[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.]
THE BUILDING OF A BOOK
A SERIES OF PRACTICAL ARTICLES WRITTEN BY EXPERTS IN THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS OF BOOK MAKING AND DISTRIBUTING
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THEODORE L. DE VINNE
EDITED BY FREDERICK H. HITCHCOCK
THE GRAFTON PRESS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Copyright, 1906, By THE GRAFTON PRESS. Published December, 1906.
DEDICATED TO READERS AND LOVERS OF BOOKS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
"The Building of a Book" had its origin in the wish to give practical, non-technical information to readers and lovers of books. I hope it will also be interesting and valuable to those persons who are actually engaged in book making and selling.
All of the contributors are experts in their respective departments, and hence write with authority. I am exceedingly grateful to them for their very generous efforts to make the book a success.
ARTICLES AND CONTRIBUTORS
INTRODUCTION 1 By THEODORE L. DE VINNE, of Theodore L. De Vinne & Company, Printers, New York.
THE AUTHOR 4 By GEORGE W. CABLE, Author of "Grandissimes," "The Cavalier," and other books. Resident of Northampton, Massachusetts.
THE LITERARY AGENT 9 By PAUL R. REYNOLDS, Literary Agent, New York, representing several English publishing houses and American authors.
THE LITERARY ADVISER 16 By FRANCIS W. HALSEY, formerly Editor of the New York Times Saturday Review of Books, and literary adviser for D. Appleton & Company. Now literary adviser for Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York.
THE MANUFACTURING DEPARTMENT 25 By LAWTON L. WALTON, in charge of the manufacturing department of The Macmillan Company, Publishers, New York.
THE MAKING OF TYPE 31 By L. BOYD BENTON, Mechanical Manager of the Jersey City factory of the American Type Founders' Company.
HAND COMPOSITION AND ELECTROTYPING 41 By J. STEARNS CUSHING, of J. S. Cushing & Company, Norwood, Massachusetts, one of the three concerns forming the Norwood Press.
COMPOSITION BY THE LINOTYPE MACHINE 53 By FREDERICK J. WARBURTON, Treasurer of the Mergenthaler Linotype Machine Company.
COMPOSITION BY THE MONOTYPE MACHINE 66 By PAUL NATHAN, a member of Wood & Nathan, New York, selling agents for the Lanston Monotype Machine.
PROOF-READING 77 By GEORGE L. MILLER, with the Charles Francis Press, New York.
PAPER MAKING 89 By HERBERT W. MASON, of S. D. Warren & Company, Paper Makers, Boston, Massachusetts.
PRESSWORK 99 By WALTER J. BERWICK, of Berwick & Smith Company, Norwood, Massachusetts, one of the three concerns constituting the Norwood Press.
THE PRINTING PRESS 112 By OTTO L. RAABE, with R. Hoe & Company, New York, Printing Press Manufacturers.
PRINTING INK 139 By JAMES A. ULLMAN, of Sigmund Ullman Company, Ink Makers, New York.
THE PRINTER'S ROLLER 144 By ALBERT S. BURLINGHAM, President of the National Roller Company, New York.
THE ILLUSTRATOR 154 By CHARLES D. WILLIAMS, Artist, New York.
HALF-TONE, LINE, AND COLOR PLATES 164 By EMLYN M. GILL, President of the Gill Engraving Company, New York.
THE WAX PROCESS 176 By ROBERT D. SERVOSS, Engraver of maps, etc., by the wax process, New York.
MAKING INTAGLIO PLATES 180 By ELMER LATHAM, Manager of the mechanical department of M. Kramer & Company, Photogravure Makers, Brooklyn, New York.
PRINTING INTAGLIO PLATES 190 By GEORGE W. H. RITCHIE, Printer of photogravure plates, etchings, etc., New York.
THE GELATINE PROCESS 198 By EMIL JACOBI, Manager of the factory of the Campbell Art Company, New York, and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
LITHOGRAPHY 204 By CHARLES WILHELMS, late of Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing Company, Brooklyn, New York.
COVER DESIGNING 216 By AMY RICHARDS, Artist, New York, her specialty being cover designs.
THE COVER STAMPS 221 By GEORGE BECKER, of Becker Brothers Company, Die Cutters, New York.
BOOK CLOTHS 226 By HENRY P. KENDALL, of the Holliston Mills, Book Cloth Manufacturers, Norwood, Massachusetts.
BOOK LEATHERS 234 By ELLERY C. BARTLETT, of Louis Dejonge & Company, Dressers and Importers of Book Leathers, New York.
THE BINDING 237 By JESSE FELLOWES TAPLEY, President of J. F. Tapley Company, Binders, New York.
SPECIAL BINDINGS 248 By HENRY BLACKWELL, Fine Binder, New York.
COPYRIGHTING 257 By FREDERICK H. HITCHCOCK, Member of the New York Bar; President of The Grafton Press, Publishers, New York.
PUBLICITY 269 By VIVIAN BURNETT, formerly in charge of the Publicity Department of McClure, Phillips & Company, Publishers, New York.
REVIEWING AND CRITICISING 292 By WALTER LITTLEFIELD, a Member of the Staff of the New York Times Saturday Review of Books, and literary correspondent of the Chicago Record-Herald, and other papers.
THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN 303 By HARRY A. THOMPSON, formerly representing John Lane, and Small, Maynard & Company, Publishers. Now one of the Associate Editors of the Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia.
SELLING AT WHOLESALE 320 By JOSEPH E. BRAY, formerly with A. C. McClurg & Company, Wholesalers, Chicago. Now with the Outing Publishing Company, New York.
SELLING AT RETAIL 328 By WARREN SNYDER, Manager of the Book Stores of John Wanamaker, Philadelphia and New York.
SELLING BY SUBSCRIPTION 339 By CHARLES S. OLCOTT, Manager of the Subscription Department of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Company, New York.
SELLING AT AUCTION 350 By JOHN ANDERSON, Jr., President of the Anderson Auction Company, New York.
SELECTING FOR A PUBLIC LIBRARY 362 By ARTHUR E. BOSTWICK, Chief of the Circulation Department of the New York Public Library.
RARE AND SECOND-HAND BOOKS 370 By CHARLES E. GOODSPEED, Dealer in Rare and Second-hand Books, Boston.
THE BUILDING OF A BOOK
By Theodore L. De Vinne.
To the hasty observer printing seems the simplest of arts or crafts. The small boy who has been taught to spell can readily arrange lettered blocks of wood in readable words, and that arrangement is rated by many as the great feature of printing. With his toy printing-press he can stamp paper upon inked type in so deft a manner that admiring friends may say the print is good enough for anybody. The elementary processes of printing are indeed so simple that they might have justified Dogberry in adding typography to the accomplishments of the "reading and writing that come by nature." With this delusion comes the desire for amateur performance. Men who would not undertake to make a coat or a pair of shoes are confident of their ability to make or to direct the making of a book.
In real practice this apparent simplicity disappears. Commercial printing is never done quickly or cheaply by amateur methods. The printing-house that undertakes to print miscellaneous books for publishers must be provided with tons of type of different faces and sizes. It needs type-making and type-setting machines of great complexity, printing-presses of great size and cost, and much curious machinery in the departments of electrotyping and bookbinding; but these machines, intended to relieve the drudgery of monotonous manual labor, do not supplant the necessity for a higher skill in craftsmanship. They really make that craftsmanship more difficult.
The difficulty of good book-making is greater now than ever. Improvements made during the last century in processes of engraving and the making of ink and paper and the increasing exactions of critical readers and reviewers, compel a closer attention to the petty detail of manufacture. The novice soon finds that some of the methods recently introduced are incompatible with other methods. For the production of a superior book practical experience and theoretical study of all processes are needed to harmonize their antagonisms. One has but to read over the headlines of the foregoing table of contents to note how many different arts, crafts, and sciences are required in the construction of a well-made book. A reading of these articles makes one understand the scope and limitations of each art and the necessity for its proper adjustment in its relation to the workmanship of other crafts with which it may be associated.
For this purpose this book has been prepared. It is believed that a compilation of the experience of men eminent in their respective departments will be a useful guide to the amateur in authorship or the novice in publication.
By George W. Cable.
In a certain fine and true sense books of imaginative writing—and the present writer cannot undertake to speak of any others—are not built, but born. Nevertheless, there has always been an unlucky tendency on the part both of writers and readers to overstate this non-mechanical nature of poetic works, whether in prose or verse, and to give the processes of this production that air of mystery—not to say miracle—in which art is always tempted to veil its methods. There is an anatomy of the book, which is not its life, but is just as real as its life, and only less essential. There is an architecture awaiting the book while it is still in its author's brain; and for want of due regard to this architecture's laws, for want of a sound and shapely anatomy, many a book misses the success—not commercial only, but spiritual as well—which the amount of toil and talent spent on it ought to earn. And now that reading has become so democratic that the fortunes of a book of the imagination are largely in the hands of the Crowd, which cares nothing and feels nothing as to grace of form and tone in what it reads, the commercial risk in the physical deformities of a book is not so great as the risk of its spiritual failure. Now, too, that the magazines have made it so very desirable to the author that his work should be printed first in them, their mechanical limitations, which are legion, bear upon the author and often seem to him (and his personal friends) to bear cruelly. This difficulty is not a flattering or gentle discipline, nor are its discriminations always good or always bad. It works almost as crudely as that of the stage works on the theatrical dramatist. A cunning subservience to it covers a multitude of sins, and often achieves for the literary craftsman place and preference over the truer artist, if he overlooks the need of being also a craftsman. Yet it is the hard demand, not of the magazines alone, but of every highest interest, that the cure for this injustice be found in the truest artist making himself also the cunningest craftsman. "He that would be first among you let him be the servant of all."
