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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 4

[miscellaneous paragraphs]

German houses are breaking new ground in these colonies. Hitherto English founders have supplied the whole of the body-founts; but this month we hear of a North Island newspaper obtaining a fount of one ton weight from Klinkhardt, and of a Queensland paper giving a still larger order to the same maker. The type is east to an English standard body, and of course to English height.

The following are the rates charged on newspaper parcels not exceeding 3? on the New Zealand railways: For distances not exceeding 75 miles, 1d; 75 to 150 miles, 2d; over 150 miles, 3d.

Napier has been visited by a distinguished literary man—Mr David Christie Murray—who is making a lengthened tour of the colonies, and delivering a course of three admirable lectures. He has written a drama entitled « Chums, » the scene of which is laid in the colony.— Another celebrated English novelist, Mr Robert Louis Stevenson, who has taken up his abode among the tropical isles of the south, paid Auckland a visit about the same time, but we regret to add that the state of his health did not permit him to stay.

From Messrs W. and A. K. Johnston, Edinburgh and London, we have received a copy of the second and improved edition of their celebrated « Multum in Parvo Atlas of the World. » It is a neat half-crown pocket volume, and is one of the most complete books of the kind published. It contains 96 maps, illustrating physical as well as political geography, the phenomena of the seasons, the solar system, &c, and a map showing the distribution of the races of mankind. The book is something more than an atlas, the letter-press descriptions making it a complete and compact geography, containing very full statistics as to population, finance, &c.

In the police court, Palmerston N., on the 17th inst., a man was committed for trial for passing a valueless cheque for £5. The order was drawn on a non-existent branch of the Bank of New South Wales. The accused, when asked for a statement, described himself as Frederick Lindsay Crawford Flint, with the nom deplume of « Craw Linn, » author of « No Country, » and four other stories published in the Dunedin Weekly Advertiser, and the serial story of « That Girl, » in the Auckland Observer. He came from Sydney to Wellington for the purpose of collecting the manuscripts of these stories for publication in book-form. He made a rambling statement as to a relative being in a good position in Melbourne and periodically forwarding remittances to him. When he made out the cheque he was under the impression that there were funds to meet it.

The following item is going the rounds:— « The New Zealand Times writes as follows: "Bishop Julius ascended the pulpit of his cathedral for the first time, and preached an eloquent sermon, taking for his text I Tim., iv, 18: 'For to this end we labor and strive because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.' "The funny part of this is that there is no 18th verse to the 4th chapter of I Timothy, and that there is nowhere in the Bible a verse which reads as quoted. Then follows v. 10 from the Authorized Version. Is it not astonishing that ten years after the publication of the Bevised Version of the New Testament, any newspaper men should be absolutely ignorant of its existence? A Marlborough paper appears to have been originally responsible for the blunder, which has been widely copied without its authority and without verification.

Paper and Press for February contains an able article on type-composing machines. After remarking that improvements in details are patented every month, it says:— « Thus far a careful examination of the various systems already perfected and in so-called practical operation discloses one and the same obstacle to their introduction, and that is the complexity of their construction, which, in spite of declarations to the contrary, renders them extremely liable to derangement. Then the question of complicated parts is a weighty one, the Alden machine, for instance, consisting of no less than 14,625 parts, many of them of very delicate construction. In plain work with one kind of type, several of the extant machines give satisfaction, but there is even a difficulty here in the absolute necessity to furnish the operator with perfectly clear and clean copy—a condition which in many cases cannot be complied with. » Referring to the Mergenthaler machine, which applies the principle of the stereotype-plate to the completed matrices of each line, the writer says: « To the newspaper office its possibilities are doubtless satisfactory, but for fine editions in competition with first-class hand-labor it is purely an inventor's dream. » Of the Thorne, an actual type-setter, and « a marvel of mechanical ingenuity, he writes: « An intelligent child, it is said, may work the keyboard, but it may also be remarked that no one but a skilled mechanic could re-adjust any of the parts if thrown out of gear, or repair any portion of the mechanism if broken or injured. » The writer's conclusion is: « It is highly probable that some one of the systems of type-setting by machinery will in the future play an important part in ordinary book- and newspaper-printing; but the fine editions as well as all manner of display-work will hardly be accomplished by its aid. »

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A paragraph is afloat stating that a Wairarapa man has called for tenders for the making of his winter suit of clothes. The Gisborne Standard calls it a silly joke. No doubt it is, but it would not be if tailoring were played down as low as job-printing!

