Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The Industries of Scotland
Printing and Publishing


THE art of printing began to be practised in England by Caxton in the year 1474, and the first printing-press in Scotland was set up in Edinburgh in 1507 by Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar, two' merchants in the city. They were encouraged to embark in the new trade by James IV., who, on 15th September 1507, granted them exclusive privileges for practising the art. The charter set forth that Messrs Chepman & Myllar, "at His Majesty's request, for his pleasure, the honour and profit of his realm and lieges, had taken on them to furnish and bring hame ane prent, with all stuff belonging thareto, and expert men to use the same for imprinting within the realm of the books of the laws, Acts of Parliament, chronicles, mass-books, manuals, matin-books, and fortuus, after the use of the realm, with additions and legends of Scottish saints now gathered to be eked thereto, and all other books that shall be seen necessary, and to sell the same for competent prices, by His Majesty's advice and discretion, their labours and expenses being considered." Acting under this privilege, Messrs Chepman & Myllar obtained materials from France, and began to print tracts of a popular kind, consisting chiefly of short romances, ballads, and other poems, for the most part of Scotch composition. The more important work of publishing Acts of Parliament and books of law was postponed by their royal patron; and for a time the press was engaged upon such like minor publications. Until 1788 it was supposed that all the earlier works of the first Scotch printers had become extinct; but in the year mentioned a number of the tracts were discovered in a sadly mutilated state somewhere in Ayrshire. These were carefully bound up, and are now among the most valued treasures of the Advocates' Library. A facsimile of them was published in 1827, but only a small number of copies were issued, and the book is consequently rare. The collection, which is entitled "The Knightly Tale of Golagrus and Gawane, and other Poems— printed at Edinburgh by W. Chepman and A. Myllar in the year 1508"—consists of ten poems and an essay; and among the authors are Dunbar, Chaucer, and Henryson. There are two curious engravings in the collection. One may have been intended to represent Adam and Eve. The figures, partly clothed in skins, stand on either side of a tree on which hangs a shield bearing the monogram of Chepman. The other engraving is designed to mark the connection of Myllar with the books, and represents a windmill, up the stair of which a man bearing a sack is toiling. It appears that Bishop Elphinstone, of Aberdeen, took much interest in the work of the printers, and, having composed a breviary for use in his cathedral, he got them to print it. Several copies of this work are in existence. It is in two volumes, one of which was printed in 1509, and the other in the following year. The imprint at the end of the second volume is as follows:—"Edinburgensi impresso jussu et impensis honorabilis viri Walteri Chepman ejusdem oppidi Merca¬toris quarto die Junii millesimo cccc decimo." The first of the engravings referred to above occupies one side of the last leaf. A few of the other works of note printed at Edinburgh during the sixteenth century may be mentioned. In 1526 a foreigner, who gives his name as Jodocus Badins Ascensius, produced an edition of " Boetii Historia Scotorum." Fifteen years afterwards the Acts of the Scottish. Parliament were ordered to be printed, and the work was entrusted to Thomas Davidson, the King's printer. A copy of this book, printed on vellum, is in the Advocate's Library, and is a fine specimen of typography. Davidson also issued a translation of Boetius printed on paper. A succeeding King's printer named Lekprivik printed the Acts of Parliament from the reign of James I. down to his own time. Lekprivik had, in addition to his Edinburgh estab¬lishment, printing offices at St Andrews and Stirling, and he prifited a considerable number of books. Thomas Bassandyne published a folio Bible in 1576; and Alexander Arbuthnot, King's printer, a copy of "Buchanini Historia," in 1582.

The progress of printing in those early days was slow, as, owing to its tendency to spread facts and diffuse opinions, the art became an object of jealousy to both Church and State. Those connected with the press felt they had a mighty power at their command, and were disposed to exercise it freely. After the Reformed religion had been established in Scotland, the General Assembly assumed the censorship of the press, and no books of a religious kind were allowed to be printed till they had obtained the approbation of the Church Court, and even then the printer had to obtain a license from the magistrates before he could proceed with the work. There is ground for admitting that some restrictions were perhaps necessary, for it is recorded that one printer, in the dedication of a book which he issued, designated the King "the Supreme Head of the Church," and published an edition of the psalms with an obscene song appended. For these offences the only punishment inflicted was an order to call in all the objectionable books, and to remove the dedication from the one and the last leaf from the other.

