IN the composing-room of the New York Tribune some forty type-casting machines have been used for several years. The foreman informed me in October last that all the ordinary reading-matter in the Tribune was being "set" by these inventions, and expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the working of the machines. As a rule, he said, not one of them was out of order, and on the average each did the work of three fair compositors. In a printed circular issued by the patentees of the machine the foreman, Mr. G. W. Shafer, declares that, compared with what the same amount of setting would cost if done by hand by compositors, "the machines save the Tribune office sixty per cent—probably more."
My object in visiting New York at that time was to look into the type-casting process. The result of the visit was a conviction that the problem of setting type by machinery has been solved. Small printing establishments may not benefit from it for a few years. Large establishments, particularly large newspapers, may profit at an early date. The New York papers are looking to this. The business manager of the World, Mr. G. W. Turner, informed me that he had ordered one hundred machines. In the composing-room of the Brooklyn Standard-Union I saw six machines working. I was informed that orders for machines had been placed by the New York Sun, Herald, Times, and Mail and Express. Outside of New York, the Louisville Courier-Journal uses thirty machines, and says it saves fifty per cent of what hand composition used to cost it. The Providence Journal uses twelve machines, and claims to save two hundred and fifty dollars per week. The Chicago News says it is saving fifty per cent in the cost of composition. These are only some of the newspapers which state that they have been using the machines regularly and successfully during the past year. Four machines ordered by the Canadian Government have been used in the Government Printing Bureau at Ottawa for some months, and, in reply to a question in the House of Commons recently, the Secretary of State, Hon. J. A. Chapleau, said that they were satisfactory and economical.
All this goes to show that the type-casting principle has obtained a practical footing in the market. In discussing the subject, I propose to confine myself as much as possible to my personal experience and investigations. If I state anything which I do not know personally or have not been told at first hand by disinterested persons, I will give the source of my information.