Category Archives: Printing manual

Everett Raymond Currier

One issue of a small printing magazine turned up recently from the Currier Press in New York City. Pica: a Magazine Devoted to the Amenities of the Graphic Arts (1922-1923) was the work of Canadian-born printer/publisher Everett Raymond Currier (1877-1954). Currier was one of a small band of white male typographers who formed the Stowaways, a private club of book and magazine designers that also included Elmer Adler (founder of the Princeton Graphic Arts Collection). See Currier below second from the right.

Printing Arts News September 20, 1921


Currier trained with Merrymount Press of D.B. Updike before working with Bruce Rogers at Riverside Press and Heintzman Press in Boston. In 1906, together with Frederic Goudy, Currier established the innovative Currier Press in New York City and later, set up companies in Chicago and Philadelphia. He wrote several manuals on type and color, advised the Conde Nast firm in the design of their periodicals, and composed religious music on the side.

Among his many publications are: Everett Raymond Currier and Bruce Rogers, Type Spacing (New York: J.M. Bowles, Norman T.A. Munder, 1910, 1912). Reprinted from the “Graphic Arts magazine of August, 1910 … and the edition is limited to three hundred copies”–Colophon.

Everett Raymond Currier, The story of Caslon Old Style (Philadelphia: Lanston Monotype Machine Co., 1915). Detached from Monotype, v. 3, no. 4, Nov.-Dec. 1915.

Mirabeau’s tribute to the memory of Benjamin Franklin : delivered at the opening of the National Assembly of France, June 11th, 1790. Printed by Everett Raymond Currier; Frederic W. Goudy, typographer, Bertha Goudy, compositor (New York: Currier Press, 1923) in American printer



American Printer and Lithographer, Volume 72 Moore Publishing Company, 1921


The Printing Art, Volume 41, 1923


Adler’s paper sample resources

Recently two paper sample cabinets owned by Elmer Adler (1884-1962) came back from off-site storage to our vaults, including this one housing sample books from the Alling & Cory Company.

“Alling and Cory was a privately owned printing paper and packaging distributor headquartered in Rochester, New York, [Adler’s hometown]. Founded by Elihu F. Marshall in 1819, the company was the first paper merchant in the U.S. The company remained independent until 1996 when it was bought by Union Camp. Assumed to be among its employees were two United States Presidents and other United States statesmen.

At its height, Alling and Cory owned more than 20 branch offices from Toledo, Ohio to New York City. At one point, it was the United States’ oldest privately owned company in continuous operation. In 1910-1911, they built the Alling & Cory Buffalo Warehouse and in 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

See The New York Times article: “Alling & Cory Sold for $88 Million to Union Camp” from Dow Jones, April 16, 1996.

A second cabinet holds this wonderful color sample brochure. Here is a small part of the business history posted by the Beckett Paper Company:

With sales of less than $100 million, Beckett Papers is a rather small, yet distinctive, segment of the Fine Papers Division of Hammermill Paper Co., itself a subsidiary of $20 billion International Paper Co. Nevertheless, Beckett enjoys a long and distinguished heritage in the paper industry, stretching back 50 years earlier, in fact, than that of International Paper. Established in 1848, Beckett was controlled and managed by descendants of founder William Beckett until 1959, when it became a subsidiary of Hammermill Paper Co. Hammermill was in turn acquired by International Paper in 1984.

A well-established brand presence in the fine papers, stationery, and uncoated recycled stock segments enabled Beckett to retain its own identity and logo through the mid-1990s. But while its goods continued to be milled at the company’s birthplace in Hamilton County, Ohio, its headquarters was moved to East Granby, New Jersey, along with the rest of International Papers’ Fine Papers Group.

Beckett Papers was founded and eventually named for William Beckett. Born in 1821 and educated at southern Ohio’s Miami University, Beckett, along with a couple of partners, bought into an abandoned paper mill in the town of Hamilton in 1848. At first, the mill churned out newsprint made of rags for sale to newspaper publishers in nearby Cincinnati. Though the mill struggled to stay in the black during its first two years, efficiencies achieved through the addition of a second paper making machine led to a decade-long period of profitability. The Civil War helped to lengthen this prosperous period, as newspaper sales skyrocketed, fueled by public hunger for news from the battlefields. These high times subsided during the late 19th century, when panics and recessions hurt the company’s results.

