mistake by giving out for exposition a really important
book. The expert who has been impatiently waiting for the volume
points out the error. The work of a well-known novelist is usually
sent to a critic who is familiar with former tales by the same author.
Juveniles are handed over to one of proved sympathy with stories for
boys and girls--one who is conservative yet quick to catch a new
element. Books that are essentially for gifts are disposed of in a
similar manner--to one who has proved his or her ability to set forth
artistic features in books. New editions of classics are turned over
to writers who are acquainted with the mechanical make-up of a book,
so that the reader may learn whether the new edition of the favorite
author is well bound, printed, and appropriately decorated and
illustrated. And among the hundreds of "brief notices," expositions,
impressions, descriptions, and long and short essays that are handed
in, there are invariably some pieces of valuable comment which are
well in keeping with the traditions of professional criticism. The
critic usually returns the book with his article. These books are
ultimately collected and disposed of in various ways. They may be sold
at auction to members of the staff, which is an effective way of
getting rid of them just before Christmas.

Is there any likelihood of an improvement in literary criticism--any
chance of a return by the daily press to what the Reviews of the past
gave and those of England and the Continent still give? The standard
of criticism is determined by two forces: the quality of books and the
taste of would-be purchasers. If every book were really "criticised,"
the criticisms of many would be utterly incomprehensible to many of
their possible readers. The public gets the books it desires; the
books receive the attention they deserve. When the standard of reading
shall be raised, so that the public shall demand better books, it will
be found that more books will receive "serious" attention. As it is at
present, the public does not desire much elaborate, fine criticism.
It, together with its favorite authors, would be sorely dissatisfied
if it got more. It may be added that, in my humble opinion, the
function of a critic as an arbiter of literary taste is measurably
overestimated. Of course, a man who has won distinction as a judge of
books and who signs his articles may have some influence. But it
seems to me that the function of the anonymous reviewer should begin
and end by explaining the book and let the public be its own critic.
It will certainly be in the end. For no critic ever killed a good
book; none ever praised an unworthy volume into success and fame.


By Harry A. Thompson.

The increase in the visible supply of authors more than meets the
demand. A manuscript once accepted, the publisher finds no lack of
paper makers ready to supply him with any grade of fair white paper
that he may wish to spoil. Printers even manifest a dignified alacrity
to set the type and print the book, and binders are yet to be accused
of any disinclination to cover it.

It is only when author, paper maker, printer, and binder have done
with their share in the exploitation of literature that the publisher
finds that the current which had been urging him gently onward has set
against him. Of making many books there is no end, but the profitable
marketing of the same is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Enter the salesman.

He is to convince the bookseller, who is to convince the public, that
this particular book--shall we, for our purpose, christen it "Last
Year's Nests"?--is the great American novel (whatever that means), and
that its influence on the reading of unborn generations will be
measured by the rank it holds in the list of the six best sellers.

The salesman is handicapped not a little by the fact that it is
neither shoes, nor pig-iron, nor even mess-pork that he is selling,
and, therefore, superior quality of workmanship, inferior price, and
personal magnetism count for little. Persuasiveness, which, perhaps,
is a part of personal magnetism, counts; so does an intelligent
knowledge of the contents of the book; likewise hard work and tactful
persistence; also, honesty. But opposed against the combination is the
bookseller, on guard against overstocking, to some extent a purchaser
of a pig in a poke, conscious that one unsold book eats up the profit
on five copies safely disposed of.

Time was when good salesmanship consisted in overstocking a
bookseller; this was occasioned less by persuasiveness than by
overpersuasiveness. Regardless of the merits of the book and with no
more than a nodding acquaintance with its contents, a persuasive
salesman could "load" a customer--as he called it out of the
customer's hearing--with two hundred and fifty copies of a novel that
had no other merit than that it had been written by a novelist whose
previous book had met with success. The significance of these figures,
two hundred and fifty, is to be found in the maximum discount to
retailers of forty and ten per cent on that quantity. Latterly, the
publisher has found that a bankrupt bookseller has few creditors
besides publishers, and has come to a realizing sense of the futility
of clogging the distributing machinery. He is disposed, therefore, to
exercise some restraint upon his salesman's ardor. Perhaps it were
better to say that the salesman, grown wiser, is more disposed to aid
the bookseller in his purchases to the end that no monuments of unsold
failures will stare him in the face on his next visit to the
customer's store. Yet even to this day, such restraint is tempered by
a certain amount of moderation.

All of which, while interesting to the historian of the publishing
trade, carries us too far in advance of our text. Let us therefore
return to "Last Year's Nests"--12mo, cloth, illustrated, gilt top,
uncut edges, price $1.50.

The first edition--it may be one thousand copies or ten thousand--has
been delivered to the publisher by the beaming binder, who alone, in
some instances, knows his profit on them. "Last Year's Nests" is by a
well-known author, and contains some elements of popularity. The
literary adviser has written a beautiful and scholarly appreciation of
it, one of the lady stenographers has declared it grand, and the
salesman, if he is given to reading anything beyond the title-page,
says it's a corker. He starts out with it; along with a trunkful of
other books, to be sure, but our sympathies are wholly with the
"Nests," and it is only its career that we shall follow.

He may be one of a force of salesmen, each of whom has his own
territory. One may visit only the larger cities, Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Chicago; another may take in the smaller
towns along this route; another, the Middle West, Southern or
Southwestern territory. Still another, the cities west of Chicago,
including those on the Pacific coast. Houses publishing competitive
lines and non-copyright books have other methods and machinery for
distribution. I speak only for the copyright salesman, and not to be
too prolix, take only the copyright novel as an illustration of the
day's work.

The salesman arrives at a town, say Chicago. He goes to the hotel,
orders his trunks and sample tables sent to his room. The tables are
set up--well-worn pine boards on trestles and covered with sheeting.
He unpacks his trunk and arranges his books on the tables as
effectively as his artistic sense permits. Then he visits his
customers and makes appointments that cover a full week. Previous to
his arrival his office had informed the booksellers of his coming,
inclosing a catalogue. This the bookseller handed to a clerk to be
marked up. The clerk had gone over their stock of this particular
publisher's books and had marked opposite each title in the catalogue
the number of copies on hand. Armed with this catalogue the bookseller
keeps his appointment at the room of the traveller. [It ought to be
mentioned in passing that this is a purely hypothetical case, invented
for the purposes of illustration. The clerk who marks up the
catalogue in advance of the salesman's arrival is as fictitious as the
bookseller who keeps his appointment promptly. Perhaps this delightful
uncertainty is another of the many influences that make the book
business, from the writing of the manuscript to the reading of the
printed book, so fascinating.]

In the salesman's room the customer examines the new books, asks
questions, hears arguments (many of them fearfully and wonderfully
made), and eventually, after much debate, gives his order. Having
ordered all the new books that he wishes, he goes over the catalogue
and gives what is called his stock order; that is to say, he orders
the books on which his stock is low but for which there is still a

Perhaps the salesman has reserved for his final battle the sale of
"Last Year's Nests." As prices cut some figure in this argument, we
are driven, for a moment, to the dry bones of prices and discounts.

Listed in the publisher's catalogue at $1.50, the ordinary discount to
a dealer ordering two or three copies is thirty-three and one-third
per cent, or $1.00 net, the bookseller paying transportation charges.
Competition, however, has increased this discount to forty per cent,
so that we shall assume that in small quantities the book can be had
at $.90 net. In larger quantities extra discounts are given; some
publishers give forty and five per cent on fifty copies and forty and
ten per cent on one hundred copies; others increase the quantities to
one hundred and two hundred and fifty copies respectively for the
extra discounts. But, as has been pointed out, the growing tendency is
not to overload the bookseller, especially in view of the fact that it
is the publisher who loses when the bookseller assigns.

Assuming that the "Last Year's Nests" is likely to have a large sale
and that the salesman wishes to sell Mr. Bookseller two hundred and
fifty copies, he quotes the extra discount of forty and ten per cent
on that quantity. If he can persuade the bookseller to take two
hundred and fifty copies, he has not only swollen his sales by that
amount, but he has forced a probable retail sale of that quantity. For
once on the bookseller's tables, the very size of the order inspires
every clerk to help reduce the pile, not to mention the fact that the
books are bought and must be paid for. Had the bookseller bought five
copies, extra efforts toward sales would not be forthcoming; the
energy would be applied to another novel. Hence the salesman's efforts
to effect a large sale.

There is another reason for this extra quantity. Two hundred and fifty
copies of "Last Year's Nests," piled in a pyramid, is a gentle
reminder to the bookseller's customers that it is a mighty important
book. Such an argument is often more potent than the disagreeing
opinions of critics. Here is a case in point.

A novelist wrote an altogether charming and spirited novel. The
reviewers spoke well of it, but the sale of the book hung fire. It was
the dull season,--May or June,--and there was no other novel of any
worth in the public mind. The salesman said to his employer: "Here's a
book that has a good chance for success. If you'll back me with some
good advertising, I'll guarantee to make that novel sell."

The publisher replied: "Go ahead, my son; I'll take a gamble on it."
(They really talk that way when they travel mufti.) So the salesman
induced the New York wholesalers to erect a pyramid of a thousand
copies in their respective stores, guaranteeing to take back the books
if they were not sold. This was done for the purpose of impressing the
buyers for country stores who were flocking into New York for their
fall purchases.

Next the retail booksellers were asked to take, on the same terms,
from one hundred to two hundred and fifty copies and pile them
conspicuously in their stores. As trade was dull and there was no one
big seller clamoring for public recognition at the time, the dealers
were willing to assist in the work of encouraging good literature.

Then an advertising campaign was planned. Critics there were a-plenty
who wagged a sad head because the advertising was undignified. What
they meant was that it was unconventional, was without the dignity of
tradition to give it its hallmark. It had, at least, the novelty of
originality, and answered the final test of good advertising in that
it attracted attention. Then the sale began, and as soon as New York
City was reporting it among the list of the six best sellers, the
salesman took to the road to carry on the campaign. The result was
eventually a sale reaching six figures.

