By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A short history of the printing press and of the improvements in printing machinery from the time of Gutenberg up to the present day
Author: Hoe, Robert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A short history of the printing press and of the improvements in printing machinery from the time of Gutenberg up to the present day" ***

                         A Short History of
                         The Printing Press

                         A Short History of
                         The Printing Press
                     And of the Improvements in
                     Printing Machinery from the
                         to the Present Day

          [Illustration: FROM A MEDAL BY SCHARFF OF VIENNA]

                      PRINTED AND PUBLISHED FOR
                             ROBERT HOE
                              NEW YORK

                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

      THE PRINTING PRESS                                         5
      THE EARLIEST FORM OF THE PRINTING PRESS                    6
      THE BLAEW PRESS                                            7
      STANHOPE PRESS                                             8
      CLYMER’S COLUMBIAN PRESS                                   8
      PETER SMITH HAND PRESS                                     9
      WASHINGTON HAND PRESS                                     10
      ISAAC ADAM’S BED AND PLATEN PRESS                         14
      SINGLE SMALL CYLINDER PRESS                               18
      DOUBLE CYLINDER PRESS                                     18
      SINGLE LARGE CYLINDER PRESS                               19
      STOP CYLINDER LITHOGRAPHIC PRESS                          26
      ROTARY ZINCOGRAPHIC OR ALUMINUM PRESS                     27
      APPLEGATH’S TYPE-REVOLVING PRESS                          40
      BULLOCK PRESS                                             42
      LONDON TIMES ROTARY MACHINE                               46
      FIRST HOE WEB PRESS                                       50
      DOUBLE SUPPLEMENT PRESS                                   51
      QUADRUPLE PRESS                                           59
      STRAIGHT-LINE PRESS                                       59
      SEXTUPLE PRESS                                            62
      APPLETON ROTARY BOOK PRESS                                68
      THREE PAGE WIDE PRESS                                     70
      NEWSPAPER AND PAMPHLET PRESS                              71
      ROTARY ART PRESS                                          75
      “TIT BITS” PRESS                                          80
      OCTUPLE PRESS                                             81
      “COLLIER’S WEEKLY” PRESS                                  90

[Illustration: FUST AND SCHOEFFER]

[Illustration: CAXTON]

[Illustration: WYNKYN DE WORDE]

                         THE PRINTING PRESS

from movable types. No method of taking the impressions simpler than
that employed by him can be imagined, unless it be with a “buffer,”
or by means of a brush rubbed over the paper laid upon the “form”
of type, after the manner of the Chinese in printing from engraved
blocks. His printing press consisted of two upright timbers, with
cross pieces of wood to stay them together at the top and bottom.
There were also intermediate cross timbers, one of which supported
the flat “bed” upon which the type was placed, and through another
a wooden screw passed, its lower point resting on the centre of a
wooden “platen,” which was thus screwed down upon the type. After
inking the form with a ball of leather stuffed with wool, the printer
spread the paper over it, laying a piece of blanket upon the paper to
soften the impression of the platen and remove inequalities. This was
the machine which Gutenberg used. The mechanical principle embodied
in it was found in the old cheese and linen presses ordinarily seen
in the houses of medieval times.


Were Gutenberg called upon to print his Bible to-day he would find
virtually the same type ready for his purpose as that made by
him, no change having taken place in its general conformation; but
he would be bewildered in the maze of printing machinery of the
beginning of the twentieth century.

The simple form of wooden press, worked with a screw by means of a
movable bar, continued in use for about one hundred and fifty years,
or until the early part of the seventeenth century, without any
material change. The forms of type were placed upon the same wooden
and sometimes stone beds, incased in frames called “coffins,” moved
in and out laboriously by hand, and after each impression the platen
had to be screwed up with the bar so that the paper which had been
printed upon it might be removed and hung up to dry.

[Illustration: THE BLAEW PRESS]

The first recorded improvements in this press were made by William
Jensen Blaew, a printer of Amsterdam, some time about 1620. They
consisted in passing the spindle of the screw through a square block
which was guided in the wooden frame, and from this block the platen
was suspended by wires or cords; the block, or box, preventing any
twist in the platen, and insuring a more equal motion to the screw.
He also placed a device upon the press for rolling in and out the
bed, and added a new form of iron hand lever for turning the screw.
Blaew’s press was introduced into England, and used there as well
as on the continent, being substantially the same as that Benjamin
Franklin worked upon as a journeyman in London, early in the last

[Illustration: STANHOPE PRESS]

Little further improvement was made in the printing press before
the year 1798, when the Earl of Stanhope caused one to be made,
the frame of which, instead of being of wood, was one piece of
cast-iron. A necessity had arisen for greater power in giving the
impression, especially in the printing of woodcuts, and the tendency
was naturally toward larger forms of type, requiring greater exertion
on the part of the printer; the labor in working one of the old
screw presses was about equal to that of the plowman in the field.
The Earl of Stanhope reserved the screw, but caused to be added a
combination of levers to assist the pressman in gaining greater
power, when giving the impression, with less expenditure of energy.
These machines were very heavy and extremely cumbersome. They were
the first iron printing presses ever constructed, and came into
use to some extent. The printers, seizing upon this new idea of a
combination of levers to increase the power, were induced to place
them upon their wooden presses, the improvement resulting generally
in the destruction of the latter, which were not adapted to stand
the strain. The iron platen employed by the Earl of Stanhope had,
however, previously been used upon the wooden presses.


The next practical improvement was made by George Clymer of
Philadelphia, who, about 1816, devised an iron machine, entirely
dispensing with a screw. A long, heavy cast-iron lever was placed
over the platen, one end attached to one of the uprights of the
cast-iron frame, and the other susceptible of being raised and
lowered by a combination of smaller levers, worked by the pressman
after the manner of the ordinary hand press. The impression was given
and the platen raised and lowered by a spindle, or pin, attached to
the centre of the large cross lever at the top, this being properly
balanced to facilitate its being raised with greater ease. Mr. Clymer
carried his invention to England, where it was introduced to some
extent and was known as the “Columbian” press.


In England there were iron hand presses made by Rutheven, by Brown
and by others, all, more or less, improvements upon the Stanhope.

In 1822 Peter Smith, an American, connected with the firm of R. Hoe
& Co. in New York, devised a machine which was in many respects
superior to any up to that time. The frame was of cast-iron, and in
place of the screw with levers, he substituted a toggle joint, at
once simple and effective.

In 1827, however, Samuel Rust of New York, perfected an invention
which was a great improvement on the Smith press. The frame, instead
of being all of cast-iron, had the uprights at the sides hollowed
for the admission of wrought-iron bars, which were securely
riveted at the top and bottom of the casting. This gave not only
additional strength, but greatly diminished the amount of metal used
in construction. This patent was purchased by R. Hoe & Co., who
improved upon it, and proceeded with the manufacture of the presses,
although the “Smith” continued to be used to some extent. The new
invention was known as the “Washington” press, and in principle
and construction has never been surpassed by any hand printing
machine. They were manufactured in great numbers, and continue to be
manufactured and sold at the present time for taking fine proofs,
although the universal adoption of the cylinder press has almost
entirely superseded them for other printing. The number made and sold
by Hoe & Co. alone, a majority of which are now in use, is over six
thousand. They have been sent all over the world. This style of press
is made in seven sizes.


The following is a description of this press: The bed slides on a
track and is run in and out from under the platen by turning a crank
which has belts attached to a pulley upon its shaft. The impression
of the platen is given by means of a curved lever acting on a toggle
joint, and the platen is lifted by springs on either side. Attached
to the bed is a “tympan” frame covered with cloth, and standing
inclined, to receive the sheet to be printed. Another frame, called
the “frisket,” is attached to the tympan, and covered with a sheet
of paper, having the parts which otherwise would be printed upon cut
away, so as to prevent the “chase” and “furniture” from blacking
or soiling the sheet. The frisket is turned down over the sheet
and tympan and all are folded down when the impression is taken.
Automatic inking rollers were attached to this machine, operated by a
weight raised by the pull of the pressman, the descent of the weight
drawing the rollers over the type and returning them to the inking
cylinder while the pressman placed another sheet upon the tympan.
Still further improvements in this inking apparatus were made and
patented by Hoe & Co., in which the distribution of the ink on the
rollers was effected by means of an apparatus driven by steam power
and which also caused the inking rollers to move forward over the
type at the will of the pressman.