A strike has occurred in a coal-mine in Gippsland, under peculiar circumstances. One of the men was discharged by the manager for having written to a local paper pointing out the danger caused by a loose rock overhanging the workings. The other men, 96 in number, demanded his re-instatement, and knocked off work in a body. Who will blame them?

Mr Labouchere, in Truth, says:— « I have now been for some little time connected with journalism, and am beginning to know a good many of the tricks of the trade. One of the commonest is for a paper feebly struggling for existence to lavish abuse on some more prosperous competitor, in the hope of gaining a gratuitous advertisement by provoking a reply. »

Mr Henniker-Heaton, by steady « pegging away, » has converted the home postal authorities to his views regarding reduced ocean postage, but the colonies now block the way—they are afraid to face the sudden drop in the revenue. This is probably greatly over-estimated. Sir J. Vogel's calculation that each letter costs 2¼d to handle, may be very wide of the mark. Not long ago the accountant of an American railway figured out that every stoppage of an engine cost a certain number of cents. Some one took the trouble to count the actual stoppages and multiply them by the amount given, with the result that the total was greater than the whole revenue of the line!

For editorial ability, no journal in New Zealand surpasses the Wellington Press; while in its absence of localism it is the nearest approach we have to the representative daily paper of the colony. It is pleasant to read in the Wanganui Herald—a journal in every way opposed to the Press—the opinion of a critic like Mr D. Christie Murray. He was questioned by a representative of the Herald as to the comparative merits of colonial as compared with home journalism, and this is what he is reported to have said:— « You have improved upon us in one respect. We have no weeklies like the Australasian and the Leader in Victoria, or the Canterbury Times and Weekly Press in Christchurch. They are edited and sub-edited in a first-class manner, and of course more depends on that than on original matter." » And as to the dailies? » « Some of them are singularly good, but you have too many for the population. You will not be able to maintain this number, and of course they cannot all be first-class. I read a first-class article, temperate, just, and well-balanced, and in splendid English, in one of the Wellington papers when there—it was really a long way above the average 1 It was on Young New Zealand, and in the Evening Press. » Mr Murray also expressed the opinion that New Zealand would in time develope « an intellectual centre in each island. »

From Mr William Blades we have a little pamphlet entitled « Signatures, » being No. 1 of his « Bibliographical Miscellanies. » Like all the works of this learned printer, it is marked by originality and careful research. The author conclusively disposes of the oft-repeated assertion that book-signatures were invented by printers. One authority, M. de Marolles, gives the name of the printer, and 1474 as the year in which they were invented. Mr Blades says: « Binding is certainly as old as books. Signatures are certainly as old as binders. » He finds them in early Hebrew manuscripts. The reason they have so often escaped the notice of bibliographers is, that they were originally written as close as possible to the margin, in order to be afterwards out away. In a very interesting manner, the author traces the evolution of the printed from the written signature, and instances books showing the transition from one to the other, where the printer having muddled the sequence, they were supplemented by manuscript figures. Some of his examples are very curious, as, where the scribe, after exhausting the alphabet of double caps and double small letters to zz, followed with τ, 9, ZZ (a duplicate), then ξ, then the Latin est and per, and, finally, with the Lord's Prayer (!): p'ter—qui—cello— soficet', &c, to voltūtas—tūa—sicut, which completed the work. A list of 58 old books, all carefully described, illustrates the various stages of development, and the valuable fac-similes render the work more complete. Incidentally, much interesting information is given as to these early books. The pamphlet itself is an illustration of an unusual use of signatures. Exclusive of the wrapper and central sheet o4 fac-similes, it contains 28 pages, quired. Sheet A is I—8, 21–28; B is 9–12, 17–20; and C is 13–16. The signatures are therefore A2 on p. 3, B on p. 9, and C on p. 13. Mr Blades has left very little to be said on the subject.

The colony of South Australia has pronounced definitely for protection. At the late general election every freetrader was defeated. This is so far satisfactory, as it should give the system a fair trial, which is more than freetrade has ever had in the colonies.