Well, then, what are some of these mechanical rules of construction? The space here allowed—see there, for instance!—gives room for but a hint or two; but, first of all, an author should know before the actual constructure of his creation begins to rise, how long it is to be. Of course he would like to say he cannot tell; that he is in the hands of his muse, and all that; but the truth is, his "artistic temperament" is trying to shirk the drudgery of the engineering problem involved. It is far better for him as an artist that he should thoroughly solve that problem; it will take time and labor, but it need not waste them. The length of his work will, or should, depend upon the breadth of it; by which we mean that a certain fulness of treatment involves a certain length. For instance, one cannot reasonably hope to keep a story short if it is about several persons and involves a conflict of their characters or fates. That is the second necessity; the length must be planned in proportion to the breadth. But, thirdly, both length and breadth should be governed by the importance, the dignity, the substantial value, the business, the substance, the spiritual stuff, of which the projected book is to consist. Hence the writer of true literary conscience will put the first, as above named, last, and the last first: spiritual substance, then breadth, then length.
In order to make fairly sure of these essentials, as well as for other reasons, the author should have a clear determination of all the main features of the structure he proposes to raise. Especially the bridge should not be itself begun until its builder knows very definitely where and how it is to reach the other shore; nothing between the beginning and the end is so important to be sure about from the beginning, as the end. There is a great difference among writers as to the sense of need for a complete preliminary framework on which to build. But beyond doubt many feeble, many abortive, results come of having too little preparatory framework, too slender a scenario, to use a playwright's word which authors and editors are borrowing more and more.
It seems good that a literary artist should always write for himself. Yet, of course, he should write unselfishly; we may say he would do well always to aim at the entertainment of the noblest minds, even when he does not exhort their loftiest moods. But he certainly achieves much besides if, while he does these things, at the same time and in the same doing he entertains the great commonalty of readers. If he does this, and all the more if he has the rare genius to do all these in one, his books, we may almost say, ought to go first through the magazines. If he wants them to do so, then it will be a godsend to himself as well as to the editors if he will lay his plans, as far as they have any arithmetical character (and they can have much), according to the magazines' mechanical exigencies. He should know just how much of any magazine page his own typewritten pages will occupy; how many of its own pages that magazine commonly allows to writings of the kind he proposes to offer—how many yearly, and how many monthly; and so on. It is well that he should know the best time of the magazine's business year in which to seek to arrange with them. To a certain degree magazines actually "lay in stock" for a coming season and after that, for a time, are languid buyers.
Be it understood that these remarks are as impromptu as a letter, and are intended only as hints and pointers. Yet much as they leave unstated, let a word be said as to the relation of the author to his book after he and all the later artisans of it have done their several parts in its building, and it is built. The care of the edifice ought still to be, far more than it commonly is, in the author's hands. The publisher has the fortunes of hundreds of works to promote and keep in repair; the author has but his own. Even an author may say that any publisher is glad to have suggestions from any author as to plans for keeping the children of that author's own brain alive in the world.
THE LITERARY AGENT
By Paul R. Reynolds.
The work of the literary agent in the building of a book may be roughly divided into two parts, first, in relation to the author, and second, in relation to the publisher. When the author has finished his manuscript, he brings it to the literary agent to be placed. The literary agent reads it and decides what house is most likely to publish such a book. He does not offer a book on Nervous Disorders to a house which never publishes that kind of book. He does not offer a sensational novel to a conservative house. He offers a book on Political Economy to a house which publishes that class of book and which is in touch with the people who buy books of that order. Among a number of houses which bring out books of any definite class, he can select the house that is most energetic in pushing its books, that has behind it a prestige and name which will help its publications, and which possesses the requisite skill to lay its wares before the public advantageously. The success of many a book has depended more on the shrewdness of the publisher in laying it before the public in attractive and seductive guise than either the public or the author often realize.
If the publisher accepts the manuscript offered to him by the literary agent, the latter arranges terms with the publisher, making as good a business arrangement as all the conditions justify. He draws up the contract with the publisher, and after the book is published, he collects the royalties from the publisher as they fall due. He enables the author to avoid any house that has a reputation for sharp practices. Knowing the personnel of the different houses, he knows the proper man to approach in offering his book, and he is of aid to the author in blowing his trumpet for him, telling what his previous work has been, in a way that the author, sensitive as he often is, cannot properly do. In short, the agent takes off the author's shoulders all the business end of publishing, leaving him free to devote himself to his own proper vocation without the vexatious business worries which he finds all the more vexatious because he has not had any training or experience in coping with them.
I think the literary agent can be, and as time goes on, will be, of increasing use to the publisher. The literary agent, if he understands his business, takes up no manuscript in which he does not believe. When he brings the publisher a manuscript, it is because he thinks there is money in such manuscript for the publisher, for the author, and as far as commission is concerned, for himself. While it is an advantage to the author that he should have the judgment of the agent, because the agent looks at any manuscript from a cold-blooded business point of view, it is also of advantage to the publisher to know that the agent, free from the confidence and perhaps the bias that the author has about his own wares, is offering him any individual manuscript because he (the agent) believes it will sell. The result is that the publisher gets to know that the agent won't offer him a manuscript that is not up to a certain standard, and which, even though it should in the end not prove suitable to this publisher's special list, must receive careful consideration. In this way the agent becomes of use to the publisher because he tries never to offer him anything that is mere trash or that simply wastes the publisher's time. Some time ago a publishing house wrote to an agent telling him they wanted a certain kind of novel for the next season, and describing, with a good deal of particularity, the kind of book they wanted. The agent, after thinking the matter over, submitted two manuscripts. The publisher considered them and accepted both. In such a case the agent had certainly been of great use to the publisher. He had given him what he was looking for, and had saved him the nuisance and the actual expense of reading through a large number of manuscripts before finding the right one.
It may be admitted frankly that the agent is sometimes accused of asking more for his wares than they are worth. In reply to this accusation it may be said that asking is not getting, and the agent who asks more than the market justifies, and thereby spoils the chances of a satisfactory arrangement, is not serving the best interests of his client. On the other hand, he will get the best price obtainable in the market, taking into consideration the character of the publishing house, its prestige and ability in pushing books, and as he is offering and selling every day he can generally obtain a better price and make a better arrangement than the author can. Realizing that the author and publishers are partners in an enterprise whose success depends upon a frank and clear understanding, he will do his best to make such relations friendly and harmonious and to the mutual advantage of both parties to the contract, never forgetting, however, that his especial client is the author, and that it is his duty to represent the author's interests.
One of the notable features of the times is the growth of magazines. The arrangement for the serialization of a long story in a magazine, the placing of short stories and articles in magazines, the selling of stories, articles, and books in England, and arranging the simultaneous issue in both countries,—all this involves an immense amount of detail which one has to encounter fully to realize. Sometimes, where an author is putting out a good many manuscripts, the complications are numerous and perplexing. In the case of one author living abroad whom we will call Smith, a book was arranged with a house A, and a second with a house B. The author was taken ill, could not finish the first book in time so that A had to postpone it till the next year, and this meant that B had to postpone his book. Then a publishing house took a story which the same author had sold direct to it for magazine publication, without reserving book rights, and brought such story out in book form. This meant another complication. After B had postponed his book twice the author produced another book which he thought better than the second book, and wished published before B's book. Four times B was asked to postpone his book and each time agreed to, though not without certain quid pro quos. All these matters the agent had to straighten out, while the author was living three thousand miles away.
The agent can also be of use to the author because he looks at any manuscript in an objective rather than in a subjective way. The author, who has toiled and striven over the child of his brain, regards it as fathers generally regard their children. Sometimes he cannot see its faults, sometimes he misjudges its virtues. It is too much a part of himself to be regarded coldly and calmly. When the publisher makes an offer for a book the author may with hasty disdain wish to reject it as entirely inadequate, or he may wish to accept it with eager haste, so glad is he for the chance of seeing the book in print. In this state of hasty acceptance or hasty rejection, the agent can look upon an offer calmly and dispassionately, to be accepted or rejected as the author's best interests shall dictate. Then again, as time goes on, more and more authors must live at a distance from the great centres. Some of them live in the uttermost parts of the earth. One author wrote recently to his agent from the wilds of Africa, saying, "I have found a nicely secluded spot, surrounded by gorillas and chimpanzees." To such authors it is essential that they should have an agent who is in touch with the publishers who are publishing their works.
