A Treatise on Calico Printing, Of Printing.

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.
Preparatory to what the writer has, to observe concerning the operation of printing, a word, or two of general import cannot be unapplicable, and probably to some Printers not unacceptable.

In the first place, it is observed, that it is a very common saying among printers, and even held as a maxim by many, "that no person is fit to give directions to Printers, or occasionally. point out any thing as faulty, or, in other words to overlook that branch of the business, unless be is, or has been a Printer himself."

The Writer will not set about in a formal manner to oppose the maxim; because it seems to him, from what he has gathered by an attendance to that department, to be founded on a very re strictive principle, simply this, that printers in ge neral, conclude or apprehend, a person who is not a Printer, does not lay the necessary stress upon their being properly accommodated with every requisite, in respect to colour, sieves, state of their piece, &c. &c. &c. and therefore cannot see the inconvenience, which, in some instance or another they labour under, when such a person ventures to point to any part of their work as not being properly executed; he will only say, that many who make that a maxim, don't consider, that a mere printer, is but a little more competent to that situation than a common fieldman; for unless he has a general judgment of whatever has any relation to printings, and that includes some knowledge of the other branches under some systematical arrangement) he is not so proper to superintend as another, who possesses such a portion of judgment, although he neyer had a print in his hand; as such a one is more able to guard against bad work {unless from the allowed incapacity of the workman) and more able to remedy it when it occurs. But with those requisites it is nevertheless an advantage to him who has to overlook Printers in being or having been a Printer.

In fact the writer apprehends, tpo many of those who hold that maxim, do not clearly know when every appendage is in proper condition, or when really so how to keep them in that state; hence they are soon at a loss in one instance or another, and when found fault with, quickly get more consused; and then, not knowing how to extricate themselves; lay the fault on any thing rather than their own inability or want of judgment; for unless their ideas go along with the methods pointed out to them how to remedy the fault, they are as much in the dark when left so themselves, as they were at first, if not much more embarrassed. The writer cast however say, he has often seen the futility of such excuses, by a Printer of approved abilities, executing with apparent ease, under a similarity of circumstances, what another could not make work with fit to be seen.

Reverting immediately to the maxim above spoken of, the writer trusts, a Printer will however grant, if he has every accommodation he requires, that a person who is not a Printer may at least know when the work does not appear as it should, and may venture to say how it should be; and this leads to remark on another common phrase of Printers, when under certain circumstances some fault is found with their work respecting the joinings, which is "that they keep to the pins."

Now, however strange it may seem to some Printers, the writer, asserts that the pitch-pins are not his proper and infallible guides; for every Printer finds at times, that through the twist of the cloth, the warping of his print, a mistake in pitching, and many other causes, the pins only serve as mere directions or guides, to whereabout he is to lay his print: in short, joining a print and joining the pitches are different things; the same as pitching a ground by a pin or two, or by pitching the shape of it to the work of the print.

Therefore a Printer ought always to keep In his eye or his mind, how the print should join supposing he had no pins to pitch by, for what will become of his printing when he loses his joinings, if he has no other mode of determining him than the pins? and even in joining by the pins, his fight should take in the whole top and side of the print, and he should consider and know how the work is to fall, otherwise he cannot work to a certainty in respect to the joinings, or getting into them, when by any cause whatever he is thrown out.

It must be observed however, that in this, as well as in every other rule, for any operation whateve it is impossible to provide for everyi circumstance, so in this case it is allowed that some prints, from the nature of their construction, such as very promiscuous or irregularly shaped ones, seem to have nothing to direct the Printer but the pins; but even in this ease, exclusive: of the pitch pins, there is an attention due toi keeping the face at the  joinings as even, or as  much alike the rest of the impression as possible, which will not be the case if the work be too close, or flack at the join-ings.

Further, it may be advanced that, in these instances, lightly as some printers may think of Grounders, they may be looked to as examples for their imitation, as they rarely regard, pins, so much as the shape of the work, especially in grass grounds; and that implies a necessity of studying (if it may be so said) what the nature ofthe pattern is; for even when pins may answer, they generally have their grounds sighted all round; not looking just at this or. that corner, but (as every, printer ought) they employ their  sight and attention, on the whole length of the ends and sides.

After saying thus, much, which, the Writer begs every journeyman printer not to take as arrogantly advanced, but only as suggestions for him to consider of, and turn to his own advantage, be proceeds to speak immediately to the operative part.

*As well as the above considerations, a Printer may reflect that the expence incurred by cutting the print he takes in hand, with the additional one of his working it, must be reimbursed before any profit can accrue to his employer: therefore, as all that depends on his management, he is in a more momentous situation than many think: as all the expence incurred, and the profit reasonably expected, will be lost if through his incapacity or inattention, he spoils what he is entrusted to execute, or suffers his prints or grounds to get any way so out ef order, that little, if any, use can be made of them by himself or any other person.