The seventeenth century was a troublesome period for the Scotch printers. In 1637 Young, printer to Charles I., printed a Book of Common Prayer in a style unequalled anywhere at the time; but this achievement was an unfortunate one for the printer, as the Covenanters compelled him to fly the kingdom. When the Civil War broke out in the same reign, the prosperous career which appeared to be opening for those engaged in the art of printing received a check. Young's partner, Evan Tyler, became printer to Cromwell, and subsequently sold his patent to a company of stationers in London. The company sent down a manager and some workmen, and opened a printing office at Leith, in which, among other things, they 'reprinted newspapers obtained from London. The concern did not succeed, and the establishment was broken up, the types, &c., being purchased by a number of stationers, who set up distinct offices, in which they printed, in a poor style, treatises on divinity and school-books. A costly attempt was made to revive and improve the art by Archibald Hyslop and William Carron, who brought materials from Holland, and began to work in a very neat style; but they met with only partial success. The printing trade was thrown into confusion by a Glasgow printer, named Anderson, coming to Edinburgh, and, in the name of the other members of the trade, securing the rights of King's printer. Though Anderson assumed the title of royal printer, the privileges of the office were to be shared equally among the Edinburgh printers. A dispute put an end to the latter part of the arrangement, but not to the patent granted to Anderson, whose widow (he being then dead) assumed a monopoly of the printing business. In terms of the patent, "no one in the kingdom durst print any book, from a Bible to a ballad, without licence from Anderson." Mrs Anderson, determined to make the most of the important privilege she possessed, and as competition was out of the question, quantity and not quality was what she exerted herself to produce. In a "History of Printing," written by a printer of that time, it is stated that " nothing came from the royal press but the most illegible and uncorrect Bibles and books that ever were printed in any one place of the world. She (Mrs Anderson) regarded not the honour of the nation, and never minded the duty that lay upon her as the sovereign's servant. Prentices, instead of best workmen, were generally employed in printing the sacred Word of God." Mrs Anderson made a most tyrannical use of her powers, and prosecuted every printer who dared to exercise his trade. Messrs Reid of Edinburgh, Saunders of Glasgow, and Forbes of Aberdeen, were among those who suffered most; for, in addition to having their printing offices closed, they were subjected to fines and imprisonment. The popular indignation was at length excited by the restrictions to which the printers were subjected, and the result was that Mrs Anderson's privileges were first curtailed, and ultimately annulled. In the year 1700 some pamphlets reflecting on the Government were printed in Edinburgh, and the result was that all the printers in the city were summoned before the Privy Council, and two of them were sent to prison. An engraving offensive to Government was executed about the same time, and the artist and a person who assisted him were tried for high treason. The engraving represented Caledonia in the figure of a woman from whose mouth issued the words, " Take courage, and act as men that hold their liberty as well as their glory dear." Caledonia was supported by the minority in Parliament, numbering eighty-four members; and in the lower part of the picture, an angel armed with thunderbolts was driving to perdition a large number of men who were understood to represent the majority in Parliament, The Lords found the libel not relevant to infer treason, but relevant to infer an arbitrary punishment.

Though the art of printing was introduced into Scotland three hundred and sixty years ago, it did not assume importance as a branch of industry until about the middle of last century. In Arnot's "History of Edinburgh," an interesting account is given of the rise and progress of printing in Scotland; and from that source some of the facts stated have been drawn. Referring to the state of the trade at the time he wrote (1779), Arnot says:—"Till within these forty years, the printing of newspapers and of school-books, of the fanatic effusions of Presbyterian clergymen, and the law papers of the Court of Session, joined to the patent bible printing, gave a scanty employment to four printing houses. Such, however, has been the increase of this trade by the reprinting of English books not protected by the statute concerning literary property, by the additional number of authors, and many lesser causes, that there are now no fewer than twenty-seven printing offices in Edinburgh. It must be confessed, however, that printing at Edinburgh is not, in general, so well executed as in London, and that it is far inferior to the workmanship of the Messrs Foulis, of Glasgow, which, indeed, would do honour to the press of any country." Printing had been introduced into Glasgow in 1630 by George Anderson, who was succeeded by Robert Saunders in 1661. The whole printing business of the west of Scotland (except a newspaper published in Glasgow) was carried on by Mr Saunders and his son till about 1730, when the art was improved, and the trade extended by Robert Urie. In 1740, Robert Foulis began printing in Glasgow, and introduced a style of work which excelled in beauty and correctness. In company with a brother, Mr Foulis printed a series of classical works, which were much esteemed for the accuracy and beauty of their typography. An edition of Horace, printed in 1744, is especially famous for its correctness, which was brought about by Mr Foulis sending proof-sheets to the College, and offering a reward for the discovery of errors.

The first newspaper in Scotland was printed—at Leith, it is supposed—on the 5th August 1651. This was the "Mercurius Scoticus, or a true character of affairs in England, Ireland, Scotland, and other forraign parts, collected for publique satisfaction." It was published weekly, and contained eight small pages of print. Apparently the "Mercury" did not pay, for next year it was superseded by a reprint of a London newspaper, entitled, "A Diurnal of some passages and affairs." One year marked the period of the existence of this second publication; and then appeared the "Mercurius Politicus, comprising the sum of intelligence with the affairs and designs now on foot in the three nations of England, Ireland, and Scotland, in defence of the commonwealth, and for information of the people. Ita vertere seria. Printed in London, and reprinted in Leith." An edition of this paper began to be printed in Edinburgh in 1655, and that was the first newspaper published in the city. Five years afterwards the paper was declared to be "published by order of Parliament," and was then printed by Christopher Higgins, in Hart's Close, opposite the Tron Church. In 1661, Mr Thomas Sydserf, son of the Bishop of Orkney, began the publication in Edinburgh of the Mercurius Caledonius,' comprising the affairs now in agitation in Scotland, with a survey of foreign intelligence." This also was a weekly journal, but it ceased to appear at the end of three months. Notwithstanding the evil fortune that seemed to wait on the projectors of newspapers thus far, the attempt to establish a paper in Scotland was not abandoned. The "Mercurius Caledonius" was succeeded by "The Kingdoms Intelligencer, of the affairs now in agitation in Scotland, England, and Ireland; together with forraign intelligence. To prevent false news. Published by authority." This journal enjoyed a longer existence than all its predecessors united. The "Edinburgh Gazette," an official paper, published by authority, was established in 1699 by James Watson; and a few years later the "Scots Postman," a thrice a-week journal, was started.

