Category Archives: Printing

Custom Printing

11 Blows On His Buttocks

17th Century Printing Press

These fragments come from a contemporaneous description of the methods and customs of a 17th Century Printing House. One shilling was worth about £4, a crown was 5 shillings, and a penny about 35p.

Persons Instrumental about Printing

The Master Printer who is the Soul of Printing; all other workmen about it are as Members of the Body.
The Letter Cutter, the Mould-Maker, the Letter Caster, the Letter Dresser; all called Letter Founders.
The Compositer, the Corrector, the Press-Man, the Ink Maker; all go under the Notion of Printers.

Customs of the Chappel

Every Printing-House is called a Chappel, in which there are these Laws and Customs for the well and good Government of the Chappel, and for the orderly deportment of all its Members while in the Chappel.

Every Workman belonging to it are Members of the Chappel, and the Eldest Freeman is Father of the Chapel; and the Penalty for the Breach of any Law or Custom is in Printers Language called a Solace.

1. Swearing in the Chappel, a Solace.
2. Fighting in the Chappel, a Solace.
3. Abusive Language or giving the Lie in the Chappel, a Solace.
4. To be Drunk in the Chappel, a Solace.
5. For any of the Workmen to leave his Candle burning at Night, a Solace.
6. If a Compositer fall his composing Stick [a sort of wooden ruler] and another take it up, a Solace.
7. For three Letters and a Space to lie under the Compositers Case, a Solace.
8. If a Press-man let fall his Ball or Balls [used to ink the letters] and another take them up, a Solace.
9. If a Press-man leave his Blankets [woolly cloths] in the Timpan [frame] at Noon or Night, a Solace.
10. For any Workman to mention joyning their penny or more a piece to send for Drink, a Solace.
11. To mention spending Chappel Money till Satur-Day Night, or any other before agreed time, a Solace.
12. To play at Quadrats or excite others in the Chappel to play for Money or Drink, a Solace.
13. A Stranger to come to the Kings Printing-House and ask for a Ballad, a Solace.
14. For a Stranger to come to a Compositer and enquire if he had News of such a Galley at Sea, a Solace.
15. For any to bring a Wisp of Hay directed to a Press-man, is a Solace.
16. To call Mettle [metal] Lead in a Founding-House, is a Forfeiture.
17. A Workman to let fall his Mould, a Forfeiture.
18. A Workman to leave his Ladle [for pouring molten metal into moulds] in the Mettle at Noon or at Night, a Forfeiture.

And the Judges of these Solaces or Forfeitures and other Controversies in the Chappel or any of its Members was by Plurality of Votes in the Chappel; it being asserted as a Maxime that the Chappel cannot Err. Now these Solaces or fines were to be bought off for the good of the Chappel, which never exceeded 1 s. 6 d; 4 d; 2 d; 1 d. according to the Nature and Quality thereof.

But if the Delinquent proves obstinate and will not pay, the Workmen takes him by force and lays him on his Belly over the correcting stone and holds him there whilest another with a Paper board gives him 10 l. in a Purse viz. 11 blows on his Buttocks, which he lays on according to his own Mercy.

Customs for Payments of Money

Every new Workman to pay for his Entrance half a Crown, which is called his Benvenue, till then he is no Member, nor enjoys any benefit of Chappel Money.

Every Journeyman that formerly worked at the Chappel and goes away, and afterwards comes again to work pays but half a Benvenue.

If Journeymen Smout one another they pay half a Benvenue.

All Journeymen are paid by their Master Printer for all Church Holy-days that fall not on a Sunday whether they work or no, what they can earn every working day, be it 2. 3. or 4 s.

If a Journeyman Marries, he pays half a Crown to the Chappel.

When his Wife comes to the Chappel she pays 6 d. and then all the Journeymen joyns their 2 d. a piece to make her drink, and to welcome her.

If a Journeyman have a Son born, he pays 1 s. if a Daughter, 6 d.