The bed and platen system of printing was, up to the middle of the
nineteenth century, the favorite method of printing fine books and
cuts. The first “power” or steam press upon this principle was made
by Daniel Treadwell, of Boston, in 1822. The frames were of wood, and
it does not appear that more than three or four of these were ever
constructed. The best machines of this description were those devised
and patented by Isaac Adams, of Boston, in 1830 and 1836, and by Otis
Tufts, of the same place, in 1834. They were first made with wooden
and afterward with iron frames. In 1858 Adams’s business became the
property of Hoe & Co., who continued to manufacture the machines with
added improvements. In all more than a thousand, in no less than
fifty-seven sizes, were sold for use in the United States, some being
sent to other countries. In these machines, the type is placed upon
an iron bed, after the usual manner of the hand press, and this bed
is raised and lowered by straightening and bending a toggle joint
by means of a cam, thus giving the impression upon the iron platen
fixed above it, and firmly held in position by upright iron rods
secured to the bottom bar, a strong cross-piece, at the base of the
machine. The ink fountain is at one end of the press; the inking
rollers travel twice over the form, in a movable frisket frame, while
the bed is down; the paper is taken in by grippers on the frisket
and carried over the form, when the bed rises and the impression is
given; and finally the sheets pass forward from the frisket by tapes
to a sheet flier, which delivers them on the fly board. One thousand
sheets per hour is the maximum speed of the larger sizes of the Adams
press. Although many of these machines were made and great numbers
are still used, and notwithstanding the fact that it was thought by
many experienced printers that fine book and cut work could be done
in no other way than by flat pressure, this system of printing has
given place to that of the cylinder press.


The idea of printing from plates or forms carried upon a flat
bed beneath a cylinder was not a new one, having been employed
by printers of copper-plate engravings in the fifteenth century.
Their machines, however, were rude in form, and made of wood, the
roller revolving in stationary bearings, while the bed, with the
plate upon it and carrying the paper, covered by a blanket, on its
surface, moved backward and forward under the roller. The inking was
done by hand with balls. With the inauguration of this system of
printing from type or forms placed upon a flat bed moved forwards
and backwards under a revolving cylinder, commenced an entirely new
era in the history of the printing press. It should be understood,
however, that the vast number of patents granted for printing
machines in which the cylinder is connected with the bed, or by
the operation of two cylinders together, one holding the form and
the other giving the impression, are almost all for improvements
and devices of detail, the radical principles upon which these are
founded remaining the same. Thus, Sir Rowland Hill, in the early
part of the nineteenth century, projected a machine for printing from
an endless roll, or “web” of paper; and in 1790 an Englishman named
William Nicholson (author, inventor, patent agent, editor and school
teacher) took out a patent covering the idea of cylinder presses in
which the forms should be placed upon either a flat bed or cylinder
at will and receive the impression from a cylinder covered with cloth
or some similar material. Between the bed and cylinder, or between
the two cylinders, the sheet was to be fed in and printed. The ink
was to be put on by a roller built up of cloth and covered with
leather. There is, however, a great difference between an actual
invention and a scheme. If the simple proposition advanced to make a
machine upon this principle, without its consummation, or without any
press being produced, can be considered an invention, then Nicholson
may (as a writer on the subject states) have been “so far ahead of
his time as to leap over three generations” by his invention. As a
matter of fact, however, his patents were mostly schemes, and little
more, as a moment’s reflection will convince. He did not know how
to curve the plates to be put upon the cylinders, nor how to secure
them properly for good work--in fact, he did not know how to make the
plates in any practicable manner. All these questions remained to be
solved in order that the printing press might be an invention. On
this account, therefore, I do not give descriptions of proposals to
make machines, but of presses that have been actually made, and used
sufficiently to entitle them to recognition as practical improvements
exemplifying the progressive evolution of the printing press.

The foundation and growth of newspapers first published periodically,
and finally each day, created a demand for machines which should
print with rapidity, and fine work was delegated for the time being
to the flat bed and platen press, most of it, as has been seen, being
turned out upon the hand press.

The credit of actually introducing into use a flat bed Cylinder
Press is due to a Saxon named Friederich Koenig, who visited England
in 1806, and through the assistance of Thomas Bensley, a printer
in London, devised a machine which in 1812-1813 was worked by him,
and printed, among other publications, a part of “Clarkson’s Life
of William Penn.” Koenig was assisted by a mechanic named Andrew
Bauer, a fellow-countryman. The form of type was placed on a flat
bed, the cylinder above it having a three-fold motion, or stopping
three times; the first third of the turn receiving the sheet upon
one of the tympans and securing it by the frisket; the second giving
the impression and allowing the sheet to be removed by hand, and the
third returning the tympan empty to receive another sheet.

These men also devised what has proved, even to this day, to be a
most efficient reciprocating motion of the type bed. It consists of
a pinion carried on the inner end of a long shaft which is turned by
gearing from the outside of the press frame and has in its length a
universal joint, allowing an up-and-down motion of the pinion as it
revolves. To the outer end of the shaft the wheel connecting with
the impression cylinder is attached. Underneath the bed and fastened
to it is a “rack,” or a row of teeth, with a crescent-shaped segment
of hard metal at each end. In this rack, in addition to the teeth,
are pins, or studs, at each end. The wheel before referred to, at
the outer end of the shaft, being set in motion revolves the pinion
and moves the bed by means of the teeth in this rack. At the proper
moment, calling for the reversal of the bed, the pinion turns around
over one of the pins or studs, against the segment on the rack, and
immediately re-engages its teeth in the opposite side of the rack, so
carrying the bed back again. This motion is repeated at the opposite
end of the rack, and the bed again stopped and returned by the pinion
revolving against the segment and again over the rack, thus giving a
reciprocating motion to the bed.

In 1814 Koenig patented a continuously revolving Cylinder Press.
The part of the periphery of the cylinder not used for giving the
impression is slightly reduced in diameter, so as to allow the form
to return under it freely after giving an impression. He showed
designs adapting it for use as a single Cylinder Press, and also a
two Cylinder Press, both for printing one side of the paper at a
time; likewise a two Cylinder Press for printing both sides of the
paper at one operation. In this later press, the two forms were
placed one at each end of a long bed, and the paper after being
printed on one side by one cylinder, was carried by tapes over a
registering roller to the other cylinder, where it was printed
upon the reverse side. This press, termed a “perfecting press,”
was afterwards improved by Applegath & Cowper so as to be a very
efficient machine.

Koenig erected in the office of the London “Times” in 1814 two of the
two Cylinder Presses mentioned above, which printed on one side of
the paper only, at the rate of 800 sheets per hour.

Koenig, however, was not alone in his efforts to perfect a Cylinder
Press. Various patents were gotten out by Bacon & Donkin in 1813; by
Cowper in 1816 and again in 1818; and by Applegath in 1818. But the
most ingenious and practical device in connection with the movements
of a flat bed and a cylinder for printing machines was patented by
Napier in 1828 and 1830. He was the first who introduced “grippers,”
or “fingers,” for the conveyance of the sheets around the cylinder
during the impression, and for delivering them after printing. Tapes
or strings had previously been employed for this purpose. He was also
the first to manufacture presses in which the impression cylinders
are of small size and make two or more revolutions to each sheet
printed, and he devised the toggles for bringing the cylinders down
to print on the form and for raising them to let the form run back
without touching.



The news of these later inventions reached New York in due time,
and in 1832 Robert Hoe, who had been some time established in the
manufacture of printing presses, sent a young man, Sereno Newton
(whom he afterwards took in partnership with him), to England to
investigate the subject and see what improvements were worthy of
adoption. The result was the construction of the machines known as
the “Single Small Cylinder” and “Double Small Cylinder,” also the
large Cylinder “Perfecting” Press, which have continued, with many
alterations and improvements, to be manufactured up to the present


Hoe & Co. had previously made the first flat bed and cylinder press
ever used in the United States. It was the pattern known as the
“Single Large Cylinder,” the whole circumference of the cylinder
being equivalent to the entire travel of the bed forwards and
backwards, the cylinder making one revolution for each impression
in printing, without stopping. Only a portion of the cylinder was
employed to take the impression, the remainder of its circumference
being turned down small enough to allow the type on the bed to pass
back under it without touching. Hundreds of these machines were made
and are now in use, and they are still made at the present day, with
patented sheet fliers and other devices and improvements in the
methods of manufacture. Other similar presses were made later by
the press-makers A. B. Taylor, A. Campbell, C. B. Cottrell, and C.
Potter, Jr.

The patented sheet flier before referred to, and which was used on
the “Adams” bed and platen press, was greatly improved by Hoe & Co.
and placed upon all their cylinder presses.

Before proceeding further with an account of the faster newspaper
presses, it may be well to complete the history of machines employed
up to this time for book, job and woodcut printing. For this purpose
the “Single Large Cylinder,” already described, was first used. In
England there were the “Napier” presses, the “Wharfdale” and many
others, all involving the same general principle, and capable of
turning out more or less satisfactory work, in proportion to the
perfection of their construction and the skill of those operating
them. Most of the English machines, however, show defects in
mechanical construction. In fact, the supremacy of the American
printing press is maintained in a large measure by the simplicity,
accuracy and perfection of its mechanism. Foreign presses, made by
the cheap labor of Europe, have been repeatedly brought to this
country and introduced into printing offices. They have never,
however, lasted long, most of them having perished in the using or
been found unprofitable.