In the west of Scotland the first newspaper published was the "Glasgow Courant," which was started in November 1715. It issued from the printing-office in the College. There was no stamp- duty at the time the "Courant" began its career, and the price of the paper was exceedingly low, being to subscribers one penny per copy, and to non-subscribers three-halfpence. This pioneer journal of the west did not survive beyond a few years. Prior to 1813, thirteen distinct newspapers had been set going in Glasgow, but by that year eight had ceased to exist. Among the extinct journals were two bearing the patriotic titles of the "Caledonian" and the "Scotchman." The "Journal" was started in 1729. The "Herald," which has been the most successful of the Glasgow newspapers, was begun in 1783, and up till 1803 bore the title of "Advertiser." In 1815, when the " Herald " was published twice a-week, the circulation was about 1100 copies. The price was 7d.-3d. for the paper and 4d. of duty. It was thought a wonderful thing that the edition of the paper containing an official announcement of the battle of Waterloo attained a sale of 2122 copies. The number of copies of newspapers of all kinds printed in Glasgow in 1815 was 373,718.

The progress of the newspaper press subsequent to the abolition of the stamp, paper, and advertisement duties has been very great. In 1851 there were in existence in the United Kingdom 563 journals, classified as follows:—Liberal, 231; Conservative, 174; neutral and class papers, 158. In 1868 the number of journals had increased to 1324, of which 85 were published daily. The newspapers were distributed thus:—In England and Wales, 1133; in Scotland, 132; in Ireland, 124; and in the British Isles, 15. Eleven daily papers were published in Scotland. Of these Edinburgh had 3; Glasgow, 4; and Dundee and Greenock, 2 each. Of the 132 newspapers in Scotland, only 5 were in existence at the beginning of this century, and 75 of them have been started since the year 1850. Of the extinct newspapers which were at one time prominent may be mentioned the "Edinburgh Advertiser"—established in 1764 by Mr James Donaldson, who accumulated a large fortune in the printing and publishing business; and when he died, in 1830, left L.200,000 for the endowment of an hospital, which is one of the chief ornaments of Edinburgh. The publication of the paper ceased eight or nine years ago. The "Edinburgh Weekly Journal," which expired about twenty years ago, had a thriving existence for many years. The oldest existing paper is the "Edinburgh Gazette," which was started, as above stated, in 1699. Next comes the "Evening Courant," the publication of which was sanctioned by the Town Council of Edinburgh in 1718. Two newspapers bearing the name "Courant" had previously been issued, but they had but a brief existence. In 1720 the "Caledonian Mercury" (now incorporated with the "Scotsman") was started. The "Aberdeen Journal" dates from 1748; the "Kelso Mail" from 1797; and the "Greenock Advertiser " from 1799. The Scotch newspapers are well dispersed over the country, from Kirkwall to Kirkcudbright, and there are only two or three counties in which a journal of some kind is not published. A few of the old-established county papers have enjoyed for many years a run of uninterrupted prosperity; but some of the less important have had a somewhat chequered career. Of the papers now published, five only were in existence fifty years ago, and the first daily paper was issued so recently as 1847. The "Scotsman" was established in 1817, and became a daily paper in 1855.

