The Robert Hoe Company






Hoe advertising

Had it been possible for any human intellect, at the close of the eighteenth century, or the commencement of this its nineteenth successor, so to grasp and comprehend the development of science, its expansion and diffusion, and, above all, its application to the every-day wants and conveniences of ordinary human life, as to predict, only fifty years beforehand, anyone of the almost incredible marvels which have long ceased to move especial wonder, as being now established facts, witnessed by all eyes, and of occurrence at all hours, the owner of that intellect would not have been merely laughed at as a crazy, crackbrained enthusiast, but would have run a very reasonable chance of being consigned to the cell of a madhouse, as an incorrigible and incurable monomaniac.

The writer of these lines, lacking several years yet of the completion’ of his tenth lustre, clearly remembers how, within thirty years at furthest, to assert an opinion of the feasibility of lighting streets by gas was to be sneered at for a visionary, or regarded with suspicion as a probable speculator in the fancy, even by the best informed, and most enlightened classes. To the youngest of his readers the dictum of the then infallible Doctor Dionysills Lardner against the possibility of Ocean Steam Navigation-for, deny it now as he may, he can be clearly convicted of its utterance-is familiar as a household word. And now, what insigniticant town, to say nothing of innumerable private dwelling, innumerable factories and workshops, prison houses, as it were, and ergasteria, would it were otherwise! of plebeian labor, innumerable theatres, assembly-halls, and banquet- rooms, abodes of patrician pleasure, are not ablaze through the murkiest midnight, and light as the broadest day, with the released and radiant spirit, that lay so long enthralled and unsuspected in the hard heart of the swart coal mine ? And now, with what quarter of the world are we not in daily, if not hourly, communication by the united agencies of those two most irreconcilable powers, fire and water? Hardly one century has elapsed since the American Franklin revealed to the admiring world the scareely suspected fact, that the subtle spark elicited from the electrifying magazine. or from the hairs of a cat, rubbed contrariwise to their direction, is identical with the sovereign, all-pervading flash, ” Which issues from the loaded cloud, And rives the oak asunder.” And now, at this day, we sit quietly engaged in our study, or stand, even, as it may be, laboriously plying our trade of manual labor, and send that very lightning- flash, a tamed domestic influence, nay, but a very slave and pack-horse to our will, to speed our tidings to New Orleans, or to Newfoundland, and to bring us back the answer, before a second hour has lagged round the dial.

Time was, nor very long ago, when to receive news from Europe within thirty days, was esteemed a feat, if not a miracle, on the part of the carriers, Now, or ere a second summer shall have passed, the electric telegraph will be in operation to Cape Racc. the south-easternmost point of Newfoundland, and mail steamers will be cleaving the Atlantic far to the northward, to and fro, from the green shores of Galway. Then, within seven days at the utmost, the news of farthest Europe, news from the Vistula, the Danube, and the Don; news from the Tartar and the Turk, shall he sped, more swiftly than though they “had taken the wings of the morning,” to the uttermost parts of America, shall be read almost simultaneously on the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific, and sent far aloof among the oceanic isles of the southern hemisphere, even to drowsy China and remote Taprobane, by the almost unearthly powers of steam and electricity, and last: not least, the press.

The word is out-we have said it-the press-a kindred, not antagonistic, scarcely even rival, power to the two mighty elements we have named-since it has pressed both into its service; and itself, purely human in its origin, its influence, and its importance, purely material in “its age and body, form and pressure,” derives most of its incalculable puissance from the cooperation and subservience of the two mightiest. most unearthly, most immaterial, and most spiritual of essences, existing, or ,vhich have existed, in the universe. But we are not about to write an essay on the power, the infuence, the utility of the press. These are too generally appreciated and acknowledged, to render a single paragraph necessary. In the two first particulars of power and influence, the press is incomparable-not to be equaled by any instrument or agency of humanity that ever has existed. The extent of its utility-although still unquestionable-is limited and diminished,” cribbed. confined,” and curtailed by the weakness, the willfulness, and the wickedness of the very many men, unfit and evil-minded, who have thrust themselves forward, assuming to conduct it, and through it the Public mind, with no ulterior object nobler or higher than the misapplication of the weight and moral power with which it invests them, to all sorts of immorality and wrong, to which avarice, rapacity, ambition, and the insanc desire of demagogueism may impel them. This is, however, only to a limit that the press is an agency of time and mortality; and as such liable, of a necessity, to be perverted.