There have been various modifications of the principle underlying the
Napier movement for flat-bed presses, i. e., having the driving wheel
engage the rack at all times, reversing the movement by turning about
the ends of the rack and driving the bed alternately in opposite

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 shock or

The “Miehle” Press is a modified form of this movement; the crank pin
or roller is attached to the side of the bed wheel, and at the ends
of the uniform movement it is enclosed within the walls of a vertical
guideway formed at each end of the rack supporting frame, and passes
through the length of this guide as it performs its function of
reversing the bed.

An improvement in this class of bed motions has lately been made and
patented by Hoe & Co. In this machine the crank pin, which controls
the reversal of the motion of the type bed, moves in a rectilinear
instead of a circular pathway. As the motion of the crank is thus
directly in line with the travel of the bed, it is possible to lock
the journal box, enclosing the pin, securely to the bed, while the
bed is being controlled by the action of the crank, and thereby
avoids the friction and consequent wear of parts that occur when the
crank pin moves in a circular line. The movement of the crank is
obtained from the rotatory motion of the bed wheel, and has the same
varying velocities as would be derived from a crank traveling in a
circular pathway. It, therefore, checks the momentum of the bed with
ease, brings the bed to rest, and returns it with an accelerating
motion while under positive control. The wearing of parts is thus
reduced to the minimum, insuring an accuracy of register and
exactness of motion hitherto unattainable. A press with a bed
measuring 48 × 65 inches runs without jar or vibration at a speed of
1,800 impressions an hour.

The press of the present day from which the finest letterpress and
woodcut work is turned off is known as the “Stop Cylinder.” This
was devised and patented by a Frenchman named Dutartre, in 1852,
and introduced into this country about 1853 by Hoe & Co., who have
since patented many improvements upon it. It was a surprise to many
printers to find that this machine could do work which heretofore it
had been supposed the hand press only was capable of performing.


The Stop Cylinder Press may be described as follows: The type is
secured upon a traveling iron bed, which moves back and forth upon
friction rollers of steel, the bed being driven by a simple crank
motion, stopping and starting it without noise or jar. All the
running portions of this bed are made of fine steel as hard as it
can be worked. The cylinder is stopped by a cam motion pending the
backward travel of the bed, and during the interval of rest the sheet
is fed down against the guides and the grippers closed upon it before
the cylinder starts, thus insuring the utmost accuracy of register.
After the impression, the sheet is transferred to a skeleton
cylinder, also containing grippers, which receives, and delivers it,
over fine cords, upon the sheet flier, which in turn deposits it
upon the table. The distribution of the ink is effected partly by a
vibrating, polished, steel cylinder, and partly upon a flat table
at the end of the traveling bed, the number of form-inking rollers
varying from four to six. This is without doubt the most perfect flat
bed cylinder printing machine that has ever been devised. It is
made in various sizes. The average output of one of these presses
with a bed 36 × 54 inches is from 1,000 to 1,500 impressions per hour.

The demand being constantly for machines taking on larger sized
forms, there has been lately constructed and patented by R. Hoe & Co.
an entirely new Stop Cylinder Press, having a bed 45 × 62 inches, and
which can be run at a speed of 1,700 impressions an hour. The main
points of difference between the Stop Cylinder Press for type forms
and the Lithographic Press is in the form of the bed only, the other
portions, including the driving apparatus, being almost identical;
therefore the same general description applies to these new machines
for both classes of work. A great objection to flat-bed presses of
large size has always been the height of the cylinder from the floor,
necessitated by the increased dimensions of the driving apparatus
under the bed. In these new presses the bed is reciprocated as usual
by a crank motion, but made exceptionally strong and compounded. This
method of construction not only gives the increased speed but makes
the bed of the machine low down, so that it is better under the hand
and eye of the operator. The product of the machine is delivered
printed side up, by a patented take-off apparatus, which takes the
sheets from the impression cylinder by grippers in a reciprocating
carriage and deposits them upon a table. No tapes or guides come in
contact with the freshly printed ink.


Keeping pace with the improved methods and machines employed in
typographic printing, and influenced thereby, the lithographic and
kindred branches of printing have also made progress, induced mainly,
however, by the general striving for more rapid and economical
production. This has been accomplished by using larger stones, paper
and machines, and by employing rotary machines for some work. The
use of curved stones for lithography being impracticable for many
reasons, a substitute was found in plates or sheets made of zinc
or aluminum, which, when properly prepared, possess properties akin
to those in lithographic stones. Being flexible, these sheets are
easily stretched over the curved surface of a cylinder. Although
the development of this branch of printing is due, chiefly, to
the French and Germans, much has been done in this country toward
its improvement, and work is produced upon Rotary Zincographic or
Aluminum Presses that compares favorably with that produced from
stones, and at double the speed. The smaller of these presses,
printing only one color at a time, prints on sheets 30 × 44 inches,
at a speed up to 2,000 impressions per hour; the larger presses of
the same kind print on sheets 44 × 64 inches, at a speed up to 1,700
impressions per hour, although the machines may be run even faster,
according to the dexterity of the feeder.


Two-Color Rotary Presses are in successful operation in different
parts of this country. In these machines there are two plate
cylinders and one impression cylinder, each of the plate cylinders
having its own inking and dampening appliances. The sheet of paper,
after being fed to the grippers of the impression cylinder, receives
one printing from the first plate cylinder, and a second printing,
in a different color, from the second plate cylinder, and is then
released from the grippers and delivered in the usual manner by
the sheet flier. The size of the sheets printed is 44 × 64 inches,
and running at a speed of 1,700 revolutions per hour, the number
of printings is 3,400, or double that obtained from the one-color
machine of the same size.

We now return to a further consideration of the newspaper press.
The “Single Small Cylinder” and “Double Small Cylinder” machines
heretofore described as primarily the invention of Napier, and
perfected by Hoe & Co. and made by them, came into general use in the
United States. In construction and for the quantity and quality of
work produced they excelled any made in England; the output of one
of the “Single Cylinder” presses reaching 2,000 impressions per hour,
or about as fast as the feeder could lay down the sheets. When still
greater speed was required the “Double Cylinder” press was used, the
travel of the bed being of such length that the form of type passed
backward and forward under both cylinders. Two feeders accordingly
put in the sheets; the maximum speed obtained being about 2,000 from
each cylinder, or 4,000 from the two cylinders per hour, printed on
one side. It was evident, both in England and America, that something
faster must be devised. The growing demand for papers containing
the latest news necessitated increasing effort on the part of the
machine-makers. The presses of Dryden & Ford, Middleton, and others
in England failed to meet the requirements there, as did the “Single”
and “Double” Cylinders in America.



In 1845 and 1846 the firm of R. Hoe & Co. in New York were busily
engaged upon plans and inventions for presses which should meet the
increased requirements of the newspapers in America. The result
was the construction of a press known as the “Hoe Type Revolving
Machine,” embodying patents taken out by Richard M. Hoe. The
first one of these machines was placed in the “Ledger” office in
Philadelphia, in 1846. The basis of these inventions consisted in
an apparatus for securely fastening the forms of type on a central
cylinder placed in a _horizontal_ position. This was accomplished
by the construction of cast-iron beds, one for each page of the
newspaper. The column rules were made “V” shaped; i. e., tapering
toward the feet of the type. It was found that, with proper
arrangement for locking up or securing the type upon these beds, it
could be held firmly in position, the surface form a true circle,
and the cylinder revolved at any speed required without danger of
the type falling out. Around this central cylinder from four to
ten impression cylinders, according to the output required, were
grouped. The sheets were fed in by boys, and taken from the feed
board by automatic grippers, or fingers, operated by cams in the
impression cylinders, and which conveyed them around against the
revolving form of the central cylinder. Here again a great advantage
was gained by the use of the patented sheet flier, consisting of
a row of long wooden fingers fastened to the shaft, and operated
by a cam and springs; the sheet after printing being conducted out
underneath each feed board by means of tapes to the sheet fliers,
which laid them in piles on tables; the number of fliers and tables
corresponding to the number of impression cylinders. The inking was
accomplished by the use of composition rollers placed between each of
the impression cylinders; the fountain being below, underneath the
main type cylinder. The portion of the surface of this type cylinder,
not occupied by the type itself, was utilized as a distributing
table, its surface being lower than that of the type, and the inking
rollers rising and falling alternately to place the ink on the type
and receive a new supply from the distributing surface. The first of
these presses had only four impression cylinders, necessitating four
boys to feed the sheets. The running speed obtained was about 2,000
sheets to each feeder per hour, thus giving, with what was called
a “Four Feeder” or “Four Cylinder” machine, a running capacity of
about 8,000 papers, per hour, printed upon one side. As the demands
of the newspapers increased, more impression cylinders were added,
until these machines were made with as many as ten grouped around
the central cylinder, giving an aggregate speed of about 20,000
papers per hour printed upon one side. A revolution in newspaper
printing took place. Journals which before had been limited in
their circulation by their inability to furnish the papers rapidly
increased their issues, and many new ones were started. The new
presses were adopted not only throughout the United States, but also
in Great Britain. The first one put up abroad was erected in 1848, in
the office of “La Patrie” in Paris, but the downfall of the Republic
and the re-imposition of a stamp duty, soon put an end to all
enterprise in French newspaper publishing. The English, always slow
to adopt improvements, did not appreciate the value of these presses
until the year 1856, when Edward Lloyd of “Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper”
in London, having seen the one in the office of “La Patrie,” ordered
a “Six-Cylinder” machine. This was erected in his office in Salisbury
Square, Fleet Street, London, in the following year. It was no sooner
in operation and seen by the other newspaper proprietors than orders
were received from the London “Times” for two “Ten-Cylinder” presses,
to replace the Applegath machine they were then using. The order
for these machines was a gratifying tribute to American ingenuity,
for the “Times” in December, 1848, in an article on the starting
of the Applegath vertical cylinder press, stated that “No art of
packing could make the type adhere to a cylinder revolving around a
horizontal axis and thereby aggravating centrifugal impulse by the
intrinsic weight of the metal.” Eventually orders from almost all of
the leading newspapers in Great Britain and Ireland were received.