But to get back to "Last Year's Nests." It is to be published June 1.
A few sample pages only have been printed, but blank paper fills out
to the bulk of the book as it will be. Illustrations--if they are
ready--are inserted, the title-page printed, and the whole is bound up
in a sample cover. This is technically known as a dummy, and serves to
show the prospective buyer merely the outward and visible sign of an
inward and spiritual appeal to public favor. For the purpose of
informing the bookseller it is worth but little more than the printed
title or a catalogue announcement. For all $1.50 novels look alike,
are printed on pretty much the same kind of paper, and bear covers
differing more in degree than kind. Yet the bookseller likes to handle
something tangible when he is making up his order, and the salesman,
with even a dummy in his hand, finds that there is less wear and tear
upon his imagination.

Were he selling shoes, the salesman would, as a matter of course,
point out the superior quality of the goods, lay stress on their
style and durability, and as a clincher, present the incontrovertible
argument of low price. On no such brief can the book salesman rest his
case. "Last Year's Nests" varies in no respect mechanically from any
of its 12mo competitors; and if it did, it would make no difference.
"Look at the design of the cover, see how durable it is," argues the
salesman. "What a charming title-page, and note the classic proportion
of the printed page to the margin," he continues. The startled
customer, listening to such an argument, would be inclined to humor
the salesman until he could safely get him into the hands of an

Two arguments and two only comprise the salesman's stock in trade; if
he can say that "Last Year's Nests" is by the well-known author whose
name is a household word and whose previous book sold so many thousand
copies, he has the bookseller on the mourner's bench; if he can (and
he frequently does) add the clinching argument that his firm will
advertise the book heavily, he can leave the bookseller with that
thrill of triumph we all feel when we bend another's will to our own.

A young and inexperienced salesman, whom we shall call Mr. Green, was
making his Western trip. As he was waiting in a bookseller's store for
his customer's attention, there entered a traveller of ripe years and
experience, representing one of the larger publishing firms. Naturally
the bookseller gave the older salesman his instant attention. With no
desire to eavesdrop, Mr. Green could not avoid overhearing the

"Hello, Blank! Anything new?"

"Yes, I have a big novel here by a big man. It will have a big sale,"
and Blank mentioned the title and author.

At this point, Green pricked up his ears. He had read the novel in
manuscript form and his immediate thought was, "Here's where I learn
something about the gentle art of making sales."

Mr. Blank proceeded so tell what he knew about the book. His synopsis
was so inaccurate that Green knew that he had not read the book, but
was glibly misquoting the publisher's announcement. Green's courage
was fired as he reflected how much better he could have portrayed the
chief incidents of the plot. But his triumph was momentary. Blank
ended his argument in a voice that left no doubt of his own faith in
the effectiveness of his logic. "And the firm is going to advertise it
like ----."

"Send me two hundred and fifty copies," said the customer.

The longer Mr. Green travelled the more convinced he became that the
old salesman knew his business. The argument of advertising carries
with it a certain persuasiveness that the customer cannot resist. Not
always does a liberal use of printer's ink land a book among the six
best sellers; but it does it so often that the rule is proved by the
exception. A publisher once made the statement, in the presence of a
number of men interested in the book-publishing business, that, by
advertising, he could sell twenty thousand copies of any book, no
matter how bad it was. The silence of the others indicated assent to
the doctrine. But one inquiring mind broke in with the question, "But
can you make a profit on it?"

"Ah! That is another question," answered the publisher.

And the ledgers of several publishers will show a loss, due to
excessive advertising, on books that loom large in public favor. The
author has reaped good royalties and the salesman has had no great
draft made upon his stock of persuasive argument.

It is under such circumstances that the traveller finds his work easy
and his burden light. Another condition under which he meets with less
resistance is in the instance of a second book by an author whose
first book has met with success. The bookseller is a wary, cautious
man; what illusions he once had have gone down the corridors of time
along with the many books that have not helped him. For reasons that
are not so inscrutable as they may seem to the enthusiastic salesman,
the bookseller is disinclined to order more than a few copies of a
first book by a new author. Perhaps the traveller has read the book
and is surcharged with enthusiasm; he talks eloquently and ably in
the book's behalf; he masses argument upon argument--and in the end
makes about as much impression as he would by shooting putty balls at
the Sphinx. Even though the salesman's enthusiasm may find its
justification in the reviewer's opinions and the beginning of a brisk
sale for the book all over the country, still the reluctant bookseller
broods moodily over the past and refuses to be stung again. But let
the book have a large sale and then let the salesman start out with a
second book by this author: the bookseller, with few exceptions, will
go the limit on quantity. Unfortunately, it frequently happens that
the public--which is a discriminating public or not, as you chance to
look at it--does not seem possessed of the same blind confidence, and
the result is a monument of unsold copies.

The trade, I think, is coming more and more to be guided by the advice
of such salesmen as have proved to be the possessors of judgment and
honesty. By judgment is meant not merely the opinion that one forms of
the literary value of a book, but that commercial estimate that a good
salesman is able to make. The literary adviser can state in terms of
literary criticism the reasons why the Ms. is worthy of publication;
but the traveller, if he happens to be more than a mere peddler, can,
after reading the Ms., take pencil and paper and figure out how many
copies he can place. Publishers are growing to appreciate this quality
in a salesman and are seeking his advice before accepting a Ms. Some
go further and ask his assistance in the make-up of a book; for a good
cover covers a multitude of sins.

In former years it was considered the salesman's first duty to "load"
the customer; that is, sell him all he could, regardless of the merits
of the books. In those days a denial of the good old doctrine that the
imprint could do no wrong was rank heresy. Such salesmen are no longer
categorised with Cæsar's wife, and the new salesmanship is having its
day. Its members are men of reading and intelligence, who have taken
the trouble to learn something about the wares they are selling, and
who have found that it pays to be honest. It doesn't seem to pay the
first year; but if the salesman's judgment of books is discriminating
and he hangs on, the booksellers soon realize that they can trust him.
As they know little of the new books he is offering, they are inclined
to be guided by his advice; should they find that this pays, they will
repose more confidence in him. A traveller who, in lieu of personal
imagination and the power of persuasion, was forced to depend upon
hard work and the common, or garden, kind of honesty for what success
he had on the road, was giving up his work to take an indoor position.
On his final trip he had a "first" book by a "first" author; it was an
unusual book and had in it possibilities of a really great sale. The
firm publishing the book was in the hands of an assignee. The outlook
was not propitious for a large sale: a new book by an unknown author
published by an assignee. But the salesman believed in the book,
believed in it with judgment and enthusiasm. "I found," he said, in
telling the story, "that the trade to a man believed in me. It
affected me deeply to feel that my years of straight dealing had not
been wasted. The booksellers backed me up, bought all the copies I
asked them to buy,--and I asked largely,--with the result that I sold
ten thousand copies in advance of publication. The firm has sold since
over two hundred thousand copies of that book and its creditors
received a hundred cents on the dollar."

It would seem an axiom that a man selling books should have at least a
bowing acquaintance with their contents, yet I have heard salesmen
argue hotly in favor of the old-time salesman who sold books as he
would sell shoes or hats. Such a one was selling a novel to a Boston
bookseller. He had not taken the trouble to read the book, but had
been told by his firm that it was a good story. Flushed with the
vehemence of his own argument for a large order, he floundered about
among such vague statements as: "You can't go to sleep until you have
finished it! It's great! A corking story! Can't lay the book down!
Unable to turn out the light until you have read the last line!"

"But what's it about?" quickly interrupted the customer, suspecting
that the traveller had not read the book.

"It's about--it's about a dollar and a quarter," was the quick retort.

Perhaps here we find the substitute for the reading that maketh a full
man. Repartee of this sort is disarming, and the quickness of wit that
prompts it is not one of the least useful attributes of salesmanship.
To carry the moral a step farther, it is only fair to say that the
nimble salesman has had the wit to get out of the publishing business
into another line of industry that, if reports are to be believed, has
made him independent.

The commercial traveller who sells books has no fault to find with the
people with whom he deals. By the very nature of his calling the
bookseller is a man of reading and culture; now and then among them
you find a man of rare culture. So genuinely friendly are the
relations existing between seller and purchaser that a travelling man
has the feeling that he is making a pleasure trip among friends. Such
relations are no mean asset to the salesman, although they are not
wholly essential. For it is to the bookseller's interest at least to
examine the samples of every publisher's representative. It is not a
question of laying in the winter's supply of coal, or of being content
with one good old standby line of kitchen ranges. It is books that he
is dealing in; an article that knows no competition and that has a
brief career. Should my lady ask for Mark Twain's last book, it would
be a poor bookseller who answered, "We don't sell it, but we have a
large pile of Marie Corelli's latest." Or should the customer desire a
copy of Henry James's recent volume, what would it profit the
bookseller to inform her that he did not have it in stock, but he had
something just as good?

It is because of the immense numbers of titles the bookseller must
carry that the salesman always finds him a willing listener. And in
the end, even though he does not buy heavily, he must order at least a
few each of the salable books. Such complacency on the part of the
bookseller might argue for direct dealing on the part of the publisher
by means of circulars and letters, thus saving the expense of a
traveller. But firms that have tried this have had a change of heart
and have quickly availed themselves of the traveller's services.

