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THE PRINTING OF

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THE TIMES.”

437

so that the rate of revolution should be uniform in all the nine. The type was arranged in vertical columns upon the great drum. Every cylinder had its own inking apparatus. Eight workmen, standing on elevated stages before eight piles of blank paper, supplied sheet after sheet to the tape fingers of the monster, which, drawing the paper down to a cylinder, passed it round, and carried it off impressed. About 12,000 copies in an hour were thus produced. Hoe of New York is now the engineer, who supplies Times, Scotsman, and all our leading newspapers with their huge wonder-working machines.

On the 7th of May 1850, the Times and its Supplement contained 72 columns, or 17,500 lines, made up of more than one million types.

Two-fifths of this matter were written after seven in the evening. Here are some notes of the night's work :Supplement sent to press

7.50 P.M.
First form of the paper do.

4.15 A.M.
Second form do.
7000 papers printed off before
21,000 do.

do.
34,000 do.

do.

4.45 6.15 " 7.30 " 8.45 11

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The entire impression of this gigantic newspaper, for one day, was therefore completed in about four hours.

But even 1850, near as it looks, is behind the age in newspaper; life. Let us see how the Times is worked in 1861. And here we need make no apology for borrowing the words of a graphic : describer, who is himself, if we mistake not, thoroughly familiar with the scene he depicts.*

“The printing-house of the Times, near Blackfriars Bridge, forms a companion picture to Gutenberg's printing-room in the old abbey at Strasbourg, and illustrates not only the development of the art, but the progress of the world during the intervening centuries. Visit Printing-House Square in the day-time, and you find it a quiet, sleepy place, with hardly any signs of life or movement about it, except in the advertisement office in the corner, where people are continually going out and in, and the clerks have a

• From "The Triumphs of Invention and Discovery," by J. Hamilton Fyfe

438

THE PRINTING OF

THE TIMES."

busy time of it, shovelling money into the till all day long. But come back in the evening, and the place will wear a very different aspect. All signs of drowsiness have disappeared, and the office is all lighted up, and instinct with bustle and activity. Messengers are rushing out and in, telegraph boys, railway porters, and • devils' of all sorts and sizes. Cabs are driving up every few minutes and depositing reporters, hot from the gallery of the House of Commons or the House of Lords, each with his budget of short-hand notes to decipher and transcribe. Up stairs, in his sanctum, the editor and his deputies are busy preparing or selecting the articles and reports, which are to appear in the next day's paper. In another part of the building the compositors are hard at work, picking up types, and arranging them in ‘stickfulls,' which being emptied out into 'galleys,' are firmly fixed therein by little wedges of wood, in order that 'proofs' may be taken of them. The proofs pass into the hands of the various sets of readers, who compare them with the 'copy' from which they are set up, and mark any errors on the margin of the slips, which then find their way back to the compositors, who correct the types according to the marks. The 'galleys' are next seized by the persons charged with the making-up' of the paper, who divide them into columns of equal length. An ordinary Times newspaper, with a single inside sheet of advertisements, contains seventy-two columns, or 17,500 lines, made up of upwards of a million pieces of type ; of which matter about two-fifths are often written, composed, and corrected after seven o'clock in the evening. If the advertisement sheet be double, as it frequently is, the paper will contain ninety-six columns. The types set up by the compositors are not sent to the machine. A mould is taken of them in a composition of brown paper, by means of which a stereotype' is cast in metal, and from this the paper is printed. The advertisement sheet, ngle or double, as the case may be, is generally ready for the press between seven and eight o'clock at night. The rest of the paper is divided into two ‘forms,'—that is, columns arranged in pages and bound together by an iron frame, one for each side of the sheet. Into the first of these the

THE PRINTING OF

THE TIMES.”

439

person who makes up' endeavours to put all the early news, and it is sent to press usually about four o'clock. The other 'form' is reserved for the leading articles, telegrams, and all the latest intelligence, and does not reach the press till near five o'clock.

