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De Vinne on Kiss and impression, packing, and William Morris

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  • Paul W. Romaine
    I thought list members might find this interesting. Given the back-and-forth over kiss impression, I was intrigued to find some comments by Theodore Low De
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 13, 2003
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      I thought list members might find this interesting. Given the
      back-and-forth over kiss impression, I was intrigued to find some comments
      by Theodore Low De Vinne on that matter and a few others. The "interview"
      from Scientific American is reprinted in Vol. 1 of the two-volume Typophile
      set _Theodore Low De Vinne, By Carl Purington Rollins, together with a List
      of De Vinne's Writings, his Reflections on the Century Typeface and an
      Interview with Mr. De Vinne at Seventy-five_. (New York: The Typophiles,
      1968).

      "A Morning with Mr. Theodore Low De Vinne" reprinted from Scientific
      American, Printing Number, New York, November 14,1903 (from p.78 of the
      Typophiles reprint):

      [Commenting on Gutenberg's 42-line and the 36-line bible, and praising the
      presswork:] "If you examine each single letter, any one would say we cut
      letters more carefully now, but the general effect of this Bible of
      forty-two lines is admirable, and this superiority is largely due to great
      care in its presswork. In modern printing, when you put a dry sheet of
      paper on a cylinder, it is swiftly carried over the face of the type. It
      just kisses the ink on the type, and is then swept off. The old hand
      pressman was told to rest on the bar for two or three seconds after
      impression, so as to let the ink saturate the paper. The merit of Morris's
      presswork is largely due to damp paper and the dwelling of the impression.
      (vol.1, p. 78)

      [After TLD's complaints on the effects of printing photo engravings on
      "so-called 'coated' paper, which is nothing more than paper fabric
      whitewashed" (p. .82), TLD turns again to Morris:]

      "The old method of wetting paper is the true method for producing readable
      presswork. Mr. Morris was the first person who tried to restore printing to
      it primitive simplicity. I am speaking of his method of presswork. He used
      type with strong, black faces, and he did his printing on damp paper with
      an elastic impression, so as to show an indentation which he would not
      allow to be pressed out. In my boyhood days, pressmen printed on damp paper
      against a woolen blanket. They damped three or four sheets, or sometimes an
      entire quire at a time, depending upon the thickness of the paper. After it
      was printed[,] it was taken down and put in a press, and the marks of
      indentation taken out. Printing is now done on dry paper, and these
      troublesome processes have been discarded." (v.1, p. 83)
      [From context, TLD may be referring to printing of illustrations.]


      Paul


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Roustom
      Thank you very much for that. In a similar tone, Eric Gill described the history of printing as the history of the eradication of the dent. Elias
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 14, 2003
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        Thank you very much for that.

        In a similar tone, Eric Gill described the history of printing as the
        history of the eradication of the dent.

        Elias
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