Then again, the agent can be of use to the author in sparing him some of the bitterness that the author feels when his manuscript is rejected. Who that has read it can ever forget the story of how Hawthorne, while still struggling for success, submitted a collection of short stories to a publisher, and of how the publisher, not having much capital, laid the manuscript aside, intending to publish it when things were a little easier; and how Hawthorne, after months of dreary waiting, wrote an angry letter to the publisher, and when he got the manuscript back, in bitter, hopeless rage burned it up? Years afterward the publisher admitted that the manuscript contained some of the most exquisite work Hawthorne had ever written. This story emphasizes the intense sensitiveness of the author about his work. Often after two or three rejections he will give the manuscript up as hopeless and of no value, while it may be that he has only failed to find the house that is looking for that kind of book. An agent, if he has once taken the book up, does not drop it so quickly. Only recently an agent sold a book which had been declined by fifteen houses to the sixteenth. He is willing to persevere with a manuscript and with an author, in spite of rebuffs and discouragement, if he believes that the author has merit; and if he is willing to persevere with an author in the day of small things, he will reap his reward later on.
In conclusion the writer believes that the agent, as he has tried to indicate, can perform a definite and valuable service to both author and publisher by helping the author to bring his wares to the man who will publish them most advantageously, and by obtaining for the author the prices that such wares are worth in the open market, and he can help the publisher by acting as a sifter and bringing before the publisher and editor manuscripts that are really worthy of consideration.
THE LITERARY ADVISER
By Francis W. Halsey.
The position of literary adviser to a publishing house differs in its duties, according as the adviser may be employed in a house highly organized, or in one that is not. When the organization is such that the duties in the various departments are not well differentiated, the adviser's work will be likely to involve many things that properly belong to the manufacturing and advertising departments. These conditions, however, if they exist at all, will be found in the smaller houses, or in houses which, as to personnel, are undergoing reorganization; they are, and ought to be, exceptional.
The adviser's actual duties should pertain almost exclusively to the manuscripts, and to the relations of the house with those who produce them. In this way, the adviser acts as an intermediary between the publisher and the author. This relation seems, on the surface, to be somewhat delicate, and it usually is confidential, but most men find the occupation an agreeable one. Authors as a class, so far from being an irritable race, will usually be found, at least in their relations to publishers, not only interesting men and women, but candid and reasonable human beings. Probably the most delightful rewards of the literary adviser's calling come from the opportunities it gives him to extend his friendships among charming people.
Any house which is large enough to employ a literary adviser will probably receive, in the course of a year, at least one thousand unsolicited manuscripts, which will come from every part of the country. They will naturally be of widely varying degrees of excellence; quite two-thirds of them will be fiction, and a considerable number will bear convincing evidence of having already been for some time in search of a publisher. Testimony from various houses has at different times been given as to the percentage of volunteered manuscripts which eventually find acceptance. It does not materially vary, being from one to two per cent. Some years ago, in order to test this estimate, I went carefully over the unsolicited manuscripts which had reached a large publishing house during a period of several months, and found that exactly one and one-half per cent of them had been published.
This small showing should not imply that the remaining ninety-eight or ninety-nine per cent could in fairness be called worthless. With occasional exceptions, rejected manuscripts have been prepared with considerable intelligence; knowledge of themes is shown in them; there is some real literary skill in evidence, and particular care has been taken to secure legibility, about nine-tenths of them being in typewritten form. What they lack is certain other qualities more vital in the formation of a judgment as to their availability. In the case of fiction, they lack novelty of treatment, or for some other reason fail to be interesting, and in general there has not been infused into them the real breath of life. When they deal with serious subjects, they often cover ground which has been better covered before, or they attempt to achieve the not-worth-while, or the impossible.
There is always a small number of manuscripts against which no other objection can be raised than that it would be impossible to secure from the public an adequate return in sales for the expenditure necessary in the manufacture and distribution of the books. One of the pathetic sides of the publishing business is the fact that manuscripts of this kind cannot oftener, in this day and generation, secure the amount of attention they deserve from the reading public. When a sale of one or two thousand copies would be necessary to make good the cost of publication, the publisher is confronted with the fact that he could not secure a sale exceeding five hundred. Indeed, when one considers the almost certain fate that awaits them, pathos of the most genuine kind is closely associated with volunteered manuscripts—those, I mean, which come from new writers. Hardly any form of endeavor to which educated minds devote themselves should more often awaken sympathetic feeling. Those who produce them almost always have their rewards far to seek, and seeking will not find them, and yet they "wrought in sad sincerity."
The public is familiar with stories of successful books which, in the course of their peregrinations, were several times rejected by publishers. This, doubtless, has been the experience of all authors who have made notable successes with first books, and it doubtless always will be the experience of new authors. But along with this we must set down the further, but consoling fact, that probably no meritorious manuscript, possessing the possibilities of a great sale, ever yet failed ultimately to find a publisher. The best proof of this seems to be the absence of any notable instance of a book which, after being rejected by all the regular houses, finally was brought out privately, or at the author's expense, and then made a hit.
It is a common impression that manuscripts are not carefully read in publishing houses. Again and again has this fiction been exploded by houses whose word should be accepted as final, but it now and then lifts up its head as if untouched before. Of course there are manuscripts which no one ever reads completely through from beginning to end, chapter by chapter, and page by page, simply because it has been found not to be necessary to do so. Every conscientious reader, however,—and most readers known to me have been nothing if not conscientious,—reads at least far enough into a manuscript to learn if there be anything in it that in the least degree is promising. He understands full well the danger of overlooking a meritorious work, and experience has taught him to be careful. Moreover, he is usually fired with the worthy ambition to make a discovery; but he acts according to his light only, and hence makes mistakes. The conditions in which his work is done, however, preclude the possibility of careless reading.
It is doubtless true—indeed, I believe the records of every publishing house in the country will sustain this statement—that while no house has failed at some time in its career to reject at least one manuscript that was afterwards a highly successful book, mistakes of this kind have been extremely few; whereas the mistakes made by the same houses in accepting manuscripts that were afterward found to be unprofitable have been numerous. A further fact, which is seldom borne in mind, although it ought always to be remembered in any discussion of literary success, is that highly successful books usually bring to their publishers as much surprise as they do to any one else. This is distinctly true of novels by new writers, whose "big-sellers" have seldom or never been anticipated. It is well known in the trade that at least two, and probably a half-dozen, books highly successful during the past ten years, and all the works of new writers, were sent to press for the first edition, with a printing order for only two thousand copies.
The public has gotten very much into the habit of judging the fortunes of a publishing house by the successful fiction which it puts forth, and this is also true of many men in the trade, whose means of knowing better ought to be ample. Probably the literary gossip prevalent in newspapers and periodicals is largely responsible for this habit. The facts are, however, that, from these books alone, no publishing house in this country is, or could be, well sustained. Unless there be in the background some other publishing enterprise that is producing constant revenue from year to year, mere fiction will accomplish little to make or save the publisher. The real sources of stability lie elsewhere, far beyond the ken of the superficial observer, and they are very commonly overlooked. In one instance, this mainstay is religious books; in another a cyclopaedia; in another medical books, or educational; in another a dictionary; in another a periodical; and fortunate the house that has not one, but two or three, such sources of prosperity.
It might be set down as an axiomatic statement that no large publishing house in this country could possibly live exclusively from what are known as miscellaneous books, by which is meant current fiction and other ephemeral publications. The worst thing about such books is that they create no assets; their life is short, and once it is ended, the plates have value only as old metal. A house, therefore, in publishing this class of books finds that each season it must begin all over again the work of creating business for itself. Books of the more substantial kind, however, whether they be religious, educational, scientific, medical, or in other senses books of reference, do not perish with the passing of a season. Once the right kinds have been found, they are good for at least ten years, and not infrequently for a generation.
But this is wandering somewhat away from the subject of the literary adviser. His duties primarily are to preserve and to create good-will from authors toward the house which employs him, for that good-will is an asset of the first importance to a publishing house. Other kinds of good-will at the same time are essential to its fortunes,—notably the good-will of the bookseller and that of the book buyer,—but behind these, and primarily as the source of these, lies the good-will of the author. Houses now known to be the most prosperous in this country possess this good-will in abundance. So, too, the houses which are destined to much longer life are those which, by all legitimate means, shall seek to preserve and increase that good-will. Equally true is it, that the houses which in future shall fail will be those which do not cultivate and cherish the good-will of authors as the most valuable asset they can ever hope to possess.
It is because of this possession that a publisher gets an author's book. It was by this means that he got the books he already has, and by this will he get those which will make him successful in the future. His books being good, it is through them that the bookseller's good-will is acquired, and through them also that the publisher will secure the good-will of the book buyer. No wiser words on this subject have been uttered in our generation than those which may be found, here and there, in "A Publisher's Confession," which I hope was written, as reputed, by Walter H. Page, for it is certainly sound enough and sane enough to be his:—
"The successful publisher sustains a relation to the successful author that is not easily transferable. It is a personal relation. A great corporation cannot take a real publisher's place in his attitude to the author he serves."