“The first sight of Hoe's machine, by a couple of which the Times is now printed, fills the beholder with bewilderment and awe. You see before you a huge pile of iron cylinders, wheels, cranks, and levers, whirling away at a rate that makes you giddy to look at, and with a grinding and gnashing of teeth that almost drives

you deaf to listen to. With insatiable appetite the furious monster devours ream after ream of snowy sheets of paper, placed in its many gaping jaws by the slaves who wait on it, but seems to find none to suit its digestion, for back come all the sheets again, each with the mark of this strange beast printed on one side. Its hunger never is appeased,—it is always swallowing and always disgorging; and it is as much as the little devils' who wait on it can do, to put the paper between its lips and take it out again. But a bell rings suddenly, the monster gives a gasp, and is straightway still and dead to all appearance. Upon a closer inspection, now that it is at rest, and with some explanation from the foreman, you begin to have some idea of the process that has been going on before your

astonished

eyes. “The core of the machine consists of a large drum, turning on a horizontal axis, round which revolve ten smaller cylinders, also on horizontal axes, in close proximity to the drum. The stereotyped matter is bound, like a malefactor on the wheel, to the central drum, and round each cylinder a sheet of paper is constantly being passed. It is obvious, therefore, that if the type be inked, and each of the cylinders be kept properly supplied with a sheet of paper, a single revolution of the drum will cause the ten cylinders to revolve likewise, and produce an impression on one side of each of the sheets of paper. For this purpose it is necessary to have the type inked ten times during every revolution of the drum; and this is managed by a very ingenious contrivance, which, however, is too complicated for description here. The feeding of the cylinders is provided for in this way: Over each cylinder is a

440

THE PRESS SUPERSEDED BY THE MACHINE.

sloping desk, upon which rests a heap of sheets of white paper. A lad—the ‘layer-on '--stands by the side of the desk and pushes forward the paper, a sheet at a time, towards the tape fingers of the machine, which, clutching hold of it, drag it into the interior, where it is passed round the cylinders, and printed on the outer side by pressure against the types on the drum. The sheet is then laid hold of by another set of tapes, carried to the other end of the machine from that at which it entered, and there laid down on a desk by a projecting flapper of lath-work. Another lad—the taker-off'-is in attendance to remove the printed sheets at certain intervals. The drum revolves in less than two seconds; and in that time, therefore, ten sheets for the same operation is performed simultaneously by the ten cylinders-are sucked in at one end and disgorged at the other, printed on one side, thus giving about 20,000 impressions in an hour."

We have taken the Times as the best example of these wonderful improvements in the art of printing, both because the working of that paper is upon a colossal scale, and it therefore, well deserves to be noticed first, and because almost every improvement came into earliest play in the machine-room at PrintingHouse Square. The influence of the great change—the substitution of the steam printing-machine for the hand-worked printingpress—has been felt in every corner of the land, where a cheap book or a penny newspaper has found its way; and it must be indeed a sequestered nook into which these have not pushed themselves in Britain. So that famous and tremendous word, “The Press," at whose sound blusterers have suddenly grown meek as lambs, and Cruelty has pocketed his whip, trying to look innocent and kind, is now a sort of misnomer; for the Press is actually rusting in lumber-rooms, or, at best, printing off the cloudy hand-bills of a country town, while the place of power is held by the Machine, which roars and struggles and puffs by day and night in the accomplishment of its enormous task. Such a change has half a century produced in Caxton's art and mystery! How the old mercer would stare and rub his eyes, if these eyes could open now upon a modern printing-room in any of our great publishing concerns!

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COLERIDGE, a magnificent dreamer, has left us only a few fragments to show what his life-work might have been, had industry been wedded to his lofty genius. We think of him as of some rarely gifted architect, before whose mind's eye visions of sublime temples were continually floating, but whose realized work consists of a few pillars and friezes, exquisitely beautiful, indeed, but lying on the chosen site unfinished and unset.

Born at Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire, on the 21st of October 1772, this youngest child of a poor country vicar entered the hard school of an orphan's life at Christ's Hospital. There, within grey old walls, began his cherished friendship with the gentle Charles Lamb. Already, under the long blue coat of “ the inspired charity-boy," the nature of the man was burning. He dreamed away his days; he read books of every kind with insatiable relish, until history, novels, even poetry, began to pall upon his taste, and nothing but metaphysics could afford any delight to the boy of fifteen. The sonnets of Bowles, however, struck a chord, whose vibration filled his young soul with untold pleasure. During the two years of his residence at Cambridge, whither he went in 1791 as an exhibitioner of Jesus College, his habits deepened. Ideals, ever floating before his mind, sadly impeded the real work of the student. His first success—a gold medal for Greek verse-was followed by some defeats, which, coupled with a little debt and his admiration for revolutionary

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