Collecting Landmarks of Book Production in the Industrial Revolution

As a life-long collector and dealer in rare books and manuscripts, and part-time writer, one of the ways that I have studied various subjects has been to collect aspects of them while researching topics. Of all the different themes in HistoryofInformation that I have developed over the past twenty years, the themes relating to printing and book production have been the closest to my collecting habits. As I began researching themes related to Book Production in the Industrial Revolution, and recorded events in the history of those developments, I have also tried to collect examples of the printing the I write about. In this I have had a certain degree of success. Examples of printing that I have been able to collect include books, periodicals, newspaper, pamphlets, and posters. The challenge has been to obtain printed items identifiably printed by the landmark presses, typesetting machines, and also landmarks in the technology of bookbinding by machine.

I will list below in chronological order selected examples of books and printing that are associated with historic developments in the history of book production from the beginning of the 19th century onward. Each listing incorporates a link to the database entry where details and images of the listed item are recorded.

1. 1804. Freylinghausen's An Abstract of the Whole Doctrine of the Christian Religion. With Observations. From a Manuscript in Her Majesty's Possession. The First Book Stereotyped by the New Process.  This was the First Book Printed on Machine-Made Paper, the First Book Printed on a Stanhope Press, & the First Book Printed by the Foulis & Tilloch Method of Stereotyping, as Improved by Earl Stanhope.

2. 1811. The New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1810. On April, 1811, at Richard Taylor & Co. Printers in Shoe Lane, London, Frederick Koenig conducted the first test of his steam-driven platen press, printing 3000 copies—a relatively large edition for the time— of sheet H (pp. 113-128) of The New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1810. This was the first printing done by the first printing press not powered by hand, and, at the rate of 800 sheets per hour, it achieved more than double the speed possible with an iron hand press, such as the Stanhope press.

3.1813. Clarkson's Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn, Vol. 1. The first ever sheets printed by Koenig's cylinder flat-bed press that were actually issued were sheets G (pp. 81-96) and X (pp. 305-20) of Thomas Clarkson's Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn, Vol. 1 [1813] printed by Koenig's sponsor, printer Richard Taylor, at his press in Shoe-Lane, London. Comparison of the inking between the  gatherings printed on Koenig's machine and those printed on the hand press shows subtle differences. A copy of this volume in the original boards, uncut, contains advertisements for Longman publications "Corrected to March 1813", suggesting that this book was issued in March or April of that year. 

4. 1813. The Larger Catechism Agreed Upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. The first book printed in America from stereotype plates made in America.

5. 1814.  The Times of London newspaper November 29, 1814. John Walter II published the first issue printed on a double-steam-driven Koenig cylinder press. The output was initially 1,100 sheets per hour, more than four times faster than the hand presses previously used by the newspaper.

6. 1815. Rapports lus a l'Académie des sciences, arts et belles-lettres, de Dijon, dans ses séances particulières des 3 juillet 1811 et 19 mai 1813, sur les machines à fabriquer le papier, inventées par le sieur Ferinand Leistenschneider,  fabricant de formes à papier... Probably the first publication on papermaking by machine published in France, and one of the earliest separate publications about papermaking machinery in any language.

7.  1818. Carey's General Atlas, Improved and Enlarged (Philadelphia: M. Carey & Son, 1818). Probably the first American book printed on machine-made paper made in America.

8. 1820. Carey's edition of Lavoisne's A Complete Geneological, Historical, Chronological and Geograpical Atlas (Philadelphia, 1820). At the foot of its title page the book indicated that it was "Published by M. Carey and Sons and printed by T. H. Palmer on the Ruthven Press, and on J. & T. Gilpin's Machine Paper.

9. 1822. Virgil Opera interpretatione et notis illustravit Carolus Ruaeus...London, 1822. Probably the first book to indicate that it was printed by a steam-powered press. In this case the indication was printed in Latin!

10. 1823. Mitford, History of Greece, 8 vols., Boston, 1823. A large set of books printed by Daniel Treadwell's Treadwell Power Press, the first power press invented and built in America.

11. 1824. Allgemeine Zeitung July 3, 1824. The first publication printed by machinery in Germany by the first printing machine built in Germany.

12. 1826. The New-York American newspaper on January 4, 1826 described their installation of a Napier Double Imperial printing machine on the front page of their newspaper. It was powered by a hand crank. The article on the front page of the newspaper explained that having a man turn the flywheel to power the machine was cheaper than a horse, and more reliable.

13. 1829. Menageries, Described and Drawn from Living Subjects was the first illustrated book printed on a printing machine, and the first application of a printing machine to print illustrations along with text.

13. 1832. The Penny Magazine Published by Charles Knight, and printed by William Clowes, reaches a circulation of 200,000 copies per week during its first year.

14. 1832. The Works of Lord Byron; with his Letter and Journals and his Life by Thomas Moore. 17 vols. These have long been considered the first volume in which the gold stamping was stamped directly into the cloth, an invention of Archibald Leighton.

15. 1835. In part 35 of Chambers's Information for the People they illustrate the printing machine used to print the issue. 

16. 1835. One Hundred and Fifty Wood Cuts, Selected from the Penny Magazine; Worked, by the Printing-Machine from the Original Blocks. This book published by Charles Knight was the first art book printed on a printing machine.

16..1840. United States Historical and Statistical Index. Printed by William Applegate using his Double Mammoth Cylinder Press

16. 1842. Binns, The Anatomy of Sleep. This is the first book known to have been typeset by machine--in this case the Young & Delcambre Pianotyp.

17. 1850. The "Patriot and Advertiser" prints a poster on a "Ruggles Mammoth Engine."

17. 1851. Illustrated London News May 31, 1851. Included a sheet printed at the Great Exhibition by the Applegath Vertical Printing machine.

18. 1855 Paris Chez Soi and Le Canada Reconquis. Two Books typeset by the Delcambre Pianotyp that include advertisements for the Young & Delcambre typesetting machines.

18. 1866. The Weekly Ranchero newspaper for Septebmer 31, 1866 printed in Brownsville, Texas publicized their new R. Hoe & Co. Newspaper Printing Machine used to print the issue.

19. 1886. The New York Tribune publishes the first application of the Linotype in its July 3, 1886 issue.

20. 1887. The New York Tribune publishes The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports, the first book set by Linotype.