ing press of to-day it is difficult to realize that little more than half a century of time and invention stand between this piece of mechanism, that seems to work with human intelligence, and the Washington hand press, upon which the production of printed sheets was a matter of slow and arduous labor. The great metropolitan newspapers of to-day are printed by monster machines weighing thirty tons, composed of four thousand separate pieces of steel, iron, brass, wood, and cloth. In the great printing-press factory of R. Hoe & Co. eighteen months' time is required to build one of the modern presses, and the cost of it would have more than paid for all the newspaper printing presses in use in the United States at the beginning of the century. These monster machines are known as quadruple presses, which means that four complete presses have been built into one. When in operation, white paper is fed to them automatically from rolls, and this paper, with a speed greater than the eye can follow, is converted into the finished newspaper, printed on both sides, cut into sheets, pasted together, folded, counted, and deposited in files of fifty or one hundred at one side of the press. White paper is fed to the press from two points, and finished newspapers are delivered at two places on the opposite side. An idea of the speed with which the work is done may be gained by watching the printed papers fall from the folder. They drop so fast that the eye, no matter how well trained, can not count them. These presses have a capacity of ninety-six thousand four-, six-, or eight-page papers per hour, and forty-eight thousand ten-, twelve-, or sixteen-page papers. Their mechanism is so perfect and so carefully adjusted that the breaking of a narrow band of tape in the folder, the loosening of a nut, the slightest bending of a rod, friction in a bearing, or any other derangement, no matter how slight, is instantly apparent to the skilled machinist in charge.
The white paper used in making the newspapers of to-day is manufactured from wood pulp and is put up in long rolls, wound about an iron cylinder that can be adjusted in place at one end of the press. These rolls contain from two to four miles of paper, and weigh from eight hundred to twelve hundred pounds each. As soon as one roll is used up another is lifted into place, the loose ends of the two are pasted together, and, after a stop of less than two minutes, the great press is again belching forth finished newspapers at the rate of sixteen hundred a minute, or two hundred and sixty-six each second.
Almost every invention and device of recent years in connection with the use of electricity is in some way utilized in the production and distribution of the daily newspapers. The evolution