Perhaps it is rather to be wondered, that there are few base, dishonest, licentious, and self-seeking journals in circulation, than that there are any; and it is clear, that the general tone of thq reading world is so gradually and greatly improving, that few of those which now exist receive any considerable support, unless where they have the skill to introduce their false doetrines under cover of some specious sophistry, making them to wear the semblance of reforms. Even these, it may be observed, are daily becoming more and more transparent to the broad and keen eye of the public; and, in proportion as they are comprchended, lose their ill-acquired and abused populanty and power, in one word, the utility of the press, its beneficial influences, its charities, its diffusion of knowledge and true light, and its general maintenance of the right, out-balance, as by ten thousand fold, the occasional obliquities, injustice, falsehood, and advocacy of devil’s doings here on earth: which periodically disgrace its columns.


Broome Street


The latter portion we omit, because we entirely disagree “with Mr. Greely in the deduction “which he draws from the admitted facts, as we do with most of his socialistic and communistic notions. It is to the increase of demand, growing out of the increase and cheapness of production, that he must look for employment and profit, not to the catching at the empty bubble of ownership, or to the ambition of governing, with none to serve under him. “LABOR AND MACHINERY. A thoughtful laborer-for wages-sends us an account he finds current in the journals of the rapid progress of Printing by Machinery, as illustrated by a single cheap daily newspaper. That paper now prints 48,473 sheets-or 101 reams-per day, which it is enabled by rapid machinery to do from one set of types, whereas, if obliged to use the Hand-Press of former days, it would be obliged to set up its type twenty-nine times over for each daily edition, employing 812 compositors instead of barely 28, and 116 pressmen instead of some ten or twelve only.

Hereupon our correspondent comments as follows: MR.. GREELY:-It will be seen by the above, which I quote merely as a convenient text to illustrate the matter in hand, that in one establishment a difference is made of nearly or quite nine hundred men, in consequence of the invention or improvement of machinery, which has taken place within a less time than the last 23 years, from the number it would have been necessary to have employed 10 prosecute the same amount of business had no such progress been made. The same is true, I suppose, to an equal extent, of The Tribune and other Journals of large circulation. The same-i e, the alarming encroachment which machinery is every day making un what has heretofore been performed by human muscles alone-is not peculiar to anyone branch of employment.

The restless inquiry and invention of the present is rapidly and surely intruding iron muscles, which do not become hungry, or experience the depression of low wages and consequent low fare, into every department of human industry, crowding out and setting adrift thousands of the industrious, to seek new and untried means of subsistence, from which soon again to be driven, by-what many of them have come to look upon as their greatest, most persevering and relentless enemy-machinery.

Whither, I would thoughtfully and anxiously ask, do these facts, which stare us in the face from every quarter, end? What is their mighty significancy? The unprecedented increase of the most cunningly adapted, durable, and economical machinery-on the one hand- to perform, in great part, the work heretofore done by us-the laborers; and-on the other hand-the sure and certain increase of that most reliable portion of humanity which we represent, and whose only capital is their muscles, and whose hope of bread Jar themselves and children is in the performance, to a large extent, of that same labor thus snatched from us by the offspring of invention. What wonder that the honest laborer, who knows no cunning but the use of the physical force which God has given him, or the mechanic who plies his trade, should stand aghast, and feel his heart sink within him, as he is forced from his legitimate occupation, to another and still another, and at last finds his employment altogether fitful and uncertain from the number of his fellows driven to the same condition as himself. His labor is truly” a drug in the market,” and stem necessity is fast putting him, if it has not already, wholly at the mercy of capital.

I could not but sadly ponder, as one-while watching the nicely adjusted movements of a cheap engine, which had ejected him and his fellow, in like condition, from the place whence, for years, they had obtained a livelihood for themselves aud families -significantly observed to me that, “the best thing that could he done with that thing , would be to break it to pieces, and pitch it out of the window.” They saw wood about town now, when they can get it to do, as the machinery, which they have iIl such successful operation in Chicago and some other cities for that purpose has not yet been introduced here. Their daughters, too, who have, till within a six month back, had work at $2.30 per week, in the factories, are now out of employ. This, you know, is but one of countless similar illustrations which take place every day in poor families. H. “We have thus allowed our friend to state his whole case-though he only submitted it that we might comment on its substance-and we now solicit his attention to some thoughts by it suggested. Why does our friend go back only to the Hand Press to exhibit the disastrous effects of Machinery on the interests of Labor?

