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In an MS., then, sold,
For its full weight in gold,
And whose goodness to paint
I cannot believe - but shall still think them two men
From this tale of the Bard
It's uncommonly hard If an Editor can't draw a moral.- 'Tis clear, Tben, - In ev'ry young wife-seeking Bachelor's ear A maxim, 'bove all other stories, this one drums, «Pitcu GREEK TO OLD HARRY, AND STICK TO CONUNDRUMS!! » To new-married Ladies this lesson it leaches, « You’re “no that far wrong'in assuming the breeches ! » Monied men upon ‘’Change, and rich Merchants it schools To look well lo assels – nor play with edge-tools! Last of all, this remarkable History shows men, What caution they need wben they deal with old-clothes-men!
So bid John and Mary
To mind and be wary,
YOUNG AND DELCAMBRE'S TYPE-COMPOSING MACHINE.
The type-composing apparatus we are about to describe to our readers is similar in principle to that which was brought out about a year and a half ago, by the same parties, and excited at that time a considerable sensation ; (see Mec. Mag. vol. xxxiv. p. 319) but so wonderfully simplified and improved in all its details as to be in effect quite a new machine'. With a spirit and perseverance deserving of the highest praise, the patentees, Messrs. Young and Delcambre, have gone on surmounting difficulty after difficulty, till at length they have produced a machine which effectually accomplishes nearly all they had in view, while it is wholly free from that multifariousness and complexity, which were said, not untruly, to characterize their first altempts. The machine of itself will not set up types in a state fit for printing from, for that is not what the inventors ever proposed it should do'; but it will facilitate the art of composition so as to enable that to be done by the labour of females and children, which is now performed by the hands and heads of able-bodied men of good education, and done, too, a great deal quicker. Some things there may be to which it is not equal, with manual aid of any sort; as, for example, the setting up of pages in a number of different characters, as Roman, Italic, Greek , &c., or the selling up of
algebraic calculations - but after so much has been already accomplished by it, we should be hardly warranted in considering these as more than a few remaining difficulties, which the mechanical genius of the country is sure ultimately to overcome.
The machine may be now daily scen at work at the premises of Messrs. Young and Delcambre, 110, Chancery-lane. It very much resembles in its general appearance a cottage piano, divested of its case. Like that instrument it has a set of keys, at which the compositor is seated, when about to compose, (instead of standing, as usual.) Of these keys there are as many as there are letters of the alphabet, and varieties of these letters likely to be required, with a due accompaniment of numerals, spaces, doubles, &c. Each key has one particular letter or character engraved upon it ; and the keys are so arranged that the letters and characters most in request are placed at one side, where the compositor is seated, and those least wanted furthest off. Attached to these keys are an equal number of upright steel levers, which are connected at top with a series of long brass channels, filled with types, each of the sort corresponding with that marked on the key of the lever in connection with it. The office of the lever is to abstract from the channel above, one type every time it is acted on by the depression of the key; and to check the precipitating tendency of the types, which might interfere prejudicially with the action of the lever, the channels are placed in a position considerably inclined, and the lever made to act sideways in detaching the lowest type of the column. Behind the channels, and at right angles with them, there is an inclined plane, which has a series of curved grooves cut out in its surface, corresponding in number to that of the channels, and communicating with them—all leading to one general reservoir, or receiving-spout, as it is called, at bottom, and all so nicely curved and graduated, in respect to one another, that work as fast as the compositor may, when a type is once liberated from its channel, and dispatched down one of these grooves, it is impossible (except from some accidental obstruction) for any subsequently liberated type to reach the goal before it.
So much being premised as to the general construction of the machine, let us now suppose that it is to be set to work. The first thing to be attended to is to see that the channels are all duly and proportionally filled. This is done by boys, who set a quantity of each letter up in wooden sticks, (a process exactly similar to that followed in type-foundries) and transfer them from the sticks to the channels—the former part of which operation they do with astonishing rapidity. A machine in constant work will require the services of two boys for this purpose. The channels being filled, and the compositor seated at the instrument, she (for in the case of the machine exhibited it is a young lady who officiates,) begins with repeating on the keys the letters of the manuscript before her ; and, as she depresses the keys one after another, she sends corresponding letters down to the receiving-spout ' the action of the levers on the columns of type being so adjusted that only one type can be detached at a time. The spout is curved downwards towards ils termination for about 10 or 12 inches, and when the machine commences work, is filled with quadrats the whole length of such curve, which serve as a support for the letters to fall on, till a sufficient number of letters have accumulated to furnish an abutment for those which follow. Each type as it reaches the termination of the straight part of the spout is pressed forward by a small vibrating beater acted upon by an eccentric, which is put in motion by a small train of wheels driven by a boy. From the spout the types are passed forward along a horizontal brass rail, to the justifying box, where they are placed in lines, and spaced out, or, as it is technically called, justified, by an assistant composer. This justifying . box answers in every respect to the ordinary composing-stick, and is used with equal, if not greater facility. When the proper number of lines have been justified, they are taken out and placed in a galley, in the same way exactly as a composing-stick is usually emptied. With the subsequent process of imposing,
or arranging the set-up matter in chases for printing from, the present invention does not interfere.
After types have been printed from, the present practice is for the compositor to distribute them, that is, return them to their original repositories in the case at which he stands ; but with the machine the task of distribution is performed by two boys, wbile two others, as before stated, are occupied in setting the types in lines with which they fill the different channels.
The number of persons required to work a machine is seven altogether; namely, one to play the keys, another to justify, a third to work the eccentric movement, two to supply the channels, and two to distribute ; and it is herein at first sight that the machine suffers most in comparison with the ordinary mode of composition by a single hand. Of these seven persons, however, two are females, and five very young boys ; and they can set up, after three months' practice only, 6000 types an hour, while a good compositor cannot in the ordinary way, set up on an average more than 1700. The seven female and infant hands, therefore, do the work of at least three able-bodied men, and in consequence of requiring less wages, the average cost per thousand (brevier) is only twopence, which is at least one-half less than the most ordinary book-work can now be done for with the help of apprentices.
But when the young women employed in playing the keys and justifying, have acquired the greater dexterity which length of practice alone can give, we make no doubt that they will be able to set a great many more than 6000 types an hour, The labour, too, of the boy employed in working the eccentric may be wholly saved ; for he does nothing which might not be equally well performed by a pedal movement, acted on by the person who plays the keys, ( after the manner of the old spinning-wheel,) or by connecting the eccentric movement by means of a band, to the steam engine (where one is - employed to work the press, as is now so usually the case.)
The maker of the machine now exhibiting in Chancery-lane, is Mr. J. G. Wilson, of Clerkenwell, and to the assistance VOL. III,
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