If a Master-Printer have a Son born, he pays 2 s. 6 d. if a Daughter, 1 s. 6 d.

An Apprentice when he is Bound, pays half a Crown to the Chappel, and when he is made Free, another half Crown: and if he continues to work Journeywork in the same House he pays another, and is then a Member of the Chappel.

It is Customary for all Journeymen to make every Year new Paper Windows about Bartholomew-Tide, at which time the Master Printer makes them a Feast called a Way-Goos, to which is invited the Corrector, Founder, Smith, Ink-maker, &c. who all open their Purses and give to the Workmen to spend in the Tavern or Ale-House, after the Feast. From which time they begin to work by Candle light.

The Printers, Journeymen, with the Founders and Ink-makers have every Year a general Feast, which is kept in the Stationers Hall on or about May-day. It is made by 4 Stewards, 2 Masters, and 2 Journeymen; and with the Collection of half a Crown a piece of every Guest: the charges of the whole Feast is defrayed.

About 10 of the Clock in the Morning on the Feast day the Company invited meet at the place apointed, and from thence go to some Church thereabouts in this follow|ing Order. First, 4 Whifflers (as Servitures) by two and two walking before with white Staves in their Hands, and red and blew Ribbons hung Belt-wise upon their Shoulders: these makes way for the Company.

Then walks the Beadle of the Company of Stationers, with the Companies Staff in his Hand, and Ribbons as afore.

Then the Minister, whom the Stewards have engaged to Preach the Sermon· and his Reader or Clerk.

Then the Stewards walks by two and two with long white Wands in their Hands, and all the rest of the Company follows in like order till they enter the Church &c. Service ended, and a Sermon for the occasion finished, they all return to their Hall in the same order, where upon their entrance each Guest delivers his Ticket to a Person appointed, which gives him admittance; where every one Feast himself with what he likes best, being delighted all the while with Musicks and Songs, &c.

After Dinner the Ceremony of Electing new Stewards for the next Year begins: then the Stewards withdraw into another Room, and puts Garlands of Laurel or Box on their Heads, and white Wands in their Hands, and are Ushered out of the withdrawing Room thus; first, the Companies Beadle with his Staff in his Hand, and Musick sounding before him, then followed one of the Whifflers with a great Bowl of White-wine and Sugar in his right Hand, and his Staff in the left, after him follows the eldest Steward.

Then another Whiffler as aforesaid, before the second Steward: in like manner another Whiffler before the third; and another before the fourth Steward.

And thus they walk with Musick sounding before them three times round the Hall, and in the fourth round, the first Steward takes the Bowl from his Whiffler and Drinks to one (whom before he resolved on) by the Title of Mr. Steward Elect: and taking the Garland of his own Head, puts it on the Steward Elects Head, at which all the Company claps their Hands in token of Joy.

Then the present Steward takes out the Steward elect, and Walks with him hand in hand, (giving him the right Hand) behind the three other Stewards another round the Hall; and in the next round as aforesaid, the second Steward Drinks to another with the same Ceremony as the first did; and so the third, and so the fourth. And then all walks one round more hand in hand about the Hall, that the Company may take Notice of the Stewards Elect: and so ends the Ceremony of the Day.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Maps Printing

The Maps of John Speed

Today’s fragments are from the Elizabethan map-maker John Speed (1551-1629).  Speed was an historian and cartographer. In 1595 he published a wall map of biblical Canaan. By 1598 he had presented several maps to Elizabeth 1, and in 1606 he published his The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, the earliest English attempt at producing a large-scale Atlas. Speed’s maps were reprinted many times, and served as the basis for most subsequent world maps until at least the mid-eighteenth century.  To view a larger image of each map, right click and open in a new tab.

Source for Speed’s life: Sarah Bendall, DNB.

