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Festoons of Fancy

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I have a printing plate from the title page of Festoons of Fancy, William Littell, 1814, Louisville, Ky. I have been told that the title page would have been typeset and not printed from a plate. Have researched endlessly on line with very little success. Can it be determined by looking at the book which printing method was used? Thank you in advance for your time and any insight you can provide. See image.




  1. Paul Moxon, Website Editor 13 August, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    This plate is a stereotype, which is a copy of the original printing form. The form was composed from individual handset types. Stereotypes prevented wear on the original type, which could be made available for the next job. Likewise, spacing material (furniture and leading) could also be used elsewhere. This was a great cost saving measure for reprinting books. The technology for making stereotypes is older than your title, but came into use about this time. It’s likely that the plate is for the first edition.

  2. Even more likely, this is a photoengraving of the original title page.
    The nail to mount it to the block and the router marks telltale signs.
    This could be zinc, which was widely used up until mid-1900s. The block could have been part of a reprint, or only an illustration.

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