The hand-press itself is a labor-saving machine of immense capacity far more so in its day than the power-press which is now extensively superseding it. It threw wholly out of employment and reduced to absolute destitution thousands upon thousands of skillful, accurate, admirable penmen, who had given the best years of their lives to acquire skill in a profession, or pursuit, which the press almost extirpated, To be at all consistent, “H.” must demand, not the destruction of the power-press only, but of all printing or copying presses whatever. “Ah! but then there could be no newspapers ?”- Nay; that does not follow. Kossuth’s first gazette was not printed, but a carefully prepared abstract of the saying,; and doings of the Hungarian Diet, whereof copies were made by scribes for general diffusion. There have been many such instances of un-printed journals. ” Well; there could be no such journals as we now have.” No, nor could there he without the power-press. We could not afford such a paper as The Tribnne now is for four times its present price, if we were obliged to print it on hand-presses; in fact, no such paper could be supported at all. The subsisting truth, then, must be accepted and looked fairly in the face. The mountain will not come to Mahomet; he first go to the mountain. The existence and rapid progress of Machinery is a fact which cannot be set aside; the world will not, cannot go backward: Machinery cannot be destroyed; it cannot even be held where it is, but must move onward to further and vaster triumphs.

We may deplore this, but cannot prevent it. The perusal of this article would have determined us, had we not been resolved beforehand, to lay before our readers an account of the very remarkable works to which we have before alluded, by the proprietors of which the machinery mentioned in the letter of “the thoughtful laborer” was of course manufactured, as by them it was invented; being no other than the great eight-cylinder, type-revolving, fast-printing press. Similar machines, though varying in the number of cylinders, are employed by the New York Herald and Tribune, the eight-cylinder being used by the Sun, the Philadelphia Ledger, and other journals in the United States, as also by the Parisian La Patrie, the quasi organ of the present Prince President, and, according to present appearances, future Emperor of the French. broome street

Broome Street

These works are in truth one of the most remarkable sights, if not the most worthy of remark, of all that are shown to strangers in New York-and yet to how few are they shown. The changes to which they have already given birth are great enough, even now, “To overcome us like a summer cloud,”but the end of those changes is not yet, nor shall be, while we are. What they shall be, we may not even conjecture-perhaps the civilization, the christianizing of the world entire, and the reduction of all tongues and dialects to one universal English language.

Ground Plan


For these the press is no more to be censured or condemned, than is the Book of Common Prayer, or the Holy Bible; because-in the middle ages-men, mad with too much, or too little learning-it matters not whether-applied their most hallowed texts, read backward, to the evocation of departed souls from Hades, or of evil spirits from the abyss of very Hell.

It is not, however, of the moral influences, but of the mere material powers of the press, as now existing in its wonderfully improved condition, with all appliances of marvelous time-saving machinery, that we would now speak-machinery born itself of machinery, self-eveloped from the swart, unplastic ore, with, comparatively speaking, small expense of human labor, though under the control of the all-contriving human brain, into engines of strange and mysterious potency.

It is little to say that the efficiency, and of course the utility, of the printing-press has been increased a thousand fold, that the facility and consequent cheapness, of the reproduction of books has been improved to such an extent that thousands and tens of thousands of volumes are now printed, published, and put into circulation where there was one thirty years ago; and that too at prices, which bring it easily within the means of all-but the very idlest and poorest-to become familiar with the best thoughts of the brightest geniuses of all ages-That the whole system of journalism, and journal publishing, has passed through a complete revolution, reducing individual prices to a mere nominal fraction, and referring the question of profits, and remuneration of labor, to gross sales of tens of thousands of daily copies-the consequence of which revolution is to place the whole news of the world, including all discoveries of art or science, all arguments and disputations of the first statesmen and orators, all lectures of the most prominent litterateurs and philosophers of the day, within the hand’s reach of every farmer and farm-laborer, every artisan, mechanic, clerk and shop-boy of the land, from the Aroostook to the Sacramento and Columbia.

