A Dictionary of Arts: Printing machine.

A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines; containing A Clear Exposition of Their Principles and Practice

by Andrew Ure, M. D.;
F. R. S. M. G. S. Lond.: M. Acad. M. S. Philad.; S. PH. DOC. N. GERM. Ranow.; Mulh. Etc. Etc.

Illustrated with nearly fifteen hundred engravings on wood
Eleventh American, From The Last London Edition.
To which is appended, a Supplement of Recent Improvements to The Present Time.

New York: D Appleton & company, 200 Broadway. Philadelphia: George S. Appleton, 148 Chestnut St.


PRINTING MACHINE. (Typographie mécanique, Fr.; Druckmaschine, Germ.) In reviewing those great eras of national industry, when the productive arts, after a long period of irksome vassalage, have suddenly achieved some new conquest over the inertia of matter, the contemplative mind cannot fail to be struck with the insignificant part which the academical philosopher has generally played in such memorable events.

Engrossed with barren syllogisms, or equational theorems, often little better than truisms in disguise, he nevertheless believes in the perfection of his attainments, and disdains to soil his hands with those handicraft operations at which all improvements in the arts must necessarily begin. He does not deem a manufacture worthy of his regard, till he has worked out its own grandeur and independence with patient labor and consummate skill. In this spirit the men of speculative science neglected for 60 years the steam engine of Newcomen, till the artisan Watt transformed it into an automatic prodigy; they have never deigned to illustrate by dynamical investigations the factory mechanisms of Arkwright, yet nothing in the whole compass of art deserves it so well; and though perfectly aware that revolvency is the leading law in the system of the universe, they have never thought of showing the workman that this was also the true principle of every automatic machine.

These remarks seem to be peculiarly applicable to book-printing, an art invented for the honor of learning and the glory of the learned, though they have done nothing for its advancement; yet by the overruling bounty of Providence it has eventually served as the great teacher and guardian of the whole family of man.

*On the recent improvements in printing, first delivered at the Royal Institution, February 22, 1828.
It has been justly observed by Mr. Cowper, in his ingenious lecture,* that no improvement had been introduced in this important art, from its invention till the year 1798, a period of nearly 350 years. In Dr. Dibdin's interesting account of printing, in the Bibliographical Decameron, may be seen representations of the early printing-presses, which exactly resemble the wooden presses in use at the present day. A new era has, however, now arrived, when the demands for prompt circulation of political intelligence require powers of printing newspapers beyond the reach of the most expeditious hand presswork.

** Lord Stanhope is the only man of learning whose name figures in the annals of typography.
For the first essential modification of the old press, the world is indebted to the late Earl Stanhope.** His press is formed of iron, without any wood; the table upon which the form of types is laid, as well as the platen or surface which immediately gives the impression, is of cast iron, made perfectly level; the platen being large enough to print a whole sheet at one pull. The compression is applied by a beautiful combination of levers, which give motion to the screw, cause the platen to descend with progressively increasing force till it reaches the type, when the power approaches the maximum; upon the infinite lever principle, the power being applied to straighten an obtuse-angled jointed lever. This press, however, like all its flat-faced predecessors, does not act by a continuous, but a reciprocating motion, and can hardly be made automatic; nor does it much exceed the old presses in productiveness, since it can turn off only 250 impressions per hour.

The first person who publicly projected a self-acting printing-press, was Mr. William Nicholson, the able editor of the Philosophical Journal, who obtained a patent in 1790-1, for imposing types upon a cylindrical surface; this disposition of types, plates, and blocks, being a new invention (see fig. 913); 2, for applying the ink upon the surface of the types, &c., by causing the surface of a cylinder smeared with the coloring-matter to roll over them; or else causing the types to apply themselves to the said cylinder. For the purpose of spreading the ink evenly over this cylinder, he proposed to apply three or more distributing rollers longitudinally against the inking cylinder, so that they might be turned by the motion of the latter. ***
The black parts in these little diagrams, 913-922, indicate the inking apparatus; the diagonal lines, the cylinders upon which the paper to be printed is applied; the perpendicular lines, the plates or types and the arrows show the track pursued by the sheet of paper.
3. "I perform," he says, "all my impressions by the action of a cylinder, or cylindrical surface; that is, I cause the paper to pass between two cylinders, one of which has the form of types attached to it, and forming part of its surface; and the other is faced with cloth, and serves to press the paper so as to take off an impression of the colour previously applied; or otherwise I cause the form of types, previously colored, to pass in close and successive contact with the paper wrapped round a cylinder with woollen." (See figs. 913 and 914.)***

In this description Mr. Nicholson indicates pretty plainly the principal parts of modern printing machines; and had he paid the same attention to any one part of his invention which he fruitlessly bestowed upon attempts to attach types to a cylinder, or had he bethought himself of curving stereotype plates, which were then beginning to be talked of, he would in all probability have realized a working apparatus, instead of scheming merely ideal plans.