"Every great publishing house has been built on the strong friendships between writers and publishers. There is in fact, no other sound basis to build on; for the publisher cannot do his highest duty to any author whose work he does not appreciate and with whom he is not in sympathy. Now, when a man has an appreciation of your work, and sympathy for it, he wins you. This is the simplest of all psychological laws,—the simplest of all laws of friendship, and one of the soundest."
"Mere printers and salesmen have not often built publishing houses. For publishing houses have this distinction over most other commercial institutions—they rest on the friendship of the most interesting persons in the world, the writers of good books."
"And—in all the noisy babble of commercialism—the writers of our own generation who are worth most on a publisher's list respond to the true publishing personality as readily as writers did before the day of commercial methods. All the changes that have come into the profession have not, after all, changed its real character, as it is practised on its higher levels. And this rule will hold true—that no publishing house can win and keep a place on the highest level that does not have at least one man who possesses this true publishing personality."
These are golden words. Men who knew them as self-evident truths laid the foundations, and in a few instances reared the superstructures, of the most famous publishing houses known to modern literature. Let us in part call the roll, restricting it to the dead: James T. Fields, the first Charles Scribner, George P. Putnam, Fletcher Harper, William H. Appleton, Daniel Macmillan, and the second John Murray. These men were more than publishers, adding as they did to that vocation the duties of the literary adviser, and becoming the ablest of their kind. Well may the literary adviser of our day, who is seldom himself a publisher, read the story of their lives and take heart from it in the discharge of his own duties.
THE MANUFACTURING DEPARTMENT
By Lawton L. Walton.
The manufacture of a book consists primarily of the processes of typography, or type composition, or the setting up of type—presswork or printing—photo-engraving or other methods of reproduction—designing—die-cutting—and binding, all of which are involved in transforming a manuscript into the completed book as it reaches the reader.
[Footnote 1: The word "typographer" is used to differentiate between the compositor and the printer, the latter being the one who does the presswork.]
In the machinery of a modern publishing house the manufacturing man is the person who follows these processes in their devious volutions and evolutions, until the finished production comes from the binder's hands.
After a manuscript has been accepted by a publishing house, it is turned over to the manufacturing man with such general instructions regarding the make-up of the book, as may have been considered or discussed with the author, who invariably and sometimes unfortunately, has some preconceived notion of what his book should look like.
The manufacturing man then selects what he considers a suitable style and size of type and size of letter-press page for the book, and sends the manuscript to the typographer with instructions to set up a few sample pages, and to make an estimate of the number of pages that the book will make, so as to verify his own calculations in this respect.
If these sample pages do not prove satisfactory, others are set up, until a page is arrived at finally that will meet all the requirements that the publisher deems necessary. This is then invariably submitted to the author for his approval.
This detail settled, the typographer is now instructed to proceed with the composition and to send proofs to the author. Sometimes a book is set up at once in page form but more often first proofs are sent out in galley strips, on which the author makes his corrections before the matter is apportioned into pages; another proof in page form is sent to the author on the return of which the typographer casts the electrotype plates from which the book is printed, unless, as in rare instances, the book is to be printed from the type, when no electrotype plates are made.
The manufacturing man keeps in touch with this work in its various stages as it proceeds, and as soon as the number of pages that the book will make can definitely be determined, he places an order for the paper on which it is to be printed.
Meanwhile, if the book is to be illustrated, an illustrator must be engaged, and furnished with a set of early proofs of the book from which to select the points or situations to illustrate. When the drawings are finally approved they are carefully looked over, marked to show the sizes at which they are to be reproduced, and sent to the engraver for reproduction.
Upon receipt of the reproductions from the engraver, the proofs are carefully compared with the originals, and if the work has been satisfactorily performed, the cuts are sent to the typographer or the printer for insertion in their proper places in the plates or type matter of the book.
The matter of the paper on which the book is to be printed has now to be considered: First, the size of the page, i.e. the apportionment of the margins around the page of letter-press, is decided. Second, the quality of paper to be used, and the surface or finish is then selected; and finally, the bulk or thickness that the book must be, to make a volume of proper proportions, is determined. The paper is then ordered, to be delivered to the printer who will print the book.
Time was when paper was made by hand in certain fixed sizes, and the size of the book was determined by the number of times the sheet of paper was folded, and the letter-press page was adapted to the size of the paper. In these days of machinery, when paper can be made in any size of sheet desired, the process is reversed: the size of the letter-press page is determined and the size of the sheet of paper adapted thereto. Upon receipt of the paper the printer sends a full-sized dummy of it to the manufacturing man so that he may compare it with the order that was given to the paper dealer. The book is then put to press, and as soon as the printing has been completed, the printed sheets are delivered to the binder.
If the book is to have a decorative cover, a designer has been employed to furnish a suitable cover design. When the design has been approved, it is turned over to the die cutter to cut the brass dies used by the binder in stamping the design on the cover of the book.
The dies when finished are sent with the design to the binder to be copied. He stamps off some sample covers until the result called for by the designer has been attained and is then ready to proceed with the operation of binding the book, as soon as the printed sheets have been delivered to him from the printer.
The binder is usually supplied by the printer with a small number of advance copies of the book, before the complete run of the sheets has been delivered. These advance copies are bound up at once and delivered to the manufacturing man so that any faults or errors may be caught and improvements be made before the entire edition of the book is bound.
Printed paper wrappers for the book have been made and supplied to the binder for wrapping each copy, and as soon as the books are bound, they are wrapped and delivered at the publisher's stock rooms.
The manufacturing man sees that early copies of each new book, for copyright purposes, are furnished to the proper department that attends to that detail, and that early copies also are supplied to the publicity department, to place with editors for special or advance reviews.
The manufacturing man also provides the travelling representatives of his house with adequate dummies (i.e. partly completed copies) of all new books as soon as the important details of their make-up have been decided.
This brief outline covers all of the steps in the process of the evolution of a book. Reams, however, could be devoted to the innumerable details that interweave and overlap each other with which the manufacturing man has to contend, when, as is often the case in our larger publishing houses, he has from forty to fifty books, and sometimes more, in process of manufacture at one time. I know of no man to whom disappointment comes more often than to him,—from the delays due to causes wholly unavoidable, to the blunders of stupid workmen and the broken promises of others; but these are all forgotten when the completed book, that he has worried over in its course through the press, in many instances for months, reaches his hands completed, "a thing of beauty."
THE MAKING OF TYPE
By L. Boyd Benton.
Type are made of type metal, a mixture of tin, antimony, lead, and copper. As antimony expands in solidifying, advantage is taken of this quality, and the mixture is so proportioned that the expansion of the antimony will practically counteract the shrinkage of the other ingredients. The proportion of the mixture is varied according to the size and style of type and to the purposes for which it is used.
Type are cast separately in moulds, a "matrix" at the end of the mould forming the letter or other character.
Machinery is used very largely in modern type-making. The steps of its manufacture are in this order: drawing the design, producing of a metal pattern therefrom, placing the pattern either in the engraving machine to produce steel punches and type-metal originals, or in the matrix-engraving machine to produce matrices, adjusting the matrix to the mould, and finally, casting the type.
The design for a new style of type is made generally with pen and ink, the capital letters being drawn about an inch high and the others in predetermined proportions. When the design is for a plain text letter, similar to that with which this book is printed, it is essential to have the letters proportioned and shaped in such a manner as will cause the least strain on the eye in reading, and, at the same time, produce a pleasing effect when the page is viewed as a whole. When the printed page conveys information to the reader, without attracting attention to itself, it is ideal.
While this is true in regard to a design for a text letter, the design for a display type is often made to attract attention, not only to itself, but to what it proclaims, by its boldness and beauty and sometimes even by its ugliness.
After the design has been drawn, it is placed in a "delineating machine," where an enlarged outline pencil copy, or tracing, is made, so large that all errors are easily seen and corrected. New designs may, however, be drawn in outline by hand on the enlarged scale, thus rendering unnecessary both the pen-and-ink drawing and the tracing.
With the aid of the delineating machine, the operator, besides being able to produce an accurately enlarged outline pencil tracing of a design, is also enabled, by various adjustments, to change the form of the pencil tracing in such a manner that it becomes proportionately more condensed or extended, and even italicized or back-sloped. That is, from a single design, say Gothic, pencil tracings can be made condensed, extended, italicized, and back-sloped, as well as an enlarged facsimile.
The next operation consists in placing the enlarged outline pencil drawing in a machine which enables the operator to reproduce the outline drawing, reduced in size, on a metal plate, evenly covered with wax, with the line traced entirely through the wax. The plate is then covered with a thin layer of copper, electrically deposited, and is "backed up" with metal, and trimmed and finished, similar to an ordinary electrotype plate of a page of type. A copper-faced metal plate is thus produced, on which are the raised outlines of a letter. This is called the "pattern." From this pattern all regular type sizes may be cut. It determines the shape of the letter, but the size and variations from the pattern are determined later by the adjustments of the engraving machine in which it is used.
