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National Amateur Press Association
Monthly Bundle Sample, Campane 194, p.3

The first efforts to improve the cap side of the job case occurred in Britain where the incentive to do so was greater because of the smaller size of cap boxes in the British case. In the Printers' Register of 6 April 1872, an unsigned article entitled "Scheme for Laying Jobbing Founts" describes a lay "adopted by a London Printing office" involving alteration of the 49 equal size boxes of the half case. The case was rearranged into essentially five rows of equal, and thus larger boxes, but with the top and bottom rows, except for two boxes, being further divided. This resulted in a case with 25 small boxes and 23 large boxes which accommodated all the capitals except J, X and Z, which were placed in the smaller, subdivided boxes.

Now in California early in 1874, one Ellis Read, recently arrived in San Francisco from Brisbane, Australia, via London, established in San Francisco "Ellis Read's Printers' Furnishing Warehouse," and took on the agency for the Edinburgh type foundry of Miller and Richard. The enterprise was successful almost from the start, apparently due to the superiority of M&R's types over those already available. There were then in San Francisco one independent type foundry and an agency for the large Chicago foundry of Marder Luse & Co.

Competition to Read's venture from the outset was intense, if not unscrupulous. His competitors were probably responsible for charges by the U.S. Customs of undervaluation of invoices to evade payment of proper import duty. These charges were eventually completely refuted and all penalties cancelled, but not until after considerable time and money was spent by Read and M&R to prove their innocence.


    Last updated: 01/15/2000