In the meantime various experiments had demonstrated the possibility
of casting stereotype plates on a curve. The process was brought to
perfection by the use of flexible paper matrices, upon which the
metal was cast in curved moulds to any circle desired, and these
plates were placed upon the Hoe “Type Revolving Machine” upon beds
adapted to receive them instead of the type forms. The newspaper
publishers were thus enabled to duplicate the forms, and run several
machines at the same time with a view of turning out the papers
with greater rapidity. In some large offices, such as the New York
“Herald,” London “Daily Telegraph,” and the London “Standard,” as
many as five of these machines were in constant operation. About
this time the stamp duty in England of one penny upon each sheet of
printed matter was repealed. This in itself aided materially in the
development of the newspaper press.


After the return of Koenig to Germany, an Englishman named
Applegath, in connection with a machinist named Cowper, made
various improvements, mostly in the way of simplifying Koenig’s
presses. After many experiments, they in 1848 constructed for the
London “Times” an elaborate machine, entirely upon the cylindrical
principle. All of the cylinders of this machine instead of being
horizontal, as in presses heretofore used, were vertical. The
type was placed upon a large upright central cylinder, but the
circumference instead of presenting a complete circle represented
as many flat surfaces as there were columns in the newspaper, the
forms thus being polygonal. Around this central or form cylinder were
placed eight smaller vertical cylinders for taking the impression,
inking rollers being introduced to ink the type as it passed
alternately from one of these impression cylinders to another. The
sheets were fed down by hand from eight flat horizontal feed-boards
through tapes; then grasped by another set of tapes and passed
sideways between the impression cylinder and the type cylinder, thus
obtaining sheets printed upon one side. The impression cylinder
delivered them, still in a vertical position, into the hands of boys,
one stationed at each cylinder to receive them. The results obtained
from this machine were in a measure satisfactory, as the number of
papers printed per hour upon one side, from one form of type, was
materially increased; not, however, in proportion to the number of
impression cylinders placed around it, as the press at its best could
produce but 8,000 impressions per hour, on one side of the sheets.
Having devised no means to lock up the type other than in flat
columns, the polygonal form was a necessity, and the irregularities
in it were made up by underlaying the blankets on the impression
cylinders to take up these inequalities. Although this press, used in
the London “Times” office, was the only one of the kind ever made,
its size and importance warrant some record and description of it.
This machine was taken out to make way for Hoe Type Revolving

In 1835 Sir Rowland Hill had suggested the possibilities of a machine
which should print both sides at once from a roll of paper. It is
well known that for many years cotton cloths had been printed in
this way, the cylinders being engraved and the cloth after printing
being reeled up again. The suggestion, however, was accompanied by no
practical knowledge as to the details, and, above all, no practical
provision for the rapid cutting off and delivery of the paper either
before or after it had been printed. It remained for an American,
William Bullock, of Philadelphia, to construct, in 1865, the first
printing machine to print from a continuous web or roll of paper.
His machine consisted of two pairs of cylinders, i. e., two form or
plate cylinders and two impression cylinders. The second impression
cylinder was made of large size to provide additional tympan surface,
to lessen the offset from the first printed side of the paper. The
stereotype plates were not made to fill the whole circumference of
each of the form cylinders, as the sheets were cut before printing.
One difficulty he had to contend with was the cutting off of the
sheets with sufficient accuracy and rapidity. This he accomplished by
severing them by means of knives in cylinders. The sheets were then
carried through the press by tapes and fingers, and delivery sought
to be accomplished by means of a series of automatic metal nippers
placed upon endless leather belts at such distance apart as to grasp
each sheet successively as it came from the last printing cylinders.
This machine was put up in several offices and rejected because of
its unreliability, especially in the delivery of the papers, but it
was finally so far perfected that it came into use to a considerable

[Illustration: BULLOCK PRESS]

Meanwhile the proprietors of the London “Times” inaugurated
experiments with the view of making a rotary perfecting press, and
finally started the first one in that office about 1868. It was
similar in construction to the “Bullock” press so far as the printing
apparatus was concerned, excepting that the cylinders were all of one
size and placed one above the other. The sheets were severed after
printing, brought up by tapes, and carried down to a sheet flier
which moved back and forth, and “flirted” the sheets alternately into
the hands of two boys seated opposite one another on either side of
the sheet flier.


Marinoni, of Paris, also devised a machine on a similar principle,
making the impression and the form cylinder of one size, and placed
them one above the other. The “Marinoni” machine had separate fly
boards for the delivery of the sheets.

In 1871 R. Hoe & Co. also turned their attention to the construction
of a rotary perfecting press to print from a roll or continuous web
of paper.

As before stated, the greatest difficulties to be encountered were:--

First. The set-off of the first side.

Devices were used to overcome this and the ink-makers were induced
to pay special attention to the manufacture of rapid-drying or
non-setting-off inks.

Second. The difficulties in obtaining paper in the roll of uniform
perfection and strength. The paper-makers were led to make a study of
producing large rolls of paper meeting these requirements, and became
much more experienced in its manufacture. The “Walter” press in the
“Times” office had necessitated a very strong and expensive paper,
which could not be afforded by the cheap daily press.

Third. The difficulty of the rapid severing of the sheets after

Fourth. A reliable and accurate delivery of the printed papers.

These last two operations were not accomplished satisfactorily
until the appearance of the Hoe machine. In this press the sheets
were not entirely severed by the cutters, but simply perforated after
the printing. They were then drawn by accelerating tapes, which
completely separated them, onto a gathering cylinder so constructed
that six perfect papers, or any other desired number, could be
gathered one over the other. These, by means of a switch, were at
the proper moment turned off onto one sheet flier, which deposited
them on the receiving board. This gathering and delivery cylinder,
patented by Stephen D. Tucker, a member of the firm of R. Hoe &
Co., solved the problem of rapid flat delivery. The first of these
machines was placed in the office of “Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper,” in
London, and the first one used in the United States in the “Tribune”
office in New York. There was no limit to their capacity for printing
excepting the ability of the paper to stand the strain of passing
through the press, which produced, when put to its speed, 18,000
perfect papers an hour, delivered accurately on one feed-board. The
average speed, however, in printing offices was 12,000, although in
some offices they were run at about 14,000 per hour.

The “Walter” press, made by the London “Times,” was used by it, and
also by the London “Daily News” and by the New York “Times.” Further
than that it made no progress and has now gone entirely out of use,
the presses of this kind in the London “Times” office having been
replaced by machines made by R. Hoe & Co. Meantime their machines
were adopted by most of the large newspapers in the United States and
Great Britain.

These new methods, of course, entirely superseded the “Hoe Type
Revolving Machine,” which had reigned supreme in the newspaper world
for over twenty years, and of which one hundred and seventy-five had
been made, almost all of which have now disappeared.

Up to the middle of the last century the paper had been made from
rags, but as these became unobtainable in sufficient quantity some
substitute had to be found. First straw and afterwards wood pulp
was successfully employed, and paper made from the latter is now in
universal use. Its cheapness (averaging now about three cents per
pound) materially aided the newspapers, and stimulated the printing
machine manufacturers to renewed efforts in devising presses of still
greater speed and efficiency.