Partners came and went over the course of the company’s first four decades in operation, and the business endured several name changes before its incorporation as The Beckett Paper Company in 1887. By this time Thomas Beckett, son of the founder, had joined the company. The second-generation leader brought new production methods to the company, including modern paper making machines that used wood pulp. Though his changes were vehemently resisted by some managers, modernizations kept the company’s costs competitive and eventually brought it out of the red. Thomas launched the Buckeye Cover brand of colored paper in 1894, a stock that soon gained a reputation for high quality. The buckeye, Ohio’s state tree, would serve as Beckett’s corporate logo for some 100 years, until the launch of a new logo in mid-1998.

Read more:



These resources were originally moved from Elmer Adler’s office in The New York Times annex to Princeton in 1940, when he established a graphic arts program at the university. Special thanks go to my colleagues Jen Meyer and Mike Siravo, who arranged the moving and new storage for these important resources back into the department.

Scott Printing Machine Works, Plainfield, New Jersey

525 South Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey, in 2020.


Scott Printing Press Co.’s Works, Plainfield, N.J., Industrial Area, side view of the factory along with the water tank. Plainfield Public Library.

In 1884, Walter Scott (1844-1907) moved his printing press manufacturing business from Chicago to Plainfield, New Jersey, taking over the lot previously used by New Jersey’s Central Baseball Club. By 1903, Walter Scott & Company covered five acres of downtown Plainfield. “The buildings are of brick, contain a floor space of upwards of 115,000 square feet and are connected with each other by a narrow-gauge railroad, 2,300 feet in length, which runs through the buildings.” —Newspaperdom 10 (January 1, 1903).

Scott operated the largest printing press manufacturing firm in the United States (claimed to be the largest in the world), known especially for high-speed presses and folding machines used by newspapers. In 1893, the New York World installed the first color press in America adapted to newspaper printing, which was built by Scott’s Company in Plainfield. Known as a brilliant inventor, he received his first patent in 1874 and by 1903, held 200 patents. When he died 1907, his widow, Isabella Scott, operated the business until her death in 1931.

Google maps overview of the factory buildings still standing in 2020. The New Jersey Transit Raritan line still runs along the rear of the buildings.


Advertisements: The Inland printer. v.3 (1885/86) and American Printer and Lithographer 31 (1900).


A biographical sketch of Scott was published in The Inland Printer that begins “It is with pleasure that we are enabled to place before our readers the portrait of a gentleman whose name is familiar to every printer in the United States, Mr. Walter Scott. Blessed with great genius, tireless energy, indomitable perseverance, and administrative ability, he has succeeded in building up what is now the largest and most progressive printing press manufacturing establishment in the world.” It continues:

“Mr. Scott was born in Scotland on May 22, 1844. He was educated at the Ayr Academy, studied theoretical and applied mechanics, and learned the machinist trade. He came to the United States in 1869 and settled in Chicago. He was employed in several printing offices, and was for many years foreman of the pressrooms of the Inter Ocean. In 1872 he commenced to make inventions in printing machinery. His mechanical skill and thorough knowledge of the requirements of the printing office enabled him to produce economical and labor-saving machinery which was eagerly sought after by the appreciative printer. Among his inventions at that time was the printing from a web, pasting, cutting and folding, so as to produce a newspaper with the leaves cut in book from at one operation; also a new rotary web printing and folding machine which produced 30,000 copies per hour.

The demand for Mr. Scott’s improved machines became so great … that in 1884 it was found necessary to erect extensive and commodious works at Plainfield, New Jersey, a cut and description of which will be found below. Messrs. Walter Scott & Co. now makes no less than 117 different kinds and sizes of printing machines, ranging from a small cylinder press to a large book and newspaper machine costing $40,000 and capable of printing, pasting, cutting, and folding 96,000 eight-page papers per hour; besides many other machine and appliances connected with printing.

