Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chromatic Wood Type

"Chromatic type is printed from multiple pieces of type, each in a different ink color. The following samples are all from the William H. Page company's 1874 book, 'Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc.' [.]. The specimen book was used to sell the wooden pieces of type to printers. The types cost around 25 cents per letter, per ink color. 
[In some images you can see] white lines between the [different colors or as part of the letter borders]. That's the paper showing through, and it's an intentional part of the design meant to add another color. Remember, each color is the result of the sheet of paper making a separate pass through the press. 
Getting each piece of type to hit the sheet of paper in exactly the right spot relative to the other colored parts of the same letter required amazing craftsmanship. The system of controlling positioning is called registration. These chromatic types were designed to register as much as possible (they were cut from a single multi-level pattern), but given the inherent inexactness of the presses, it's still quite a feat." [source]

Rob Roy Kelly wrote that Wm. H. Page’s 'Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc.', 1874 “has been rightfully acclaimed as containing the most superb wood type specimens ever printed.” This tome of 100 plates featured Page’s fantastic character designs, intricate borders and tint blocks, precisely printed in up to 7 colors each — sometimes with metallic inks, and always with interesting overprinted hues. [source]
The images below from 'Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type..',
were sourced from Columbia University Libraries website.

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Sin) Belgian ornamented No.2 type
Belgian ornamented No.2 type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (..Providence) Doric Florentine + Ornamented type
Doric, Florentine, Clarendon & Aldine Ornamented, Etruscan type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Rind + Use) - Gothic paneled No.2 type
Gothic paneled No.2 type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Wade's Ink printer's page)
"To Color Printers
We have the pleasure of laying before you a Specimen Book of Chromatic Wood Type, and would say it is now eighteen years since we began Type making. Progress in the Art can be seen by comparing the present volume, with Specimens of that date. There were at that time five or six other manufacturers in the country. Now we manufacture seven-eights of all the Wood Type made, and are now able to show by itself a Book of Chromatic Type and Borders that is not excelled in the world. It has taken years of time to prepare and perfect it. The designs with two or three exceptions are entirely original with us. The demand for Chromatic Type is quite limited, therefore we cannot apply this book free, only to our Agents Most Respectfully Yours, Wm. H. Page & Co." 
[Introduction to 'Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type' 1874]

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] Rustic + Bride + Mun) Corinthian type
Corinthian type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Chromatic Double Star + background tints)

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Pink + Red) Ornamented type
Ornate type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Recount+ Humor + Rude) Streamer Gothic Paneled type
Streamer Gothic Paneled type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (I + E) Renaissance type
Renaissance type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (border cards)

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (..Mosaic) Etruscan type
Etruscan type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Storm + Shun + Bug) Clarendon ornamented
Clarendon ornamented type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (M) French Clarendon ornamented type
French Clarendon ornamented type

"Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc., Manufactured by Wm. H. Page & Co. Greeneville, Ct.: The Co., 1874. 

William H. Page (1829–1906), worked while young as a wood type finisher at manufacturer John Cooley’s shop. He later bought out another firm’s machinery and expanded by the 1860s to be the country’s chief producer of wood type. Intense competition through the mid-1880s with J. E. Hamilton’s cheaper veneered types sent Page’s market share into decline. He sold his business to the Hamilton Company in 1891.

Page’s firm had a great catalog of original character designs, intricate borders, and tint blocks cut with exacting precision. The company can be credited with printing possibly the most beautiful color wood type specimen ever, a page of which is on view here. Each plate in this book is letterpress printed with several colors, showing the versatility of color blends imaginable with Page products. The specimen of some 100 pages was produced in a small edition since the market for chromatic wood type was very limited." [source]

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] Braids + Made +Gof) Old English ornamented type
Old English ornamented type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Erudition + Bluster +Pines) Arcadian type
Arcadian type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Detriment + Prison + Unite) Gothic ornamented type
Gothic ornamented type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Mend + Mun) Streamer Arcadian + Arabian type
Streamer Arcadian & Arabian type

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (stars + star borders)
Stars, cut any size desired

Specimens of chromatic wood type, borders 1874 - [via Columbia U] (Kitchen + Round + Bits + Sin) Aetna ornamented type
Aetna ornamented type

"Chromatic types were made to print in two or more colors. These types, produced in register as corresponding pairs, were designed so that one color would overlap another in certain places to create a third color. Chromatic types were shown regularly in foundry type specimen books of the 1840s and 1850s. 
Chromatic types were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type. Both William H. Page in 1859, and J.G. Cooley in c.1859, showed several pages of Chromatic type in each of their wood type specimen books. Page showed these types in most of his specimen books in the 1870s. The high point of Chromatic wood type production came in 1874 when the William H. Page Wood Type Co. issued their 100-page Specimens of Chromatic Type & Borders. Though Hamilton, Morgans & Wilcox, and Heber Wells all showed samples of Chromatic types through the rest of the century, none of these ever reached the level of intricate precision attained in Page’s 1874 masterpiece." [source]

