Imágenes de páginas

water which it takes up in wetting crystallizes to supply its place. I do not say that all English plate paper is affected in this manner by water, but I have repeatedly experienced it in practice; and in the second wetting, if great care be not taken, the gypsum being already saturated, it will imbibe too much water, which will squeeze out in printing, and prevent the paper from taking the ink uniformly, so as to spoil the impression.

The best English paper for printing on is that which is made of fine linen rags, and moderately sized, without the use of acids in bleaching, and without being adulterated with cotton rags: this paper takes water kindly, is easily got into good condition, receives a good impression, is durable, preserves its colour, and does not act upon the ink.

Messrs. J. Dickinson and Co. have made great improvements in the quality of paper, and manufacture one kind which is admirably adapted for printing, being made by a peculiar process which gives it a particular affinity for the ink. They have also introduced improvements in the manufacture which have superseded the use of French paper with us, and have also nearly done so with the Chinese or India paper.

Having thus spoken of what I mean by fine presswork, and of the materials by which it is to be produced, I shall now proceed to describe the process; for when a printing office is provided with materials of the best quality, and the master of it is desirous of producing superior workmanship, there is something more required — he must resolve to lay in a fund of patience, as well as to submit to a great and continued expense of materials, or else he will never excel.

A good pressman will, as a matter of course, be well acquainted with the whole of the usual routine of presswork; in addition to which, to form his judgment, he should make himself acquainted with the most splendid books, and study them as patterns of workmanship.

In making ready it must be evident, that when a clear sharp impression is wanted, the pressure should be on the surface only, without penetrating into the interstices; of course the tympan ought not to be very soft, neither should any woollen blanket be used: the most perfect impression will be obtained when fine thick paper alone is used in the tympans, and even of this article I would not recommend many thicknesses.

After an impression is printed, the pressman examines if it be uniform throughout; if it be, which is very rarely the case, he goes on with the work; if not, he proceeds to overlay, in order to produce regularity of pressure, and of colour, over the whole form.

To effect this object, he takes thin smooth paper, and wherever the impression is weak he pastes a bit of it, of the size and shape of the imperfect part, on the tympan sheet, and proceeds in the same manner with every part that is imperfect; he then pulls another impression to examine the effect of his overlays, and continues to add to them where wanted, till the pressure of the platen is the same in every part, and the impression is uniformly of one shade of colour.

If the impression come off too strong in parts, or at the edges or corners of the pages, or on the head lines, it will be necessary to cut away the tympan sheet in those parts, and, if that does not ease the pressure sufficiently, to cut away the same parts from one or more of the sheets that are within the tympans.

It is generally preferable to overlay on a sheet of stout smooth paper inside the tympan, and particularly where the same press does the whole or great part of a work: this sheet is cut to fit the interior of the tympan, so as not to slip about, and has overlays pasted on it where wanted, to bring up the impression till it is very nearly equal; in all succeeding

sheets it saves the pressman a great deal of time, as he will be certain that when he pulls a sheet of another form of the same work it will be nearly right, and he will only have to place thin overlays on occasional parts to make the impression perfect, with very little trouble. On the same principle, where this method is not adopted, preserving and using the same tympan sheet with its overlays, will be more expeditious than having to repeat the operation with every form.

Where short pages occur in a form, the bottoms of them and the edges of the adjoining pages will print too hard, and not prove a clear impression; it will therefore be necessary to have bearers to protect them, which are generally of double pica reglet pasted on the frisket, so as to bear on some part of the furniture or chase; but high bearers, made to the height of the types, are better, when they can be placed so that the balls do not touch them during the process of beating in such a case they are liable to tear the frisket, from their closely adhering to it by their inky surface and the pressure. They may be placed where the regular foot of the page would have been had it been a full one, to prevent those hard edges which would otherwise be produced. This principle will hold good in all cases of short pages, blank pages, and the edges of wood cuts; but where it happens that some of the edges, or a particular page of a full form, come off too hard, and where there is not room to place a high bearer, then a piece of double pica reglet pasted on the frisket in the usual way will answer the purpose.

It is not necessary that these bearers should be placed close to the part requiring to be eased; they will produce the same effect if placed at a distance, keeping the direction, so that they take a good bearing on the platen, avoiding the frame of the frisket and the points; in using reglet as low bearers, I would recommend that the flat side of the furniture should be turned uppermost to receive the pressure of the bearers, provided they do not bear upon the chase.

When a high bearer does not ease the pull sufficiently on particular parts, its effect may be increased by pasting slips of stout paper on it, as overlays or underlays, and a bearer of reglet may be amended in a similar manner.