It is little to say this-yet this is something; for it is the first step toward making those who do govern the land, fit to govern it-namely, the people-toward enabling them to judge, unlike the constituents of best European representative governments, not of men only, but, mediately , of measures; toward giving them to judge and learn for themselves, from the actual progress of recorded events, daily occuring something of the policy of foreign nations, something of the interest of their own country; lastly, toward rendering the permanent establishment of a falsehood, or the long suppression of the truth, an impossibility.

And yet all this is to say little, as compared with what may be said-namely, that the difference between the efficiency of the modern printing-press and that of Guttenberg, Faustus and Schoffer, is almost greater than the difference between that and the manuscript system, which it superseded. And all this is to be ascribed to the perfection of mechanics and machinery, brought by the aid of every branch of science to what we might well deem perfection, did not every coming day awake to perfectionate what was last night deemed perfect. In all branches of human labor, in all phases of human ingenuity, for above half a century, this vast increase- both of the application and the power of machinery- has been in progress; constantly awakening the fears and jealousies, sometimes inducing the overt opposition. and illegal violence of the working classes, as cheapening their labor, and about ultimately to subvert their trade and destroy their means of subsistence. Than these fears and jealousies, nothing can be more erroneous, not to say absurd. For it is no longer a theory, but an established fact that consumption of, and demand for, any article grows almost in arithmetical progression from the reduction of its price, to such a degree, as to render it available to all classes.

Two examples, alone, will be sufficient to make this clear :- Some twenty years ago, the renewal of the English East India Company’s charter was refused by Parliament, and the tea-trade of Great Britain opened to all British bottoms. The price of tea was reduced by above one-half, and the company exclaimed loudly, as companies ever do, against the unjust legislation, which must needs ruin them. Mark the result, however. The price of tea fell one-half; the consumption of tea increased-we speak generally-almost ten-fold.

The company never were more prosperous than now. Again-within the same period, inland postage in Great Britain was reduced to a uniform rate of one penny sterling, not without much opposition and strenuous contest, the opponents insisting that the department mnst become a burden on the state, from sheer inability to do the work of transportation at prices merely nominal. The results are before the public, and not a boy but knows that they precisely reverse the prediction. The same thing is true of the growth of the cotton trade; of the growth of agricultural productions: and last, not least, and most of all to the purpose, of the growth of the so-called penny-press of New York, and the United States in general.

We use the term so-called, because though nominally penny, most, if not all, of the very paying papers of this class are really two-penny papers. ground plan While we were considering these matters, to which consideration we were led by a visit to the extraordinary machine-works of Messrs. Hoe & Co., the inventors and manufacturers of the great fast power presses, which have effected the revolution of which we have spoken, we accidentally stumbled upon the following article from the columns of the New York Tribune; and it is so entirely germane to the matter, that we have no hesitation in quoting the former portion of it, without alteration or comment.


Pattern Room


carpenter shop

And, in a separate building-to which no form of fire is ever admitted, unless it he in the chance visit of the watchman’s lantern to the premises, which, like all the other parts of the establishment, are equally and agreeably tempered by warm air, and which, unlike all the other rooms, are bright, clean, lively-looking apartments. and exhale a delicious fragrance of fresh-cut wood and cedar-shavings, are the carpenter’s-shops, in which every species of wooden work requisite to the printers’, binders’, and booksellers’ trades is prepared, among which are included neatly finished pairs of type-cases, turned out at the rate of fifty pair every week, printer’s desks and all the other requisites of the printing office.

pattern room

Here is also the pattern-room: where, by dint of self-acting’ drills, saws, planes, and the like, wooden patterns are manufactured from the neat and accurate designs of the drafting-rooms, of every portion of the machinery used, in accordance to and close imitation of which the castings, forgings, and finishing of all the work is accomplished to perfection.

With this department, the survey of the Broome street manufactories and saw-works is terminated. The Gold street establishment is principally applied to the storing and exhibition of all the various articles earning under the head of letter-press, compositors’, warehouse, welting, and bookbinders’.tools departments- and here is kept ready, at a moment’s notice, a large assortment of hand-presses, copying-presses, ruling, cutting, and piercing machines, in great variety and equal excellence, of all prices. In this building, moreover, are manufactured the beautiful and excellent vertical steam-engines from five horsepower, 6 inch cylinders, and 10 inch stroke, up to fifteen horse-power, 11 inch cylinders, and 22 inch stroke, the largest of which are in use in the Herald, Tribune, and Sun offices, for putting in motion the large fast printing machines, by which those largely circulated Journals are thrown ofr daily in huge editions with unparalleled rapidity.