About the year 1730 the "Gentleman's Magazine" and the "London Magazine" began to acquire considerable circulation in Scotland, and an Edinburgh publishing firm bethought them that some home-manufactured literature of that sort might be acceptable. In 1739 they gave form to that idea, and issued the first number of the "Scots Magazine," which had a favourable reception, and continued for many years the sole representative of magazine literature in Scotland. A collection of essays and extracts from newspapers was started by Mr Walter Ruddiman of Edinburgh in 1768, under the title of "The Weekly Magazine." This publication was the subject of an action raised to prove that it was a newspaper, and therefore liable to stamp-duty; and as the verdict went against it, the news part was separated from the miscellany, and Mr Ruddiman continued for a number of years to issue them as distinct publications. In Glasgow numerous attempts were made in the end of last century to establish a magazine, but the people were too much engrossed with commercial and manufacturing pursuits to have much taste or leisure for the perusal of literary trifles, and the attempts failed. Several publishers devoted themselves to issuing Bibles and other religious books in parts, at sixpence or a shilling each; and an extensive trade was done, and is still being done, in that way in the metropolis of the west. About fifty years ago L.45,000 worth of books of this kind were disposed of annually by Scotch firms. A new era dawned on the literature of the country in 1802, when the "Edinburgh Review" made its appearance, and struck terror into the whole body of poets, essayists, and book-makers. The subtle analysis, the profound learning, and the scathing sarcasm of the Reviewers, set them far above all the magazine writers of the time; and they were respected or feared throughout the whole domain of literature. Who they were few persons knew for a time, because, for obvious reasons, their names were kept profoundly secret; and, in order to avoid suspicion, they reached their rendezvous at Mr Constable's office in Craig's Close by various routes. Of their number were Francis Jeffrey, Sidney Smith, Francis Homer, and Henry Brougham. These names, apart from other associations, will live long in the annals of Scottish literature as those of the founders of a most wholesome form of press censorship. The "Review" was the first of the great critical periodicals which form a distinguishing feature of the literature of the nineteenth century, and has had many imitators, but few equals. The next periodical publication of mark produced in Scotland was "Blackwood's Magazine," which was begun in 1817 by William Blackwood, who found able coadjutors in John Gibson Lockhart and John Wilson. The magazine has had a most successful career, and has been the vehicle by which many men of note in literature have risen to fame. Several high-class magazines were established in England on the model of "Blackwood,"—indeed, it may he said to be the parent of most of what is really worth among the monthlies. Something was wanted, however, after the magazines to which we have referred were set on foot, as the high price at which they were sold put them out of the reach of the great body of the people, and a thirst for knowledge had been awakened in the masses by the extension of education and a more general diffusion of books. The want was liberally supplied by the appearance in Scotland in 1832 of "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal," and in London of the "Penny Magazine," the latter published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It would be almost impossible to overestimate the effect which these publications, issued at an unprecedentedly low price, and full of pleasantly written papers of a miscellaneous kind, had in elevating the tastes and extending the knowledge of the masses. Messrs W. & R. Chambers have, besides the "Journal," made many contributions to the popular literature of the country, their last great work being one of the fullest, most accurate, and most handy of encyclopedias yet produced. The periodical publications of the magazine order printed in Scotland are nearly forty in number, and a large portion of these are produced in Edinburgh. This would appear to indicate that the city is a sort of gold- mine for litterateurs; and, for the benefit of persons at a distance, it may be well to state that at least three-fourths of the magazines are trivial productions of the ecclesiastical type, or of the kind supplied to Sunday-School children in order to awaken their sympathies for the heathen in foreign lands. Much of the contents are contributions of love; and, if we make one or two exceptions, such as "Blackwood's Magazine" and the "North British Review," the amount paid for the literary work of the periodicals, other than newspapers, published in Scotland is exceedingly small.

Printing and its allied trades constitute the staple industry of Edinburgh; and in Glasgow and elsewhere throughout Scotland they afford employment to a large number of persons. Though Scotch printers enjoyed a degree of prosperity towards the close of last century, it was not until Mr Ballantyne of Kelso published Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border" that any decided attempt was made to improve the style of book printing. The work referred to was printed from a beautiful new type in the most careful manner, and when it appeared those connected with the metropolitan press could not gainsay the fact that a provincial publisher had produced work infinitely superior to anything they had achieved. There was a general shaking of the dry bones, and a search after better things was begun. Improvements in the form of type and in the mechanism of the press were introduced, and the work now executed in Edinburgh will bear comparison with that of any country in the world. Mr Archibald Constable, the first publisher of the "Edinburgh Review," and of the poems and novels of Sir Walter Scott, did much to improve the trade.

The greatest work issued from the Scotch press is the "Encyclo'media Britannica," the eighth edition of which was published a few years ago. The "Encyclopaedia" was first published in 1771, by Mr William Smellie, a printer and man of letters. Messrs A. & C. Black hold the copyright, and have issued the later editions. Another great work was the "Edinburgh Encyclopedia," edited by the late Sir David Brewster.

The following are the more prominent publishing firms in the city, together with the kinds of work in which they are chiefly engaged :—Messrs Bell & Bradfute, law books; Messrs A. & C. Black, miscellaneous literature; Messrs W. Blackwood & Sons, the same; Messrs W. & R. Chambers, periodicals and educational treatises; Messrs T. & T. Clark, law books and translations of eminent theological treatises; Messrs Edmonston & Douglas, miscellaneous literature and fiction; Messrs Fullarton & Co., works issued in numbers; Messrs Gall & Inglis, religious publications; Messrs Maclachlan & Stewart, medical treatises; Messrs Nelson and Sons, cheap works of a popular and useful kind; Messrs Oliphant and Co., religious publications; Messrs Oliver and Boyd, juvenile and school books; and Messrs W. P. Nimmo, J. Maclaren, Grant and Son, and J. Nichol, miscellaneous literature.