He is useful in ways other than selling. If he is keen to advance his
firm's interests,--and most of the book travellers are,--he will
interest the bookseller's clerks in the principal books of his line.
He will send them a copy of an important book, knowing that the clerk,
should he become interested in the book, will personally sell many

In the matter of credits, the travelling man is of considerable
service to his house. He is on the spot, can size up the bookseller's
trade, note if he is overstocked, particularly with unsalable books,
or "plugs," as they are called, obtain the gossip of the town, and in
many ways can form an estimate of the bookseller's financial condition
that is more trustworthy than any the credit man in the home office
can get. There were a dozen publishers' representatives who once sat
in solemn conclave discussing the financial responsibility of an
important customer. He was suspected of being beyond his depth, and
some of the travellers had been warned not to sell him. Several
personally inspected his business, obtained a report from him and his
bank, and threshed out the matter as solemnly and seriously as if they
were the interested publishers whom they represented. It was decided
to extend further credit to the bookseller; his orders were taken and
sent in with full explanations. How many orders were rejected by the
publishers I do not, of course, know. But the judgment of the
travellers, as events proved, was justified.

The publisher is learning to regard his travelling man as more than a
salesman. He is asking him, now and then, to assist him in the
selection of a manuscript, to aid him in planning the letter-press,
and binding of a book. For by the very nature of his work the
traveller is the one man in the publisher's employ who has a
comprehensive grasp of the many branches of this alluring, but not
very profitable, business.


By Joseph E. Bray.

In the process of manufacture a book passes through so many hands that
if the finished product is exactly in accordance with the plan that
existed in the mind of its designer, he is justified in looking upon
it with the satisfaction felt by an artist who has worked well. After
a book is issued, however, it is quite another and equally important a
matter to sell it, and this part of book publication requires as much
thought and perhaps more dogged persistence than the other. There are
some books, such as "Ben Hur" and "David Harum," for instance, that
make a market for themselves, and the demand for such successes,
though starting perhaps in a rather circumscribed locality, moves
onward and outward, gathering force all the time like an avalanche.
These are rare exceptions, however, and for most books a market must
be created. No matter how good the book, it is not enough to view the
finished product with satisfaction and expect that the public will buy
it in the proportion that it deserves. It has to be marketed like any
other article of commerce; and a book is only on the market properly
when you find its selling points known to the trade, and the volume
itself temptingly displayed on the counters in the bookstores
everywhere, ready to become the property of any one who may be
attracted by a reviewer's description, a clever advertisement, the
polite recommendation of a well-posted clerk, or any other of the many
reasons that induce people to buy books. This condition of course
obtains in all large cities on or soon after the day of publication of
a well-managed book--but urban publicity is not sufficient. The whole
country must be taken care of, and the several thousand booksellers
scattered over this great land must be placed in the same relative
position as their brethren in the large cities. How they are supplied
with the book, posted as to its merits, and enabled to take care of
whatever demands arise, is the wholesale, or "jobbing," side of book

This class of booksellers relies mostly upon the wholesaler for
information and supplies. Everyone knows when Winston Churchill and
Mrs. Humphry Ward are writing books, and what they are about; but when
a dealer in a small town gets a call for "The Sands of Time," author
unknown, a book he has never heard of before, he usually transmits the
order just as he has received it to his jobber, who supplies him with
the book if it is on the market, or with the necessary information
regarding it if he is not able to supply it. The jobber's work,
broadly speaking, is twofold: To see that a book for which the demand
is certain to be large and immediate is in the hands of all his
customers promptly after publication, and to take care of all
inquiries that arise throughout the country for lesser-known books.
His establishment must be a very temple of learning, and he has to
know everything in the book world, from the plot of the latest "best
seller" to the relative importance of a work on the differential

Let us take his first duty. A book is to be published by a noted
author, and a large sale is confidently expected. It will be widely
advertised, and the press will feature it in the review columns. His
first move usually is to distribute descriptive notices among his
customers, telling them what he knows about it and inviting them to
send in their orders. His travellers are also notified and are advised
as to how the book is likely to be received by the people, and whether
it is accounted better or worse than the author's previous works. The
jobber has therefore to size up a book early in the game, without
perhaps having seen anything relating to it except the publisher's
advance notices. He has to be very careful not to "over-sell" the
book, and yet at the same time he must distribute it in sufficient
quantities, so that no sales may be lost through dealers not having
supplies. Orders generally begin to come in quickly, and sometimes the
advance sales of popular books are enormous. Then comes the question
of buying a first supply. The suave, persuasive agent of the publisher
waits upon the jobber and tells him what a wonderful work it is, that
the demand is without a doubt going to beat all records, and he had
"better hurry up and place a large order before the first edition is
exhausted," and all that kind of thing. The jobber takes into
consideration the facts he has been able to learn concerning the book,
and places an order accordingly. Then his own travellers are supplied
with dummies or advance copies, and the work of arousing an interest
in the book in all sections of the country proceeds actively. Not only
are all the towns canvassed thoroughly, but even the smaller villages
are visited or the modest orders solicited by mail, though the stocks
of the local booksellers may embrace only a few of the best sellers.

It is generally arranged so that the stock of the book of the kind to
which we have alluded is delivered to the jobber on or before the day
of publication, and he in turn tries to place it in the hands of his
customers early, usually on or within a day or two of the date of
issue. From Maine to California, and from the northern boundary to the
Gulf, there is no town of importance, and no village where a bookstore
exists, that has not copies of, or information concerning, the book
within a short time of its coming from the press. After this is done,
patience is necessary and a period of comparative inactivity ensues.
The book is before the people, and it is necessary to wait for their
verdict. There are many ways of "puffing" a book. Clever advertising
will do much. Window displays and all the other arts resorted to by
bookseller and publisher sell copies; but unless the people take to
it, unless it appeals to them, unless they talk about it, and pass it
along, none of these ways will do more than give a book a very
temporary period of demand. The wisest publisher sometimes issues
books that never reach a second edition. They awaken no responsive
echo in the hearts of the people, the stamp of public approval is not
put upon them, and although hailed with a flourish of trumpets and a
blast of advertising, they die an early death, the author and the
publisher perhaps being the only people that regret their demise.

In the case of a work that does meet with public approval, this
approval is soon shown, and it is not a hard matter to care for the
demand. The wholesaler aims to keep a stock on hand sufficiently large
to cover all calls upon him, and does what he can to push the good
thing along, through his salesmen and the circular literature which he
sends out from time to time.

There are other classes of books, however, in which the wholesaler
must interest himself and which cannot be treated so easily; here
perhaps his service to the community and the publishing field are the
greatest. Only the select few among books are big sellers; the
majority do not sell largely, and only a very small percentage of the
many thousands of books put forth annually make a stir in the world. A
novel by an unknown author, a biography of an eminent man, a modest
work of travel or adventure, technical books and those that add to the
world's knowledge, cannot be given a wide distribution or an inviting
display on the shelves of the trade. The smaller bookseller cannot
afford to carry them. His profits are small and his investments in
books of this class have to be very carefully considered. His margin
of profit is too small for him to take more chances than he has to,
and consequently he relies largely upon his jobber, from whom he in
most cases picks up these books as he needs them. The wholesaler has
to be a bureau of information concerning this part of his business.
His mail brings him in all sorts of inquiries for books that have been
out of print for years. Somebody wants them, can they be obtained by
advertising for them or otherwise? The jobber must know this and give
the information to his customer promptly. Books not yet published.
When will they be issued? What will be the cost? An approximate price
must be given. What are the best books on certain subjects, and how do
they compare with other works in the same field? Hundreds of inquiries
similar to these are constantly received. Sometimes titles are garbled
and twisted all out of shape, taken down perhaps by the rural
bookseller phonetically and confidently forwarded to the wholesaler,
who will certainly know. The right book is usually sent, and not often
is the jobber found to be at fault. Curiously enough, the majority of
people are very careless in regard to titles of books, and many
conundrums of this kind are daily solved by the trade.

Peculiar in many ways is the book trade, and the ordinary laws of
commercialism do not always apply to the book business. The book
market is fickle to the utmost degree. The books that should sell
sometimes do not "move" at all, and those that apparently have but
little to recommend them turn out to be the best of the bunch so far
as sales are concerned. A jobber has to be something of an optimist;
he must keep his ear to the ground, and, like certain types of
politicians, must be prepared to give the people what they want when
they want it. He can of course help along the demand for good books
and check that for poor literature, and, to his credit, he usually
does this, but the book-buying public is truly democratic and in the
main people are pretty definite in their wants. Oftentimes they can be
led, but it is rarely that they will consent to be driven.

Another important part of the jobber's business is the supplying of
public libraries and similar institutions. Here his knowledge of books
and the resources of his establishment are put to the severest test.
Libraries use a vast quantity of books, and the demand from this
source is extremely varied in character. Librarians are also very
shrewd and careful buyers, and much work in the way of pricing of
lists, answering inquiries, etc., is demanded. Margins of profit here
are very small, but there is practically no loss in the matter of
accounts, and a librarian is very satisfactory to deal with, as he
usually knows what he wants. The popular novel has been pushed so much
to the front of late years and advertised on such a colossal scale,
that one not versed in the reading demands of the people might very
well think America was reading nothing else. In the orders sent in by
public libraries, however, "solid reading" is very largely
represented, and, as a matter of fact, that class of literature is
making just as great an increase in public demand as the lighter kind.

The wholesaler therefore is a useful member of the book world and an
important factor in the distribution of books. He must combine the
acumen of the business man with a taste for literature for
literature's sake, have an enormous capacity for detail but be capable
of grasping an opportunity, possess the wisdom of Solomon, the
patience of Job, and the tact of a diplomat. He must be, in short, a
business man, a scholar, and a philosopher; and even with all these
accomplishments he is not likely to endanger the peace of the
community by accumulating an enormous fortune.


By Warren Snyder.