It was desirable also that the papers should be delivered folded
ready for the carrier or mail. The first apparatus to accomplish this
was similar in design to the hand-fed folding machine in common use
in printing offices. The sheets, fed separately into these machines,
were carried by tapes running upon pulleys under striking blades,
which forced them between pairs of folding rollers. After the first
fold they were again carried in a similar manner under striking
blades, placed at right angles to the first, and again struck down
between rollers to receive a second fold. This action was continued
until the desired number of folds had been secured. Folders of this
description were attached to the fast presses, but none made could
be worked at a greater speed than about 8,000 per hour, until in
1875 Stephen D. Tucker patented a rotating folding cylinder which
folded papers as fast as they came from the press, or 15,000 in the
hour. The striking blade folders were used in the “Bullock” press, in
machines made by C. Potter, Jr., & Co. and others. Andrew Campbell,
a printing press manufacturer, also constructed a rotary perfecting
press, but his devices were not original. Four or five machines were
made by him, and these soon went out of use.

[Illustration: FIRST HOE WEB PRESS]

The first folders made by Hoe & Co. consisted of the combination
of a “gathering cylinder” with a rotary folding cylinder and tapes
conveying the printed sheets under horizontal folding blades,
somewhat similar to those before described, which thrust them at the
proper moment between folding rollers placed at alternate angles,
finally delivering them on travelling belts by a small flier. The
first of these folding machines were put upon the presses made for
the Philadelphia “Times” and operated in the Centennial Exhibition,
in 1876.

These folders, however, were only the commencement of a long series
of experiments undertaken by the makers in the development of still
faster printing and folding mechanisms, and from this time forward
the progress made has been phenomenal. With great ingenuity, added
to long experience, and by the acquisition and adaptation of every
device which should aid them in their efforts, Hoe & Co. succeeded in
providing machines of unrivalled designs, efficiency and speed.

About 1876 Messrs. Anthony & Taylor of England (the former one of
the owners of a newspaper in Hereford) took out patents for devices
by which the webs of paper could be turned over after printing on
one side and the opposite or reversed side presented to the printing
cylinder. Mr. Hoe, who was in England at the time, appreciating the
possible use and development of these patents, became possessed of
them for England and the United States.

E. L. Ford, engaged in the publication of a newspaper in New
York, patented the uniting of the product of two or more printing
mechanisms and thus producing (in restricted form) a multiple number
of pages at one time. He was unable, however, to develop his plans to
any practical result; but deserves the credit of being the first to
patent, if not to conceive, the idea of the association of printed
sheets for this purpose.


In the various experiments of Hoe & Co. bearing upon the manipulation
of webs of paper some of their devices appeared to encroach upon
patents secured by Luther C. Crowell, inventor, of Boston, who had
made an ingenious machine for forming paper bags. These patents were
immediately secured by purchase and the experimental work proceeded
with the view of adapting some of them to the requirements of the
printing press. After many efforts, and the failure and destruction
of several machines which had been constructed at great expense, the
Hoe “Double Supplement” machine was produced, the first one being
purchased by James Gordon Bennett of the New York “Herald” and put
to work in his office. The result of these efforts has been, for a
third time, a complete revolution of the methods of fast newspaper
printing. The most remarkable features of this machine are: Its
extreme simplicity, considering the varied work it performs, and its
great speed, accuracy and efficiency. It turns out either four, six,
eight, ten or twelve page papers at 24,000 per hour, and sixteen
page papers at 12,000 per hour; the odd pages being in every case
accurately inserted and pasted in, and the papers cut at top and
delivered folded. This machine is constructed in two parts, the
cylinders in one portion being twice the length of those in the
other; the short cylinders being used for the supplements of the
paper when it is desired to print more than eight pages. The plates
being secured on the cylinders, the paper enters from the two rolls
into the two portions of the machine, through each of which it is
carried between the two pairs of type and impression cylinders, and
printed on both sides, after which the two broad ribbons or “webs”
pass over turning bars and other devices, by which they are laid
evenly one over the other, and pasted together. The webs of paper
then pass down upon a triangular “former,” which folds them along
the center margin. They are then taken over a cylinder, from which
they receive the final fold, a revolving blade within this cylinder
projecting and thrusting the paper between folding rollers, while at
the same moment a knife in the same cylinder severs the sheet, and
a rapidly revolving mechanism, resembling in its motion the fingers
of a hand, causes their accurate disposal upon traveling belts,
which convey them on for final removal. From this rather summary
description it will be apparent that the principle of retaining the
paper in the web, or unsevered form, up to the final fold and
delivery, and performing all the operations without retarding the
onward run of the paper, effectually prevents chokes or stoppages
through any miscarriage of sheets severed before the folding. Several
hundred of these machines have been made and put in operation by
the United States; and in offices of the large newspapers in Great
Britain and other countries.

Previous to the introduction of the “Double Supplement” press,
however, Hoe & Co. had made what is known as the “Double Perfecting”
machine. The success of this press, which embraces substantially the
printing and folding devices embodied in the “Double Supplement”
machine, was the connecting link between the ordinary “single” or
two-page-wide press and the “Double Supplement” machine.

[Illustration: QUADRUPLE PRESS]

The next improvement in fast presses was the construction of the
machine known as the “Quadruple” Newspaper Press. This was a
step in advance of anything heretofore attempted. The first one
was constructed in 1887 and placed in the office of the New York
“World.” The same principles were embraced in this as in the “Double
Supplement,” but developed to a greater extent. The supplement
portion of the press was increased in width. By means of ingenious
arrangements and manipulation of the webs of paper this press was
made to produce eight-page papers at a running speed of 48,000 per
hour; also 24,000 per hour of either ten, twelve, fourteen or sixteen
page papers; all delivered with great exactness and perfection; cut
at the top, pasted and folded ready for the carrier or the mails.


Another form of the Double Supplement and Quadruple machines,
embodying substantially the same principles, is what has been termed
the “straight-line” press. In this form of construction the cylinders
are arranged in horizontal rows, or tiers, one above the other, there
being two pairs of cylinders in each tier, with the folding and
delivery apparatus at the end of the machine. Some of these presses,
made under the patent of Joseph L. Firm, and which belong to R. Hoe &
Co., have been constructed.

[Illustration: SEXTUPLE PRESS]

It was thought that the limit of printing capacity in one machine
had been reached in this new invention, but in 1889 the same firm
undertook the task of constructing a machine for Mr. Bennett of the
“New York Herald,” which would even eclipse the “Quadruple” machine,
which had, together with the “Double Supplement” press, superseded
almost all others in the large offices of the United States, as well
as in Great Britain and Australia. The press made for the “New York
Herald” and known as the “Sextuple” machine, occupied about eighteen
months in construction. It is composed of about sixteen thousand
pieces. The general arrangement differs entirely from that of the
“Quadruple” machine. The form and impression cylinders are all placed
parallel, instead of any being at right angles as in the “Quadruple”
and “Double Supplement” Presses. To give an idea of this machine, we
cannot do better than to quote the description of it in the “New York
Herald” of May 10th, 1891.

  “The new Hoe press which is being set up in the ‘Herald,’ Building
  is nothing less than a miracle of mechanism. To say that it is the
  only one of the kind ever built and that it throws all previous
  inventions into the background are facts which the following
  figures abundantly prove.

  “Its consumption of white paper is so astounding that even the
  imagination grows tired and sits down to catch its breath. It is
  fed from three rolls, each being more than five feet wide. When
  it settles down to show its best work it will use up in one hour
  nearly twenty-six miles of this paper, or to make the matter more
  significant, it will use up about fifty-two miles of paper the
  ordinary width of the ‘Herald’ every sixty minutes.

  “Our readers will be startled to learn that it can print and
  fold ninety thousand four-page ‘Heralds’ in an hour. This is,
  to the mind, which is not versed in the problem of rapid printing,
  a feat which makes Aladdin’s lamp an old woman’s fable. Ninety
  thousand per hour means fifteen hundred copies per minute, or
  twenty-five copies for every second of time ticked by the clock in
  Trinity’s steeple.

  “It is, of course, the last and best result of modern
  invention--the highest attainment of genius at the present time.

  “This new press will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver
  72,000 eight-page ‘Heralds’ in one hour, which is equivalent to
  1,200 a minute and 20 a second.

  “It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 48,000
  ten or twelve-page ‘Heralds’ in one hour, which is equivalent to
  800 a minute and a fraction over 13 a second.

  “It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 36,000
  sixteen-page ‘Heralds’ an hour, which is at the rate of 600 a
  minute or 10 a second.

  “It will print, cut, paste, fold, count and deliver complete 24,000
  fourteen, twenty or twenty-four page ‘Heralds’ an hour, which is at
  the rate of 400 a minute, or very nearly seven a second.