The pattern is now sent to the engraving room. Machines have superseded the old-fashioned way of cutting punches and originals by hand, and they have enormously increased the production of new type faces. Whereas in the old days it took about eighteen months to bring out a new Roman face, or style of letters, in seven different sizes, to-day it can be done in about five weeks. The reason is that formerly only one artist, known as a punch-cutter, could work on a single face, and he had to cut all the sizes, otherwise there were noticeable differences in style. By machine methods, where all sizes can be cut simultaneously, it is only a question of having the requisite number of engraving machines.
As to the quality of machine work, it is superior to hand work both in accuracy and uniformity. The artist formerly cut the punches, or originals, by hand under a magnifying glass, and the excellence of his work was really marvellous. However, when changing from one size to another, there were often perceptible variations in the shapes of the letters, or the sizes were not always evenly graded. By the machine method the workman uses the long end of a lever, as explained below, and has therefore a greater chance of doing accurate work. In addition to this, a rigid pattern forms the shape of the letter, and to it all sizes must conform.
Another gain the machine has over hand-cutting is its greater range. When the old-time artist made an unusually small size of type for Bible use, he did it with great strain on his eyes and nerves. At any moment his tool might slip and spoil the work. With the machine, on the other hand, and with no physical strain whatever, experimental punches have been cut so small as to be legible only with a microscope—too small, in fact, to print. At present there are two styles of engraving machines employed,—one cutting the letter in relief,—called a "punch" if cut in steel, and an "original" if cut in type metal,—and the other cutting a letter in intaglio,—called a "matrix." Both machines are constructed on the principle of the lever, the long arm following the pattern, while the short arm moves either the work against the cutting tool, or the cutting tool against the work. The adjustments are such that the operator is enabled to engrave the letter proportionately more extended or condensed, and lighter or heavier in face, than the pattern. All these variations are necessary for the production of a properly graded modern series containing the usual sizes. In fact, on account of the laws of optics, which cannot be gone into here, only one size of a series is cut in absolutely exact proportion to the patterns.
As it is impossible to describe these machines clearly without the aid of many diagrams and much technical language, only a brief description of their operation will be given.
When the letters are to be engraved in steel, blocks or "blanks" are cut from soft steel and finished to the proper size. A blank is then fastened in the "holder," the machine for cutting the letter in relief adjusted to the proper leverage, and the pattern clamped to the "bed." The long arm of the lever, containing the proper "tracer" or follower, is moved by the operator around the outside of the pattern on the copper-faced metal plate, causing the blank to be moved by the shorter arm around and against a rotating cutting tool. This operation is repeated several times with different sizes of tracers and different adjustments to enable the cutting tool to cut at different depths, until finally a steel letter in relief is produced, engraved the reverse of the pattern and very much smaller. After being hardened and polished, this is called a steel punch, and, when driven into a flat piece of copper, it produces what is known as a "strike" or unfinished matrix.
If in the same machine type metal is used for blanks, the resulting originals are placed in a "flask," or holder, and submerged in a bath, where they receive on the face of the letter a thick coating of nickel, electrically deposited. As soon as the deposit is of sufficient thickness, they are removed and the soft metal letters withdrawn, leaving a deep facsimile impression in the deposited metal, which also is an unfinished matrix.
The machine for engraving a matrix in intaglio is operated in much the same manner as that for engraving a punch in relief. The same patterns are used, but the operator traces on the inside of the raised outline instead of on the outside. Besides following the outline, the operator guides the tracers over all the surface of the pattern within the outlines; otherwise the letter would appear in the matrix in outline only. The matrices are cut in steel and in watchmakers' nickel, and the work is so accurately done that about half the labor of finishing is saved.
It will be noted from the foregoing that all three processes of engraving end in the production of an unfinished matrix.
The adjusting of the matrix to the mould is technically called "fitting," and requires great skill. If type are cast from unfitted matrices, be the letters ever so cleverly designed and perfectly cut, when assembled in the printed page they will present a very ragged appearance. Some letters will appear slanting backward, others forward, some be above the line, others below; some will perforate the paper, while others will not print at all; the distances between the letters will everywhere be unequal, and some will print on but one edge. Indeed, a single letter may have half of these faults, but when the matrices are properly fitted, the printed page presents a smooth and even appearance.
The mould for this purpose is made of hardened steel, and in it is formed the body of the type. The printing end is formed in the matrix. The mould is provided at one end with guides and devices for holding the matrix snugly against it while the type is being cast, and for withdrawing the matrix and opening the mould when the type is discharged. At the opposite end from the matrix is an opening through which the melted metal enters. The moulds are made adjustable so that each character is cast the proper width, the opening of course being wider for a "W" than for an "i." Only one mould is necessary for one size of type, and with it all the matrices for that size may be used. Commercially, however, it is often necessary to make several moulds of the same size in order to produce the requisite amount of type.
After the adjustments are made, the casting of the type follows. Type are now cast in a machine which is automatic, after it is once adjusted to cast a given letter. The melted type metal is forced by a pump into the mould and the matrix, and when solidified, the type is ejected from the mould and moved between knives which trim all four sides. The type are delivered side by side on a specially grooved piece of wood, three feet long, called a "stick," on which they are removed from the machine for inspection. Type are cast at the rate of from ten to two hundred per minute, according to the size, the speed being limited only by the time it takes the metal to solidify. To accelerate this, a stream of cold water is forced through passages surrounding the mould, and a jet of cold air is blown against the outside.
The automatic casting machine performs six different operations. Formerly, all of them, except the casting itself, were done by hand, and each type was handled separately, except in the operation of dressing, or the final finishing, where they were handled in lines of about three feet in length.
After the type have been delivered to the inspector, they are examined under a magnifying glass and all imperfect type are thrown out. The perfect type are then delivered to "fonting" room, where they are weighed, counted, and put up in suitable packages in proper proportion of one letter with another, ready for the printer.
Formerly the various sizes of type were indicated by names which had developed with the history of type making. It was a source of considerable annoyance to printers that these old standards were not accurate, and that two types of supposedly the same size, and sold under the same name, by different makers, varied so much that they could not be used side by side. Of recent years the "point" system, by which each size bears a proportionate relation to every other size, has done much to remedy this trouble, and now nearly all type is made on that basis. An American point is practically one seventy-second of an inch. Actually it is .013837 inch. It was based on the pica size most extensively in use in this country. This pica was divided into twelve equal parts and each part called a point. All the other sizes were made to conform to multiples of this point. The point is so near a seventy-second of an inch that printers frequently calculate the length of the pages by counting the lines, the basis being twelve lines of 6 point, nine lines of 8 point, eight lines of 9 point, and six lines of 12 point to the inch. This calculation is really quite accurate.
The following table will show the old and new names for the various sizes:—
3-1/2 Point, Brilliant. 4-1/2 Point, Diamond. 5 Point, Pearl. 5-1/2 Point, Agate. 6 Point, Nonpareil. 7 Point, Minion. 8 Point, Brevier. 9 Point, Bourgeois. 10 Point, Long Primer. 11 Point, Small Pica. 12 Point, Pica. 14 Point, 2-line Minion or English. 16 Point, 2-line Brevier. 18 Point, Great Primer. 20 Point, 2-line Long Primer or Paragon. 22 Point, 2-line Small Pica. 24 Point, 2-line Pica. 28 Point, 2-line English. 30 Point, 5-line Nonpareil. 32 Point, 4-line Brevier. 36 Point, 2-line Great Primer. 40 Point, Double Paragon. 42 Point, 7-line Nonpareil. 44 Point, 4-line Small Pica or Canon. 48 Point, 4-line Pica. 54 Point, 9-line Nonpareil. 60 Point, 5-line Pica. 72 Point, 6-line Pica.
HAND COMPOSITION AND ELECTROTYPING
By J. Stearns Cushing.
The form of the book, the size of the type page, and the size and style of the type having been determined, the manuscript is handed to the foreman of the composing room, with all the collected directions in regard to it. He fills out a scheme of the work which tells the whole story,—somewhat as shown in illustration opposite page 42.
Under the heading "Remarks," in the scheme shown, are noted general directions as to capitalization, punctuation, and spelling (whether Webster, Worcester, or English spelling—which means generally not much more than the insertion of the "u" in words like "favor," "honor," etc., and the use of "s" instead of "z" in words like "recognize," "authorize," etc.). Sometimes these directions are given by the publisher, sometimes by the author, but more often by the superintendent or foreman of the printing-office. The office generally has a fairly well established system, which is followed in the absence of other orders. It is rarely the case that it is not the wisest course, if one is dealing with a reputable firm of printers, to leave all such details, except deciding the dictionary to be followed, to them. It is their business, and they will, if allowed, pursue a consistent and uniform plan, whereas few authors and fewer publishers are able, or take the pains, to do this. Too often the author has a few peculiar ideas as to punctuation or capitalization, which he introduces just frequently enough to upset the consistent plan of the printer. He will neither leave the responsibility to the latter nor will he assume it himself, and the natural result is a lack of uniformity which might have been avoided if the printer had been allowed to guide this part of the work without interference.
