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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Our Exchanges

page 135

Our Exchanges.

An interesting discusssion has taken place in the Effective Advertiser as to the origin of the word flong. The paper process of stereotyping is of very recent growth, and originated in France; and the common explanation of the word is that it is derived from a soft thin cake (Meadows, by the way, calls it « custard » ) sold in Paris under the name of flan, and to which the softened blotting-paper bears an absurd resemblance. In the August Advertiser a contributor wrote: « Flong is an obsolete word in ordinary language, but was once the imperfect participle of the word fling (we now say flung). The old Swedish word for fling is flenga, to beat, to strike; the Ice-landish word for fling is flengia, to hurl, to send, and is related to the Latin filgere, to strike down. So it is called flong, we apprehend, because it is flung on the face of the type, and stricken and beaten down with the brush, as the foundryman takes his mould. » This very ingenious but improbable derivation is suggestive of Tooke's Diversions of Purley, in which substantives are systematically traced to past participles. (In fact, this very form comes under Tooke's consideration, and he quotes five passages, from Chaucer, Spencer, and Shakspeare, in which flong and flonge are used for flung.)—In the September issue, « One who served his time to plaster and French processes, » writes: « The paper process was first brought to England and worked by Frenchmen. What is more likely than that, when asking for material to make a mould, they should use their own word for blotting or unsized paper—fluant (pronounced 'fluong,' although Parisians, which these men probably were, would pronounce it as we do, 'flong')? » —We think that this correspondent has suggested the true etymology.

The first two numbers (August and September) of vol. iv of the American Art Printer have reached us. We are glad to see that this high-class trade paper is now published monthly. The first number opens with a very fine half-tone engraving, « Winter Evening, » etched on copper. The recent discovery by which relief-blocks are etched on hitherto intractable metals is of immense importance in art-illustration. The portrait of the Rev. W. Colenso, issued by us in the present year, is an example. The landscape before us is equal to the most delicate steel-plate work, and possesses a firmness that is never present in zinc, which has always a more or less rotten or ragged appearance about the lines. In the same issue there is a capital portrait in rule of Horace Greeley, by Fred. B. Crewe, of the New York World. The portrait is an excellent sketch—every line tells; and no less remarkable is the characteristic autograph at the foot—also wrought in brass-rule. Mr. Crewe is an artist in rule-bending. In the September number there is a capital etching (also on copper), of a large ape, who has got hold of a litter of four bull-puppies, one in each hand, and is nearly strangling the little wretches. The mother, who has apparently heard their cries, is just appearing round the corner at « the double. »

In rule-work French compositors are far ahead of all competitors. We have already noted several admirable specimens: the latest we have seen is in the Inland Printer for August. It is a photo-reduction of a piece of work by R. Marmier, 90, Rue Ober Kampf, Paris. It represents a ship of an old-fashioned type, in full sail, on the high and broad stem of which appears the name Le Gutenberg. The sketch is in good drawing, free, and spirited.

Somebody in the Union Printer writes of the compositor's eyesight as « that most valuable adjunct to our business. »

We have to acknowledge receipt of the Australasian Shorthand Journal for August (vol. i., No. 7 of the new series). It contains sixteen octavo pages, one-half in ordinary typography, and one-half in shorthand. It contains many interesting press items, and is neatly printed. Messrs Stott and Hoare, Temple Court, Collins-street, Melbourne, and Victoria Arcade, Castlereagh-street, Sydney, are the publishers.