  “This is lightning work with a vengeance and yet it is possible
  that there may be some who read this who will live to call it slow.
  That will probably be when they have found out all about how to put
  a harness on electricity. No one can predict when inventive genius
  will reach its limit in the printing press. But for the present
  this new press marks high water mark.

  “Before this press was built the fastest presses in the world were
  Hoe’s ‘Quadruple’ Presses, of which the ‘Herald’ has two. These
  presses turn out 48,000 four, six or eight-page papers an hour,
  24,000 ten, twelve, fourteen or sixteen-page papers an hour, and
  12,000 twenty or twenty-four-page papers an hour, all cut, pasted
  and folded.

  “This new press has a well-nigh insatiable appetite for white
  paper. To satisfy it, it is fed from three rolls at the same time,
  one roll being attached at either end of the press and the third
  suspended near the center. It is the only press that has ever been
  able to accomplish that feat. Each roll is sixty-three inches wide,
  or twice the width of the ‘Herald.’ When doing its best this press
  will consume 25⅞ miles of sixty-three-inch-wide paper--equivalent
  to 51¾ miles of paper the width of the ‘Herald’--in one hour, and
  eject it at the two deliveries in the shape of ‘Heralds,’ each copy
  containing an epitome of the news of the world for the preceding
  twenty-four hours, and each copy cut, pasted and folded ready for
  delivery to the ‘Herald’ readers. It is a sight worth seeing to see
  it done. Certainly we know of nothing else which affords such a
  striking example of the triumph of mechanical genius.

  “A man turns a lever, shafts and cylinders begin to revolve, the
  whirring noise settles into a steady roar, you see three streams
  of white paper pouring into the machine from the three huge rolls,
  and you pass around to the other side--it is literally snowing
  newspapers at each of the two delivery outlets. So fast does one
  paper follow the other that you catch only a momentary glitter from
  the deft steel fingers that seize the papers and cast them out.

  “The machine weighs about fifty-eight tons. It is massive and
  strong, with the strength of a thousand giants. And yet though its
  arms are of steel and its motions are all as rapid as lightning,
  its touch is as tender as that of a woman when she carries her
  babe. How else does the machine avoid tearing the paper? It tears
  very readily, as you often ascertain accidentally when turning over
  the leaves. Truly wonderful it is, and mysterious to anybody but an
  expert, how this huge machine can make newspapers at the rate of
  twenty-five a second without rending the paper all to shreds.

  “It has six plate cylinders, each cylinder carrying eight
  stereotype plates, which represent eight pages of the ‘Herald,’
  and six impression cylinders. These cylinders, when the press is
  working at full speed make 200 revolutions a minute. The period
  of contact between the paper and the plate cylinders is therefore
  inconceivably brief, and how in that fractional space of time a
  perfect impression is made, even to the reproduction of such fine
  lines as are shown in these illustrations, is one of those things
  which, to the man who is not ‘up’ in mechanics, must forever remain
  a mystery. But that it does it you know, because you have the
  evidence of your own eyes.

  “A double folder forms part of this machine. A single folder would
  not be equal to the task imposed upon it. As it is, this double
  folder has to exercise such celerity to keep up with the streams
  of printed paper that descend upon it that its operations are too
  quick for the eye to follow.

  “The press has two delivery outlets. At each the papers are
  automatically counted in piles of fifty. No matter how rapidly
  the papers come out, there is never a mistake in the count. It is
  as sure as fate. By an ingenious contrivance--if I should attempt
  to describe it more definitely most people would be none the
  wiser--each fiftieth paper is shoved out an inch beyond the others
  that have been dropped onto the receiving tapes, thus serving as a
  sort of tally mark.

  “Truly it is a marvelous machine--this Sextuple press. Nowhere
  will you find a more perfect adaption of means to ends; nowhere in
  any branch of industry a piece of mechanism which offers a finer
  example of what human skill and ingenuity is capable of. And it
  is free from that reproach which is sometimes brought against the
  greatest triumph of inventive genius in other departments of human
  activity--that they make mere automatons out of human beings.

  “The printing press is synonymous with progress, with the
  diffusion of knowledge and the spread of ideas. Without the great
  improvements that have been made in it within the memory of many
  men now living the modern newspaper, the best friend of liberty,
  and the greatest foe of tyranny, would be an impossibility. It
  has more than kept pace with the advancement in other departments
  of industry. In 1829 the Washington Hand Press was introduced and
  regarded as quite a mechanical triumph. At its best it printed 250
  impressions an hour on one side, or 125 complete newspapers of
  insignificant dimensions. Now, a little over sixty years later, a
  machine is brought out which, when the number of papers alone is
  compared, does 150 times as much work in the same time, and which,
  if the comparison is extended to the actual amount of printing
  done, does over 2,000 times as much work.”


About 1871 a machine called the “Prestonian” was made by Foster, a
machinist of Preston, England, and two or three were set to work, but
did not enjoy any great degree of favor. They embodied a combination
of the “Hoe Type Revolving Machine” with the “endless sheet
perfecting press.” The form of type for one side of the paper was
placed upon one cylinder, with impression cylinders around it, in the
manner of the Hoe press, and the form for the other side on another
cylinder, and the paper passed from one set of impression cylinders
to the other. The principal objection to this machine was its lack of
speed. The same principle, however, had been developed years before
in the “type revolving perfecting” presses (made by Hoe & Co.) which
have two sets of type forms on separate large cylinders, the sheets
being fed in by hand and conveyed from one impression cylinder to
the other and against the forms by means of fingers or grippers.
The sheets were then delivered on a sheet flier. These presses were
especially designed for printing books, of which large numbers were
required, such as text books and spelling books. The contents of
a whole book could be placed on these cylinders and printed and
delivered at one impression. One of these machines constructed
in 1852 (fifty years ago) is still in operation at Messrs. D.
Appleton & Co.’s printing office in Brooklyn, as active and efficient
as ever.


In 1881 Hoe & Co. turned their attention to the making of a machine
which should print FROM ONE FORM OF TYPE at a greater speed than had
ever yet been attained. The result was the “Rotary Type Endless-sheet
Perfecting Press.” The principle of this machine was in a measure
that of their “Type-Revolving” press. The forms of type for both
sides of the paper were placed on a central cylinder, which was
surrounded by impression cylinders and inking rollers.

There, were, however, no feeders and no grippers. The roll of paper
was placed at the end of the press, passed around the impression
cylinders arranged at one side of the form cylinder, and then turned
upside down at the lower part of the machine, thence being carried
upwards. The opposite or unprinted side was presented in turn between
each impression cylinder and the forms. If four impression cylinders
were placed around the central cylinder then at each revolution of
the latter four perfect papers were printed. If eight impression
cylinders were placed around the central cylinder then eight perfect
papers were printed at one revolution of the main or form cylinder.
The speed attained by this machine with four impression cylinders
was about 12,000 per hour, and from machines with eight impression
cylinders 24,000 copies per hour were printed. This press was
especially adapted for afternoon papers when the time or expense
necessarily involved in stereotyping could not be afforded. The
majority of the machines made were provided with four impression
cylinders only. In the machines with eight impression cylinders two
rolls were used, one at either end of the machine, the paper from
each roll passing under the two first impression cylinders on either
side, each web then being turned over, and paper passed between the
two remaining cylinders on either side to print the opposite sides of
the sheets.

In this machine a folding apparatus was placed at each end to receive
the product of the rolls, but in the machine with four impression
cylinders only one folder was placed, at the end of the machine
opposite that at which the paper entered.

The experience gained in the construction of these fast newspaper
machines, and the accumulation of patented devices entering into
them, which were numbered by the score, had their influence in the
improvements which were made upon presses for the printing of weekly
newspapers, periodicals and magazines.


In 1888 was introduced a patented Hoe machine called the
“Three-page-wide Press.” It has a capacity of printing, perfecting
and delivering two-page papers, with one fold, at the rate of 60,000
per hour; four-page papers, with two folds, at 24,000 per hour,
six-page papers at 24,000 per hour; eight-page papers, folded twice,
or to carrier size, at 12,000 per hour, and twelve-page papers,
folded in the same manner as the eight-page, at the same speed, viz.,
12,000 per hour; all the supplement sheets being inset and pasted if

The prominent features of this machine are:

The outside pages may receive the first or the last impression at
will, thus enabling large cuts and other similar work to be printed
without offset.

Grippers and horizontal folding knives and all tapes but short
leaders are done away with in the delivery and folding mechanisms,
the movements being all rotary.

The press occupies but a small space on the floor, being 6 feet 1
inch high, 8 feet wide and 15 feet 5 inches long over all.