The compositors who are to set the type are selected according to the difficulty of the matter in hand, and each one is given a few pages of the "copy," or manuscript. The portion thus given each compositor is called a "take," and its length is determined by circumstances. For instance, if time is an object, small takes are given, in order that the next step in the forwarding of the work may be started promptly and without the delay which would be occasioned by waiting for the compositor to set up a longer take.
When the compositor has finished his take, the copy and type are passed to a boy, who "locks up" the type on the galley—a flat brass tray with upright sides on which the compositor has placed his type—and takes a proof of it upon a galley-or "roller"-press. This is the proof known as a "galley-proof," and is, in book work, printed on a strip of paper about 7 x 25 inches in size, leaving room for a generous margin to accommodate proof-readers' and authors' corrections, alterations, or additions.
The galley-proof, with the corresponding copy, is then handed to the proof-reader, who is assisted by a "copy-holder" (an assistant who reads the copy aloud) in comparing it with the manuscript and marking typographical errors and departures from copy on its margin. Thence the proof passes back again to the compositor, who corrects the type in accordance with the proof-reader's markings. Opposite page 44 is a specimen of a page proof before correction and after the changes indicated have been made.
New proofs are taken of the corrected galley, and these are revised by a proof-reader in order to be sure that the compositor has made all the corrections marked and to mark anew any he may have overlooked or wrongly altered. If many such occur, the proof is again passed to the compositor for further correction and the taking of fresh proofs. The reviser having found the proof reasonably correct, and having marked on its margin any noticed errors remaining, and also having "Queried" to the author any doubtful points to which it is desirable that the latter's attention should be drawn, the proof—known as the "first revise"—and the manuscript are sent to the author for his reading and correction or alteration.
[Footnote 2: If the book is to be illustrated, the author or publisher should be particular to indicate the position of all cuts by pasting proofs of them on the margin of the galley-proofs nearest the place desired. The time occupied by the "make-up" in "overrunning" matter for the insertion of cuts is charged as "author's time," and they can be inserted at less expense in the galley-proofs while making-up the type into pages than at any other time. All alterations, so far as practicable, for the same reason, should also be made in the galley-proofs, especially those which involve an increase or decrease in the amount of matter, since changes of this nature made in the page-proof necessitate the added expense of a rearrangement of the made-up pages of type.]
On the return of the galley-proofs to the printer, the changes indicated on the margins are made by compositors selected for the purpose, and the galleys of type and the proofs are then turned over by them to the "make-up." The "make-up" inserts the cuts, divides the matter into page lengths, and adds the running titles and folios at the heads of the pages.
At this stage the separate types composing the page are held in place and together by strong twine called "page cord," which is wound around the whole page several times, the end being so tucked in at the corner as to prevent its becoming unfastened prematurely. The page thus held together is quite secure against being "pied" if proper care is exercised in handling it, and it can be put on a hand-press and excellent proofs readily taken from it. A loosely tied page, however, may allow the letters to spread apart at the ends of the lines, or the type to get "off its feet," or may show lines slightly curved or letters out of alignment. The proof of a page displaying such conditions often causes the author, unlearned in printers' methods, much perturbation of mind and unnecessary fear that his book is going to be printed with these defects. These should in reality be no cause for worry, since by a later operation, that of "locking-up" the "form" in which the pages will be placed before they are sent to the electrotyping department, the types readily and correctly adjust themselves.
Proofs of these twine-bound pages are taken on a hand-press, passed to the reviser for comparison with the galley-proofs returned by the author, and if the latter has expressed a wish to see a second revise of the proofs, they are again sent to him. For such a "second revise" and any further revises an extra charge is made. The proofs to which an author is regularly entitled are a duplicate set of the first revise, a duplicate set of "F"-proofs,—to be mentioned later,—and one set of proofs of the electrotype plates; though it may be added that the last is not at all essential and is seldom called for.
Usually the author does not require to see another proof after the second revise, which he returns to the printer with his final changes and the direction that the pages may be "corrected and cast," that is, put into the permanent form of electrotype plates. Some authors, however, will ask to see and will make alterations in revise after revise, even to the sixth or seventh, and could probably find something to change in several more if the patience or pocketbook of the publisher would permit it. All the expense of overhauling, correcting, and taking additional proofs of the pages is charged by the printer as "author's time." It is possible for an author to make comparatively few and simple changes each time he receives a new revise, but yet have a much larger bill for author's changes than another who makes twice or thrice as many alterations at one time on the galley-proof, and only requires another proof in order that he may verify the correctness of the printer's work. The moral is obvious.
After the pages have been cast, further alterations, while entirely possible, are quite expensive and necessarily more or less injurious to the plates.
The author having given the word to "cast," the pages of type are laid on a smooth, level table of iron or marble called an "imposing stone." They are then enclosed—either two or three or four pages together, according to their size—in iron frames called "chases," in which they are squarely and securely "locked up," the type having first been levelled down by light blows of a mallet on a block of smooth, hard wood called a "planer." This locking-up of the pages in iron frames naturally corrects the defects noted in the twine-bound pages, and not only brings the type into proper alignment and adjustment, but prevents the probability of types becoming displaced or new errors occurring through types dropping out of the page and being wrongly replaced.
When the locking-up process is completed, the iron chase and type embraced by it is called a "form." A proof of this form is read and examined by a proof-reader with the utmost care, with a view to eliminating any remaining errors or defective types or badly adjusted lines, and to making the pages as nearly typographically perfect as possible. It is surprising how many glaring errors, which have eluded all readers up to this time, are discovered by the practised eye of the final proof-reader.
The form having received this most careful final reading, the proof is passed back to the "stone-hands"—those who lock up and correct the forms—for final correction and adjustment, after which several more sets of proofs are taken, called "F"-proofs (variously and correctly understood as standing for "final," "file," or "foundry" proofs). A set of F-proofs is sent to the author to keep on file, occasionally one is sent to the publisher, and one set is always retained in the proof-room of the printing-office. These proofs are characterized by heavy black borders which enclose each page, and which frequently render nervous authors apprehensive lest their books are to appear in this funereal livery. These black borders are the prints of the "guard-lines," which, rising to the level of the type, form a protection to the pages and the plates in their progress through the electrotyping department; but before the plates are finished up and made ready for the pressroom, the guard-lines, which have been moulded with the type, are removed.
After several sets of F-proofs have been taken, the form is carried to the moulding or "battery" room of the electrotyping department, where it leaves its perfect impress in the receptive wax. Thence it will later be returned to the composing room and taken apart and the type distributed, soon to be again set up in new combinations of letters and words. The little types making a page of verse to-day may do duty to-morrow in a page of a text-book in the higher mathematics.
After the type form has been warmed by placing it upon a steam table, an impression of it is taken in a composition resembling wax which is spread upon a metal slab to the thickness of about one-twelfth of an inch. Both the surface of the type and of the wax are thoroughly coated with plumbago or black lead, which serves as a lubricant to prevent the wax from adhering to the type.
As the blank places in the form would not provide sufficient depth in the plate, it is necessary to build them up in the wax mould by dropping more melted wax in such places to a height corresponding to the depth required in the plate, which is, of course, the reverse of the mould, and will show corresponding depressions wherever the mould has raised parts. If great care is not taken in this operation of "building-up," wax is apt to flow over into depressions in the mould, thereby effacing from it a part of the impression, and the plate appears later without the letters or words thus unintentionally blotted out. The reviser of the plate-proofs must watch carefully for such cases.
The mould is now thoroughly brushed over again with a better quality of black lead than before, and this furnishes the necessary metallic surface without which the copper would not deposit. Then it is "stopped out" by going over its edges with a hot iron, which melts the wax, destroys the black-lead coating, and confines the deposit of copper to its face.
After carefully clearing the face of the mould of all extraneous matter by a stream of water from a force-pump, it is washed with a solution of iron filings and blue vitriol which forms a primary copper facing. It is then suspended by a copper-connecting strip in a bath containing a solution of sulphate of copper, water, and sulphuric acid. Through the instrumentality of this solution, and the action of a current of electricity from a dynamo, copper particles separate from sheets of copper (called "anodes," which are also suspended in the bath) and deposit into the face of the mould, thus exactly reproducing the elevations and depressions of the form of type or illustrations of which the mould is an impression. After remaining in the bath about two hours, when the deposit of copper should be about as thick as a visiting card, the mould is taken from the bath and the copper shell removed from the wax by pouring boiling hot water upon it. A further washing in hot lye, and a bath in an acid pickle, completely removes every vestige of wax from the shell. The back of the shell is now moistened with soldering fluid and covered with a layer of tin-foil, which acts as a solder between the copper and the later backing of lead.