A Christchurch correspondent, writing of the Master Printers' Association, says:—We have just completed our first year, and though at the first beset with many difficulties, we have cause to be well satisfied with the organization. We start the New Year under most encouraging circumstances, every printer in town having joined our ranks; and all appear determined to work loyally, and to give and receive suggestions for the general good. We have a change of officers for the current year: President, J. C. Wilkins (Times office); Vice-President, J. S. Smith (Smith & Co.); Secretary, T. West (Times office.)

One of the most useful reference-books to the job-printer ever published has just been issued at the price of $2 by Mr C. G. Burgoyne, a go-ahead printer of New York. It is entitled « The Cost of Stock: a work of practical value to Printers, Publishers, Stationers, and all who either print, buy, or sell paper. » It consists of three original tables. The first, occupying one page, gives the number of impressions required to print from 50 to 100,000 copies, from 1 on the sheet to 32. The second table, occupying 120 pages, or nearly the whole book, contains 19,200 calculations, showing not only—as scores of other tables do—the amount of paper in reams, quires, and sheets, to print any number from 500 to 100,000 from 1- to 32mo, but gives the precise weight of paper required for each job from 8℔ to 120℔ the ream. The value of such a table is obvious. One has only to take the value per ℔ of the stock and multiply it by the number of pounds required, as shown in the table. Fractions are given throughout, but in practice, a fraction should be treated as a complete pound. A full index, occupying two pages, gives reference to every item in the book; and a table of equivalents completes the work. In any busy job-office this printers' ready-reckoner will pay for its cost the first week, besides reducing to a minimum the liability of error in giving-out and estimating stock. The work is copyright. Every printer should have it.

An East Coast thunderer scornfully criticises its opponent's « gram-mer. » —The N.Z. Musical Monthly has been overhauling the Hawke's Bay country papers. He says: « The editor of the Woodville paper must have had a musical fit on when he wrote, 'The well-known native, Honi Pihanna, has died at Parihaka.' Hori Pihama was the name intended.—The following, in full capitals, in the Waipawa paper, suggests its origin in a bush district: 'One piano by Board.' » —We object on principle to Scripture conundrums. The Timaru Herald announces the subject of discourse at the Baptist church, as « Zecftariah asks, 'Four fathers, where are they?' » —The same paper observes that « Save death, there is no such traveller as mal de mer. » The context seems to suggest that « leveller » was intended.—In the commercial columns of the Otago Daily Times, it is recorded that « quarter-back wethers » sold for 10s each. Have the Otago sheep taken to football?—A Wairarapa man writing to a local paper on the subject of larrikins, asks, « Why do not the police catch them breaking into an empty house and stealing its contents? » Why, indeed?— A country contemporary records the fact that an old settler « became deceased » on a given date.—An up-country doctor at an inquest, if he be correctly reported (of which we have some doubt), not only discovered post mortem rigidity in the corpse, but found « post mortem debility strongly marked. » —In another post mortem, the doctor found « a good deal of afflatus in the stomach. » That is surely the complaint afflicting amateur poets.— « It is lovely, » says the Auckland Weekly News, « for a farmer to live a bachelor's life; and a farm is never fully stocked without a mistress and a few little ones. » « Lonely » appears to be intended.—In a florid eulogium on the late Baron Dowes, a correspondent of The Times expresses the following equivocal sentiment: « A great Irishman has passed away. God grant that many as great, and who as wisely shall love their country, may follow him. » —An Auckland almanac, opposite the date of May 23, has « Mark Twain died, 1880. » Mark himself does not appear to be aware of the fact.— According to a contemporary, the Dumfries folk « have let the Burns mausoleum to a sextant. » —A South Island paper publishes an item « which at first sight appears incredulous. » —The resources of vituperation are not quite exhausted. An East Coast paper characterizes its rival's leader as « illiterate dishwater. » This epithet we imagine is quite original.—An advertisement in a Southland paper invites « applications for the office of sexton to the cemetery trustees. » As the advertisement is officially signed, it may be inferred that the local body concerned has given a negative answer to the query, « Is life worth living? » —Describing a fancy ball, an ungallant reporter says, « Miss H— was appropriately attired as 'Folly.'»

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