It happens occasionally that the tympan causes the paper to touch the form partially on being turned down, and occasions slurs, and this may occur from the parchment being slack or the paper being thin and soft. To prevent this inconvenience it is customary to roll up a piece of paper, similar to bookbinders headbands, and paste it on the frisket adjoining the part; this roll of paper takes a slight bearing on the furniture, and is a remedy. Many pressmen prefer pieces of cork cut to about the thickness of double pica, and pasted on the frisket.

It is neither customary nor advisable to fly the frisket in the best work, and more particularly when large heavy paper is used; it is a convenience in such cases to have a button screwed on the off side of the frame of the tympan, to confine the frisket flat to the tympan; it keeps the paper in its place, assists it in rising from the face of the form, to which it adheres owing to the strength of the ink; it helps to prevent slurring, and the paper from slipping, which occasions waste when it happens: altogether the button is of consequence in preventing accidents in the impression.

In working the white paper, instead of pins stuck into the tympan, to prevent the paper slipping, a duck's bill is frequently used: it is pasted to the tympan at the bottom of the tympan sheet, and the tongue projects in front of it, indeed the tympan sheet appears to rest in it. The bottom of

each sheet is placed behind this tongue, which supports it while turning down the tympan. See DUCK'S BILL.

In proceeding with the work the balls should be well cleaned, that no dirt or extraneous matter may be on their surface. They should not be too moist, which would prevent the ink distributing equally on them, and would also prevent it lying equally on the surface of the types or engraving; nor should they be too dry, as in that case they will not dispose of the ink so smoothly as to produce a fine impression; neither will they retain particles of dirt on their surface, but part with them to the form, which will cause picks. The moisture ought to be just so much as to make the pelt or composition soft, when the ink will distribute kindly and equally, which will be perceived by their lugging; they will also part with it to the form equally where they touch, so that the impression will be sharp and clear.

The ink ought to be rubbed out thin and regular on the ink block, so that in taking ink it shall at the very first be diffused tolerably smooth on the surface of the balls, which causes a greater probability of producing good impressions. It is likewise advisable to keep rubbing the ink out on the block with the brayer, as also to be almost constantly distributing the balls; the consequent friction produces a small degree of warmth, which is of advantage, particularly in cold weather.

As uniformity of colour is requisite for beauty in printing, I would recommend that the pressman should take ink for every impression where the form is large; this I am aware will be thought too troublesome, but I am decidedly of opinion that it is advantageous in producing regularity of colour: it is unpleasant to the eye to see in a splendid book two pages that face each other, the one of a full black, rather surcharged with ink, the other rather deficient in quantity and of a grey colour; yet this must happen when, as is frequently the case, three or four sheets are printed with one taking of ink.

Beating for fine work should not by any means be slighted. The form ought to be gone over two or three times, not with heavy thumps, but slowly and regularly with a firm hand, just raising the balls each time completely clear of the types, and advancing but a little way, so that in fact each part will be beat five or six times over, or more; the face of the type will then be completely covered with ink; but the pressman should be careful not to beat too far over the edges of the pages, nor, if the margin be wide, to let the balls scrape against the edges of another page, as in both cases ink or extraneous matter will be scraped from the balls, and accumulate about the types at the extremities, and thus cause picks and rough lines.

In splendid books, and particularly where the paper is large and heavy and the type large, set-off sheets are used to interleave the whole impression while working, and are continued in it till the printed paper is taken down from the poles, when they are removed by the warehouseman. These set-off sheets are put in when the white paper is working, and moved from one heap to the other during the working of the reiteration. They prevent the ink from setting off from one sheet to another while they are newly printed, which it would otherwise do from the weight of the paper, and also from fine printing being usually worked of a full colour.

For the uniformity of impression I would advise that the pull should be adjusted in the first instance so as to cause a proper degree of pressure on the form to produce a good impression when the bar is pulled home, and then invariably to cheek the bar, and allow it to rest in that position

during a short pause; this is easily done in the Stanhope, the Ruthven, the Columbian, and Sherwin and Cope's presses, as the increased power is obtained by a compound lever, which is generally so adjusted as that the lever shall come a small portion beyond the centre of the circle it partially describes when the bar is pulled home, and as it has then reached a point beyond its maximum power, it is easily retained in this position to rest on the pull the same observation applies to all other presses having, what is usually termed, the increased power, which is the application of a compound lever to a press on the common construction; but in a one pull wooden press, instead of this application, which I must acknowledge I never knew to answer well when applied to these presses, I would recommend when fine work is doing a simple contrivance that I adopted in two presses, which answered the purpose uncommonly well, and enabled the pressmen to rest on the pull uniformly, without too much effort to keep the bar to the cheek, which with a heavy form and a large platen becomes very fatiguing to continue through a number of impressions, if not impossible, with the unaided exertion of the arm. See CATCH OF THE BAR.

