A New Type-Setter.
, in his last letter to the Home Journal, says the machine ‘"to insert a pig at one end and grind out sausages at the other"’ is really ‘"slow"’ in comparison with the new invention for setting types — a visit to which was the object of one of his recent walks in New York:
's type-setter not only can set types as fast as eight men, but distributes, or restores to their places, the same amount by the same process — an auto-recuperation of outlay,
which it is wondrous to believe (for an editor, at least,) may be a possible principle of Nature!’
‘"The type-setter is worked like a piano, by playing on keys — the mere touch on the key, for the letter a, for instance, being instead of the old fashion of taking up that letter with the fingers, turning it right end up and right side front, and putting it into the line, to be adjusted with spaces.
It is a revolving table of brass — the machine — worked by the smallest steam-power, and the cost is about fifteen hundred dollars. It would 'clear itself,' of course, by the saving of labor, (to say nothing of the acceleration of work to which speed is so necessary,) in a very short time.--Without going into a particular description of the machinery, I may say, as one who has been a well-taught type-setter himself, that it seemed to me as the locomotive seems to the stage-driver, or as the steamboat to the paddler of the canoe — an impossible desideratum
brought miraculously to pass.’
‘"Perhaps the most curiously ingenious part of the invention is that which gives the compositor a chance to scratch his head or indulge in a reverie, speak to his friend or light his cigar, mend the grammar or criticise the 'copy'--obviating, that is to say, the necessity of rigidly keeping up with the unvarying steam-propulsion of the machine.
This is done by a register-wheel, which makes signals for the letters before they are taken, and which will allow as many as sixty to accumulate before they are disposed of, with no hindrance to the action of the machinery.--Could anything be more like a brain turned into brass?’
‘"The inventor of this wonderful affair, Timothy Alden
, was a practical printer; and to it he devoted twenty years, dying when he had at last perfected it — his brain and nerves giving way to the diseases of over-concentration of thought and will."’