It is with the finished product of author and publisher that the
bookseller has chiefly to do. In the building of a book he does not
come into contact with author, artist, compositor, printer, or
publisher. If he be in a position to place large orders, his opinion
is occasionally sought as to the advisability of bringing out a new
edition of some book or books for which there seems to be a demand. A
book may have reached an unusually large sale in an ordinary edition;
he is asked if he thinks a finer and more expensive edition would be
warrantable. He is, however, chary in most cases about expressing an
opinion; and he never allows himself to become enthusiastic over any
book in the presence of a publisher or a publisher's representative.
For he feels that if he should display any eagerness, he would, in a
measure, commit himself to placing a large order for that particular

With books being brought out at the rate they have been for the last
five years, the bookseller finds himself with little time or
inclination either to read or to think about the things to come. He
has enough to occupy his attention in his efforts to display and sell
the books he already has on hand. Witness the pyramids of volumes
towering ceilingward--many of them books that have been there for
several moons at least; and which are likely to remain there until
many more moons have waxed and waned.

I often wonder if the bookseller of fifty years ago ever dreamed of
what his successor would have to contend with in the way of new
publications. I recall a conversation I had two or three years ago
with a man more than seventy years of age. He had started out in his
business life as a clerk in a bookstore and he said to me, "There are
no booksellers to-day like there were when I was in the book business.
Then," he continued, "a bookseller was thoroughly posted as to the
contents of the books he had for sale; while now they know but little
more about a book than its title." I asked him if he ever stopped to
compare the conditions under which the bookseller of past days worked
with those under which the bookseller of to-day had to labor. I have
read that in 1855 there were but five hundred new books issued in the
United States. In 1905--fifty years later--there were seventy-five
hundred new books launched on the market. This did not include some
six hundred reprints.

When there was an average of less than ten new books published in a
week, it was an easy task for an intelligent salesperson to get a
fair knowledge of the contents of every one. But when books are ground
out at the rate of one hundred and fifty a week,--twenty-five a
day,--the task becomes an impossible one. Yet I have frequently been
asked by seemingly intelligent persons if I did not read a book before
purchasing it. And when I have attempted to explain that it would be
impossible for me to read all the books issued, they have not
hesitated to convey, by word or gesture, their opinion of this
obviously reckless way of doing business. Not long ago a man came to
my office inquiring for the manager. When he was directed to me he
said: "I bought a book here a few days ago, and it is imperfect. There
are a number of pages missing, while some pages are repeated." Then,
with a sneer, "I am surprised that a firm like this should sell
imperfect books." I assured him that we had no intention of selling an
imperfect book; it was an accident that sometimes happened. The wonder
to me was that it did not happen oftener. I was sorry if he had been
put to any inconvenience; we would cheerfully give him another copy.
We could return the imperfect copy to the publishers who would make it
right with us.

"But don't you examine the books you buy to see if the pages are all

I told him how impossible that would be. Why, we often added as many
as fifty thousand volumes to our stock in a single week. He left me,
I am sure, convinced that we were careless in our mode of doing

Once I was called from my office to meet a lady who also had a
grievance. She accosted me with the air of one who had been basely
swindled. "I bought a book here yesterday," she said, "one you
advertised as cheap. I wish to return it and get my money back. My
husband says it is no wonder that you can sell books so cheap; this
one is not half finished. Look at the rough edges; the leaves are not
even cut."

Of course I had the price of the book returned to her at once. Then I
proceeded to show her some of the expensive and finely bound volumes
with rough edges. I explained how the value of many of these books
would be lessened if the leaves were trimmed. I tried to give her the
point of view of the book collector. She was incredulous. I think,
however, that she went away a wiser, if not a happier woman; and she
has probably blushed many times since when recalling the incident.

The buyer of books for a large store does not go out to look for new
publications. He remains in his office, and the publisher sends a
representative to see him in regard to each new book issued. In New
York City he is called upon on an average of once a week by some one
from each publishing house. At certain seasons of the year these
"commercial travellers," as they prefer to be titled, seem to drift
in ten or a dozen at a time. They will often be found waiting in line
outside the buyer's office, each taking his turn. Each will have from
two to ten new books, all to be ready within the next two weeks.

I have said that the bookseller of to-day has but little time to read
about the volumes that are forthcoming. Therefore, most of the new
books are first brought to his attention by the salesmen who come to
solicit orders. Every book must be given some consideration; and in
most cases some quantity of it must be ordered. It may be five copies
or it may be five thousand. To the inexperienced it is difficult to
explain the precise considerations that govern the amount of the
order. Here is where the strain comes on the buyer; for the
responsibility lies with him. Yet he must decide without having read a
single page; and he must decide quickly--in a few minutes. Many times
he places an order without having seen the completed book at all. Some
pages of the text, a half-dozen illustrations, and the outside cover
are perhaps presented to him. Even the fact that the publisher has had
the manuscript read by three or four experts before deciding to
publish, does not always help him. There are many miscalculations on
the part of both buyer and publisher.

But, you insist, how does a buyer form a judgment of the number of
copies to buy if he does not read the book? There are many things to
guide him. There is the popularity of the author to be considered;
the subject of the book; the mechanical features; the price; and the
publisher's name and standing. If it is an author's first book the
risk is great. If both the author and publisher are new the risk is
still greater. For the amount of advertising that such a publisher is
likely to do is an unknown quantity. The buyer can estimate pretty
closely on the advertising probabilities of well-established firms; he
knows what they are accustomed to do in that line.

In the reminiscences of a bookseller who began business more than
seventy years ago, there is a letter from his mother written in 1844,
from which the following is an excerpt:--

"I will ask you once more to consider my plea regarding the policy and
character of some portion of your business. The selecting of books for
a reading community is a peculiar responsibility; and if the matter
therein contained be good in its wholesale and retail consequences it
will rise up for you, if bad, against you, even here in this partly
Christianized America."

But the bookman no longer has the opportunity of selecting for a
community. The conditions are changed. In these days of extended
advertising in newspapers and magazines, the reading public learns all
about the new books before going near a bookstore. The demand is
created outside the shop; the dealer must be prepared to supply it.

Customers tell him not only what to keep on sale, but what not to keep
on sale. The writer of the present article has been admonished not to
have in stock the writings of many of the great authors--Darwin,
Huxley, Tyndall, Herbert Spencer, Miss Braddon, George Eliot, Mrs.
Humphry Ward, Balzac, Byron, and many others. A letter received about
fifteen years ago read something like this:--

"I was much surprised yesterday, while passing through your bookstore,
to find a number of immoral books there for sale. I copied down the
names of a few of them--'An Earnest Trifler' and 'A Desperate

There were four others the titles of which I do not recall; but the
two mentioned made an impression on my mind, because I had read the
first one only a short time before; and knew it to be a perfectly pure
story. The second one happened to have been written by an acquaintance
of mine, J. D. Jerrold Kelly, now a commander in the United States
Navy. If he ever reads this article he will probably be informed for
the first time that he is accused of having written an immoral story.
The funny part of the incident was that the letter in question closed
with the following: "I will admit that I have not read any of these
books. I would not soil my mind by reading them; but I think the
titles are quite sufficient to lead many a weak-minded person astray."
I leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.

I said that the bookseller does not necessarily come into contact with
author or publisher in the building of a book. He is, however,
frequently called upon by authors of the class that might be termed
unsuccessful. These want his help. One came to me with a proposition
that I take five thousand copies of a book he had written. "It's a
wonderful book," he said. "Nothing like it has been written; and it's
bound to make a great stir. It will revolutionize society completely.
All it needs is for you to 'push' the sale." When I asked to see the
book, he said it was not published yet. "I am looking for a publisher;
and will let you see a copy as soon as it is ready. But," he added,
"if you would give me your order now it would be a great help in
securing a publisher." It is scarcely necessary for me to add that I
did not feel called upon to help him to the extent of ordering five
thousand copies of the book without seeing it, even if society had to
remain unrevolutionized for a while longer. I never saw the author
again; nor have I heard of the book. Now many books must have been
written for which no publisher could be found! The pity is that so
many have found publishers--a statement with which I feel sure
publishers and booksellers alike will agree.

A year or two ago I was asked by a friend to give some advice to a
lady who had written a book. She did not take my advice, however, when
I gave it--I hardly expected that she would. In fact, she went
directly contrary to it, and practically published the book herself.
Later she came to me with the proposition that I take her book and
"push" it as the Century Dictionary and Encyclopedia was being pushed;
she was sure it would have a large sale, if only I would advertise it
in the same way that these other books were being advertised--full
pages in the daily papers. The retail price of her book was, I
believe, one dollar. These are but two instances; I could mention many
more equally ridiculous. How that word "push" does grate on my ears!
It will put me in a bad humor about as quickly as anything I can

My first experience in the book business was on Nassau Street, then
one of the great book streets of New York City, if not the greatest.
One morning shortly after the store opened an elderly couple from the
country came in--the man evidently interested in books; but the woman
not at all. While he was looking over the counters she remained well
in the centre of the main aisle, a short distance behind him.
Presently he came to a counter on which there was a placard: "Books
fifty cents each." By some mistake an expensive volume had been laid
with these second-hand books. The man picked it up and began leafing
it over. Then turning to the woman he said, "That's cheap at fifty
cents." "What's it good for?" was her query. "I wouldn't spend fifty
cents for it." Then I heard him say, "That's worth more than fifty
cents. If that's the price I'll buy it." "Young man, what's the price
of this book?" This last to me. I told him, "Nine dollars." The look
he gave the woman was not unkindly, but it spoke volumes. He knew a
thing or two about books; he was thoroughly conscious of his
superiority over her, when it came to their value.

During the last thirty years a magnificent work has been done in
suppressing and destroying the filthy literature that was almost
openly sold in the streets of many of our largest cities. Too much
credit cannot be given the society that took the matter in hand. I
believe that nearly every dealer to-day aims to keep his stock free
from demoralizing books; but in the nature of things the line of
demarcation cannot be drawn with entire satisfaction to all. About
twenty years ago an itinerant dealer was arrested in a New Jersey town
for selling a certain book. I was present at the trial, which was
somewhat farcical. The defendant had gathered together a large number
of catalogues to show that the book had been sold by the most
reputable dealers in the country; and that it was included in the
catalogues of most of the public libraries. But the judge would not
allow this as evidence. He took the stand that the whole question
rested upon the book itself. It did not matter what the rest of the
world thought of the book; they were there to judge whether or not it
was immoral. (The penalty for selling an immoral book in New Jersey
was, I think, at least one year's imprisonment.) The jury was composed
of twelve yokels, eleven of them had never heard of the book, the
twelfth said he had read it about twenty years earlier. As the whole
thing hinged on the opinion of the jury as to its character, copies
were supplied by the defendant, and the jury was sent into another
room to read the book. After an hour or so they returned. All agreed
that the story was not immoral, and the case was dismissed.