…This extensive manufactory is situated on South Avenue, between Richmond and Berckman Streets, and adjacent to the central Railroad of New Jersey, in the city of Plainfield. The works occupy five acres, are connected with the central Railroad by a siding and 1,700 feet of rails are laid through the yard to the various building. … The area of floor space is over 78,000 square feet. The buildings are beautifully lighted up by 25 arc and 400 incandescent electric lights, the dynamos of which are placed in the engine room.

…The factory and its equipment are the most complete of anything we have ever seen in this line of manufacture, and we understand it is the largest exclusively devoted to the manufacture of printing and kindred machinery in the United States, over one hundred and fifty machines being in process of construction at one time.– The Inland Printer, American Lithographer 7 (1889/1890): 564-66

See also:
Frederick W. Hamilton, Type and presses in America, a brief historical sketch of the development of type casting and press building in the United States ([Chicago] Pub. by the Committee on education, United typothetae of America, 1918). Graphic Arts Collection 2006-1856N

Herbert L. Baker, Cylinder printing machines, being a study of the mechanism and operation of the principal types of cylinder printing machines ([Chicago] Pub. by the Committee on education, United typothetae of America, 1918). Graphic Arts Collection 2007-0021N



A Born Classic

Mark Argetsinger, A Grammar of Typography: Classical Book Design in the Digital Age (Boston: David R. Godine, 2020). 528 pages; 8.5 x 12 inches; illustrated with over 425 images, many in full color.

The arrival of Mark Argetsinger’s new book, A Grammar of Typography, sent me running to a thesaurus in search of a word larger than comprehensive. Should we describe it as thorough? Inclusive? Far-reaching, in-depth, sweeping, or simply grand?

The publisher’s material begins: “A Grammar of Typography is a comprehensive guide to traditional book design that is both practical and historical. Interspersed with discussions of digital typesetting and page layout are broad historical views of the tradition of the book along with specific reference to the printer’s grammar or manual, the industry’s own codification of its usage, from Joseph Moxon in the seventeenth century through Theodore Low De Vinne in the nineteenth. In addition, there are chapters on house style, proof-reading, copy-editing, paper, binding, and appendices on typographical ornaments and Greek type. The book ends with an annotated bibliography and an index.”

How can you not love a book with an introduction titled “The Hidden Soul of Harmony: The Classical Tradition. A Practice in Search of a Theory”? Although Argetsinger claims “this is primarily a practical manual, not a scholarly treatise,” one would be hard-pressed to find a more philosophical look at “marks of quotation,” “font editing,” or “horizontal space.”

There is also biography and chronology. “In addition, Aldus was the first to cast in type the humanist’s running or cursive hand, known as the Italic. The busy work of the humanist, who daily, it seemed, uncovered new works of the Ancients, lying long neglected in the monastic or royal libraries of Europe, had required an efficient script to match the urgent copying of new texts.”

In his preface, Argetsinger writes, “This book intends to provide a historical context to the enterprise of book-making. The term grammar appears in its title both in reference to the historical phenomenon of ‘grammars’ of printing, regarding which much will be said along the way, as well as in reference to a certain graphical literacy that is requisite for the intelligent use of design and production tools in the digital age. Historical context is important both from the point of view of tracking evolving trends in the composition and display of printed matter, as well as from the point of view of preserving the traditions of its best practices.”

Open it anywhere and start reading.



“After the first necessities of life, nothing is more precious to us than books. The Art of Typography, which produces them, provides essential services to society and secures incalculable benefits. …Thus one could rightly call it par excellence the art of all arts and the science of all sciences.” –Pierre-Simon Fournier, le jeune, Manuel Typographique, Book 1 (1764).



A classical book designer, Argetsinger also embraces 21st-century technology, writing:
“There is something wonderful about working out the proportion of the page on screen, precisely mapping out its structure with the (by turns visible or invisible) grid and and page line; setting up one’s font with a complement of sorts so vast, even Christopher Plantin would feel a twinge of envy; readily changing size, font, color, position; and arraying, say, a two-volume, 800-page book heavy with illustrations and then placing its entire content on a digital thumb-drive….”