The first operative printing machine was undoubtedly contrived by, and constructed under the direction of, M. König, a clockmaker from Saxony, who, so early as the year 1804, was occupied in improving printing-presses. Having failed to interest the continental printers in his views, he came to London soon after that period, and submitted his plans to Mr. T. Bensley, our celebrated printer, and to Mr. R. Taylor, now one of the editors of the Philosophical Magazine.

These gentlemen afforded Mr. König and his assistant Bauer, a German mechanic, liberal pecuniary support. In 1811, he obtained a patent for a method of working a common hand-press by power; but after much expense and labor he was glad to renounce the scheme. He then turned his mind to the use of a cylinder for communicating the pressure, instead of a flat plate; and he finally succeeded, some time before the 28th November, 1814, in completing his printing automaton; for on that day the editors of the Times informed their readers that they were perusing for the first time a newspaper printed by steam-impelled machinery; it is a day, therefore, which will be ever memorable in the annals of typography.

In that machine the form of type was made to traverse horizontally under the pressure cylinder, with which the sheet of paper was held in close embrace by means of a series of endless tapes. The ink was placed in a cylindrical box, from which it was extruded by means of a powerful screw, depressing a well-fitted piston; it then fell between two iron rollers, and was by their rotation transferred to several other subjacent rollers, which had not only a motion round their axes, but an alternating traverse motion (endwise). This system of equalizing rollers terminated in two which applied the ink to the types. (See. fig. 915.) This plan of inking evidently involved a rather complex mechanism, was hence difficult to manage, and sometimes required two hours to get into good working trim. It has been superseded by a happy invention of Mr. Cowper, to be presently described.

In order to obtain a great many impressions rapidly from the same form, a paper-conducting cylinder (one embraced by the paper) was mounted upon each side of the inking apparatus, the form being made to traverse under both of them. This double-action machine threw off 1100 impressions per hour when first finished; and by a subsequent improvement, no less than 1800.

Mr. König's next feat was the construction of a machine for printing both sides of the newspaper at each complete traverse of the forms. This resembled two single machines, placed with their cylinders towards each other, at a distance of two or three feet; the sheet was conveyed from one paper cylinder to another, as before, by means of tapes; the track of the sheet exactly resembled the letter S laid horizontally, thus, on; and the sheet was turned over or reversed in the course of its passage. At the first paper cylinder it received the impression from the first form, and at the second it received t from the second form; whereby the machine could print 750 sheets of book letter-press on both sides in an hour. The new register apparatus was erected for Mr. T Bensley, in the year 1815, being the only machine made by Mr.König for printing upon both sides. See fig. 916.

Messrs. Donkin and Bacon had for some years previous to this date been busily engaged with printing machines, and had indeed, in 1813, obtained a patent for an apparatus, in which the types were placed upon the sides of a revolving prism; the ink was applied by a roller, which rose and fell with the eccentricities of the prismatic surface, and the sheet was wrapped upon another prism fashioned so as to coincide with the eccentricities of the type prism. One such machine was erected for the University of Cambridge. (See Fig. 917.) It was a beautiful specimen of ingenious contrivance and good workmanship. Though it was found to be too complicated for common operatives, and defective in the mechanism of the inking process; yet it exhibited for the first time the elastic inking rollers, composed of glue combined with treacle, which alone constitute one of the finest inventions of modern typography. In König's machine the rollers were of metal covered with leather, and never answered their purpose very well.

Before proceeding further, I may state that the above elastic composition, which resembles caoutchouc not a little, but is not so firm, is made by dissolving with heat in two pounds of ordinary treacle, one pound of good glue, previously soaked during a night in cold water.

In the year 1815, Mr. Cowper turned his scientific and inventive mind to the subject of printing machines, and has since, in co-operation with his partner, Mr. Applegath, carried them to an unlooked-for degree for perfection. In 1815 Mr. Cowper obtained a patent for curving stereotype plates, for the purpose of fixing them on a cylinder Several machine so mounted, capable of printing 1000 sheets per hour upon both skies, are at work at the present day; twelve machines on this principle having been made for the Directors of the Bank of England a short time previous to their re-issuing gold. See figs. 918, and 919.

