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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

Inventions, Processes, and Wrinkles

page 142

Inventions, Processes, and Wrinkles.

To Work a Two-Color Job of 1000 in 1000 Impressions.—

Mr George Tombs, Christchurch, N.Z., contributes the following useful wrinkle:—Some years ago, an idea occurred to me in regard to color-printing, which I have never seen mentioned in any work on the subject. It is to print in two colors with one operation—yet that is not strictly correct. Let the proposition be, to print 10,000 demy quarto handbills, red, white, and blue, with 10,000 impressions of any ordinary printing-machine. Proceed in the usual manner, composing the job as for one color, and then dividing the matter into two pages, registering exactly with each other. Lock them up together thus:
(1) (2)

(1) (2)

Cut your paper to demy folio (5,000 sheets), and print them in red; clean up machine and form and change color to blue; transpose the pages, (2) and (1), and print your blue form; then cut in half, and you will have 5000 handbills red and blue, and 5000 blue and red, which, with the white paper, will give you the desired result—10,000 bills, red, white, and blue. The plan is thoroughly practicable, as I have proved on various occasions by adopting it myself. I have shown the results to several smart printers, and not one of them could tell how to do it.

To Accurately Reduce the Size of Types.—

In the better class of job-work, it is sometimes necessary to cut one or more types down from one body to a smaller one. As a rule, this is done either by whittling or filing, or both, and the result is inaccurate and unsatisfactory; the type is often battered or broken in the process, and the cut side is wedged, jagged, and uneven. Typo once had to reduce a number of brevier figures, with decimal points, to nonpareil, removing the beard, the object being to indicate at intervals, by the insertion of a brass-rule in a close column showing equation of time, the change from + to —, and vice versâ. After some trouble, we devised a plan which, without any special apparatus, enabled the work to be done without injury to the letter, and with absolute accuracy. Let it be required, for example, to reduce a 10-point type to 8-point, the character still maintaining the same relative position to the centre of the body. By the ordinary method, with knife or file, the comp might spoil a dozen letters, without succeeding in fulfilling the conditions. He can, however, readily do it in this manner. Take two brass-rules, quads, or other suitable pieces, to 9-point standard, and lay them on the middle-bar of the lower-case, with the 10-point type between them, nick upwards, the face of the letter (protected by a pad of blotting-paper) resting against the inner surface of the fore-edge of the case. The 10-point type will stand exactly 1 point above the gauges on each side. Keeping the three pieces close together, shave with a sharp knife or chisel, beginning a little above the middle, and cutting towards the face, care being exercised in shaving between the nicks. The 9-point guides will prevent the tool from sinking and jagging the metal, as is unavoidable in the usual method. Scrape or shave until the gauges begin to brighten—a sign that enough metal has been removed. Then reverse the letter, and shave from the middle to the foot in the same manner. By this means the type is quickly and neatly reduced to 9-point standard. Now take two 8-point gauges, turn the nick-side downwards, and repeat the operation. If care has been taken, there will be no batter on the face of the letter, not the slightest portion of metal will have been unnecessarily removed, and the type will be as square and smooth and true, and line as well as if originally cast to 8-point standard. The plan applies equally well in the ease of lateral reductions, as for monogram brands, &c., which can be as neatly cut as by the costly appliances of a rule-factory. Try our method once—and you will never again reduce a type by filing or whittling.

The Rogers Typograph.—

Mr William Smith, of Wellington, sends us a letter from a Toronto printer, enclosing a card with illustrations of the Rogers matrix machine—a compact little affair not much larger than a treadle sewing-machine—and of the clumps (Yankee, « slugs » ), each representing a line of type. A specimen of the work is also enclosed, which we should not have suspected to have been produced in any unusual manner. It has the appearance of work from new type, printed on uneven packing, without making-ready. Mr Smith's correspondent gives the following interesting account of the apparatus:—I have lately seen a new type-setting machine now on exhibition in this city: it is one of the type-casting variety. It is claimed that it will set as much as three average men, does away with wear in type, needs no distribution, and takes up no more room than an ordinary frame. But it has its limitations. It has no small caps, and no spaces smaller than 1/3-em, and I have heard that each machine sets only one measure; but this is denied, as they say that it will set any measure smaller than the standard news measure. I had only a short time to look at it, and thought it slow, but the operator said that was because he was new at it. It seems much like a type-writer in operation. Touching a key causes a wire to release one of a number of flat steels (like Yale-lock keys, only longer), which slides by its own weight along a wire, to a common centre in front of the machine, where it fills some office—the precise nature of which I could not find out—in the formation of the matrix. When enough of these have slid down to form a line, the operator, by keys, spaces it out, and then by turning the crank (to which power can be attached), metal, which is heated by a small gas-jet, is pumped into the matrix; the top rises up, like a type-writer, the flat steels all slide back to their places, and at the same time the line is ejected as a slug into the stick in front. We have just printed a post-card for them, a copy of which I enclose. You will see that the letters are not all the same height to paper—in fact, seem to be off their feet. It has been stated, with what truth I cannot say, that twenty of the machines have been sold in this city. I should not say « sold, » as they are only rented at $1 per day. One of our comps offered to bet the agent $25 that the machine could not set as much as two men. He was not taken. He then offered to bet $25 that he could set and space a line in less time than the machine. « We are not betting just now, » was the reply.

To Mount Photographs.—

The Bookbinder has some useful instructions on this subject. Never place a silver print on a white mount. The high lights are never pure white, and a brilliant white margin kills the half-tones. Choose the tint that seems to harmonize best with the subject. Be sure that the mounts are not made from wood-pulp. [To this we would add, shun cards that have any device or lettering in bronze. On the surface there are sure to be minute specks of the metal, each of which is likely in time to become the centre of a discolored spot.] The adhesive material used to attach the print cannot be too pure; and if stale, it is liable to ferment, to the complete destruction of the picture. Starch, which is used more than any other material, should be made fresh every day. Take a teaspoonful in a large cup, add cold water sufficient to break it up, but no more, pour on boiling water, stirring the while, till it is quite transparent; use when cold. If you use paste, take a teaspoonful of maize-flour; beat it well up in a teacupful of water till it is quite smooth and there are no lumps, place this in a porridge-saucepan (i.e., a double one), and let it boil, stirring continually; it will turn to a delightfully thin and transparent paste that will be easy to work with and very adhesive. If gelatine is used, it should be of the best quality. Dissolve half-an-ounce in a teacupful of water. It should be used hot. Several methods of mounting are in use; the following are among the best. (1) After trimming the print all around, moisten it slightly (the object being to have it limp, without stretching it), by placing it overnight between sheets of damp paper, and it will be about right next morning. Damp the mount, also slightly, paste your print very carefully all over, using no more paste than is just necessary, lay it carefully on the mount, cover it with a piece of clean paper and rub it down well, then place it between sheets of blotting-paper in a standing-press, and allow it to dry under pressure. It may perhaps be necessary to take it out of the press and change the blotting-paper. If this be done properly, the photograph and its mount will lie quite flat. (2) Paste the back of the print all over and allow it to dry. Damp the mount, lay the print on the damp mount, and pass them through the rolling-machine, or place them in the standing-press, under strong pressure, (3) Take a piece of lithographic-stone or a thick piece of glass; glue this all over with the gelatine; place the photographic print quickly down on the glued stone, rubbing it smartly all over; then pick it up and lay it on the mount. All these actions must be rapid, and if done properly by this method, a photograph may be easily mounted even on thin paper without cockling.