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Turner's Manual

Engraved plates of materials, techniques and machines
used to craft turned ornamental products in the 1790s

Manuel de Tourneur b

Manuel de Tourneur c

Manuel de Tourneur a

Manuel de Tourneur l

Manuel de Tourneur o

Manuel de Tourneur d

Manuel de Tourneur j

Manuel de Tourneur f

Manuel de Tourneur s

Manuel de Tourneur i

Manuel de Tourneur h

Manuel de Tourneur k

Manuel de Tourneur n

Manuel de Tourneur r

Manuel de Tourneur p

Manuel de Tourneur g

Manuel de Tourneur e

Manuel de Tourneur q

Ornamental (wood & metal) turning in late 18th century France was an art form most associated with the upper ranks of society and particularly the royal court. Publishing a how-to manual on turning under your own name in the 1790s against the backdrop of the French Revolution wouldn't have been the most sensible of life choices because the author's association with the hated aristocracy would be printed in black and white for all to see.

So the true author of The Turner's Manual - 'Manuel du Tourneur' - (the eminent lawyer, Louis Georges Isaac Salivet) decided against using his own name on the title pages of the first two volumes when they were released in 1792 and 1796, respectively (together making up the 1st edition).

Instead, Salivet employed two allonyms (like pseudonyms, but real people), Louis-Eloy Bergeron and his son-in-law, Pierre Hamelin-Bergeron, with whom Salivet was said to be at least acquainted, if not actual friends. There is no record as to whether or not the substitutes agreed to their names being used in this way. Citations online are divided between authors Salivet and Bergeron, but the latter probably dominates.

Salivet (or perhaps one of the Bergerons) was said to have owned a Paris firm "that sold rose engines, tools, lathes and materials for turning. This seminal work contains numerous engravings of various objects and patterns from which to model both turning equipment and turned objects." [source]

There appears to be only occasional commentary available online with respect to the technical qualities of the volumes. There are sparse references to its having merit in the first half of the 19th century both because it was an assiduous chronicle of continental development in the field of lathe-work and turning, and because there was no comparable literature available at the time in England (in fact, I don't think Salivet's Manual was fully translated** until just a few years ago). The 'Manuel du Tourneur' was specifically aimed at the amateur craftsman with the machines, models and techniques outlined relating to woodworking (most) and metalwork, with modest primers on glass engraving and ivory work.

A musical instrument journal article - predominantly a translation of text - about the flute and related instrument machining (illustration plate seen above) found inconsistencies in some of Salivet's descriptions and measurements. They conclude he wasn't a flautist himself, but very probably had obtained descriptions from (a) Parisian flute-maker(s), and he didn't have the background to adjust the information for context.

The revised 2nd edition of 'Manuel du Tourneur' (1816) was enlarged to include an atlas volume containing engravings by Nicolas Louis Rousseau from drawings by Gallet. The earlier edition had a smaller series of illustrations after designs by Louis-Jacques Goussier (known for his technical drawing contributions to Diderot's 'L'Encyclopédie' and illustration redesigns for 'Les Anatomies' by Vesalius). The atlas contains more than seventy regular and hand-coloured engravings in total.

**Just prior to posting this entry I found details about the 2010 translation of the Bergeron/Salivet 'Manuel du Tourneur' into English, and the following quote is found here (it's only mentioned at a couple of sites, both listed among the bullet points down below):
"The Society of Ornamental Turners has released in hardback a translation of Bergeron's 'Manual du Tourneur'. Volumes I and II are text only and contain no plates; the third volume often (called the 'Atlas') contains all the Plates referred to in Volumes I and II. Editor Jeremy Soulsby has translated the previously un-translated 239 pages as well as extensively revising the style and content of the earlier works so as to clarify obscure terminology and techniques. He has fully indexed the volume and provided a glossary and extended notes.
As described from the SOT website: 'First published during the turbulent times of the French Revolution, Bergeron's Manuel du Tourneur or The Turner's Manual has been admired for over two hundred years as a comprehensive record of all the tools, machinery and techniques required by an eighteenth century amateur wishing to establish a fully equipped workshop for the hobby of turning. This, the second volume of text which uses the 1816 revised and expanded second edition by P. Hamelin-Bergeron, is available for the first time in an English translation. It deals with the more elaborate elements of the subject and gives instruction in the use of the complex lathes of the period which were used to make many of the artefacts now to be seen in museums'."

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