A Treatise on Calico Printing, Introduction

A Treatise on Calico Printing, VOL. I-II
Printed for C. O'Brien, Bookseller, Islington, and fold by Bew, Paternoster-row: Richardson, Royal Exchange: Murray, Fleet-Street: And the Booksellers of Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin, &c.

The following rules and observations being particularly addressed to Artificers or Workmen in the Callico-Printing business, it is therefore deemed necessary to retain many technical words and phrases in use among them, however aukward they may appear, or however remote they may be from critical propriety,—such as boundage,—- putting on,—cutting a curf line, &c. which will however be explained in another place.

To many persons such an intimation is unnecessary, and probably it would not have been given (for nothing can prevent caviling and ill-natured constructions) but that one or two to whom the manuscript was shewn, although they were Callico-Printers, began to consider it more like critics; consequently their further perusal of it was dispensed with, and the copy referred to a friend or two, of discernment enough to consider the critical quality, in this cafe, only as a secondary one; and that the end of the publication would be answered, if the contents were rendered intelligible to those for whose use they were intended.

* The writer has heard of something of this nature in France, but he understands it to be more a description of the business than on the plan of this publication, and if there was any, he is informed by the principal Booksellers there it is now out of print.—He however, will not insist that his is the only one; he may possibly be mistaken, although he has closely enquired concerning it.

** Respecting the remarks interspersed in the Rules, the writer owns he doubts the propriety of it; but those whom, he consulted being di vided in opinion, he took his. own, for reasons advanced above.

*** The writer has observed, that nothing can prevent cavilling and ill-natured constructions, and is pretty sure of this publication being often the subject os very curious animadversion; and probably from the very circumstance that ought to plead in its savour, that of being a subject never before treated of, and of course the more earnestly sought aster, and commented on; in deed  (to be pleasant about the matter) he has received some amusement from the variety of opinions of which he has heard, before its publication; liberal observations or objections con cerning the whole, or any part, he will however thank any one for communicating to him, as it is more than probable he may be mistaken in some points, especially in matters of mere opinion or his meaning may be really misconceived by others; and with those who chuse to be sacetious about any part, he will join in the laugh, but he must really beg to be excused (as above said), bestowing attention to the effusions of self-sufficiency, ill-nature, or downright ignorance.

****The writer's situation having required a general attention to various departments in Callico-Printing, induced him to form a plan for his own use, from whieh circumstance the idea originated of publishing this work, and which on consulting with a friend or two of some respectability and judgment as Callico-Printers, it was determined on, and accordingly put in practice.

***** This, as it shews how connected with, and dependant on each other, the different depart ments are, it is here advised, (and. is. repeated further on) that as no one can be a master of one without a certain acquaintance with the rest, that every one who wishes for information, get rid of that narrow, though natural principle, of looking only at what concerns his immediate branch; masters particularly, for reasons which will be enlarged on in the course of this work, are requested to keep, the motto in the title page always in view.
It is likewise suggested, that as this is the first publication of the kind, and indeed the first ever offered concerning Callico-Printing, * the writer had nothing but his own ideas to adopt and arrange; it therefore followed that it was proportionably laborious; and, however lightly some may think of the assertion, laborious it certainly was; hence he, with some confidence, conceives that any person, unless pre-determined to view every thing unfavourably, will make the necessary allowance for whatever may not be so clearly expressed, or so methodically arranged as it might be, and with equal indulgence, excuse the insertion of what may appear of too little consequence to have been remarked, or that may be perhaps Tepeatedly spoken of, as well as the omission of what might have been inserted, cither through inadvertency, or as not hav ing come within the scope of his observations.

It may be needful to intimate, that what may be advanced in different parts of this work, as hints, free remarks, or advice**, will, probably not be very agreeable to some certain principals, as well as to certain classes of subordinates; but as many of those observations naturally spring from the subjects and (if it be allowed to say it) as the writer wishes to blend precept with practice, and advice with instruction, he may have some claim to being forgiven; and probably he may have a further claim when he intimates that he occasionally shall make very free with himself.

To inveigh  against' principals, ever so illiberally, he is certain would recommend   him to many of the subordinate clafles; and some masters would perhaps wish for a know ledge of all the little deceptive or collusive practices common enough among workmen; but of what service such a display would be, it will not be here discussed, as something on that head will be said in another place. - He however begs leave to say here, that what he does offer as advice, or where he touches or expatiates on improprieties in any shape, he wishes it not to be thought as proceeding from arrogance, or ostentation (for he has his own faults in common with others) in short, to close this apology, he plainly begs neither master nor man to be offended with the freedom he necessarily takes; the subject requiring it, often- irrefistably impelled him to it; but, at any rate, he would not be thought forward to subvert that dignity which a principal ought to maintain, nor recommend to a subordinate  the usurpation of a consequence, or refrac oriness incompatible with his situation; though at the fame time that dignity should not think the comfort or convenience of sub ordinates, below its consideration.

Respecting the rules, given for the performance of the mechanical or operative parts, which this treatise exhibits, it maybe premised, that however systematically or clearly any subject may, to some persons, appear to be treated, yet others, from various causes, may not fee it so clearly, nor conceive it very readily, and in consequence are not very forward to adopt it in any particular; for, to say nothing of the unwillingness of persons in general to be taught, and the natural propensity of every one to seek for faults, or distort what they cannot controvert, there is often a fashion in being wrong, a kind of prejudice for old customs; and of course an antipathy to any thing offered for improvement. As for those who, from narrow and illiberal motives, are in the habit of depreciating or condemn ing any thing; their animadversions are of little consideration with the writer.*** But respecting others, who think they need in formation or assistance, and are not above receiving it; to them, and them only, they are  cheerfully offered, as the result of some observation and experience; digested into a set of practical rules, in order that they may be the easier retained in memory, or reverted to as circumstances occur; or at least such persons may view them as mere hints, on which their own judgments may improve, and their occasional observations in the course of their practice further illustrate; for (to be more diffusive on this point) not withstanding several persons may agree in what an intended effect should be, and even in the mode of producing that effect; yet, as there are many circumstances in the operative parts of every profession, that can-I not by any means be clearly expressed, (as we often get our Ideas from practice only) it unfortunately follows that if the manner of laying down rules for the performance of any thing by one person, does not in some measure coincide with another's idea of that manner, he cannot fee the usefulness of those rules, nor, of course, the needfulness of following them: but waving this quaint discussion of the matter, and adverting to what is offered as rules, or directions, chiefly as relating to the operative processes, and as be has displayed them with a view to be o£ service, the writer with truth can say, he has found them of use to himself,**** and has rendered them so to others; and therefore this is certain, that if offered and considered as hints only, (as before-mentioned) that person must be very dull or very indolent indeed, who cannot raise from them some kind of plan more congenial to his own ideas, and consequently more conducive to his convenience and emolument.

But, previous to the consideration of thole rules, as applied to the different departments, it may be observed, that in laying down many of them, it unavoidably happened, that speaking of one branch, something respecting others occurred, which with propriety could only be introduced in those places:***** where it could be done otherwise, it certainly was endeavoured, where the writer has been in suspension, he may probably have misplaced them; and in such cases, he must bow to correction; but in few words, and once for all, it is begged to be observed, and this may serve as an answer to all, who in particular departments, look for more than they may meet with; that the number of articles treated of, required conciseness; as for those who need no assist ance, or think they need none, they are desired not to proceed, unless they confider it in the light of an attempt more to enforce a remembrance of what is already known, than as a work superabounding with im provements, or disclosing any very great secrets, either in the theory or practice of the business to which it is announced to he an Assistant.

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