It would be a pleasure for me to write of the many distinguished
persons with whom I have become acquainted during my career as a
bookseller and buyer. But were I once to begin on the subject I fear
my readers would believe me lacking in "terminal facilities." I should
regret, however, to have to close this article without mention of the
many delightful friendships I have formed with authors, customers, and
publishers. And I may add, with the men who sell to me--whom, almost
to a man, I have found thoroughly conscientious. These are pleasant
features that go a long way toward compensating one for being in a
business, the profits of which, at the best, are small as compared
with those of other lines of trade.


By Charles S. Olcott.

The business of selling books may be divided, in a general way, into
two divisions, one seeking to bring the people to the books, the other
aiming to take the books to the people. The first operates through the
retail book stores, news-stands, department stores, and the like. The
other employs agents, or advertises in the newspapers or magazines, to
secure orders or "subscriptions," on receipt of which the books are
delivered. The latter method of selling has become known as the
"Subscription-book" business.

The agent usually calls at the office or home of his prospective
customer and shows samples of the text pages, illustrations, bindings,
etc., bound together in a form known as a "prospectus." Sometimes he
exhibits a number of different prospectuses. The customer signs an
order blank, which the agent turns over to the publisher, who makes
the delivery and collects the money. To cover the entire country, the
large publisher establishes branch offices in many different cities or
sells his books to so-called "general agents," who secure their own

It may be asked, why does such a method exist? Do not people know
enough to go to the book stores and ask for what they want? And why go
to a man and urge him to buy a book he does not want? The answer goes
deep into human nature. People have to be urged to take very many
things which they know they ought to have. The small boy knows he
ought to go to school, but has to be coaxed. Parents know he ought to
go, but compulsory education laws have been found necessary in many
states. The churches are good, but people sometimes need urging even
to go there. Life insurance, honestly conducted, is one of the
greatest blessings a man can buy with money, but the principal
expenditures of the great companies are the vast sums spent in
pleading with the people to take advantage of it.

Experience has proved this to be true of books. Men and women must be
employed to show the people their value. The latest novel, if popular
and well advertised, will sell fairly well in the retail store, but an
encyclopædia, or any extensive set of books, must be taken directly to
the people and explained by competent salesmen if the publishers hope
to pay the cost of the plates within a lifetime. This is strikingly
illustrated in the case of the "Encyclopædia Britannica." The sales in
England of the original ninth edition were less than ten thousand
sets. In America, where subscription methods were adopted from the
first, and in England, after some enterprising American
subscription-book men took it in hand, the sales may be fairly
estimated at something like one hundred and fifty thousand sets.

Twenty or thirty years ago, by far the most common form of
subscription book was the variety labelled "Manual of Business," or
the "Complete Farm Cyclopedia," or the "Road to Heaven." The publisher
did not advertise for customers but for agents. The books were sold
directly to the agent, and he in turn delivered them to his customers
and collected the money. Anybody out of employment could take up the
business. The aim was to get as many agents as possible and sell them
the books. The agent canvassed with a "prospectus" after committing to
memory his little story. The subscribers signed their names in the
back of the prospectus. Sometimes the young and inexperienced agent
ordered as many copies as he had signatures or more. Woe unto him if
he did, for oftentimes they would not "deliver." Many years ago I
remember calling at a modest little home in the Middle West. While
waiting in the parlor, I noticed how peculiarly it was furnished.
Every corner of the little square room contained a monument of
symmetrical design, all different, but each some three or four feet
high, and all built of books, as a child might build a fairy castle
out of his wooden blocks. A closer inspection showed that all the
volumes were copies of the same book bound in "half morocco"! The
explanation came later when I was incidentally informed that "Willie
had tried canvassing, but most of 'em backed out."

This reminds one of the remark of Thoreau when, four years after the
publication of his first book (at the author's expense), the publisher
compelled him to remove 706 unsold copies out of the edition of 1000,
and he had them all carted to his home. "I now have," he said, "a
library of nearly 900 volumes, over 700 of which I wrote myself." It
is an interesting fact in this connection that the successors of that
publisher are to-day, fifty years later, successfully selling by
subscription an edition of Thoreau's writings in 20 volumes, the set
in the cheapest style of binding costing $100.

Among the famous books sold by this method have been Blaine's "Twenty
Years in Congress," Stanley's "In Darkest Africa," and Grant's
"Memoirs." The handsome fortune which the publishers of the latter
were enabled to pay to Mrs. Grant was made possible only by the
application of the subscription method of reaching the people.

Another form of subscription book, now fortunately obsolete, was the
book in "parts." A "part" consisted of some twenty-four or forty-eight
pages, or more, in paper covers. These were delivered and paid for by
the buyer in instalments of one or two at a time until the entire
work was complete. Then the binding order was solicited. It was an
expensive and unsatisfactory makeshift, intended to reach those who
could pay only a dollar or two a month. The theory was that the people
could not be trusted, and therefore the book must be cut up and
delivered in pieces. Later the publishers learned that "most people
are honest," and the modern method is to deliver the complete
publication and collect the price in monthly instalments. This plan
has proved far more economical both to subscribers and publishers, and
the losses are few if the management is careful and conservative. One
house which carefully scrutinizes its orders has suffered losses of
less than one per cent on a business of several millions of dollars
covering a period of fifteen years.

In late years by far the greatest part of the subscription-book
business has been done with complete sets of books, usually the
writings of the leading standard authors. These books are sold
directly to the subscriber who gives a signed order, and the publisher
makes the delivery, pays the agent a cash commission, and collects the
payments as they fall due. The old, worthless, "made-up" books are
rapidly disappearing, and the subscription-book of to-day is as a rule
a vastly superior article to that of a score of years ago. In fact
some of the oldest and most reliable publishing houses in America now
offer their choicest output by subscription. A large investment of
capital in plates, illustrations, editorial work, etc., such as is
necessary in many of the extensive editions of standard works, could
not be made unless there, were an assured return. The subscription
method of selling makes such undertakings possible, and the result of
its adoption has been the issue of many superb publications which
never would or could have been undertaken, had the retail book store
been the only outlet to the market. The subscription business has in
this way proved a marked benefit to the lovers of fine editions of
their favorite authors. The book-lover has been benefited, too, in the
matter of prices. The agent's commission under the modern methods is
no greater than the bookseller's profit, and no extraordinary
allowance is made for losses, as many imagine, for the losses are
comparatively small. The desire to extend his business leads the
publisher to make his books more attractive, while there is plenty of
competition to keep the prices down. It is a fact that the buyer is
to-day getting a far better book for his money than ever before.

The personnel of the canvassing force has also undergone a change. A
business such as the best houses are now doing requires agents of
intelligence, tact, and judgment. The callow youth cannot succeed as
he did once. The man who has failed at everything else will fail here.
There are now men and women engaged in selling books by subscription,
who possess business ability of a high order. Many of them have
well-established lines of trade,--regular customers who depend upon
them to supply their wants and keep them informed. The old jibes about
the book-agent fall flat when applied to them. They do not bore their
customers or tire them out. They serve them, and the customers are
glad to be served by them.

I have taken care to point out that these observations apply to the
business as conducted by the older and more conservative book
publishers, who value their reputation. In a consideration of the
subject a sharp distinction should be drawn between such publishers
and a class of irresponsible schemers who by various ingenious devices
seek to gain the public ear and then proceed to impose upon their
victims to the full extent of their credulity. In recent years many
schemes have been devised,--a few honest, some about half honest, and
the rest miserable "fakes."

One of the earliest and most successful "schemes," not dishonest but
certainly ingenious, was that of a publisher who had a large stock of
unmarketable books whose retail price was $6 a volume. He organized an
association and sold memberships at $10, the membership entitling the
subscriber to one of the $6 books and the privilege of buying
miscellaneous books at a discount. The discounts really were no
greater than could have been obtained in any department store, but the
"association" thought it had a great concession and multiplied so
rapidly that the unmarketable book had to be reprinted again and

The next "scheme" to come into prominence was the so-called "raised
contract." The process was simple. The order blank read, for example,
$5 a volume, but the publisher wanted "a few influential citizens like
yourself" to write testimonials, and had a few copies for sale to such
people--only a very few--at $3, merely the cost of the paper and
binding. By paying cash you could get another reduction, and as a
special favor from the agent still another, and so on, until you found
the price whittled down to the ridiculously low sum of $2.65. When the
customer woke up and found that all his neighbors were also
"influential citizens" who had bought at the same price or possibly
less, and that the book would be dear at $2, he mentally resolved to
"buy no more from that house." The figures are given merely to
illustrate the idea and are not quoted from any particular
proposition. It is unfortunately true, however, that the plan here
illustrated is now in daily use by many concerns, although there are
indications that it is gradually dying as the result of overwork!

Another scheme is to advertise a "a few slightly damaged" copies of a
book for sale at barely the cost of the sheets--to save rebinding. A
publisher once confided to me that he was doing a "land-office
business" selling "slightly damaged stock." "How do you damage the
stock," I asked,--"throw the books across the room?" "No," he replied,
laughing, "we haven't time to do that."

