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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Printing, Bookbinding, &c

Printing, Bookbinding, &c.

Great importance attaches to the exhibits made by the proprietors of the Lyttelton Times, for the reason that they represent—as fully as possible—the advancement of the higher branches of printing. Now-a-days, typography, or ordinary letter press printing, is largely encroached upon by lithography, or printing from matter which has either been drawn upon or transferred to slabs of stone affording a suitable surface. For the present, stone for lithographic purposes has to be imported. There are, however, deposits of suitable material on the West Coast, and some years ago a few fragments were faced up and experimented upon at the office of this journal, with good results. Since then, little or nothing has been heard of this item of mineral wealth. By the aid of lithography, colour printing is carried on, and in one of the frames exhibited may be seen nicely coloured, clean-worked views of the Chicory farm and works of the Messrs Trent, Bros. There are also numerous illustrations of the application of the process in producing such things as ball-room programmes, certificates of merit, &c., in gold and colours. But the chief feature of interest is the frame of specimens of photolithography. In this highly scientific process, any drawing which consists of clear lines or dots, may be photographed, a carbon base being used. Then, working on the transfer principle, the photo-film is made to act on the surface of the lithographic stone, as a greatly reduced copy of the perhaps coarse drawing or woodcut. This done, any number of impressions are obtainable. A good example is furnished by the reproduction of a spirited drawing by Mr T. S. Cousins, which illustrates a natural history paper in the present issue or the New Zealand Country Journal. For the multiplication of maps and plans, the process serves admirably. Ordinary letter-press printing was well illustrated by the Press Company, whose specimens had been carefully prepared; and in nearly every instance the "display" of the type had been well managed. Bookbinding was represented by Messrs J. T. Smith and Co. and by Messrs Tombs and Davis. The specimens shown by Messrs Smith are all good, and some of them possess a very high degree of merit. The examples of hand-tooling on some of the covers, and on one or two edges, would compare well even with the work of noted Home firms; and it may be remarked that in the choice of their morocco, Russia, and other binding materials, Messrs Smith have secured a high quality. They have undoubtedly proved that the choicest books may be entrusted to their care. The firm also showed various specimens of the application of lithography to the production of show cards, &c. The best specimens of binding shown by Messrs Tombs and Davis were those in rough calf—the material used for covering ledgers and other mercantile books. They also displayed some neat work in Russia leather, and some creditable "half-binding." Messrs Wolfe, Ford, and Co. made engraving their speciality, and they show numerous and very varied specimens of brass and copper work, some of the brass cutting being beautifully sharp. Monograms, billheads, and many other things are included in the collection.