[Forgive my poor photography, the book itself is perfect.]

Colophon: “A Grammar of Typography set in DTL’s Fleischmann and printed on 115 Gem Munken print cream. All printing and binding by PBtisk Printing Company in the Czech Republic. This first edition consists of 1,875 hardcover trade copies as well as a deluxe slipcased edition of 125 copies signed and numbered by the author and only available directly from the publisher. Designed and composed by Mark Argetsinger, Holyoke, Massachusetts.”


A PostScript: My favorite Argetsinger design, proof he can do it all.

Mixing tints

Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding (1781-1851), the elder son of Nathan Theodore Fielding, was a painter, printmaker, and teacher. He published collections of landscapes in aquatint such as: A Picturesque Tour of the English Lakes (1821), Picturesque Illustrations of the River Wye (1822), and Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire Illustrated (1822).

Beginning in 1830, while still a painting instructor to the “senior classes at the Honourable East-India Company’s military Seminary” at Addiscombe, Surrey, Fielding began publishing manuals on painting, perspective, and art theory. In particular, his expertise on mixing color pigments was beautifully documented in physical sample of brightly printed color, as seen here.

The books were so popular and went through so many editions that it is often difficult to put dates to them. For instance, there were “enlarged, 2nd editions” of his On the Theory of Painting in both 1835 and 1836.  Thanks to the generous donation of Dickson Q. Brown, Princeton Class of 1895, the Graphic Arts Collection has two now rare examples:

Theodore Henry Fielding (1781-1851), An introduction to painting in water colors: in theory and practice: with an index of mixed tints, remarks on the chemical properties and permanency of colours, etc., and a manual of lithography (London : D. Bogue, 1852). Graphic Arts Collection Rowlandson 671.2

Theodore Henry Fielding (1781-1851), On the theory of painting; to which is added and index of mixed tints, and an introduction to painting in water-colours, with precepts (London, W.H. Allen, 1836). Graphic Arts Collection Rowlandson 671


Fielding included this quote from Sir Joshua Reynolds on the title page of many of his volumes: “The rules of art are not the fetters of genius, they are fetters only to men of no genius.”

Of the nature of colours, nearly all we know is, that they exist in various tinted rays, which combined make pure or colourless light. Could the artist be made acquainted with their physical or first cause, and how objects receive their colours, he might obtain some advantages, for they are not so splendidly and lavishly displayed throughout the works of Nature without some great meaning, otherwise their existence would seem only for our amusement instead of instruction.


Moss Engraving Company

[John Calvin Moss (1838-1892)], The Moss Engraving Co. (New York: John C. Moss, ca. 1881). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired an important specimen catalogue accomplished by means of photo-engraving, a revolutionary technique developed by the firm’s founder John C. Moss. Developed in 1863, his process allowed for the mass production of illustrated books and magazines with speed and efficiency that would have been impossible with traditional wood engraving.

In 1873 Moss founded the Moss Photo-Engraving Company. “By the early 1880’s, according to [Benson] Lossing, his 200 employees were annually turning out an amount of work that would have required at least 2000 wood engravers … Thanks to Moss, America became the leader in the world for mass-producing periodicals and books that contained actual photographs instead of wood-engraved drawings.” In 1880, Moss left that company and founded the Moss Engraving Company, whose product is the subject of this catalogue.

“…The first one to attempt photo-engraving as a business, I have been told, was a Frenchman. named Charles Henry. This was in i865. I believe he made some successful maps. His method was a combination of photo-lithography and zinc etching. The first man to make a substantial success, in a business way, of photo-engraving was without doubt John C. Moss. I well remember the first establishment he had, for I applied there for work. This was in Cortlandt Street. New York, and the year was 1874. I thought I knew all about photography in those days, and I was not slow to tell Moss so. He was anxious to keep his process secret, and naturally did not employ me. I found employment, however. with the Daily Graphic, and soon after Moss moved his business but a dozen doors away from the Graphic building, so that for the subsequent ten years I had an excellent opportunity to watch with interest the growth of his business.