Some of the schemes are so ludicrous as to cause one to wonder how
anybody can be made to believe the story. Such was the one which
soberly informed the prospective customer that he had been selected by
a committee of Congress as one of a few representative citizens to
whom the United States government would be willing to sell some of its
precious documents. He was not asked to subscribe, but merely to "let
us know" if he didn't want it, for "another gentleman" was quite
anxious to secure his copy, etc. Of course the fortunate
representative citizen made haste to secure the copy which Congress
intended him to have. I am told that the originator of this scheme
made a fortune out of it.

All these schemes, from the laughably absurd to the contemptibly mean,
should be regarded merely as an excrescence upon the legitimate
subscription-book business. They are like the "get-rich-quick" and
"wildcat" banking schemes which flourish in prosperous times, but have
nothing whatever in common with legitimate financial affairs. It is
unfortunate for the book trade that these schemers selected books as
the particular kind of merchandise upon which to exercise their
ingenuity. They admit that their agents are expected not to canvass
the merits of the book, but to "sell their story." They might have
done the same thing had they chosen jewelry, bric-a-brac, rugs,
paintings, stocks, bonds, or anything else as the subject for their
exploitation. The reliable publishers are hoping that at no distant
date the schemers will take up some of these other lines, although
they bear no grudge against the latter.

If any prejudice exists in the public mind against subscription books,
it is caused by the illegitimate use of books as a means of "fooling"
if not of swindling the people. There are many honorable men and many
houses of the highest class who are engaged in the subscription-book
business. These should no more be classed with such schemers as I have
described than Tiffany's with the diamond merchants who ornament the
fronts of their stores with the three balls. The leading legal lights
of the world and the gentry who frequent the police courts are all
called lawyers; the eminent surgeon who performs marvellous operations
involving incredible knowledge and skill and the half-breed who used
to pull teeth in front of the circus, the brass band drowning the
shrieks of his victims, are both called doctors. The eminent divine
and his ignorant colored brother may both be preachers. Intelligent
people know how to discriminate between these, and do not condemn the
one for the faults of the others. And so the intelligent and honorable
book agent who represents a thoroughly reliable publishing house
deserves to be differentiated from the fellow who comes with a lie on
his tongue, for which an unscrupulous schemer is directly responsible.

The subscription-book business, in the hands of honorable men, has
performed a great service to the whole country, by putting good books
into thousands and hundreds of thousands of homes, where, but for
them, there would be little to read beyond the newspaper or the
magazine. The best publishers have found it the most practicable
method of distribution for their more extensive productions, and
thousands of thoughtful men are glad of the opportunity to receive the
representatives of such houses and to have the best of the new
publications promptly brought to their attention.


By John Anderson, Jr.

While the auctioneer is admitted to be an important factor in the
handling of a book once it has become a finished product, his
relations to it are not clearly understood, even by many of those who
avail themselves of his services as a medium of sale or purchase. An
endeavor shall therefore be made to present here, in the simplest
possible way, some facts which may prove both pertinent and

It is to be presumed that the auctioneering of books began at the time
when it first became apparent to the owners of libraries that a
necessity existed for the establishment of a system by which they
could reach the largest number of buyers, and bring about the quickest
sales and returns, for these are, admittedly, the distinguishing
features of the auction method, as opposed to all others.[4] Selling
to the highest bidder proved the happy solution of the problem, and to
this day it has been universally recognized as the most satisfactory
method of dispersion. To quote a book as having sold for so much at
auction gives it in the minds of all true bookmen the best possible
criterion of value. The prices obtained, though variable, represent a
consensus of opinion, and may be considered as standards.

                   [Footnote 4: "But it was soon perceived, that when
                   necessity or inclination determined the disposal of
                   libraries, the auction method was on the whole by
                   far the best, producing as it did, and still does,
                   competition amongst a larger circle of intending
                   purchasers, with a better result than would have
                   been obtained by selling _en bloc_."--JOHN LAWLER,
                   in "Book Auctions in England in the Seventeenth

So far as can be traced, the earliest known book auctions took place
in Holland. The library of Marnix of St. Aldegonde was sold by
Christopher Poret at Leyden, July 6, 1599, this being the earliest
recorded sale. The first English book sale is supposed to have been
that held on October 31, 1676, when the library of the then lately
deceased Rev. Lazarus Seaman was sold at his residence in Warwick
Court, Warwick Lane, London, by William Cooper. The earliest known
sale in America occurred at the Crown Coffee House in Boston, on July
2, 1717, and succeeding days, when was dispersed the library of the
famous early New England divine, Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton. Philadelphia
held book auction sales many years in advance of New York, the
earliest known being that of the library of Charles Read, in 1737. The
date of the first sale in New York is unknown, as is the name of the
auctioneer, but an advertisement of McLaughlin & Blakely, of 41 Maiden
Lane, in a paper of May 4, 1825, reads as follows, "From the long
acquaintance of Mr. McLaughlin with the book auction business, he
trusts that the firm will receive a consequent share of public
patronage." It is known that McLaughlin & Co. held unimportant book
sales at 78 Maiden Lane in 1824, and late though this date is, it will
have to stand as representing the earliest book auction sale in New
York until newly discovered evidence reveals an earlier recorded

                   [Footnote 5: "Seventy Years of Book Auctions in New
                   York," Robert F. Roden.]

It rarely happens that a really great collection of books is sold
otherwise than at auction. The collector recognizes that the taste and
judgment displayed by him in the acquirement of his library will, by
the medium of the auctioneer's carefully prepared catalogue, be made
evident to all succeeding generations of book lovers. How many would
to-day know the names of George Brinley, John Allan, and William
Menzies, were it not for the sale catalogues of their collections?
They attained book-fame without having sought it.

In this connection, an extract may be quoted from the will of Edmond
de Goncourt, the distinguished French writer and collector:--

     "My wish is that my Drawings, my Prints, my Curiosities, my
     Books--in a word, these things of Art which have been the
     joy of my life--shall not be consigned to the cold tomb of a
     Museum, and subjected to the stupid glance of the careless
     passer-by; but I require that they shall all be dispersed
     under the hammer of the auctioneer, so that the pleasure
     which the acquiring of each one of them has given me shall
     be given again, in each case, to some inheritor of my own

A list of those whose libraries have been dispersed at public auction
would contain an astonishing proportion of names great in the world's
history. Even in cases where the collections were not directly
dispersed by the auction method, it will be found that the bulk of the
more important works contained therein had, at some previous period,
passed through the auctioneer's hands.

To unthinking minds, there exist certain prejudices against the
auction method, doubtless due to a want of discrimination between the
many who faithfully pursue their calling, and the few who by
questionable dealings have dishonored and discredited themselves
rather than their craft. Benjamin Franklin is only one among many of
the American book auctioneers whose names were synonymous with
integrity during the long period--nearly two hundred years--in which
their services were employed in the dispersal of libraries. The long
and honorable careers of certain of the English book auction
houses--notably that of Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, founded in
1744--shows conclusively that the business itself has been accepted by
the public, as forming an essential part in disseminating the world's

The auctioneer is in a position to extend many exceptional advantages
to his customers.

The quantity and variety of the books offered is far greater than is
possible to be found in the stock of any dealer, being subject to
constant additions and changes. The average quality is high where the
auctioneer makes the sales of private collections a specialty, and
much inferior where dependence is placed upon the sale of material
received from the booksellers which they have been unable to sell
after repeated efforts. Naturally, the better items are reserved for
their own shelves. Among the leaders in the book auction trade, it
will be found that a very large proportion of the material offered by
them comes from authentic private sources, though, in many cases,
there is a disinclination on the part of the owner to allow the use of
his or her name in connection with the sale.

The prices obtained for books at sales held by regular book
auctioneers (no pretence of recognition need be accorded furniture and
bric-a-brac auctioneers, who occasionally secure consignments of books
from parties unaware of the existence of an establishment devoted
exclusively to their sale) are necessarily variable, being governed,
as is everything else, by the law of demand and supply. A particularly
choice item will command about the same price whenever offered,--generally
an increasing one,--but the ordinary book can often be obtained at
bargain figures. This element of uncertainty goes far toward making
the auction sale so attractive to collectors with slender purses, as
also to those who may be designated "moral book-gamblers," always
ready to take a chance where the outcome is problematical. Many fine
collections have been gathered by well-informed private buyers, who
made a point of attending auction sales, and purchasing desirable
items, when for some reason the prices were lower than usual. Some of
these collections have since been sold at auction, and the owners have
netted a handsome profit on their investments.

Many book buyers entertain erroneous ideas regarding the condition of
the volumes sold at leading auction houses, confounding them with
those sold at storage warehouses, furniture auction rooms, etc. The
fact is, a very large proportion of the books, even of the older
species, are in fine, clean condition, many being in choice bindings,
and equal to the most fastidious requirement.

An indication of the important relation of the book auctioneer to the
market, as a source of supply, may be judged from the issue of a
bulletin by the American Library Association during the past year,
calling attention of the three thousand or more public libraries of
the country to the advantages of purchasing at auction sales,
recommending certain named houses, and outlining the mode of procedure
in sending bids. It took years of hard and discouraging labor to bring
about conditions that would warrant this recognition.

The great majority of buyers at book auctions reside in localities
widely removed from the cities where the sales are held, and it is, of
course, necessary that these customers should be given equal
advantages with the home buyers in effecting purchases at sales. The
printed catalogue is made the medium of this accomplishment. The books
are described in detail, mention being made of the author's name, the
title, size, binding, place, and date of publication, and condition
(if either above or below the average). If the edition is special, or
it is a large paper copy, this is duly set forth in the description.
All imperfections are carefully noted. The aim of the auctioneer is to
bring the book or set of books so clearly before the mind of the
prospective buyer as to gain his confidence. An express stipulation is
made in the conditions of sale that any book found to be otherwise
than as described may be returned, but as the auctioneer desires to
avoid this contingency, he is generally careful in his descriptions,
and they may, as a rule, be depended upon.