In 1889 Hoe & Co. constructed a patented perfecting machine in which
the plates, or forms, for both sides are placed upon one cylinder,
one side of the form of matter being placed upon one end, or half
of the cylinder, and the other side upon the opposite portion of
the cylinder. One impression cylinder only is used, and the inking
apparatus is greatly extended. This machine is remarkable for the
great variety of work it will do. At a high rate of speed, sheets of
eight, sixteen, twenty-four and so on up to ninety-six or one hundred
and twenty-eight pages may be printed and delivered folded in either
12mo, 8vo, 4to or folio sizes, ready for the binder. The press does
the work of ten flat-bed cylinder presses and ten hand-feed folding
machines. The paper is supplied to the machine from the roll, and
after printing passes over the “former” into the folding machine,
where the folding and cutting cylinders produce the required number
of pages in the form desired. Curved electrotypes are now made
successfully and this press was the first to bring the printing of
the average book and catalogue within the range of web press work.
While in general principles this machine is similar to the large
newspaper perfecting presses, though very much smaller in bulk, it
has increased facilities for distribution, and finer adjustments
throughout. The plates admit of underlays and overlays the same as
on a flat-bed press. There are no tapes, the folding being done on
rollers and small cylinders without smutting the printing. In the
folding apparatus there are knives which cut the sheet into the
right size for folding, after which they are automatically delivered
counted in lots of fifty each. The speed on a thirty-two page form
is about 16,000 copies per hour. This style of machine is probably
destined to revolutionize book and pamphlet printing, as it combines
the finest construction and facility of operation with the greatest

In 1886 a further advance was made toward perfection in the rotary
system of printing as adapted to doing fine work, in the construction
for Theodore L. De Vinne, the printer of the “Century” Magazine,
by Hoe & Co., of a perfecting press to do the plain forms of that
periodical. The machine was described in the magazine, in an article
written by Mr. De Vinne, here quoted from:

(Extract from article published in the “Century” Magazine, November,

  “At the end of a long row of machinery stands the web press--a
  massive and complicated construction, especially built by Hoe & Co.
  for printing, cutting and folding the plain and advertising pages
  of the ‘Century.’ Web presses for newspapers are common enough,
  but this press has distinction as the first, and for three years
  the only, web press used in this country, for good book work. At
  one end of the machine is a great roll of paper more than two
  miles long when unwound, and weighing about 750 pounds. As the
  paper unwinds it passes first over a jet of steam which slightly
  dampens and softens its hard surface and fits it for receiving
  impressions, without leaving it wet or sodden. It passes under a
  plate cylinder, on which are thirty-two curved plates, inked by
  seven large rollers, which print thirty-two pages on one side.
  Then it passes around a reversing cylinder which presents the
  other side of the paper to another plate cylinder, on which are
  thirty-two plates which print exactly on the back the proper pages
  for the thirty-two previously printed. This is done quickly--in
  less than two seconds--but with exactness. But the web of paper is
  still uncut. To do this it is drawn upward under a small cylinder
  containing a concealed knife, which cuts the printed web in strips
  two leaves wide and four leaves long. As soon as cut the sheets
  are thrown forward on endless belts of tape. An ingenious but
  undetectable mechanism gives to every alternate sheet a quicker
  movement, so that it falls exactly over its predecessor, making
  two lapped strips of paper. Busy little adjusters now come in
  play, placing these lapped sheets of paper accurately up to a
  head and a side guide. Without an instant of delay down comes
  a strong creasing blade over the long center of the sheet, and
  pushes it out of sight. Pulleys at once seize the creased sheet
  and press it flat, in which shape it is hurried forward to meet
  three circular knives on one shaft, which cut it across in four
  equal pieces. Disappearing for an instant from view, it comes out
  on the other side of the upper end of the tail of the press in
  the form of four folded sections of eight pages each. Immediately
  after, at the lower end of the tail of the press, out come four
  entirely different sections of eight pages each. This duplicate
  delivery shows the product of the press to be at every revolution
  of the cylinder sixty-four pages, neatly printed, truly cut, and
  accurately registered and folded, ready for the binder. Two boys
  are kept fully employed in seizing the folded sections and putting
  them in box trucks, by which they are rolled out to the elevator,
  and on these sent to the bindery. This web press is not so fast as
  the web press of daily newspapers, but it performs more operations
  and does more accurate work. It is not a large machine, nor is
  it noisy, nor does it seem to be moving fast, but the paper goes
  through the cylinders at the rate of nearly two hundred feet a
  minute. It does ten times as much work as the noisier and more
  bustling presses by its side.”

[Illustration: ROTARY ART PRESS]

The success of this perfecting press induced the makers to devise
a machine on the rotary principle adapted for the finest kind of
illustrations--in short, to make a press which should do work as fine
as it was possible to do on the hand press or the stop cylinder.
The result was the setting up, in 1890, at the De Vinne Press, of a
machine known as the “Rotary Art” press. This machine is described in
the “Century” of November, 1890, as follows:--“Sixty-four plates of
the ‘Century’ truly bent to the proper curve, are firmly fastened on
one cylinder sixty inches long, and about thirty inches in diameter;
sixteen inking rollers, supplied with ink from two fountains,
successfully ink these sixty-four plates with a delicacy and yet
with a fullness of color never before attained. The shafts of the
impression cylinder and the plate cylinders, 4½ inches in diameter,
do not give or spring under the strongest impression. Although rigid
in every part, in the hands of an expert pressman it can be made
responsive to the slightest overlay. This machine is fed by four
feeders from single sheets in the usual manner, and does the work of
four stop cylinders in superior style. The gain in performance is
not as great as the gain in quality of presswork, but quality was
considered more than speed. The performance of the machine could have
been more than doubled by adding to it other cylinders which would
print on both sides of the paper; but careful experiment has proved
that the _finest_ woodcuts cannot be properly printed with this
rapidity. To get the best results the ink on one side of the paper
must be dry before it is printed on the other side.”

[Illustration: “TIT BITS” PRESS]

Among the most interesting modern printing machines are those
constructed by Hoe & Co. at their London works, after drawings and
patterns sent from New York, for weekly English journals, such as
“Tit-Bits,” “Sunday Stories,” and similar periodicals. These machines
embody to a certain extent the principles of the “Double Supplement”
press before referred to. Double sets of plates are placed upon
the main machine, which is capable of taking on an aggregate of
twenty-four pages; and by using narrower rolls the number of pages
of the body of the journal may be reduced to sixteen or twenty, so
that the publisher may have the option of printing his paper either
sixteen, twenty or twenty-four pages. In addition to this it prints
a cover on a different colored paper, and all at the rate of 24,000
copies per hour; the whole product, including the cover, being cut on
the edges and pasted together at the back. The supplement or cover of
the press portion, however, instead of having two pairs of cylinders,
as in the “Double Supplement” machine, consists of one form cylinder
and one impression cylinder. This portion of the machine prints the
cover, which is fed from a narrower roll, and, as before stated, of
an entirely different color or quality of paper from the body of the
journal. The form for one side of the cover is placed on one end of
the form cylinder, and that for the other side on the other end
of the cylinder. This ingenious combination results in the printing
of one cover to every copy of the journal issued and no more.

The demand for printed matter seems to increase with the ability to
furnish it, and much attention is now being directed to the subject
of color printing on the rotary system. From present appearances,
and from the enterprise displayed by the publisher, the artist and
the press maker, it would seem as though the day is not far distant
when this subject alone would furnish matter for a new chapter in the
history of the printing press.

It is very difficult to give in a short article even a summary of
the various kinds of machines to print newspapers of various sizes,
in black as well as in colors, weekly periodicals, magazines, books,
pamphlets, in short every class of printing, in connection with
folding, which have been evolved and perfected up to the present
time. The work still goes on, one step in advance leading to another,
until now a printer can obtain a great variety of machines to print
from the roll or fed from separate sheets, and which, especially in
the production of large numbers, economize both time and labor. Nor
is this constant advance in mechanical construction confined to the
machines themselves or the manipulation of the paper. It extends to
the manufacture of the paper and the inks, although the manufacturers
of the latter have not advanced in the same proportion as the
paper-maker, who every year produces finer paper in the roll and in
greater quantities than ever before.

[Illustration: OCTUPLE PRESS]

The latest and most elaborate newspaper machine is the Octuple
Perfecting Press with Folders, which prints from four rolls, each
four pages wide, and gives (from the four deliveries) a running speed
per hour of: 96,000 4, 6 or 8-page papers; 72,000 10-page papers;
60,000 12-page papers; 48,000 14 or 16-page papers; 42,000 18-page
papers; 36,000 20-page papers; 24,000 24-page papers.

This machine has been further developed into the Improved Combination
Octuple (or Double Quadruple) and Color Machine, lately patented by
R. Hoe & Co., which, in addition to giving the above mentioned output
when printing in black only, will also produce papers in colors at
the rate per hour of: 96,000 4-pages; 48,000 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16
pages; 24,000 18, 20, 24 or 28 pages.