There are a number of extensive printing offices not directly connected with publishing houses, but doing work for them. Of such offices the most extensive are those of Messrs Ballantyne and Co., R. Clark, T. Constable, Murray & Gibb, and Neill & Co. The last-named firm is the oldest in the city, having begun business in 1749. They have printed many important works, chief among which is the latest edition of the "Encyclopaadia Britannica." Messrs Neill & Co. have printed the "Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland" for upwards of a century, and the "Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh" since the foundation of the Society in 1789.

There are engraving and lithographic departments in connection with some of the more extensive publishing houses. Of the engraving and lithographing establishments conducted as separate undertakings, that of Messrs W. & A. K. Johnston occupies the foremost place. Messrs Johnston enjoy a world-wide fame for their geographical works, but in addition to these they produce every species of commercial work, from the designing and engraving of bank-notes to the printing of ordinary circular letters. Messrs Schenck & Macfarlane are well known by their lithographic portraiture works, and Messrs Banks and Co. for their pictorial and fancy-work and commercial engraving. Bookbinding is in like manner conducted both in connection with and distinct from the publishing houses. In this line, Messrs Seton and Mackenzie and Mr G. Macdonald are the principal. Then there are typefounders, die-cutters, &c., without whose assistance the trades above enumerated could not be carried on. Including all the branches of business directly connected with and dependent upon the printing trade, no fewer than 10,000 persons are employed in Scotland, and of these fully one half are in Edinburgh.

Taking printing, publishing, and bookbinding together, the most extensive house in Scotland is that of Messrs T. Nelson & Sons, Hope Park, Edinburgh. The firm began business in the locality occupied by their present establishment nearly a quarter of a century ago, and they have had a most prosperous career. About fifteen years ago they built a range of new offices on a scale surpassing any similar place of business in the city; and since that time they have found it necessary to extend the buildings in various directions. The main part of the premises consists of three conjoined blocks, of neat design, forming as many sides of a square. A portion of the ground in the square is laid out as an ornamental grass plot, and on the remainder a new machine-room was recently erected. There are three floors in the main buildings, and these are appropriated to various branches of the business. In all its appointments the establishment is most complete. Machinery is used wherever it can be made available; and by means of that and a well-organised system of division of labour, the amount of work turned out is wonderful.

The letterpress department embraces a spacious composing-room, a splendidly fitted-up machine-room, a press-room, and a stereotype foundry. As large numbers of most of the works are thrown off, it is usual to print from stereotype plates. The art of stereotyping is one that has tended much to lessen the cost of producing books; and, indeed, it would be almost impossible for a trade such as that of Messrs Nelson to be carried on without it. After the types are finally arranged by the compositors, the pages are removed to the foundry and a cast is taken off them. The types may then be taken down and used in other work. The casts thus made are printed from, and if there is a likelihood of additional copies of the work being required, the plates are preserved, and may be arranged and printed from on the briefest notice. But for this process of casting from the types, printers would either have to keep the types standing or re-set them when further supplies of a work were wanted. Besides what has been stated, certain technical advantages are got by stereotyping. The process, which was invented in the beginning of last century by Mr William Ged, a goldsmith in Edinburgh, has been brought to great perfection in the place of its birth, and is now universally practised. In the machine and press-room of the letterpress department Messrs Nelson have nineteen machines and seventeen presses at work. Immense quantities of children's books are produced, and a number of machines are kept constantly employed upon these. In many cases the pictures are printed in colours, and the neatness and expedition with which that kind of work is executed excite the admiration of all visitors. From the machine-room the sheets are taken to the drying-room, where they are hung up in layers on screens, which, when filled, are run into a hot-air chamber, where the ink is thoroughly dried in the course of six or eight hours.

The bookbinding department occupies several large rooms, and employs fully two-thirds of the whole workpeople in the establishment. It is furnished in the most complete manner with machines for performing a great variety of operations; and yet a large amount of hand-labour is indispensable. When the sheets are brought from the drying-room, they are taken charge of by young women, who fold them up with great expedition. Several machines have been invented with the view of superseding hand-labour in folding, and two varieties are here at work; but they are only suited for the coarser kinds of work. A staff of girls take the folded sheets and arrange them in order for binding The sheets of each volume are then squeezed in a powerful press, which makes them quite compact. The notches for the binding cords are cut at a machine, and the work is then passed to the sewers. These are young women, who sit at benches, and use their needles with surprising deftness. Before they are ready for the cases the books are passed through several other hands. Meanwhile, the case-makers are busy preparing the cases. In connection with this department is a cloth dyeing and embossing branch, where the beautifully coloured and embossed binding cloths are prepared. The coloured and enamelled papers for the insides of the boards of books are also made on the premises. The case-makers are divided into half-a-dozen sections, each performing a certain part of the work. After the pasteboard and cloth are cut to the required size, one girl spreads some glue on the cloth, a second lays the boards on the proper place, a third tucks in the cloth all round, and a fourth smooths off the work. When the cases have been dried they are taken to the embossers, who put on the ornamental work. The stamping-presses have the dies fixed to a plate of metal kept hot by a series of gas jets. When gold is employed in decorating the cases, and in the titles, gold-leaf is laid on the parts before the work is put into the stamping-presses. All that now remains to be clone is to fix the books in the cases, and send them into the warehouse, where they are packed up and despatched to all corners of the world, but chiefly to London and New York, where the firm have branch establishments.