Here also are built the portable steam-engines from 3 to 4 horse-power, with vertical tubular boilers; and the hydrostatic presses, for the finishing of printed sheets, which have come into so general and wide a field of operation within the last few years. The following is a correct and beautifully finished representation of the great fast printing eight-cylinder machine in the vault of the Sun office in full operation; without which the end and object of this paper would be incomplete.

This immense printing machine is 33 feet long, 14 feet 8 inches high, and 6 feet wide. It has one large central cylinder, on which the type is secured, and eight smaller cylinders arranged around it, at convenient distances. Eight persons supply the eight small cylinders with the sheets, and at each revolution of the large cylinder eight impressions are given off, the sheets being delivered in neat order by the machine itself. The limit to the speed is in the ability of the eight persons to supply the sheets. At the rate of 2,500 sheets to each, the press would give off the unparalleled number of 20,000 printed impressions per hour. The press is used exclusively for newspapers, or similar printing. The principles and operation of this wonderful invention are thus conclusively and laconically described in Messrs. Hoes catalogue mentioned above, which we annex, without alteration, for reasons heretofore assigned, and to which we can add nothing beyond the expression of our sincere and earnest admiration.

” A horizontal cylinder of about four and a half feet in diameter, is mounted on a shaft, with appropriate bearings; about one-fourth of the circumference of this cylinder constitutes the bed of the press, which is adapted to receive the form of types-the remainder is used as a cylindrical distributing table. The diameter of the cylinder is less than that of the form of types, in order that the distributing portion of it may pass the impression cylinders without touching. The ink is contained in a fountain placed beneath the large cylinder, from which it is taken by a ducter roller, and transferred by a vibrating, distributing roller to the cylindrical distributing table; the fountain roller receives a slow and continuous rotary motion, to carry up the ink from the fountain. ” The large cylinder being put in motion, the form of types thereon, is-in succession-carried to four or more corresponding, horizontal, impression cylinders arranged at proper distances around it, to give the impression to four or more sheets, introduced one by each impression cylinder.

The fly and feed boards of two of the impression cylinders are similar to those on the well-known double cylinder press; on the other two, the sheet is fed in below and thrown out above. The sheets are taken directly from the feed-board, by iron fingers attached to each impression cylinder. Between each two of the impression cylinders there are two inking rollers, which vibrate on the distributing surface while taking a supply of in I”, and-at the proper time-are caused to rise by a cam, so as to pass over the form, when they again fall to the distributing surface. Each page is locked up upon a detached segment of the large cylinder, called by the compositors a “turtle,” and this constitutes the bed and chase. The column rules run parallel with the shafts of the cylinder, and are consequently straight, while the head, advertising, and dash rules, are in the form of segments of a circle. A cross section of the column rules would present the form of a wedge, with the small end pointing to the centre of the cylinder, so as to bind the types near the top; for the types being parallel, instead of radiating from the centre, it is obvious that if the column rules were also parallel, they must stand apart at the top, no matter how tight they were pressed together at the base; but with these wedge shaped column rules, ‘which are held down to the bed or ” turtle, ” by tongues, projecting at intervals along their length, and sliding in rebated grooves cut crosswise in the face of the bed, the space in the grooves between the column rules, being filled with sliding blocks of metal, accurately fitted, the outer surface level with the surface of the bed, the ends next the column rules being cut away underneath to receive a projection on the sides of the tongues, and screws at the end and side of each page to lock them together, the types are as secure on this cylinder as they can be on the old flat bed.

The cut represents a press with eight impression cylinders, capable of printing from 16,000 to 20,000 impressions per hour. Eight persons are required to feed in the sheets, which are thrown out and laid in heaps by self-acting flyers, as in our ordinary cylinder presses. ” Two of these presses, of completest power and finish, have, we understand, been ordered for the printing of the Public Ledger of Philadelphia, a penny paper of the widest circulation, and of as efficient usefulness as any journal in the United States. For the past three years the Messrs. Hoe & Co. have maintained, at their own expense, an evening school for the instruction of their apprentices and employees, in Mathematics, the Exact Scienccs, Mechanical Drawing, the French and English Languages, etc. Everyone of their man & apprentices is required to give a punctual attendance at the school, which is also open to such adult members of the establishment as choose to attend. Two teachers, Messrs. O’Gorman and Dick, are regularly employed, and Prof. Hyatt has just closed the winter term with a course of lectures on Experimental Philosophy. They were attended by nearly all the workmen as well as the apprentices.

