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ISO: Stereotyping at NYT

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I’m writing a dissertation on newspaper buildings, using the NY Times as an example, and had a quick question about presses. The New York Times had a Hoe’s lightening press when they started in 1851. Would they have used the stereotyping process at this time? If not, when did that start? The first time they mention it being done was in their 1889 building, but I think it was done long before that.
Thank you so much,

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  1. I found your post by accident, searching for some details on stereotyping, and was just reading the Introduction to Stereotyping, the Papier Mache Process (1892) by Charles Summer Partridge. He states rather definitively, “The history of the practical application of papier mache stereotyping to newspaper work covers a period of less than thirty years, but in that brief time its influence has been felt all over the civilized world.” If he was accurate in 1892, that would suggest it wasn’t in use in 1851, but it certainly predates the Linotype (late 1880s), as it dramatically increased print runs. (The book is available at Google Books.)

  2. Oh, this is fantastic! Thank you SO much! This is a tremendous help!

  3. Would love a copy of your dissertation when it’s done, if that’s possible!

  4. George A. Kubler. A new history of stereotyping. (New York: J.J. Little & Ives, 1941)

  5. Oh terrific, thank you! I never would have found this on my own. I truly appreciate your help.

  6. It may be true that stereotyping from papier mache mats was only in use from about 1862; however, stereotyping from plaster of Paris had been in use since about 1810. Hal Stern’s “Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses” shows a Hoe Rotary Stereotype Newspaper Perfecting Press dated to circa 1852 (page 337) so stereotyping was definitely used by newspapers at that time. Unfortunately, Sterne does not apply the term Lightening to any press he illustrates. If that press was a rotary press it would have had to use curved stereotype plates.

  7. Oh interesting, thank you! They did have rotary presses from 1851, though I found it curious they did not mention stereotyping in any of the three buildings they occupied before 1889. With the plaster do you think the process have been the same? Thank you again for your assistance, you don’t know how much it means to me.

  8. The stereotyping process is essentially the same, regardless of what material is used for the mold. For a good discussion of the stereotyping process, see Michael Winship’s article in APHA’s Printing History No 10 (1983). Much of his information seems to have been drawn, indirectly (or is traceable to a common source), from Thomas MacKellar, “The American Printer, A Manual of Typography”. There are many editions of this, I have a facsimile of the 1885 edition. See pg 28ff. MacKellar also describes the evolution of the printing press. R. Hoe introduced the “Lightening Press”, formally known as the “Type-Revolving Printing Machine,” in 1846. These were made in various styles with from two to ten feeders. This press could print from either type or stereotype plates which were bent to fit around the cylinder. MacKeller describes the process in which the type was imposed onto the cylinder with special curved rules and wedge shaped lines between the columns. Pg239ff. MacKeller’s description sounds very awkward and Hal Sterne notes that it was a severe problem. Although MacKeller states that one could bend the stereotype plate, the problem was not really solved until the papier mache process allowed the mat to be bent and a curved stereotype plate be cast from it.
    Returning to your original question, the “Lightening Press” the Times acquired in 1851 could have printed from either type or stereotype plates. If they originally printed from type, they would have converted to curved stereotype plates very shortly.

  9. Oh David, I totally missed this comment previously, thank you!!! I’ve been trying so hard to figure this out and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head for me now. I cannot express how much I appreciate your help.

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