The shells are now placed face downward in a shallow pan, and melted lead is poured upon them until of a sufficient depth; then the whole mass is cooled off, and the solid lead plate with copper face is removed from the pan and carried to the finishing room, where it is planed down to a standard thickness of about one-seventh of an inch. The various pages in the cast are sawed apart, the guard-lines removed, side and foot edges bevelled, head edge trimmed square, and the open or blank parts of the plate lowered by a routing machine to a sufficient depth to prevent their showing later on the printed sheet.
Then a proof taken from the plates is carefully examined for imperfections, and the plates are corrected or repaired accordingly, and are now ready for the press.
Although, owing to the expense and to the fact that the plate is more or less weakened thereby, it is desirable to avoid as much as possible making alterations in the plates, they can be made, and the following is the course generally pursued. If the change involves but a letter or two, the letters in the plate are cut out and new type letters are inserted; but if the alteration involves a whole word or more, it is inadvisable to insert the lead type, owing to its being softer and less durable than the copper-faced plate, and it will therefore soon show more wear than the rest of the page; and so it is customary to reset and electrotype so much of the page as is necessary to incorporate the proposed alteration, and then to substitute this part of the page for the part to be altered, by cutting out the old and soldering in the new piece, which must of course exactly correspond in size.
As a patched plate is apt at any time to go to pieces on the press, and may destroy other plates around it, or may even damage the press itself, it is generally considered best to cast a new plate from the patched one. This does not, however, apply to plates in which only single letters or words have been inserted, but to those which have been cut apart their whole width for the insertion of one or more lines.
The plates having been finally approved, they are made up in groups (or "signatures") of sixteen, and packed in strong boxes for future storage. Each box generally contains three of these groups, or forty-eight plates, and is plainly marked with the title of the book and the numbers of the signatures contained therein.
The longevity of good electrotype plates is dependent upon the care with which they are handled and the quality of paper printed from them; but with smooth book paper and good treatment it is entirely possible to print from them a half million impressions without their showing any great or material wear.
COMPOSITION BY THE LINOTYPE MACHINE
By Frederick J. Warburton.
The Linotype, pronounced by London Engineering "the most wonderful machine of the century," was not the product of a day. Its creator, whose early training had never touched the printer's art, was fortunately led to the study of that art, through the efforts of others, whose education had prepared them to look for a better method of producing print than that which had been in use since the days of Gutenberg; but his invention abolished at one stroke composition and distribution; introduced for the first time the line, instead of the letter, as the unit of composition; brought into the art the idea of automatically and instantly producing by a keyboard solid lines of composed and justified type, to be once used and then melted down; rendered it possible to secure for each issue new and sharp faces; abolished the usual investment for type; cheapened the cost of standing matter; removed all danger of "pieing," and at the same time reduced greatly the cost of composition. The story is an interesting one.
In the autumn of 1876, Charles T. Moore, a native of Virginia, exhibited to a company of Washington reporters a printing machine upon which he had been working for many years, and which he believed to be then substantially complete. It was a machine of very moderate dimensions, requiring a small motive power, and which bore upon a cylinder in successive rows the characters required for printed matter. By the manipulation of finger keys, while the cylinder was kept in continuous forward motion, the characters were printed in lithographic ink upon a paper ribbon, in proper relation to each other; this ribbon was afterwards cut into lengths, arranged in the form of a page, "justified," to a certain extent, by cutting between and separating the words, and then transferred to a lithographic stone, from which the print was made. Such print was not, of course, of the highest character, but it was a beginning; and the machines were used in Washington and New York, mainly in the transcription of stenographic notes taken in law cases and in the proceedings of legislative committees. A number of these machines was built, but mechanical difficulties became so frequent that the parties interested resolved, very wisely, before proceeding to build upon a large scale, to put the machine into the hands of a thorough mechanical expert, so that it might be tried out and a determination reached as to whether or not it was a commercially practical one. At the head of the little company of men who nurtured this enterprise and contributed most largely by their labors and means to its development, were James O. Clephane, a well-known law and convention reporter, and Andrew Devine, then the Senate reporter of the Associated Press. In their search for an expert, a Baltimore manufacturer named Hahl, who had constructed some of these machines, was consulted, and upon his recommendation his cousin, Ottmar Mergenthaler, was selected to undertake the work, and thus the future inventor of the Linotype was discovered.
Mergenthaler was born in 1854, in Wuertemberg, Germany, had been a watchmaker, and at this time was employed upon the finer parts of the mechanical work done in Hahl's shop. The contract was that Mergenthaler was to give his services at a rate of wages considerably beyond what he was then receiving, and Hahl was to charge a reasonable price for the use of his shop and the cost of material. The task undertaken, however, proved to be a far larger one than had been anticipated, and the means of the promoters were exhausted long before the modifications and improvements continually presented had been worked out. The circle of contributors was therefore necessarily widened, and indeed that process went on for years, enough, could they have been foreseen, to have dismayed and disheartened those who were there "in the beginning." Mergenthaler and Moore, assisted by the practical suggestions of Clephane and Devine, continued to work upon the problem for about two years, by which time the lithographic printing machine had become one which indented the characters in a papier-mache strip, and this being cut up and adjusted upon a flat surface in lines, the way was prepared for casting in type metal. The next step of importance was the production of the "bar indenting machine," a machine which carried a series of metal bars, bearing upon their edges male printing characters, the bars being provided with springs for "justifying" purposes. The papier-mache matrix lines resulting from pressure against the characters were secured upon a backing sheet, over this sheet was laid a gridiron frame containing a series of slots, and into these slots type metal was poured by hand to form slugs bearing the characters from which to print. This system was immediately followed by a machine which cast the slugs automatically, one line at a time, from the matrix sheets.
It was in this work that Mergenthaler received the education which resulted in his great invention and in due time he presented his plans for a machine which was known as the "Band" machine. In this machine the characters required for printing were indented in the edges of a series of narrow brass bands, each band containing a full alphabet, and hanging, with spacers, side by side in the machine. The bands tapered in thickness from top to bottom, the characters being arranged upon them in the order of the width-space which they occupied. By touching the keys of a keyboard similar to a typewriter, the bands dropped successively, bringing the characters required into line at a given point; a casting mechanism was then brought in contact with this line of characters, molten metal forced against it through a mould of the proper dimensions, and a slug with a printing surface upon its face was thus formed. This was recognized as a great advance and was hailed with delight by the now largely increased company. The necessary funds were provided and the building of the new machine undertaken. But Mergenthaler continued active, and before a second of the "Band" machines could be built, he had devised a plan for dealing with the letters by means of independent matrices. These matrices were pieces of brass measuring 1-1/4 inches by 3/4 of an inch and of the necessary thickness to accommodate the character, which it bore upon its edge in intaglio; they were stored in the newly devised machine in vertical copper tubes, from the bases of which they were drawn, as required, by a mechanism actuated by finger keys, caught by the "ears" as they dropped upon a miniature railway, and by a blast of air carried one by one to the assembling point. Wedge spacers being dropped in between the words, the line was carried to the front of the mould, where "justification" and casting took place.
Success seemed at last to have been reached, and now the problem was, first, how to obtain means to build machines, and second, how to persuade printers to use them. The first of these was the easier, although no slight task; the second was one of great difficulty. The field for the machine then in sight was the newspaper, and the newspaper must appear daily. The old method of printing from founder's type, set for the most part by hand, was doing the work; a revolutionary method by which the type was to be made and set by machine, although promising great economies, was a dangerous innovation and one from which publishers naturally shrank. They could see the fate which awaited them if they adopted the new system and it proved unsuccessful. However, a number of newspaper men, after a careful investigation of the whole subject, determined to make the trial; and the leaders of these were Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune, Melvin Stone of the Chicago News (to whom succeeded Victor F. Lawson), and Walter N. Haldeman of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Into these offices, then, the Linotype went. To Mr. Reid belongs the honor of giving the machine a name—line of type—Linotype, and of first using it to print a daily newspaper. Of the machine last described, two hundred were built, but before they were half marketed, the ingenious Mergenthaler presented a new form, which showed so great an advance that it was perforce adopted, and the machines then in use, although they gave excellent results, were in course of time displaced. The new machine did away with the air blast, the matrices being carried to the assembling point by gravity from magazines to be hereafter described, and the distributing elevator was displaced by an "arm" which lifted the lines of matrices, after the casting process, to the top of the machine to be returned to their places.
The improvements made in the Linotype since Mergenthaler's time (who died in 1899 at the early age of forty-five) have been very great; indeed, almost a new machine has been created in doing what was necessary to adapt it to the more and more exacting work which it was called upon to perform in the offices of the great American book publishers. These improvements have been largely the work of, or the following out of suggestions made by, Philip T. Dodge, the patent attorney of the parties interested in the enterprise from the beginning, and later the president of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company. They went on year after year under the supervision of a corps of gifted mechanical experts, the chief of whom was John R. Rogers, the inventor of the Typograph, until from the machine of Mergenthaler, supplying through its ninety keys as many characters, a machine appeared yielding three hundred and sixty different characters from the like keyboard. The magazines, too, were capable of being charged with matrices representing any face from Agate (5-point) to English (14-point), and even larger faces for display advertising and for initial letters, by special contrivances which cannot be described without carrying this article beyond reasonable limits. Among the ingenious devices added are: the Rogers systems of setting rule and figure tables, box heads, etc.; the reversal of the line so as to set Hebrew characters in their proper relation; the production of printers' rules of any pattern; the making of ornamental borders; a device for the casting of the same line an indefinite number of times from one setting. The machine was also greatly simplified in its construction.