It deserves to be remarked here, that the same object seems to have occupied the attention of Nicholson, Donkin, Bacon, and Cowper; viz., the revolution of the form of types. Nicholson sought to effect this by giving to the shank of a type a shape like the stone of an arch; Donkin and Bacon by attaching types to the sides of a revolving prism; and Cowper, more successfully, by curving a stereotype plate. (see fig. 918.) In these machines Mr. Cowper places two paper cylinders side by side, and against each of them a cylinder for holding the plates; each of these four cylinders is about two feet in diameter. Upon the surface of the stereotype-plate cylinder, four or five inking rollers of about three inches in diameter are placed; they are kept in their position by a frame at each end of the said cylinder, and the axles of the rollers rest in vertical slots of the frame, whereby, having perfect freedom of motion, they act by their gravity alone, and require no adjustment.

The frame which supports the inking rollers, called the waving-frame, is attached by hinges to the general framework of the machine; the edge of the stereotype-plate cylinder is indented, and rubs against the waving-frame, causing it to vibrate to and fro, and consequently to carry the inking rollers with it, so as to give them an unceasing traverse movement. These rollers distribute the ink over three fourths of the surface of the cylinder, the other quarter being occupied by the curved stereotype plates. The ink is contained in a trough, which stands parallel to the said cylinder, and is formed by a metal roller revolving against the edge of a plate of iron; in its revolution it gets covered with a thin film of ink, which is conveyed to the plate cylinder by a distributing roller vibrating between both. The ink is diffused upon the plate cylinder as before described; the plates in passing under the inking rollers become charged with the coloured varnish; and as the cylinder continues to revolve, the plates come into contact with a sheet of paper on the first paper cylinder, which is then carried by means of tapes to the second paper cylinder, where it receives an impression upon its opposite side from the plates upon the second cylinder.

Thus the printing of the sheet is completed. Though the above machine be applicable only to stereotype plates, it has been of general importance, because it formed the foundation of the future success of Messrs. Cowper and Applegath's printing machinery, by showing them the best method of serving out, distributing, and applying the coloured varnish to the types.

In order to adapt this method of inking to a flat type-form machine, it was merely requisite to do the same thing upon an extended flat surface or table, which had been performed upon an extended cylindrical surface. Accordingly, Messrs. Cowper and Applegath constructed a machine for printing both sides of the sheets from type, including the inking apparatus, and the mode of conveying the sheet from the one paper cylinder to the other, by means of drums and tapes. It is highly creditable to the scientific judgment of these patentees, that in new modelling the printing machine they dispensed with forty wheels, which existed in Mr. König's apparatus, when Mr. Bensley requested them to apply their improvements to it.

The distinctive advantages of these machines, and which have not hitherto been equalled, are the uniform distribution of the ink, the equality as well as delicacy with which it is laid upon the types, the diminution in its expenditure, amounting to one half upon a given quantity of letter-press, and the facility with which the whole mechanism is managed. The band inking-roller and distributing-table, now so common in every printing-office in Europe and America, is the invention of Mr. Cowper, and was specified in his patent. The vast superiority of the inking apparatus in his machines, over the balls used of old, induced him to apply it forthwith to the common press, and most successfully for the public; but with little or no profit to the inventor, as the plan was unceremoniously infringed throughout the kingdom, by such a multitude of printers, whether rich or poor, as to render all attempts at reclaiming his rights by prosecution hopeless. See fig. 920.

To construct a printing machine which shall throw off two sides a a time with exact register, that is, with the second side placed precisely upon the back of the first, is a very difficult problem, which was first practically solved by Messrs. Applegath and Cowper. It is comparatively easy to make a machine which shall print the one side of a sheet of paper first, and then the other side, by the removal of one form, and the introduction of another; and thus far did Mr. König advance. A correct register requires the sheet, after it has received its first impression from one cylinder, to travel round the peripheries of the cylinders and drums, at such a rate as to meet the types of the second side at the exact point which will ensure this side falling with geometrical nicety upon the back of the first. For this purpose, the cylinders and drums must revolve at the very same speed as the carriage underneath; hence the least incorrectness in the workmanship will produce such defective typography as will not be endured in book-printing at the present day, though it may be tolerated in newspapers. An equable distribution of the ink is of no less importance to beautiful letter-press. See figs. 921, 922.