** Some may expect perhaps that it be specified here in what instances these matters are to be attended to. The writer certainly attempted it, but found from various causes, such at the customs of a particular shop, the caprice of an overlooker, different courses of work at different shops, &c. he. coold not do it to his satisfaction: it may however be here Md, that some person should be informed' of what the design of every pattern should be, for much, respecting sieves, colour, strength or slightness of the impression, &c. depends on that circumstance: Indeed (as before observed) the putter-on, need in most cases  consult a proper person in the Printing-shop.

*** This may be illustrated by sopposing that the putter-on may have mistaken his square, and put the pitch-pins at the head further out, or nearer in, than they mould be; and the same at the side: in this case the Printer, in trying the joinings, will join by the pitches, though the work may be nearer or closer in the joining than it ought to be.

**** See the note, respecting the needfulness of a Printer's reserring to the rules for putting - on, cutting, &c. at the conclusion of this section on. printing. It may however be here said respecting blocks, if a Printer be acquainted with their nature, he can the better know how to manage them; and if he be acquainted with cutting, he knows a sound piece of work from an unsound one, and will, (or as least ought so to do) use it accordingly.

***** This may serve as an apology for the insertion of those observations, which may probably to some persons, seem of too little consequence to be remarked on.
When a Printer takes a new print in hand,* his first care is to try on paper, or a trial piece, that it is in the square, the pitches firm in their places, that the print does not want mending, and  that it is neither too round nor too narrow;. likewise that his apparatus is in proper order; or if he cannot have it so, he should intimate to the proper person in what particulars it is not so; and the order in which his apparatus ought to be, no Printer should need to be informed, is, that his blanket is not too nappy nor too hard, too thick nor too thin, his sieve too fine nor too coarse, and that his piece is properly calendered or stowed.**

These matters adjusted, the tearing is the next object, and not the least important; for good printing cannot be performed without good tearing; and good tearing can only be such, when a proper and equal quantity of colour, is disposed over the sieve.

In the circumstance of trying the joinings, a Printer may be deceived sometimes, though the pitches of the print all seem to answer, and the pitch pins of a ground answer to the pins or holes in the print; for both these cases may occur, and yet the print, not join, nor the grounds fit*** (as intimated a little before,) hence if his judgment be not sufficient to discover the design of the pattern, in respect to the trail, or the disposition of set objects, or in what manner the grounds should sall, he should consult those who may be supposed to know. He should like wise, for the convenience of those who have to ground after him, see that the pitches be clear, though they should be but barely so (as observed in the article respecting pitches) and that he keeps his  joinings, and his edges particularly even, which but for the sake of the grounding he might not be so careful of.

As a Printer is answerable in a degree for his print or grounds keeping in order while he is working them, he should carefully observe their tendency to get round or hollow, and should frequently examine whether any parts are broken or worn more than the rest; in either of which cases, he should give proper notice: for if a print gets very round in the course of working a few pieces, it must stand to reason the grounds can only fit a  part of them, unless they should chance to follow the tendency of the print, or can be easily warped to such a state; but, as there can be nocertainty of that, the work should be stopped, and the print gently brought to a proper state; for every Printer must know, that when (through causes, obvious enough) he continues working aprint till it is so much twisted, that he cannot possibly proceed; violent methods are made use of, and the print rarely afterwards is capable of doing tolerable work.

A Printer, besides being attentive to those particulars immediately under his own eye is accountable for the ignorance or neglect of his tearer, for as a careless tearer may very soon do irremidiable mischief to a print, in washing and drying it, and likewise, by not properly cleaning sieves, and brushes, may do the work much in jury; a Printer, if he is not every whit as care less, will see in what manner they are done: in deed it would bo well, from the many accidents that happen from, prints, and other matters being left to the care of tearers, who are in general ig norant boys or girls  that it had been an established custom for the Printer himself to do, at least, part of these offices.

Besides the above hints immediately addressed: to the Printer, as what he should always have in: his view, the greatest part, if not all, that has been observed, aad may be farther spoken of, respecting cloth, colour, blocks, and prints and grounds, should come under a Prin ters consideration****; for unless he can account, some measure, for the inconveniences or mistakes that may happen in the course of using those articles, he cannot be supposed to know how to prevent ill-accidents, or how to remedy them when they do happen through any cause whatever.

As nothing that is faulty is too trivial to guard against, or to animadvert on,***** the writer will close this article on printing with mentioning. two or three instances of in attention, in that department.