R. Hoe & Co. have now in process of construction four mammoth
printing machines, which will give a greater product and a greater
variety of products than any machines that have hitherto been
devised. They are Double Sextuple Presses and so called, but in
reality are much more than this, inasmuch as they combine the ability
to do printing in colors as well as in black. This machine is
composed, so to speak, of two separate, complete printing mechanisms,
each fed from three four-page-wide rolls of paper; the apparatus for
the gathering and folding of these webs of paper after printing being
in the centre between the two sections of the machine. The “formers”
and folders (placed back to back) enable a manipulation or gathering
of the webs which could not be readily obtained in any other way.
All these devices and methods have been patented by Hoe & Co. The
following is a summary description of these new machines and what
they will accomplish. The two sections may be used separately if
desired, as independent machines.

Each of the two portions of the machine is composed of six pairs of
cylinders, arranged, with their axles parallel, in three tiers of two
pairs each and printing on both sides (or perfecting) three webs of
paper from separate rolls, each four pages wide. One of the sections
is also arranged so that all six sets of cylinders will print upon a
single web in colors and black, this web being associated with the
three webs from the other portion to form a colored cover for the
products, when required.

The rolls of paper are placed at the end of the machine--three at
each end--and the two folders for each portion are placed back to
back midway in the length of the machine. The runs of all the webs
are therefore approximately the same and as short as it is possible
to have them--a matter of much importance in the running of multiple

Altogether there are twelve plate cylinders in the machine, each
carrying eight plates the size of a newspaper page. Either stereotype
or electrotype plates may be used. To receive the latter, which are
much thinner than stereotype plates, special base or jacket plates
are secured to the cylinders. The ink is applied to the plates by
four form rollers, after having been thoroughly distributed by
vibrating rollers and cylinders.

The full capacity of the machine, when printing all black, on six
rolls, is 96,000 twelve-page papers per hour, and other numbers
of pages at proportionate speeds, namely, four, six, eight and
ten-page papers, at the same speed as twelve-page; fourteen and
sixteen-page papers at 72,000 per hour; eighteen, twenty, twenty-two
and twenty-four page papers at 48,000 per hour. The three webs from
each portion of the machine are led to the top of the folders, where
they are divided along their centre line into webs two pages wide,
and then run down each of the four “formers,” by which they are
folded along their centre. They are then led through cylinders which
cut them into page lengths and give them a fold across the page to
half-page size. In this way twenty-four page papers may be obtained
at the rate of 48,000 copies per hour, by collecting two twelve-page
sections on the cylinder just before the half-page fold is made.
Another method of running twenty-four page papers is to associate the
six webs, from both portions of the machine, and run them over one
pair of “formers,” thus folding all six webs together, or insetting
them, in the first fold.

Lesser number of pages may be obtained by making various
combinations, the number of which is almost limitless. Angle bars
are placed in the machine for transferring half-width webs of
paper from one side of the press to the other, facilitating these

The maximum product of the machine when running as a color press
is 48,000 sixteen-page papers per hour, with the two outside pages
printed in four colors and black; the other pages in black only. If,
however, it is not desired to have so many colors on the outside
pages, it is possible to obtain twenty-page papers, at the rate of
48,000 per hour, with the two outside pages in two colors and black;
all the other pages in black only. Papers with any number of pages
from four to sixteen, with four colors and black on the outside
pages, the other pages in black only, can be obtained at a speed of
48,000 per hour. By running the full product of the color section of
the machine into one folder and associating therewith webs of paper
from the other section of the machine, papers with any number of
pages from eight to twenty-four, with the two outside pages and two
of the inside pages printed in four colors and black, the other pages
in black only, can be produced at a speed of 24,000 per hour.

The dimensions of this machine are as follows: Length, 35 feet;
height, 17 feet; width, 9 feet; the weight, about 225,000 pounds; and
the number of parts of which it is composed, approximately 50,000.

The last three or four years have also witnessed an immense advance
in the art of color printing. The magazine without an elaborate color
cover, or perhaps colored illustrations, is now an exception, whereas
it was the reverse not long ago. After satisfactory experiments it
was ascertained by the writer that, with the inks properly prepared,
and suitable plates to print from, colors could be printed almost
simultaneously upon the paper, without mingling; in short that the
supposed necessity, in much of the work done, of drying the sheets
after the impression of each color on the paper, was not necessary
for the production of a good quality of printing. Further experiments
also proved the mechanical possibility of obtaining most accurate
register in printing from a roll and that the number of impressions,
or colors, could be increased to advantage. These various experiments
resulted in the construction by Hoe & Co. of color presses which were
almost simultaneously installed by the proprietors of the New York
“Herald” and the New York “World,” who commenced the publication
of colored supplements, upon a system which has been adopted by
the papers in most of the large cities, and which they have never
discontinued. The practicability of printing in colors has been so
fully demonstrated that color attachments are being added to very
many of the large newspaper presses throughout the country.

The most extensive of the color presses, and the largest printing
machine ever constructed, is the color press made by Hoe & Co.
for the New York “Journal” and now used in printing portions of
the Sunday editions of that paper, although others of approximate
proportions and capacity have been made for the New York “World,”
the New York “Herald,” the Chicago “Tribune,” the Boston “Post” and
other newspapers. This machine gives as many as eleven separate
impressions, or colors, on a single copy of the paper; that is, it
will print in six colors on one side of the sheet and five on the
other, or it may be arranged to print three colors on one side and
six on the other, giving a speed of about 16,000 eight-page papers
an hour, or at every revolution of the cylinders the equivalent of
two perfect eight-page papers printed in colors. Four, six, eight,
ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, twenty, twenty-four, twenty-eight or
thirty-two-page papers may be printed on this machine, as required,
from one, two or three double-width (or four-page-wide) rolls of
paper. It will also produce magazine forms (with pages half the
size of those of the regular issue of the paper) at from 16,000 to
24,000 an hour, either 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 40 or 48 pages, delivered
folded, cut, and automatically wire-stitched, with all the pages
printed in colors or half-tones.

Such a development of the art of printing, especially in colors,
in which accurate register is not only necessary, but must be
maintained, would have seemed incredible a few years ago, but this
is now a daily occurrence and many newspaper offices produce colored
supplements in the same manner and with the same results, having
additions placed upon their quadruple, sextuple and other presses for
the purpose.

[Illustration: “COLLIER’S WEEKLY” PRESS]

Nor has this development of colors been confined entirely to the
demands of the newspaper world. It is gradually finding its way
into the weekly periodical and the monthly magazines. It had been
considered impossible to print half-tone illustrations on both
sides of the sheet at one operation and deliver them flat, without
smutting. Not only has this difficulty been overcome, but in the
latest presses, such as used by Collier’s Weekly, the finest
half-tone work is done on a perfecting press printing on a roll of
paper. The periodical is printed in multiple pages, as required, and
delivered from the machine folded, cut apart and pasted, ready for
the binder. It is not desirable, of course, when using fine inks, to
make immediate delivery from the press; therefore the papers, after
having been perfected, folded and pasted, are left to stand for
some hours before they are distributed to the readers. Satisfactory
methods of doing this have also been devised. The capacity for
printing fine half-tone illustrations on a rotary press having thus
been demonstrated the next step is evidently the production of
colored half-tones, and the time is undoubtedly near at hand when
the monthly magazine as well as the weekly periodical will appear,
instead of in black half-tones, now so popular, with these same
illustrations printed in the most delicate manner in colors and all
delivered in perfection from rotary presses, folded in entirety, or
in signatures, ready for the binder.

It must now be evident to every experienced observer that the time
has arrived when printing upon the rotary system will in a large
measure supersede that now done upon flat-bed cylinder presses,
although the latter will always be retained for some kinds of work.
Satisfactory methods will be devised for attaching upon the cylinders
electrotype or stereotype plates of varying sizes. In addition to
this, new and improved methods are constantly being brought forward
for the transferring of type forms, photographs and illustrations
of every description, upon prepared sheets of metal, which receive
the ink and give impressions either from a raised surface, as in the
ordinary letter-press printing, or in the manner of lithographic
printing. These and other new methods of making plates will
undoubtedly lead in the future to great economy, as well as to
important improvements in the process of printing.

                                                          ROBERT HOE.

[Illustration: (Colophon)]

[Illustration: (FROM MEDAL BY SCHARFF)]

                         Transcriber’s Notes

  The List of Illustrations at the beginning of the book was created
  by the transcriber.

  Placement of Illustrations have been slightly adjusted to better
  coordinate with the text.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation and spelling such as “flat-bed/flat
  bed” and “letter-press/letterpress” have been maintained.

  Page 31: Added double quote to “Double”.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A short history of the printing press and of the improvements in printing machinery from the time of Gutenberg up to the present day" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files. We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's search system for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.