His was the original ‘Photo-Engraving Company‘ and in his place was made about all the photo<engraving there was. He was unable to keep his process secret, some of his employees discovered his methods and went into business themselves. His relief plates were made by what is known as the swelled gelatine method. When he had demonstrated that there was money in photo-engraving other experimenters succeeded in devising a process of photo-engraving called the ‘wash-out method.’ This supplied an electrotype. Competition and price-cutting began then. In 1881, the writer tried to introduce zinc etchings to the publishers of New York, but failed. He was ahead of the times.

In 1884 William Kurtz tried the same thing. He received assistance from a master of business methods—F. A. Ringler—and they founded the Electro-Light Engraving Co. of New York. The zinc-etching method of photo-engraving by which this firm produced all their work proved to be the quickest and most economic one. Moss took it up later, but not until he had lost his grip on the trade that he had only a few years before monopolised. Though not the original photo-engraver, John C. Moss pioneered the way to photo-engraving as a business.“——unidentified author, The Inland Printer, December, 1899 quoted in The Photogram 7 (1900)

The History of Printing in Eight Hours

Many of you will remember the wonderful exhibition, The Printed Picture at The Museum of Modern Art in 2008–2009, co-curated by Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography, and Richard Benson, Dean of the Yale University School of Art. Some of you might have been in the gallery over the two days in May and June 2008 for Benson’s 8 hour lecture on the entire history of printing.

If not, this website posted by the Yale Art Gallery allows you to see the entire series of talks explaining ink, photographic, and digital printing processes, augmented with information from the book, The Printed Picture, authored by Richard Benson.

He begins with hand prints on caves walls and ends with a digital print after Paul Strand along with a lesson on the intrinsic value of a print. Here is just a tiny clip:

The New York Times obituary for Richard Benson, June 27, 2017:

Photolithography on a zinc plate

This 1940s silent movie shows basic lithography on stone, on zinc, photolithography on glass and then, on zinc plate. It is slow but worth the wait.

Printers Unite!

0733-022-001Birmingham City University, Marx Memorial Library, Newman University, The Centre for Printing History and Culture and the University of Birmingham are jointly sponsoring an interesting conference in November entitled: Printers Unite! Print and Protest from the Early Modern to the Present. To register:

‘Printers Unite!’ is a phrase that evokes the historic solidarities and struggles of printers and their eventual consolidation into a single trade union, Unite. On the 90th and 30th anniversaries of the General Strike and the Wapping Dispute, this two-day conference at the Marx Memorial Library will explore the role of printers and print as agents and vehicles of protest.

The General Strike, which was triggered by an unofficial strike by printers at the Daily Mail, and the Wapping Dispute, in which 6000 printers were sacked by News International, represent only one of the themes that emerges out of an examination of ‘print and protest’: that of the labor history of printing.

The keynote address will be delivered by Andrew Pettegree, University of St Andrews, author of The Invention of News and Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion.51h9bOhp-8L._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_For more information see:

A long list of papers includes
Dr Marie-Céline Daniel, Paris-Sorbonne University, London Printers v. Elizabeth I: How a group of London stationers tried to lobby in favour of a change in Elizabethan diplomacy, 1584-1589;
Kat Lowe, University of Manchester, The importance of female education to public health in the prefaces of Richard Hyrde;
Sally Jeffery, Independent researcher, Art and mystery: descriptions of seventeenth-century printers’ working practices;
Dr Lucy Razzall, Queen Mary, University of London, ‘Thrust into the trundle-bed of the last two lines’: printing theological debate in the 1640s;
Dr Bess Frimodig, Independent researcher, Domestic upheaval: women wallpaper printers and the French Revolution;
Eva Velasco Moreno, King Juan Carlos University, Censorship and the control of printing in eighteenth-century Spain;
Brian Shetler, Drew University, Advocate and abuser: John Wilkes’ relationship with his printers;
Karenza Sutton-Bennett, University of Ottawa, Hogarth’s act: a printer’s protest of society’s consumerism;
Julie Mellby, Princeton University, Edward Osborne and the Jamaica Rebellion broadside;
Dr Patricia Sieber, Ohio State University, Peter Perring Thoms (1755-1855) and the Radical opposition to the Opium War (1839-42);
Catherine Cartwright, Absence and Presence (evening exhibition);
Dr Anil Aykan, Independent researcher, Deeds and printed words;
Martin Killeen, University of Birmingham, Between the war zone and the Home Front: cartoons in military hospital magazines;
Alison Wilcox, University of Winchester, Defiant, dissenting, and disobedient women of the Great War;
Professor David Finkelstein, University of Edinburgh, Irish Typographical Union networks and the Great Dublin Strike of 1878;
Alexandra Heslop, Royal College of Art and V&A Museum, ‘Open Shop’: A re-assessment of London’s Printing Trades, 1980-1992;
Dr Patricia Thomas, Massey University, Lockout: insubordinate print and the New Zealand 1951 Waterfront Dispute;
Anthony Quinn, Independent researcher, Duplicating machines, dashes across Europe and nunneries: how emergency issues were produced by newspaper and magazine managements in response to strikes (1926-56);
Jessica Baines, London School of Economics and London College of Communication, Radical printshops, 1968-98;
Mark Dennis, Coventry University, Art & Language’s ‘Support School Project’ and inter-college networks through posters and pamphlets, 1974-79;
Dr Cathy Gale, Kingston University, Collective protest in print;
Dr Ian Horton, London College of Communication, The Grafische Werkplaats, hard werken and cultural protest;
David Sinfield, Auckland University, The serigraphic voice of the worker: stories of the underpaid worker through serigraphic printed posters;
Dr Mark Johnson, Independent Researcher, The work of Jamie Reid – prophet, provocateur and protester.

The specimen book to end all specimen books

Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813), Manuale tipografico del cavaliere Giambattista Bodoni (Parma: Presso la Vedova, 1818). 2 volumes, frontispiece portrait engraved by Francesco Rosaspina after a painting by Andrea Appiani; 33 cm. 250 type specimens designed and cut by Bodoni in Latin, Greek, German, Hebrew, Russian and numerous other languages. One of approximately 290 copies. Purchased with funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library and the Graphic Arts Collection. GA 2016- in process


Thanks to the Friends of the Princeton University Library, we are the proud owner of the second and final edition of Giambattista Bodoni’s Manual tipografico. This much enlarged edition of his 1788 specimen book represents the culmination of more than four decades of work by one of Italy’s greatest typographers, type-designers, compositors, printers, and publishers. Universally celebrated as a “libro importantissimo” (Brooks), “ouvrage magnifique” (Graesse), “an imposing tour de force” (Updike), and “the specimen book to end all specimen books” (Lester), it was surprising to find this pivotal study had been missing from Princeton University Library.


David Pankow, for his introduction to the 1998 DVD, wrote, “The Manuale Tipografico of Giambattista Bodoni has been called the greatest type specimen book ever printed. Issued posthumously in 1818 at Parma by Bodoni’s devoted widow Margherita, the two-volume work contains a dazzling array of 142 roman alphabets with corresponding italics, . . . the culmination of more than forty years of assiduous devotion by Bodoni to the typographic arts, both in his capacity as printer to the Duke of Parma and as proprietor of his own private press and type foundry.”


No facsimile or DVD can truly replace the original printed pages of this typographic milestone and the acquisition of Bodoni’s 1818 Manuale closes a significant gap in our collection on the history of printing. Bodoni’s introduction of what were considered exotic typefaces—Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Arabic, Coptic, Armenian, Phoenician, and Tibetan alphabets—is essential to the study of European history and publishing.

“Bodoni’s Manuale is a crucial document,” writes Thomas Keenan, Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Librarian, “of the introduction to the West and the first attempts at standardization in the West of the non-Roman scripts of Russia, Eastern Europe and the territories of the present-day Former Soviet Republics, and most particularly of the Cyrillic alphabets used in Russian and other Slavic languages, and the Georgian and Armenian scripts.”