A printed slip is enclosed in each catalogue on which the intending
purchaser notes the numbers of the lots he desires and the limit of
price to which he is prepared to go. It is then forwarded by mail to
the auction house, where the slips are tabulated by a clerk, the names
and amounts being placed against each item in a specially prepared
catalogue. Incidentally, it may be stated that all bids are
considered as strictly confidential.

At the time of sale, the principal of the establishment, or one of his
chief assistants, takes his place in the audience on an even footing
with all other buyers, and uses the bids, as enrolled, in competition
with such as may be offered by other attendants at the sale.

Where two or more bids have been received on any item, the competition
is first narrowed by the elimination of all except the two highest
ones, and then the start is made at a figure just beyond the second
highest. The battle between the auctioneer, acting as the
representative of the out-of-town bidder, and some ardent book lover
personally attending the sale, for the possession of a particularly
coveted work, often provokes genuine enthusiasm. It is finally knocked
down to the highest bidder at the point where competition ceases, and
this is often much below the limit named by the buyer. The wise
purchaser at auction, when assured of the honorable standing of the
house with which he deals, will not hesitate in sending liberal bids,
for by so doing he will gain much and lose little.

The methods of conducting sales and handling bids differ somewhat in
the various cities, but that, as above outlined, is adopted by the
leading houses. In some concerns, the auctioneer himself executes the
commissions from the rostrum, but when this is done, even though he
may be a man of the strictest integrity, the method is open to
criticism, it being well understood that the reputation of an
auctioneer is largely dependent on the high prices he obtains.

There is a material difference between the English and American
methods of cataloguing books for sale at auction. In England the
charges are inclusive, the cost of printing, postage, etc., being
assumed by the auctioneer, so that he finds it to his interest to
compress catalogue descriptions into the narrowest possible compass,
to minimize the distribution of the catalogue, and to spend as small
an amount of money in advertising as possible. In America, the charges
are exclusive, the commission representing the auctioneer's only
interest, and the incidental expenses of printing, etc., are paid by
the consignor. Because of this, a more liberal policy is pursued as to
expenditures. Many good titles that are bunched in lots in the London
sales are here separately catalogued, mention is made of all defects,
and, on the average, more careful attention is paid to the details of
the descriptions. Catalogues are given a wider circulation in America,
and more dependence is placed on the receipt of bids from out-of-town
buyers. New methods and channels of advertising are being constantly
considered and utilized. It is believed that these elements, combined,
conduce to the benefit of the consignor, when the material offered
possesses real interest and value.

The auctioneer who conducts a modern high-class establishment, where a
guaranty of intelligent service is given, can employ only the best
available talent for cataloguing purposes, either men of proved
ability and special knowledge, or those that show a decided aptitude
for the work and give promise of attainment.

Most book auction houses in this country are obliged to call in the
services of an interpreter when a book in other than the English or
French language is to be catalogued, but in Europe the force employed
is, as a rule, equal to all emergencies. To illustrate the variety of
demand made upon the modern auctioneer, in this line, it may be stated
that the establishment with which the writer is connected, can
catalogue items in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese, Latin, Greek, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish; in fact, nearly
all of the European, and some of the Oriental Languages, without
calling upon outside help.

A book auctioneer would find it as impossible to properly handle books
without the use of a suitable reference library, as for a carpenter to
work without tools. In a live, up-to-date auction house, every
bibliographical work of real value not already possessed is secured
when found in the open markets, and consulted frequently. These
collections often represent an expenditure of thousands of dollars.
Some single works call for the outlay of hundreds, but they are
essential for the use of the expert cataloguer.

The labor involved in handling books in connection with their sale at
auction is very heavy. Supposing that a library of, say, five thousand
volumes is offered for sale. It is packed by the owner, or under his
directions, and is forwarded to the auctioneer. The boxes are opened
and the contents placed in a special compartment. They are then
catalogued, each item being separately handled. Another clerk then
arranges them for exhibition on the shelves, where they remain until
the time of sale. During the sale, they are again exhibited, and
handled, and after it are laid aside in groups, according to their
newly acquired ownership. When shipment is made the following day, or
later, another handling is required. No scheme can be devised that
will admit of less than four handlings of the entire lot. When we
consider that in some establishments nearly a million separate items
are received and sold each season, some idea may be formed of the
labor involved.

The auctioneer has been obliged to either adapt his business to modern
conditions, even though it entails heavy expense and added burdens, or
take a rear place in the procession. Business cannot be transacted now
as it was even five years ago, though many attempt to do it by the
antiquated methods of the times "befo' de war." More books are sold
by auction each successive year; and with the wonderful progress being
made in the literary development of this great country, it is likely
that the auctioneer will become in the near future an even more
important factor in the formation and dissemination of libraries than
ever before.

The following extract from a magazine article on "The Book Auction,"
written years ago by Joel Benton, may be deemed a fitting conclusion.
He said:--

     "In no one place are there so many eager patrons of the book
     auction as in New York. Here are men who can give thousands
     of dollars for a single book, if they choose, and add it to
     an already extremely valuable collection.

     "It is pleasant to see these men and their representatives
     sitting in the auction room, and poring, over their
     catalogues. There are times when they must not be disturbed,
     or spoken to. Great issues depend upon their utmost
     attention. Not Izaak Walton, the many rare editions of whose
     one great book they rapturously fish for, ever fished more
     intently for trout and grayling than they for the beauties
     of thought and of the printer's art.

     "No idyls of the brook call your chronic book buyer to bask
     in green meadows, and under cerulean skies while the auction
     season lasts. The pine floor, the gaslight, and the voice of
     the auctioneer hold him. His house may overflow with
     thousands of unshelved volumes. Naught cares he. It is not
     because he is short of reading that he buys. It is because
     he is drawn by that fascinating, never-to-be-accounted-for,
     and inexpressible ardor of the pursuit. I have a friend who
     says he would rather attend a book auction than spend an
     evening with the President, or with our greatest general, or
     with a literary lion like Tennyson or Browning."


By Arthur E. Bostwick.

In selecting books for a public library, the two things generally
taken into account are the public desire and the public need. The
different values attached to each of these two factors may be said to
determine the policy of the library in book-buying. The extreme cases,
where full force is given to one factor while the other is entirely
disregarded, do not, of course, exist. Libraries do not purchase every
book that is asked for, without considering whether such purchases are
right and proper. Nor do they, on the other hand, disregard popular
demand altogether and purchase from a list made up solely with regard
to what the community ought to read rather than what it wants to read.
Between these two extremes, however, there may be an indefinite number
of means. A librarian may, for instance, purchase chiefly books in
general demand, exercising judgment in disregarding such requests as
he may deem improper. Or he may buy chiefly those books that in his
opinion should be read in his community, listening to the voice of the
public only when it becomes importunate. Several considerations may
have part in influencing his course in this regard. In the first
place, a library with plenty of money at command may in a measure
follow both plans; in other words, it may buy not only all the good
books that the public wants to read, but those also that it should
read. The more limited the appropriation for book purchase, the more
pressing becomes the need that the librarian should decide on a
precise policy. Again, a library whose books are for general
circulation would naturally give more heed to popular demand than a
reference library used chiefly by students. Further, an endowed
institution, not dependent on public support, could afford to
disregard the public wishes to an extent impossible in the case of a
library whose expenses are paid by the municipality from the proceeds
of taxation. Above and beyond all these considerations, the personal
equation comes in, sometimes very powerfully. It often seems as if
some library authorities regard popular favor as an actual mark of
discredit, while others look upon it almost as a condition precedent
to purchase. Take, as an example, the so-called "fiction question,"
over which most libraries, and some of their patrons, are at present
more or less exercised. There can be no doubt of the popular regard
for this form of literature, especially for the current novel or
romance. Some libraries would sternly discourage this preference and
refuse to purchase fiction less than one year old, while others do
not hesitate to buy, within the limits of their purses, all such books
as would be likely to interest or entertain the average reader of
taste and intelligence. The views of the selector regarding the
relative importance of the library's duties as an educator and an
entertainer must also affect his views.

It has been tacitly assumed that the selection is made by one person.
As a matter of fact, however, the final approval is generally given by
a book committee of some kind, usually a committee of the library
trustees or persons responsible to them, often with the help of
outside advisers. The weight of the librarian's views with this body
will depend on various circumstances. Sometimes he has his own way;
sometimes his wishes are practically disregarded. Moreover, the
composition of such a body varies so that any continuous policy is
difficult for it.

Owing to all these facts, it is probable that no two libraries in the
United States, even when they are closely related by classification,
as when both are branch libraries for circulation, state libraries,
public reference libraries, or university libraries, are pursuing
exactly the same policy in book purchase, although, as has been said,
their various policies are always compounded of different proportions
of these two factors,--regard for the wishes and demands of their
users, and consideration of what is right and proper for those users,
from whatever standpoint. The stickler for uniformity will lament
this diversity, but it is probably a good thing. In many libraries,
there are as many minds as there are men, and it cannot be and ought
not to be otherwise.

Now, how does the person, or the body, that is responsible for the
selection of books for a library ascertain the facts on which, as has
been said, the selection must be based? It is usually not difficult to
find out what the public wants. Its demands almost overwhelm the
assistant at the desk. Some libraries provide special blank forms on
which these requests may be noted. They are often capricious;
sometimes they do not represent the dominant public wish. The voice of
one insistent person asking for his book day after day may impress
itself on the mind more forcibly than the many diffident murmurs of a
considerable number. In libraries that possess a system of branches,
there is little difficulty in recognizing a general public demand.
Such a demand will be reported from a large number of branch libraries
at once, in which case the chances of mistake will be small. In the
New York Public Library many useful suggestions are gained through the
operation of the inter-branch loan system, whereby a user of one
branch may send for a book contained in any other branch. Books so
asked for are reported at the central headquarters, and if they are
not in the library at all, the request is regarded as a suggestion for
purchase. Should such requests come from users of several branches at
once, the desired book is very likely to be purchased. Often the
demand is general rather than specific, as for "a book about the
Caucasus" or for "more works on surveying," and sometimes they are
vague or misleading, titles being wrong and authors' names spelled
phonetically; yet the work made necessary in looking up these demands
is more than repaid by the knowledge that it may result in making the
library of more value to the public.

