Category Archives: Printing manual


Master typographer Hermann Zapf died on Thursday, June 4, 2015, at his home in Darmstadt, Germany. He was 96. The obituary from the New York Times can be read at:

Posted here are a few of the alphabets and pages of calligraphy that Zapf designed between 1939 and 1941, cut in metal by August Rosenberger in 1952. A remembrance is being planned for the fall in New York City. Details will be posted as they develop.




Hermann Zapf (1918-2015), Pen and graver: alphabets & pages of calligraphy (New York: Museum Books, 1952). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2007-0577Q

Should Princeton University students write like Albert Einstein?

There is a new campaign on kickstarter to fund a computer font simulating the handwriting of Albert Einstein.

One category is: EINSTEIN FOR UNIVERSITY • You receive an educational license to use the font in a university context, for up to 250 students. Teach and inspire at the same time! Estimated delivery: June 2015

Do you think Princeton students should have the option to type/write like Albert Einstein?


The most extensive rolling press manual ever published

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The Graphic Arts collection recently acquired the 1st edition, 1st issue and the 1st edition, 2nd issue of the most extensive rolling press manual ever published:

Berthiau (later Berthiaud) and Pierre Boitard (1789?–1859), Manuels-Roret. Nouveau manuel complet de l’imprimeur en taille-douce. Par MM. Berthiau et Boitard. Ouvrage orné de planches. Enrichi de notes et d’un appendice renfermant tous les nouveaux procédés, les découvertes, méthodes et inventions nouvelles appliquées ou applicables a cet art, par plusieurs imprimeurs de la capital.

The first: Paris: A la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret rue Hautefeuille, 12 [no date] (Colophon: Toul, imprimerie de Ve Bastien), [1836?].

The second: Paris: A la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret rue Hautefeuille, No 10 bis (Colophon: Toul, imprimerie de Ve Bastien), 1837.manuel de l'imprimeur5

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Book historian Roger Gaskell has done an exdended description of these volumes and with his permission, I will repeat it here for the benefit of others.

The first edition, first issue has the half-title is headed Encyclopédie-Roret and has an Avis on the verso with authenticating facsimile signature; the titlepage is undated, headed ManuelsRoret and Berthiau is so spelled. Copies with this state of the half-title and title were re-issued with advertisements dated 1880 and 1885.

In the second issue the first bifolium is re-set, and among other differences there is no mention of the Manuels Roret, the verso of the half-title is blank, the titlepage is dated 1837, and the author spelled Berthiaud. Bigmore and Wyman I, p. 52; Stijnman 029.1, both describing the issue dated 1837.

This is the most extensive rolling press manual ever published and the first original manual since Bosse (1645). Pierre Boitard explains in his Avertissement that he took the part of an editor for material supplied by Berthiau, an experienced copper-plate printer. Both wooden and iron presses are described and illustrated, making this the first published account of the iron rolling-press and its operation.

It is the first manual to discuss the use of intaglio illustrations in printed books. Berthiau travelled to England to investigate copper-plate printing in London, where plates for books were apparently much better printed than in Paris.manuel de l'imprimeur6Boitard attributes this to the higher price of books in London. In his long Appendice de l’éditeur, he makes proposals for the improvements in the economy of copper-plate printing. Many of the Manuels Roret were first published as Manuels with revised editions as Nouveu Manuels, but there seems to have been no earlier edition of this manual.

This issue, which I take to be the first, is undated but Boitard says that Bosse’s Traité was published 193 years ago in 1643, giving a date of 1836 (actually the Traité was published in 1645; Boitard repeats his error on the following page).manuel de l'imprimeur3

The priority of this undated issue seems to be confirmed by the fact that the author’s name is here consistently spelled Berthiau (on the titlepage and on pp. 4 and 5) while in the 1837 dated issue it is Berthiaud on the titlepage but unchanged in the text which is printed from the same setting of type (presumably from stereotype plates).

If the OCLC holdings are to be believed, this original issue is much rarer than the later issues, with copies at the V&A and University of Virginia only; compared with 8 copies in North America of the 1837 issue and 4 undated but with 1880 advertisements.

In the first edition, second issue, the first bifolium is re-set, omitting any mention of the Manuels Roret. The verso of the half-title is blank, the titlepage is dated 1837 and the author spelled Berthiaud. (In the first issue the half-title is headed EncyclopédieRoret and has an Avis on the verso with authenticating facsimile signature; the titlepage is undated, headed ManuelsRoret and Berthiau is so spelled – see above). Bigmore and Wyman I, p. 52; Stijnman 029.1, both describing this issue.

In this issue the relationship between author, Berthiaud, and editor, Boitard, is spelled out on the titlepage and plusieurs imprimeurs de la capitale whose improvements are reported are now identified as, MM Finot, Pointot and Rémond and other printers of the capital.