The lithographic department is on a scale commensurate with the other sections of the establishment. It occupies a number of large rooms, in which sixteen machines and presses are constantly employed. The principal productions of the lithographers are maps, book illustrations, coloured cards, and those beautiful little views of places of interest which Messrs Nelson have helped to make popular. Among the artists who execute the preliminary parts of the work for the lithographers, and the engravings for the other departments, are photographers, draughtsmen, steel, copper, and wood engravers, and electrotypers. By a process patented by Messrs Nelson jointly with Mr Ramage, a drawing or print may be converted into an engraving suitable for printing from by the action of light, and the engravings, either for copperplate or letterpress printing, may be multiplied and made larger or smaller at will. The artists are very prolific, and is proved by the fact that, in addition to innumerable plates, the store-room contains no fewer than 50,000 woodcuts and electrotypes, many of which are of high artistic merit. Much that would be interesting might be written about this great establishment, and especially about the artists and their operations; but it must suffice here to say that the work produced is equal to any done in London or on the Continent.

Messrs Nelson employ 440 workpeople, about one half of whom are young women. All the inks and varnishes used are manufactured on the premises.

The newspaper department of the printing and publishing trade has, as already indicated, undergone many changes, and in recent years has been developed to a wonderful extent. The "Scotsman" is the leading journal in Scotland; indeed, it may be truly said that there is no newspaper out of London, and only one or two in it, which has such a widely felt influence, or which is conducted with so much energy and enterprise. It is becoming, then, that it should receive more than a passing notice in a record of this kind.

During the early years of this century the Scotch newspapers were conducted in the most servile and truckling spirit, the chief care of the editors being apparently to avoid giving offence in high quarters. Abuses of the most flagrant kind were rampant, and no journalist was found valiant enough to denounce them. About the year 1816 the late Mr William Ritchie, S.S.C.—a younger brother of Mr John Ritchie, the venerable head of the present firm of Messrs John Ritchie & Co.—at the request of some friends and clients, drew up a statement regarding the mismanagement of the Royal Infirmary; but no newspaper would undertake to publish the document. This and similar incidents suggested to Mr Ritchie and others the great need for some free organ of public opinion in Scotland. The idea of establishing a weekly newspaper of independent principles first occurred to the late Messrs Charles Maclaren and John Robertson. They consulted Mr Ritchie on the matter, and that gentleman entered warmly into their proposals. He suggested that the title of the new journal should be "The Scotsman," drew up the prospectus, and, in the words of one of his partners, "by his exertions and personal influence contributed more than any other individual to establish the paper." Mr Maclaren undertook the editorship, in which he was soon afterwards joined by the late Mr John Ramsay M`Culloch. The following extract from a memoir of Mr Maclaren, which appeared in the " Scotsman" at his death, illustrates the spirit of the time when the first independent newspaper in Scotland was founded:—" Very few persons can now form any adequate idea of the magnitude of the work which in 1817 Charles Maclaren set himself to do, and how much of it he did—for very few persons are now alive who remember what Scotland and Edinburgh were, politically and socially, half a century ago. Corruption and arrogance were the characteristics of the party in power—in power in a sense of which in these days we know nothing; a cowering fear covered all the rest. The people of Scotland were absolutely without voice either in vote or speech. Parliamentary elections, municipal government, the management of public bodies—everything was in the hands of a few hundreds of persons. In Edinburgh, for instance—and the capital was even too favourable an instance—the member of Parliament was elected and the government of the city carried on by thirty-two persons, and almost all these thirty-two took their directions from the Government of the day, or its proconsul. Public meetings were almost unknown, and a free press may be said to have never had an existence."

The first number of the "Scotsman" was published on 25th January 1817. It consisted of eight pages of less than half the size of the present page, and the price was 10d.-6d. for the paper and 4d. of stamp-duty. From the latest news columns of the first number, some idea of the time occupied in the transmission of news in those days may be gleaned. The latest from London was January 22; from Paris, January 15; and from New York, December 15. The projectors for a long time declined any advertisements of a miscellaneous kind, opening their columns only to announcements of new books and other literary advertisements. The hold which the new journal had obtained on popular favour induced the proprietors to begin, in 1823, to publish it twice a-week, at the price of 7d. In 1831, the broadsheet form was adopted, and in 1837, when the stamp-duty was reduced to 1d., the price of the paper was lowered to 4d. The size of the sheet was enlarged from time to time, until it reached the fullest dimensions that could be conveniently used for a four-page newspaper. When the stamp-duty was abolished, daily newspapers were established in all the great cities of the empire, and the proprietors of the " Scotsman" began a daily issue on the first day of the new order of things in the year 1855, continuing at the same time the bi-weekly publication. The "Daily Scotsman" was at the outset a tiny sheet, but the public took kindly to it, and the first of a succession of enlargements was made in a month or two after starting. To the daily and bi-weekly editions, a weekly publication, composed of selections from the others, was added in 1860. A few years ago the bi-weekly paper was merged into the daily edition, which most of the subscribers had come to prefer. In its various forms the "Scotsman" has enjoyed a most gratifying run of prosperity.