London Printing

The case of Cornelius Bee

These snippets come from a legal case brought about by one Cornelius Bee, printer. There are several reasons I find this case interesting; firstly it reveals intriguing detail about the way in which law was practiced in the mid 17th century. Secondly, it sheds light on the costs involved in the printing industry; the sums Mr Bee discusses are simply enormous for this period, which presumably explains why he brought his case against Mr Poole (a rough estimate would suggest £1000 in 1660 would be worth about £76,000 today). Thirdly, the case highlights the destruction wreaked by the Fireof Lndon  in 1666, and the subsequent implications for businessmen like Mr Bee.

The CRITICI SACRI, being a Collection of divers Eminent Authors, all or the major part of which were out of print, Cornelius Bee and his Partners, by the Advice of divers Learned Divines, did undertake the Printing of them: which Great Work was carrying on (though with as much expedition as possible) about six years, and completed in Nine Volumes in Folio, An.1660. The Authors which were before sold for Fifty or Sixty pounds severally, being so collected and printed verbatim, the Price was reduc’d to Thirteen pounds ten Shillings. The Charges of which said Work in Nine Volumes, by buying several Manuscripts, and preparing and methodizing the Copy fit for the Press, amounted to about a Thousand pounds, besides Paper and Printing.

Upon Consideration whereof the KING’s Majesty, upon the Petition of the said Cornelius Bee, was graciously pleased to grant to him and his Assigns his Royal Privilege in Anno 1660, for the space of Fourteen years from thence next ensuing; thereby prohibiting all and every person and persons to reprint the said Work, or any part of parcell thereof, within his MAJESTIE’s Dominions, during the said Term, without the Leave and Consent of the said Cornelius Bee.

One Mr Matthew Pool hath (in the said Cornelius Bee‘s Absence in Holland, without his Leave and Consent) undertaken a Work which he calls A Synopsis of the Critical and other Commentators upon the Bible: in pursuance of which Design he hath nominated several Voluminous Commentators, and amongst them the said CRITICKS, of which especially he intended to make an Epitome with the rest. The dealing with which Voluminous Authors the said Cornelius Bee and his Partners shall not at all look upon themselves as concerned in, provided he forbear the Injustice of taking anything out of the said CRITICI SACRI in Nine Volumes, which they have printed at so vast a Charge. Which nevertheless if he shall pursue to do (besides infringing the Right that the said Cornelius Bee hath in them by his MAJESTIE’s said Privilege and said Acts of Parliament) he will hazard making the said Books unsaleable, and so much as in him lies, contribute to the Ruine of the said Cornelius Bee and his Partners: too many men considering what they shall save by the smallness of the Price, rather than what they shall gain by the Goodness of the Book.

To these Considerations the said Cornelius Bee and his Partners are forced to joyn this necessary Addition, viz. That in the late sad and dismal Fire in September 1666 there were burnt and consumed above Thirteen Hundred of the said CRITICI SACRI, which, if reckoned but barely as they cost, amount to Twelve or thirteen Thousand pounds; of which Loss the said Cornelius Bee sustains the one half, and his said Partners the other half. (Besides divers other Books belonging to the said Cornelius Bee that were also then burnt and consumed, to the value of Four Thousand pounds, all which lay at his Warehouse in SionCollege near Cripplegate).

Now the said Cornelius Bee doth intend and hath designed to re-print the said CRITICKS in far better Method than this already done, and hopes and is verily persuaded that no person whatsoever, that’s swayed by Reason, Conscience or Justice, will endeavour to abridge him of or obstruct him in that lawful and laudable way of Advantage.

So that the said Cornelius Bee and his Partners do in reason and common Justice expect that the said Mr Poole should desist from that part of his Design wherein the aforesaid Nine Volumes are concern’d, and likewise leave the Epitomizing or other digesting of the said CRITICI SACRI to the said Cornelius Bee‘s own discretion and disposal, seeing it evidently appears that they are absolutely his own proper Right and Propertie.

©2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

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