The Writer once observing, that about one ef the corners of every print that was laid, the impression was heaviest; in pointing it out he could get no other reply but that the print worked fuller there than any other part; this, however, from the appearance of the face, he would not grant, the Printer still insisting it was so, 'till at last, looking obliquely on the sieve, as the tearer worked, he saw a ridge of colour left nearly in one place, after the last stroker which the tearer could not rectify; at length, looking at  the brush, it was plain that one part, by some means, had been burnt so considerably, that the hairs were so shortened and thinned, that that part hardly touched the sieve; and from her method, of holding it, a ridge of colour was always left, that caused the effect above mentioned: now here was a triple instance of i nattention; in the first place, the tearer had carelessly suffered the brush to be burnt in drying it, (as she afterwards owned, and probably sear of being reprimanded, induced her to keep it secret) in the next place she did not perceive the effect it had on, the sieve; and lastly the Printer, if he perceived the effect on the table, did not, as he should have done, see that his apparatus (which included the, tearing brush) was, or was not in proper order.

Another time the writer seeing the head of the im pression in general fuller than the rest, he of course mentioned it; but here the fault could not be discovered to be in the tearing, nor did it appear to be in the face of the print, and the Printer was sure it was not his fault; for he dipped and turned his print, and then dipped again (the print requiring much colour) but at last, he was convinced it was from his knocking it, and yet Perhaps he not to blame; for in the middle of the back that was let in, there was a very hard knot, and the other part toward the head remarkably soft; lo that by insensible degrees the knot had at length, by its resistance to the blow of the maul, caused it to slide as it were into the soft part, where it had evidently made a cavity; and the Printer as insensibly giving into that direction of the maul, at length, instead of hitting the back in the middle, hit it nearer the head, which made the impression heaviest in that part.

Another having a sprig print; to work, either mistaking the pitch end, or chusing that for the pitch that seemed most commodious for him (for the pitches were pins pitching to pins) be finished what was allotted him todo in that manner, and the mistake was not seen till the work was to be grounded; the consequence was, that the person who had to ground it, was obliged, either to begin at the other end of the piece, or to have a set of aukward pitches pnt in to answer the work the way it was printed; either way however was aukward, the side-pitches being off the edge, and particularly so, (from circumstances which cannot be well described) for the grass grounds which likewise belonged to it. In this instance the Printer was in fault, in not concerning him self about how the grounds were to fall; or in fact it seemed as if he did not note whether any grounds belonged to it, much less to take care, as every Printer should, that they were all clear, and distinct from each other, as before repeatedly intimated.

Another circumstance was observed, in a Printer working a pattern of sprigs, that stood 6 or 7 in ches apart, hy making it a point to work the near sprigsxlose to the near edge; by this it happened that the off-edge divided a sprig, so that but half of it was on the sprig; now the inconvenience here that escaped the Printer's notice or consideration, was, that in making up a garment, either half a sprig must frequently appear, or two or three inches of the cloth must be cut to waste; and the pencilling, of course, thrown away, but in this circumstance to prevent or remedy that inconvenience, the Printer had only to work the near sprig an inch or two further in the piece, which from the great distance of the sprigs from each other was of little consequence; and then the sprig that was half off of the off-edge, would have been entirely so.

Thus the garment could not be made up with out either imperfect sprigs, or without cutting to waste; now in this case it may be observed, there wanted an attention to the remotest circumstance, that of the wear, or at least, the making up of the garment; and this includes a query, which might with propriety have been put to that Printer, which is,  If he had been printing itbat piece as a present fox a favourite female, whether he would not have bestowed a little more onsideration on the particular alluded to.

Other instances to the above purpose could he adduced; it is, however, trusted, by exhibiting these sew, that every Printer understands he is requested to consider himself under a necessity of attending to many more circumstances than at the first glance may seem necessary, or even as apparently bearing no relation to his allotted department. And in proof of what the writer has advanced on the necessity of Printers (as Well as others) looking to other departments than, their own, if a Printer refer to Rules 1, 3, 8, 11, 14, 12, 13, 28, for putting-on; Rule 7, for cutting,; and Rule 3, for pitches; as well as some others, that need not be particularized, he will find articles enough to observe.

From looking back to Rule 8, respecting the keeping of sprigs whole, it seems proper to observe, that a Printer should take care if they drop or rise in the joining, that he carry one direction through the piece, because if they go one way only half over the table, and half the other, the consequence will be, that the disposition of the sprigs (unless they are all alike and are to stand one way) will appear as fig. 97; for instance, suppose six sprigs stand in the print as fig. 98, of course they must rise or drop a third to make the joining; now if the pattern be composed of two sorts of sprigs, standing thus, fig. 59 and 100, one fort should run across the piece; but if the dropping or rising is checked jn the middle, (because the Printer finds a little inconvenience in the joining, from, such a circumstance) they will appear thus in the middle of the piece, or in some other part, fig. 101, that is, three sprigs of the same sort will be together. This may be probably over-looked in printing, but when the whole piece is seen extended over a roll, it will soon catch the sight.

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