In some cases the librarian desires not only to respond to the public
want, but even to anticipate it. He does not wait to see whether a new
book on Japan will be in demand, because he is sure that such will be
the case. He does not hesitate to order a new book by Kipling or Mrs.
Humphry Ward as soon as he sees its title in the publisher's
announcements. The necessity for some other anticipatory orders may be
less evident, and this kind of work requires good judgment and
discrimination; but in general if a book is to be purchased on
publication, it cannot be on the library shelves too soon after the
date of issue. In any case, where it is desirable and proper to please
the public, double pleasure can be given by promptness; hence the
importance of being a little before, rather than a little behind, the
popular desire.

All this calls for little but quick and discriminating
observation,--the ability to feel and read the public pulse in
matters literary. It is in regard to the second and more important
factor that failure waits most insistently on the librarian. What are
the public's needs, as distinguished from its desires? What ought it
to read? Here steps in the "categorical imperative" with a vengeance.
The librarian, when he thinks of his duty along this line, begins to
shudder as he realizes his responsibility as an educator, as a mentor,
as a trainer of literary taste. Probably in some instances he takes
himself too seriously. But, no matter how lightly he may bear these
responsibilities, every selector of books for a public library
realizes that he must give some consideration to this question. In the
first place, there are general needs; there are certain standard books
that must be on the shelves of every well-ordered library, no matter
whether they are read or not. It is his business to provide and
recommend them. What are these standards? No two lists are alike. They
start together: "the Bible and Shakespeare"--and then off they go in
divergent paths! Secondly, there are special needs dependent on
locality or on the race or temperament of the users of a particular
library. The determination of these needs in itself is a task of no
small magnitude; their legitimate satisfaction is sometimes difficult
in the extreme. To take a concrete instance, the librarian may
discover that there is in his vicinity a little knot of people who
meet occasionally to talk over current questions, not formally, but
half by accident. They would be benefited, and would be greatly
interested, in the right sort of books on economics, but they have
scarcely heard that there is such a subject. That the public library
might be interested in them and might aid them would never occur to
any of them. The discovery of such people, the determination of just
what books they need, and the successful bringing together of man and
book--all these are the business of the librarian, and it is a part of
his work that cannot be separated from that of book selection.

In much of this work the librarian of a large library must depend to a
great extent on others. Both the desires and the needs of those who
use his library he must learn from the reports of subordinates and
from outside friends. The librarian of a small library can ascertain
much personally; but both librarians are largely dependent upon expert
opinion in their final selections. After concluding that the library
must have an especially full and good collection of books on pottery,
the selector must go to some one who knows, to find out what are the
best works on this subject. When there is a good list, he must know
where to find it, or at least where to go to find out where it is. He
must consult all the current publishers' lists as they appear, and
scan each catalogue of bargains. His list of books wanted for purchase
should far exceed his ability to buy, for then he must, perforce,
exercise his judgment and pick out the best. If, after all, the
collection of books in his library is not such as to meet the approval
of the public, he must bow meekly under the weight of its scorn.

The deluge of books that falls daily from the presses is almost past
comprehension. The number of intelligent readers, thanks to the
opportunities given by our public libraries, is increasing in due
proportion. To select from the stream what is properly fitted to the
demands of this rapidly growing host is a task not to be lightly
performed. That the authorities of our libraries do not shrink from it
is fortunate indeed; that the result is no worse than it is, is a fact
on which the reading public must doubtless be congratulated.


By Charles E. Goodspeed.

Books are much more indestructible than is generally supposed.
Furniture, clothing, and most of the appurtenances of the house
disappear rapidly with time, but books, by the nature of their
component material and construction, have a longer life. At least this
may be said of books printed before the present era of paper making.
Since the invention of printing in the fifteenth century, the product
of the myriad presses, principally in Europe, has been enormous, and
the output of books in the four hundred odd years of printing defies
computation. While many have been destroyed by use, fire, or other
agencies, an immense number exists at the present time, and their
disposal, made necessary through death or the breaking up of
households, is a matter of practical consideration. As it is usually
impossible for the owner to find individual customers, the second-hand
book-dealer becomes a necessity. The usefulness of the dealer to the
community depends upon his honesty, intelligence, and industry; upon
his honesty, in giving a fair price to the owner, on his intelligence
in finding customers for books apart from general interest, and on
his industry in so conducting his business that his stock may not
become a mass of ill-assorted rubbish.

The small collection of books in the ordinary household (averaging
usually not over a few hundred volumes), contains, it is safe to say,
a large percentage of no commercial value. The rest may be valued
either for rarity, for the place which they may fill in some
collection, or for the intrinsic excellence of the edition. Customers
for the rarities are found amongst numerous collectors, and to a more
limited extent in the large public libraries. Many individual buyers
prefer the sterling editions printed on rag paper by the old masters
of the craft to books of modern production, and so create a market for
good old editions. Modern editions of standard authors are produced so
cheaply, however, that an old edition will bring but a small price
unless it has some distinguishing merit.

These points should be borne in mind by those who have books to sell.
They should remember, also, that the public is to-day no longer
interested in many subjects on which books were printed in the past.
It should also be known that the arts, the sciences, and the
professions, have made such advances that old books on these subjects
are of little more value than waste paper, excepting in the few
notable cases of books which are of historical importance to the
student as landmarks of progress. The omission of these works, of
obsolete fiction, and the books of the hour, reduce the bulk of the
ordinary collection to a small value.

It may then properly be asked where the valuable books come from, and
how are they obtained? It may safely be stated that most rarities
to-day are discovered in out-of-the-way places, in old collections or
libraries, attics, or from sources which have not been investigated by
the keen-eyed collectors and dealers. There are comparatively few
houses, at least in the most thickly settled parts of this country,
which have no books, and in a considerable number of these collections
there are at least some books which have a degree of rarity and a
special commercial value. The large private libraries are also
constantly being dispersed, and, excepting always the books which are
being absorbed by the permanent collections of public institutions,
form a constant supply, passing from the owner to dealer, from him to
a new owner, only to find their way eventually to the market again.

Books are not valuable merely because of age (excepting those printed
in the fifteenth century), nor solely on account of their rarity. It
is quite apparent that a rare book for which there is no demand can
have no value. It is the combination of desirability and rarity which
gives value, and that value fluctuates with the demand, being subject
to the caprice of the collector or the fashion of the day. This may be
illustrated by the collecting of first editions. Thirty years ago the
first editions of modern authors brought small prices; twenty years
later they were eagerly sought for; while now a reaction is taking
place, and only the great rarities in this line find a ready sale.

At the present time the books which are most quickly sold in this
country are those relating to American history, particularly those on
the discovery and settlement of the continent, the Indians, the
American Revolution, navy, local history, and genealogy, etc. Books on
these subjects which are really rare, find a ready sale.

First editions of the early books in _belles-lettres_, books with
presentation inscriptions from their authors, books containing unusual
examples of early engravers, or those made famous by the illustrative
work of such artists as Rowlandson, Leech, and Cruikshank; these are a
few of the lines in which there are numerous collectors, but it should
be understood that they are only a few of the more conspicuous out of
hundreds of similar lines of interest. The number of collectors is
multiplying with the increase of the country's wealth, and there is a
growing tendency for collectors to take up new subjects, which very
much broadens the interest in the books of bygone days. To enumerate
these subjects at length would be but to detail the personal interests
and hobbies of thousands of cultivated collectors. It may be safely
prophesied that books which are regarded to-day as rare and desirable
by any considerable number of collectors will, on the whole, command a
steady increase in value. The tendency, however, is strongly toward a
decrease in the value of books of moderate value and a large increase
in the value of especially desirable items. The accounts given in the
daily press of the finding of valuable books are the innocent means of
misleading a great many people, who labor under the delusion that
because one early edition of a book commands a large price, another
edition of about the same time must necessarily have the same value.
This is one of many errors which the public entertains regarding rare
books. Not only does a few years' difference in the date of
publication mean the difference between a large value and none at all,
but often two editions, apparently the same, bearing identical
title-pages, possess differences in text, which are known only to the
expert, but which make a vast difference in their value. Books
otherwise valuable, but containing material defects (such as lack of
pages or portions of pages), are thereby very much reduced in value;
in fact, the value of an imperfect book is usually but a small
fraction of that of a perfect example. Not only do these grosser
defects reduce the value, but it sometimes happens that the mere
absence of a half title, or advertising leaves, or even the flyleaves,
will make a considerable difference. Such points also as the size of
the copy, whether it is in original binding or not, or, if rebound,
whether the edges have been trimmed by the binder,--these all have an
important bearing upon prices. As a rule, the nearer the book is to
the original state in which it left the publisher's hands, the more
valuable it will be.

The art of the second-hand bookseller requires a knowledge of the
science of bibliography, and painstaking attention to the details and
orderly arrangement of stock, with a classification by subjects. Other
things are desirable, but these are indispensable. The stock of
second-hand books should be kept in such a manner that any book
inquired for can be instantly located. Nothing is more irritating both
to the dealer and to the customer than an unsuccessful search for a
book known to be in stock. There are probably very few books which at
some time will not be desired by some person; in fact, a large portion
of the books in a dealer's stock would be instantly sold if he could
understand the particular feature which would be of interest to the
possible customer. Usually, the feature is there, and the customer
exists. It is the bookseller's business to find both.

There is no business in which a thorough knowledge of the stock and a
painstaking attention to small details are of more importance than in
the selling of books, and without them the second-hand bookseller's
establishment degenerates to the level of the junk shop.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Building of a Book - A Series of Practical Articles Written by Experts in the - Various Departments of Book Making and Distributing" ***

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