The amount of money expended in the enterprise before the point of profit was reached was very great; it aggregated many millions of dollars; but the promoters had faith in the success of the machine and taxed themselves ungrudgingly. Among those who contributed largely to the ultimate result by substantial aid and wise counsel in the conduct of the business the name of D. O. Mills should be particularly mentioned.
It was Mergenthaler's great good fortune to have had as his supporters many men of the character of those mentioned above, and in thus being relieved of all financial anxiety and permitted to work out thoroughly and without delay every idea that suggested itself either to him or to the ingenious men who had been drawn into the enterprise. His profits, too, were proportionate to the company's success, and although he did not live to enjoy them for his natural term of years, he had the satisfaction of knowing that a handsome income would continue to flow into the hands of his wife and children.
The company's principal works are situated in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York City, and have a space devoted to manufacturing purposes of about one hundred and sixty thousand square feet. Approximately one hundred Linotypes, besides a large number of smaller machines and a vast quantity of supplies, are turned out from there every month; but the growing demand from abroad for American-built machines has led to the consideration of plans for an entirely new establishment, to be built in accordance with the latest modes of factory construction. About ten thousand Linotypes are now in daily use.
The machine as at present built is shown in part by the accompanying cut, and its operation may be briefly described as follows:—
The Linotype machine contains, as its fundamental elements, several hundred single matrices, which consist of flat plates of brass having on one edge a female letter or matrix proper, and in the upper end a series of teeth, used for selecting and distributing them to their proper places in the magazine. These matrices are held in the magazine of the machine, a channel of it being devoted to each separate character, and there are also channels which carry quads of definite thickness for use in tabular work, etc. The machine is so organized that on manipulating the finger keys, matrices are selected in the order in which their characters are to appear in print, and they are assembled in line side by side at the point marked G in the illustration, with wedge-shaped spaces between the words. This series of assembled matrices forms a line matrix, or, in other words, a line of female type adapted to form a line of raised printed characters on a slug which is cast against them. After the matrix line has been composed, it is automatically transferred to the face of a slotted mould, as shown at K, and while in this position the wedge spaces are pushed up through the line, and in this manner exact and instantaneous justification is secured. Behind the mould there is a melting pot, M, heated by a flame from a gas or oil burner, and containing a constant supply of molten metal. The pot has a perforated mouth which fits against and closes the rear side of the mould, and it contains a pump plunger mechanically actuated. After the matrix line is in place against the front of the mould, the plunger falls and forces the molten metal through the mouth pot into the mould, against and into the characters in the matrix line. The metal instantly solidifies, forming a slug having on its edge raised characters formed by the matrices. The mould wheel next makes a partial revolution, turning the mould from its original horizontal position to a vertical one in front of an ejector blade, which, advancing from the rear through the mould, pushes the slug from the latter into the receiving galley at the front. A vibrating arm advances the slugs laterally in the galley, assembling them in column or page form ready for use. To insure absolute accuracy in the height and thickness of the slugs, knives are arranged to act upon the base and side faces as they are being carried toward the galley. After the matrices have served their purpose in front of the mould, they are shifted laterally until the teeth in their upper ends engage the horizontal ribs on the bar R; this bar then rises, as shown by the dotted lines, lifting the matrices to the distributor at the top of the machine, but leaving the wedge spacers, I, behind, to be shifted to their box, H. The teeth in the top of each matrix are arranged in a special order, according to the character it contains, the number or relation of its teeth differing from that of a matrix containing any other character, and this difference insures proper distribution. A distributor bar, T, is fixed horizontally over the upper end of the magazine and bears on its lower edge longitudinal ribs or teeth, adapted to engage the teeth of the matrices and hold the latter in suspension as they are carried along the bar over the mouths of the magazine channels by means of screws which engage their edges. Each matrix remains in engagement with the bar until it arrives at the required point, directly over its own channel, and at this point for the first time its teeth bear such relation to those on the bar that it is permitted to disengage and fall into the channel. It is to be particularly noted that the matrices pursue a circulatory course through the machine, starting singly from the bottom of the magazine and passing thence to the line being composed, thence in the line to the mould, and finally back singly to the top of the magazine. This circulation permits the operations of composing one line, casting from a second, and distributing a third, to be carried on concurrently, and enables the machine to run at a speed exceeding that at which an operator can finger the keys. A change from one face of type to any other is effected by simply drawing off one magazine and substituting another containing the face required, so that the variety of faces needs to be limited only by the number of them which the printer chooses to carry in his stock.
Matrices are also made bearing two characters, as the ordinary body character and the corresponding italics, or a body character and a small capital or a black face, and either of these is brought into use as desired by the touching of a key, so that if, for instance, it is required to print a word in italics or black face at any part of the line being composed, it is effected in this way, and composition in the body letter is resumed by releasing the key.
The latest pattern of machine is supplied with two magazines, superimposed one above the other, each with its own distributing apparatus. The operator can elect, by moving a lever, from which magazine the letter wanted will fall—the same keyboard serving for both. It is thus possible to set two sizes of type from one machine, each matrix showing two characters as described above.
COMPOSITION BY THE MONOTYPE MACHINE
By Paul Nathan.
Though for more than half a century machines adapted for the setting of type have been in use, it is only within a few years that the average printer of books has been enabled to avail himself of the services of a mechanical substitute for the hand compositor. The fact seems to be that despite the ingenuity that was brought to bear upon the problem, the pioneer inventors were satisfied to obtain speed, with its resultant economy, at the expense of the quality of the finished product. Thus, until comparatively recently, machine composition was debarred from the establishments of the makers of fine books, and found its chief field of activity in the office of newspaper publishers and others to whom a technically perfect output was not essential so long as a distinct saving of time and labor could be assured. Thanks, however, to persistent effort on the part of those inventors who would not be satisfied until a machine was evolved which should equal in its output the work of the hand compositor, the problem has been triumphantly solved, and to-day the very finest examples of the printed book owe their being to the mechanical type-setter.
The claim is made for one of these machines, the monotype, that, so far from lowering the standard of composition, its introduction into the offices of the leading book printers of the world has had the contrary effect, and that it is only the work of the most skilful hand compositor which can at every point be compared with that turned out by the machine. The fact that the type for some recent books of the very highest class, so-called "editions de luxe," has been cast and set by the monotype machine would seem to afford justification for this claim, extravagant as at first glance it may appear.
The monotype machine is, to use a Hibernicism, two machines, which, though quite separate and unrelated, are yet mutually interdependent and necessary the one to the other. One of these is the composing machine, or keyboard, the other the caster, or type-founder. To begin with the former: this is in appearance not unlike a large typewriter standing upon an iron pedestal, the keyboard which forms its principal feature having two hundred and twenty-five keys corresponding to as many different characters. This keyboard is generally placed in some such position in the printing office as conduces to the health and comfort of the operator, for there is no more noise or disagreeable consequence attendant on its operation than in the case of the familiar typewriter, which it so markedly resembles.
It has been said that the machines are interdependent; yet they are entirely independent as to time and place. The keyboard, as a matter of fact, acts as a sort of go-between betwixt the operator and the casting-machine, setting the latter the task it has to perform and indicating to it the precise manner of its performance. A roll of paper, which as the keyboard is operated continuously unwinds and is rewound, forms the actual means of communication between the two machines. The operator, as he (or she, for in increasing numbers women are being trained as monotype operators) sits facing the keyboard, has before him, conveniently hanging from an adjustable arm, the "copy" that has to be set in type. As he reads it he manipulates the keys precisely as does an operator on a typewriter, but each key as it is depressed, in place of writing a letter, punches certain round holes in the roll of paper. Enough keys are depressed to form a word, then one is touched to form a space, and so on until just before the end of the line is reached (the length of this line, or the "measure," as it is termed, has at the outset been determined upon by the setting of an indicator) a bell rings, and the operator knows that he must prepare to finish the line with a completed word or syllable and then proceed to justify it. "Justification," as it is termed, is perhaps the most difficult function of either the hand or the machine compositor. On the deftness with which this function is discharged depends almost entirely the typographic excellence of the printed page. To justify is to so increase the distance between the words by the introduction of type-metal "spaces" as to enable the characters to exactly fill the line. To make these spaces as nearly equal as possible is the aim of every good printer, and in proportion as he succeeds in his endeavor the printed page will please the eye and be free from those irregularities of "white space," which detract from its legibility as well as from its artistic appearance.
That the monotype should not only "justify" each line automatically, but justify with a mathematical exactness impossible of attainment by the more or less rough-and-ready methods of the most careful human type-setter is at first thought a little bewildering. The fact remains, however, that it does so, and another triumph is to be recorded for man's "instruments of precision."