This copy belonged to a practicing copper-plate printer. Adolfo Ruperez was the leading printer of artists’ prints in Spain in the first half of the twentieth century; he learned his craft in Paris. OCLC locates copies of this issue at Getty, LC, Newberry, University of Illinois, Brandeis, Columbia, Harvard and NYPL.manuel de l'imprimeur7

Traité théorique et pratique de lithographie

engelmann-traite3The nineteenth-century French artist and printer Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839) founded the Industrial Society of Mulhouse (SIM) with his son Engelmann II after studying lithography with Aloys Senefelder in Munich.

Twenty years later, having establishing companies in Paris and London, Engelmann then returned to Mulhouse to focus on the new process of chromolithography, awarded a patent on July 1837.

His final treatise, A Discussion on Theoretical and Practical Lithography was published posthumously. Surprising to a twenty-first century audience, there are no illustrations in his manual beyond the decorative title pages.

Happily, we also recently acquired Michael Twyman’s monumental A History of Chromolithography: Printed Colour for All, which offers 850 color illustrations along with detailed descriptions of all variations of planographic color printing.

Twyman’s book is the first since the process was in its heyday to offer a detailed account of how chromolithographs were made, tracing the evolution of this hand-drawn color-printing process from its tentative beginnings in Germany in the early nineteenth century to its spread from Europe to the United States and beyond.

Michael Twyman is Emeritus Professor of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, and has played an active role in several societies concerned with printing, particularly the Printing Historical Society and the Ephemera Society.

His publications include many articles and book chapters, in addition to over a dozen books, among them: Printing 1770-1970 (1970; 1998), Lithography 1800-1850 (1970), Early lithographed books (1990), Early lithographed music (1996), The British Library guide to printing (1998), Breaking the mould: the first hundred years of lithography (2001), and Images en couleur (2007).


Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839), Traité théorique et pratique de lithographie (Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin: Engelmann père et fils, 1839, 1840. Graphic Arts collection GAX Oversize 2013-0078Q


Michael Twyman, A History of Chromolithography: Printed Colour for All (London: British Library; New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2013). GARF 2013- in process



Vignettes and Fleurons

didot broadside4didot broadside3didot broadside2The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired an unrecorded broadsheet type specimen from the Firmin Didot foundry dating from April 1818 and presenting printers with a new selection of vignettes and fleurons. 71 borders, rules and vignettes are advertised, including 14 large vignettes of lamps, urns, lyres, grotesque heads, a cornucopia etc. This specimen is no. 4 from the series simply called Feuille d’Epreuve (proof sheet).

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The Didot foundry was established around 1775 by François-Ambroise Didot (1730-1804), the inventor of the point system of type sizes. Continued by several generations of typefounders, printers and publishers, the Firmin Didot firm had an enormous influence on French typography before being absorbed into the Fonderie Générale in the mid-nineteenth century.

François-Ambroise’s son, Firmin Didot (1764-1836) is credited with designing and establishing the classification of typefaces we use today and many contemporary fonts are actually based on Firmin Didot’s typefaces. When Firmin retired from the business in 1827, his son Ambroise-Firmin Didot (1790-1876) took over the management of the publishing business. Note that it is Ambroise-Firmin who is credited with the engraving on this broadsheet.

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Fifty of the Best Receipts for the Aquatinter 1801


John Hippisley Green, The Complete Aquatinter: being the whole process of etching and engraving in aquatinta: the method of using the aquafortis, with all the necessary tools: to which are added upwards of fifty of the best receipts for grounds, varnishes, &c.: collected from near a hundred that are most in use: the difficulties which may possibly occur, are point out, and the method of obviating them: the whole rendered clear and practical (London: Printed for J.H. Green, book and printseller…, 1801). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2013- in process

This printing manual includes two plates drawn and engraved by John Hippisley Green along with his recipes (using the modern word) for soft and hard ground aquatint. The frontispiece is after a landscape engraving by Joseph Jeakes. The Princeton copy of this first edition includes various annotations and a hand written description of the soft ground process.

Green advertises his services as:

J.H. Green, having received great encouragement from the lovers and patrons of the fine arts, &c. takes the liberty to inform them, that he is now enabled to deal in a more extensive manner, in all kind of prints, ancient and modern, from the earliest period to the present day. Books, the most useful and pleasing in the English language, particularly relating to Arts and Sciences, &c. drawing materials of all kinds, as chalks, crayons, water-colours, sketch, and drawing-books, drawing-boards, portfolios, &c. &c. bought, sold, and exchanged; drawings mounted, framed, &c. Etching Wax and every requisite for engraving, aquatinting, &c. that may be depended on as the best that can be procured. Drawing taught in all its various Branches at Mr. Green’s Academy every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday after-noon. Ladies and Gentlemen attended at their residences, and schools taught on moderate terms. Drawings and designs made, portraits taken and executed in all the various methods of drawing.