The machines represented in figs. 923, 924, 925, are different forms of those which have been patented by Messrs. Applegath and Cowper. That shown in figs. 923 and 925, prints both sides of the sheet during its passage, and is capable of throwing off nearly 1000 finished sheets per hour. The moistened quires of blank paper being piled upon a table A, the boy, who stands on the adjoining platform, takes up one sheet after another, and lays them upon the feeder B, which has several linen girths passing across its surface, and round a pulley at each end of the feeder; so that whenever the pulleys begin to revolve, the motion of the girths carries forward the sheet, and delivers it over the entering roller E, where it is embraced between two series of endless tapes, that pass round a series of tension rollers. These tapes are so placed as to fall partly between, and partly exterior to, the pages of the printing; whereby they remain in close contact with the sheet of paper on both of its sides during its progress through the machine. The paper is thus conducted from the first printing cylinder F, to the second cylinder G, without having the truth of its register impaired, so that the coincidence of the two pages is perfect. * I have witnessed with much pleasure the turning of these great cylinders in Messrs. Cowper's factory at Manchester. These two great cylinders, or drums, are made of cast iron, turned perfectly true upon a self-acting lathe;* they are clothed in these parts, corresponding to the typographic impression, with fine woollen cloth, called blankets by the pressmen, and revolve upon powerful shafts which rest in brass bearings of the strong framing of the machine. These bearings, or plummer blocks, are susceptible of any degree of adjustment, by set screws. The drums H and I are made of wood; they serve to conduct the sheet evenly from the one printing cylinder to the other.

One series of tapes commences at the upper part of the entering drum E, proceeds in contact with the right-hand side and under surface of the printing cylinder F, passes next over the carrier-drum H, and under the carrier-drum I, then encompassing the left-hand side and under portion of the printing drum G, it passes in contact with the small tension rollers a, b, c, d, fig.925, and finally arrives at the roller E, which may be called the commencement of the one series of endless tapes. The other series may be supposed to commence at the roller h; it has an equal number of tapes, and corresponds with the former in being placed upon the cylinders so that the sheets of paper may be held securely between them. This second series descends from the roller h, fig. 925, to the entering drum E, where it meets and coincides with the first series in such a way that both sets of tapes proceed together under the printing cylinder F, over H, under I, and round O, until they arrive at the roller i, fig. 923, where they separate, after having continued in contact, except at the places where the sheets of paper are held between them. The tapes descent from the roller i, to a roller at k, and, after passing in contact with rollers at l, m, n, they finally arrive at the roller h, where they were supposed to commence. Hence two series of tapes act invariably in contact, without the least mutual interference, as may be seen by inspection of the figs. 923, 934, 925.

The various cylinders and drums revolve very truly by means of a system of toothed wheels and pinions mounted at their ends. Two horizontal forms of types are laid at a certain distance apart upon the long carriage M, adjoining to each of which there is a flat metallic plate, or inking table, in the same plane. The common carriage, bearing its two forms of type and two inking tables, is moved backwards and forwards, from one end of the printing machine to the other, upon rollers attached to the frame-work, and in its traverse brings the types into contact with the sheet of paper clasped by the tapes round the surfaces of the printing cylinders. This alternate movement of the carriage is produced b a pinion working alternately into the opposite sides of a rack under the table. The pinion is driven by the bevel wheels K.

The mechanism for supplying the ink, and distributing it over the forms, is one of the most ingenious and valuable inventions belonging to this incomparable machine, and is so nicely adjusted, that a single grain of the pigment may suffice for printing one side of a sheet. Two similar sets of inking apparatus are provided; one at each end of the machine, adapted to ink its own form of type. The metal roller L, called the ductor roller, as it draws out the supply of ink, has a slow rotatory motion communicated to it by a catgut cord, which passes round a small pulley upon the end of the shaft of the printing cylinder G. A horizontal plate of metal, with a straight-ground edge, is adjusted by set screws, so as to stand nearly in contact with the ductor roller. This plate has an upright ledge behind, converting it into a sort of trough or magazine, ready to impart a coating of ink to the roller, as it revolves over the table. Another roller, covered with elastic composition (see suprà), called the vibrating roller, is made to travel between the ductor roller and the inking table; the vibrating roller, as it rises, touches the ductor roller for an instant, abstracts a film or ink from it , and then descends to transfer it to the table. There are 3 or 4 small rollers of distribution, placed somewhat diagonally across the table at M, (inclined only 2 inches from a parallel to the end of the frame,) furnished with long slender axles, resting in vertical slots, whereby they are left at liberty to revolve and to traverse at the same time; by which compound movement they are enabled to efface all inequality in the surface of the varnish, or to effect a perfect distribution of the ink along the table. The table thus evenly smeared, being made to pass under the 3 or 4 proper inking rollers N, fig. 924, imparts to them a uniform film of ink, to be immediately transferred by them to the types. Hence each time that the forms make a complete traverse to and fro, which is requisite for the printing of every sheet, they are touched no less than eight times y the inking rollers. Both the distributing and inking rollers turn in slots, which permit them to rise and fall so as to bear with their whole weight upon the inking table and the form, whereby they never stand in need of any adjustment by screws, but are always ready for work when dropped into their respective places.