About eight years ago the offices of the "Scotsman" were re-moved from the High Street, where they had long been situated, to a range of new and specially constructed buildings having a frontage towards Cockburn Street. No expense has been spared to make the establishment complete in all its appointments. The front block contains five floors. On the street floor is the publishing office, where orders for papers are taken in, and the answers to numbered advertisements received and distributed. This department is under the charge of a staff of female clerks. The floor above is occupied by the counting-room and manager's room. The paper contains from five hundred to fifteen hundred advertisements daily; and in receiving and entering these, and performing the other work of the department, about a dozen clerks are engaged. Over the counting- room are the editorial apartments, a fine suite of eight rooms, opening off a large corridor, and all are fitted with speaking-tubes and bells, which enable the occupiers to communicate with any department of the establishment. There is also in each room a copy-shoot or elevator of ingenious construction, which dispenses with the tormenting visits of the printer's imp. The "copy" is dropped into a small case, which, by pulling a cord, is made to ascend to the composing-room. In the editorial and reporting departments, about a dozen persons (exclusive of the London and provincial reporting staff) are employed. One of the rooms is set apart as a telegraph office, the establishment being in direct communication with London by means of a special wire. Ascending to another floor, the composing-room is entered. It is a well-lighted and well-ventilated apartment, 150 feet in length, by 30 feet in breadth. Three rooms for the "readers" are screened off at one end, and at the other there are a lavatory, cloak-room, and smoking-room for the use of the workmen. About ninety persons are employed in the typographical department. Adjoining the composing-room is the stereotype foundry, in which casts of the types are taken for printing from. A library, containing several thousand volumes, is attached to the composing- room, and all persons employed on the premises have free access thereto.

Behind the street and counting-room floors of the front block are the machine-rooms, two spacious apartments, measuring together 80 feet in length, by 40 feet in breadth, and 25 feet in height. In the principal room are two of Hoe's rotary printing-machines, capable of throwing off about 20,000 sheets an hour; while the other room is occupied by seven of Livesey's folding-machines, each capable of disposing of 2000 sheets an hour. As a provision against accidents, there are two sets of engines and boilers, each being of 15 horsepower. There is also a small printing-machine by Brown of Kirkcaldy, which is used for printing the bill of contents. Adjoining the machine-room is the paper wetting-room. Before being printed the paper is slightly moistened with water. The wetting used to be done by hand, and was a tedious and unpleasant job, especially in the winter season; but about eight years ago Mr Scott, chief of the "Scotsman's" machine department, invented a damping-machine, which effects a great saving of labour, and is now employed in many of the principal newspaper offices throughout Great Britain. Over the folding machine-room is the despatching-room, a large hall, the fittings of which are a compound between a post-office and a railway ticket office. Here the supplies to the country agents are made up and sent out, and the demands of local news-vendors are attended to. Several rooms, in addition to those mentioned, are associated with the machine department, and used for various purposes; and on the east side of Anchor Close is an extensive paper and ink store.

This brief description of the "Scotsman" establishment may suffice to convey an idea of the extent and organisation of the place; but in order that the reader may comprehend how a daily paper is produced, it will be necessary to describe the operations carried on in the various departments. Within an hour or two of the time that the last batch of papers leaves the despatching-room, preparations are in progress in other departments for the production of next day's issue.' The counting-room is opened at nine o'clock, and from that time till it closes at nine o'clock' there is a constant influx of persons leaving advertisements or making inquiries respecting advertisements and other matters. Representatives of the editorial and reporting corps drop in about ten, while the day brigade of the composing staff are at their posts before that time. A good deal of duty is done in the course of the day; but it is at eight o'clock, when a fresh set of officials go into harness, that the hardest work for next day's paper begins; though an hour before that time the telegraph clerk has been at his post, and has already "taken off" a quantity of " special " news. The evening delivery of letters brings scores of epistles from correspondents, and all the late railway trains fetch fresh bundles of news. The force of country correspondents numbers fully two hundred, and embraces men engaged in nearly as many different occupations. Many public meetings and gatherings of a social kind are held in the evening, and these have to be looked after by reporters. Extraordinary efforts are made to undertake important evening meetings held in distant towns; and it is no unusual thing to engage a special train or steamer to bring home the reporters. Telegraphing is also resorted to freely, and it is very rarely that events of interest occurring in any part of Scotland are not to be found recorded in the paper of the day following that on which they occurred. In all the great towns of England correspondents are engaged; and in London there are a staff of reporters and a sub-editor. Even in New York the paper is represented, and special telegrams from that city have appeared on several occasions. The arrangements with the telegraph companies for the supply of foreign news are most complete. With this vast organisation for collecting news at command, the "Scotsman" daily presents not only a complete record of current events in Scotland, but each copy may be said to be an epitome of the world's history for a day.