It will thus be perceived, that to produce presswork of a highly superior character, great expense and much time are required; and that it is requisite to have a good press, and that press to be in good condition; to have new types, or types the faces of which are not rounded by wear; to have good balls, and those balls in good condition; the ink should be strong, of a full black colour, the oil well boiled, to prevent it separating from the colouring matter and tinging the paper, and it should be ground so fine as to be impalpable; the paper should be of the best quality, made of linen rags, and not bleached by means of an acid which has a tendency to decompose the ink; the beating should be carefully and well done, not in a hurried manner, the face of the type should be completely covered with ink, without any superfluity, so as to produce a full colour; and the pull should be so regulated as to have a slow and great pressure, and to pause at its maximum in order to fix the ink firmly upon the paper; these particulars observed, with paper only in the tympans, perfect impressions of the face of the type only will be obtained in the most superior manner, and a splendid book will thus be produced in the best style of printing.

FIRE EATER. Compositors who are expeditious workmen are styled Fire Eaters, and also Swifts.

FIRST. The pressman who has wrought the longest at that press, except an apprentice, for he must allow any journeyman, though new come, that style, is distinguished by the name of First, the other his Second, these call one another companions: generally the master printer reposes the greatest trust upon the care and curiosity for good work of the First; although both are equally liable to perform it. All the privilege that the First has above the Second is, that the First takes his choice to pull or beat the agreed stint first: and that the Second knocks up the balls, washes the forms, teazes wool, and does the other more servile work, while the First is employed about making register, ordering the tympan, frisket, and points, &c., or otherwise making ready the form, &c.-M.

At the present day there is no such distinction; both the pressmen are equal, are equally responsible for the work, and take all the respective parts without any distinction; unless one of them be an acknowledged superior workman, and then he will, as a matter of course, take the lead. in making ready, but in nothing else.

FIRST FORM. The form the white paper is printed on, which

generally by rule ought to have the first page of the sheet in it.-M.
This is the reverse of the present custom, which is invariably to lay on
the inner form first, viz. the one that has the second page in it; except
it is directed to the contrary, for some particular reason.

FIRST PAGE. First page of the sheet, which is always placed to the left hand in the first or outer form on the stone, when imposing.-M. In Hebrew works it is placed to the right hand, as in books printed in that language the order of the pages is reversed.

FIRST PROOF. The first impression of any matter after it is composed, for the purpose of comparing it with the copy; it is usually printed on a cheap hard sized paper, that will bear writing ink well, to mark the literal errors, and any variations from the copy that may have occurred, in order to their correction in the metal.

FIRST PULL. In a two pull press of the common construction, the platen only covers half a full form, and to obtain an impression of the whole, the carriage is run in at twice; the first pull prints one half, and the second pull the other half.

FLARING BALLS. When pelt balls are too soft, from having imbibed too much moisture, and are wanted for immediate use, they are flared; that is, the pressman will take a sheet of waste paper, and having rolled it up slightly, will light it, and holding the face of one of the balls downwards, will pass it backwards and forwards over the flame, and then treat the other ball in a similar manner: this not only evaporates the moisture, but also communicates a small degree of warmth to the balls, which causes them both to take ink and to distribute it better than before the operation.

Composition balls are liable to crack, both in distributing, and also when separating them after they have been left in the rack upon each other, particularly when they are new and soft; to remedy this, they are flared, which, when it is judiciously done, melts the surface of the composition and fills up the cracks. They are also flared when the face begins to fail, which melts the composition, and forms a new and smooth surface.

FLARING A FORM. In working by candle light, when imposing, correcting, or laying a form on the press, it sometimes happens that melted tallow will be spilt on the pages and choke up the letter. To get rid of this tallow, and clean the form again, the compositor lights a piece of paper and puts it on the grease, to melt it; he then brushes it with the letter brush, and, if necessary, repeats the operation.

FLOWERS. Types with ornaments cast on their face instead of letters. They are used for borders round jobs, cards, pages, and wrappers of books; and for other embellishments.

Luckombe, in his work on printing, gave many specimens of borders, head pieces, &c. composed of flowers by Mr. Hazard, of Bath; and lately, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Nichols have produced some large and elaborate pieces with this material, by combining an immense number of pieces of different patterns and sizes, to represent pillars and arches; but after all the ingenuity they have displayed, and the patience they have exerted, their productions are inferior to the effect of an engraving; and only tend to prove, in my opinion, that ingenuity and patience are misapplied.

Flowers are cast on bodies from a Pearl up to a Four Line Pica, and of a great variety of patterns. Of late years our letter founders have greatly improved their specimens by the addition of many new designs. The practice formerly was to cut the pattern perfect on each picce,

« AnteriorContinuar »