Motion is given to the whole system of apparatus by a strap from a steam engine going round a pulley placed at the end of the axle at the back of the frame; one steam-horse power being adequate to drive two double printing machines; while a single machine may be driven by the power of two men acting upon a fly-wheel. In Messrs. Clowes' establishment, in Stamford-street, two five-horse engines actuate nineteen of the above described machines.

The operation of printing is performed as follows: - See fig. 926.

The sheets being carefully laid, one by one, upon the linen girths, at the feeder B, the rollers C and D are made to move, by means of a segment wheel, through a portion of a revolution. This movement carries on the sheet of paper sufficiently to introduce it between the two series of endless tapes at the point where they meet each other upon the catering drum E. As soon as the sheet is fairly embraced between the tapes, the rollers C and D are drawn back, by the operation of a weight, to their original position, so as to be ready to introduce another sheet into the machine. The sheet, advancing between the endless tapes, applies itself to the blanket upon the printing cylinder F, and as it revolves meets the first form of types, and receives their impression; after being thus printed on one side, it is carried, over H and under I, to the blanket upon the printing cylinder G, where it is placed in an inverted position; the printed side being now in contact with the blanket, and the white side being outwards, meets the second form of types at the proper instant, so as to receive the second impression, and get completely printed. The perfect sheet, on arriving at that point i, where the two series of tapes separate, is tossed out by the centrifugal force in the hands of a boy.

The diagram, fig. 926, shows the arrangement of the tapes, agreeably to the preceding description; the feeder B, with the rollers C and D, is seen to have an independent endless girth.

The diagram, fig. 927, explains the structure of the great machine contrived by Messrs. Applegath and Cowper for printing the Times newspaper. Here are four places to lay on the sheets, and four to take them off; consequently, the assistance of eight lads is required. P, P, P, P, are the four piles of paper; F, F, F, F, are the four feeding-boards; E, E, E, E, are the four entering drums, upon which the sheets are introduced between the tapes t, t, t, t, whence they are conducted to the four printing cylinders 1, 2, 3, 4; T is the form of type, I, I, are two inking tables of which one is placed at each end of the form. The inking apparatus is similar to that above described, with the addition of two central inking rollers R, which likewise receive their ink from the inking tables. The printing cylinders 1, 2, 3, 4, are made to rise and fall about half an inch; the first and third simultaneously, as also the second and fourth. The form of type, in passing from A to B, prints sheets at 1 and 3; in returning from B to A, it prints sheets at 4 and 2; while cylinder alternately falls to give the impression, and rises to permit the form to pass untouched.

Each of the lines marked t, consists of two endless tapes, which run in contact at the parts shown, but separate at the entering drums E, and at the taking off parts o, o, o, o. The return of the tapes to the entering drum is omitted in the diagram, to avoid confusion of the lines.

The sheets of paper laid upon their perspective feeding-boards, with the fore edges just in contact with the entering drum, a small roller, called the drop-down roller, falls, at proper intervals, down upon the edges of the sheets; the drum and the roller being then removed, instantly carry on the sheet, between the tapes t, downwards to the printing cylinder, and thence upwards to o, o, o, o, where the tapes are parted, and the sheet falls into the hands of the attendant boy. This noble mechanism is so perfectly equipped, that it is generally in full work within four minutes after the form is brought into the machine-room. The speed of König's machine, by which the Times was formerly printed, was such as to turn out 1800 papers per hour; that of Applegath and Cowper throws off 4200 per hour, and it has been daily in use during eight years.

Ei kommentteja :