The work of preparing the chief part of the copy begins, as stated, about eight o'clock in the evening; and from the shoots communicating with the composing-room a constant stream of copy flows to the desk of the foreman printer, who divides it into portions of about twenty lines each. One of these portions constitutes "a copy," or the supply given to one compositor at a time. The compositors usually "set up" about two "takes," or copies, in an hour. As the " matter " is set, proofs are printed, which the readers go over carefully in comparison with the copy, and mark mistakes on the margins. After the types have been altered according to the first proof; a second impression, or "revise," is taken, and again gone over. Towards midnight, the "up-making" begins. The types are arranged into columns, and the columns into pages; and as each page is ready it is removed to the stereotyping foundry, where a metal cast of it is taken. As it is desirable that the pages should be kept open as long as possible, little time is allowed for stereotyping. By a set of peculiar contrivances, the work is accomplished at the rate of one page in twenty minutes. The stereotypers begin by laying the page of type on a metal slab, and spreading a sheet of pulpy paper about one-tenth of an inch thick upon the face of it. The types and paper are then placed under a press on an iron table, heated by a flue, and subjected to pressure for a few minutes. In that way a matrix or mould of the face of the types is obtained. The mould is laid on a slab of iron curved to represent an arc of the circumference of the main cylinders of the printing-machines. A convex piece of metal folds down over the concave plate, leaving a quarter of an inch of space between. Into that space molten type metal is poured, and in a few seconds the mould is opened and the plate withdrawn. The latter is of course equal in thickness to the space between the two parts of the mould, and bears on its convex side an exact copy of the face of the types. Each plate as it is cast is planed round the edges, and has the larger black spaces pared down to prevent "blurrs."

In the case of an eight-page paper like the "Scotsman," each sheet has to go through the Hoe machine twice, four pages being printed at a time. Things are so arranged that the pages first printed are the first, fourth, fifth, and eighth, which occupy what is called the outside of the sheet, and usually contain advertisements and other matter that can be got ready early. Between one and two o'clock the printing of the first side of the sheets is begun; and at half-past four the plates for the second side must be on the machines and all ready to start. Nice calculation is required to have everything finished at the time stated, and during the last hour or so the minutes become more valuable, and are apportioned with great exactness to the work in hand. At five minutes to four o'clock thirty or forty compositors may be engaged with as many pages of a late report, and in twenty minutes after a cast from the types is on its way to the machine-room. A minute or two suffices for fixing the plates. The driving-belt is then turned on, and with a thundering noise the cylinders spin round, and the papers come forth from one machine alone at the rate of 200 a-minute. The folding machines are now got into action, and a scene of bustle and activity prevails. As the papers are folded they are raised by a steam-elevator to the despatching-room, where those which are to go by post are put into wrappers with the addresses ready printed upon them, while those for the country agents are made up in bundles and labelled. Shortly before five o'clock, newsboys and messengers of news-agents crowd to the despatching-room, to take part in the ballot which determines the order in which they are to be supplied. At five o'clock, the copies sent by post are despatched in large bags to the Post Office. The chief despatcher and his twelve assistants then apply themselves with such surprising vigour to the making up and forwarding of the country parcels for the six o'clock trains, that the papers are always cleared off within a few minutes of the time they leave the folding machines. The supply of the town agents—several hundreds in number—is generally completed about six o'clock, and fully 500 parcels for country agents have been counted, checked, made up, and despatched by half-past six, when the publication is generally completed. The whole work, therefore, of printing, folding, and despatching the ordinary daily impression of the " Scotsman," about 30,000 copies, is completed in about two hours; and so carefully do the arrangements fit into each other, that no parcel ever fails to get off by the proper train. As an instance of the minute arrangements necessary to guard against the possibility of error, it may be mentioned that the labels on which the addresses of the country news-agents are printed are divided into groups differently coloured, each colour representing the branch line of railway by which the parcel is to be carried—a distinction necessary to prevent the occasional despatch of a parcel by a wrong train, and facilitating the work of the porters, who do not require even to read the address to ascertain how the parcel is to be sent.

To the above brief outline of the organisation and working of the "Scotsman" establishment may be added a few statistics. Including all departments, nearly 200 persons are employed on the premises; and if to these be added paid contributors and others, the number of persons receiving remuneration for their services will be swelled to fully 500, who obtain among them L.17,000 a-year. Of the daily issue of the paper 180,000 copies are printed every week, and of the weekly issue 60,000 copies, which give a circulation of 240,000 a-week, or 12,480,000 a-year. The annual production would, if spread out, cover seven square miles of ground; or, if the sheets were placed end to end, they would form a ribbon 10,625 miles long and 4 feet broad. The quantity of paper used considerably exceeds the entire produce of an ordinary paper-mill. Another fact also worthy of mention is, that one copy of the paper contains nearly as much print as a three-volume novel, got up in the usual style, and sold at the fashionable price of 31s. 6d.


Return to Book Index Page