Posted by Alex Forbes on January 16, 2018 at 14:49:29 user Pitsligo.
In Reply to: Re: Misprint in Great Northern? posted by John Wilson on January 15, 2018 at 03:22:24:
Having suggested that swap of "us" and "an", I now wonder how it may have come about, or if it is a viable hypothesis at all.
Specifically, was GN? printed from locked formes, with such moveable type as I at first imagined, where "us" and "an" would have been individual pieces of cast type able to be moved about independantly? Or was it printed from etched plates, where the entire text of a signature (so several pages worth of type) was etched, complete, into a single metal plate? If the former, my hypothesis has merit. If the latter...
Perhaps an etched plate might have been created using a forme --with the moveable type-- in which case my original hypothesis stands. A forme could have been made up, locked, and used to print the plate with an acid-resist, then the forme would have been rearranged into the text needed for next plate, etc. The book itself would have been printed off the plates while the formes and type were merely part of the typesetting process, used and re-used for any number of books. I imagine this would be much easier (and cheaper) for Cape than keeping/storing a complete set of formes. Later editions, once the mistake had been noted, would have had a new plate etched with corrected type.
But if the original plate was photo-engraved(?), where no formes were involved(?), we'd need to look for a different explanation.
I simply don't know enough about the printing process of that era to guess with any authority. My original guess ("us"/"an") feels sound to me, but I'd want to hear from a printer with historical knowledge before I called it gospel.
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