We mention these facts because we consider them worthy of being imitatcd by other large employers of laboring men. We have scarcely words in which to convey our respect and admiration for the genius, skill, enterprise, energy and perseverance by which those intelligent and able young men have attained to their present high and enviable position, and by which they have placed the American press-so far as the pcrfection of time-gaming, and labor-saving madlincry, and the altainment of facility, precision, certainty and punctuality are concerned, far ahead of that of any other country in the world.

We regret that the conductors of some of the leading journals do not cxert as beneficial a course in the employment of the highest grades of intellectual capacity in thc preparation of their leaders, and as carnest a resolution to perfect the tone of their presses, by the suppression of all scandals, libels, falsehoods, and sophistries; by the dissemination of truths, whole truths, and nothing uut truths; in the discouragement of all license and licentiousness; in the promotion and propagation of all humane charities, justice, benevolence, morality, and virtue, of art and science, literature and learning, as the Messrs. Hoe have displayed in the perfectionating the material portion of the department. Then we should have a public press equal to the requirements, moral, intellectual and physical, and worthy of the name of a people, which is ever proud to array itself in the first rank of the human race, as regards general education, intellectual capacity, and the diffusion of knowledge among all classes; and which, beyond a doubt, does actually number more readers, in proportion to the amount of its population, than any other country in the universe. To conclude: it has been said, that the greatest benefactor of the human race is he who causes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before: but to our eyes, he seems a greater benefactor-inasmuch as the intellectual are loftier and nobler than thc physical wants of man-who causes ten-we might better say ten thousand, good and wise books -ten thousand copies of the Holy Gospel to be circulated among the people, where but one was circulated before. And, of a truth, we know none to whom thc above high praise is more justly applicable than to the inventors and owners of the Fast Printing Power- Press. Fortune and Fame attend them.


The Press Room


hand press

We come now to the hand-press room, to which the several portions of the various forms of hand presses are brought, as finished in their separate details, from the various other rooms, and put together perfectly, so that hence they are fitted to be sent to their places of destination, and are ready to go into instant operation.

Here we find the new improved job printing machine, which is known as the little jobber. This press combines the advantages of speed and durability with convenience, simplicity and cheapness. It is capable of throwing off 2500 impressions per hour with ease, or more, if the feed-boy can supply the sheets, and may even be driven by the foot with a treadle, and works so still, that a person standing a few feet from it, cannot hear it. The manner of running the bed is entirely original and is done by means ofa crank and lever, which gives it a slow and unilorm motion while the impression is being taken, hut a quick retrograde movement, thus combining a slow impression with speed.

Another new feature of the press is, that the sheet-flyer is so arranged, that no tapes pass around the impression cylinder, so that whatever sized form is worked, there are neither tapes nor fingers to shift, thus obviating the only objection to that apparatus for a jobbing press. It has an iron feed and fly-board, and all our recent improvements, such as an adjustable knife to the fountain, bearers for the bed, patent feed-guides, etc, etc. The bed is l6x13 inches inside of bearers, and 18×13 inches without bearers. The press occupies 5 feet by 3feet. Price $600.

We have also the Washington and Smith hand presses, which are generally used for country newspaper printing, and which have obtained so much celebrity, and are in such exclusive and constant use in almost every printing office in the United States and other countries, during the last twenty years, as to render any remarks upon their superiority unnecessary. They are elegant in appearance, simple, quick and powerful in operation, and combine every facility for the production of superior printing.

Each press is tried in the manufactory and warranted for one year. Here again we have the type-revolving book press, in which, as in the great fast Printing type-revolving machine, the forms of type are fastened on a portion of the circumference of a large, horizontal cylinder, the remainder of which, slightly depressed below the types, is used as a distributor to supply the ink which it brings up from the fountain to the inking rollers which revolve against the types, against which again revolve the other cylinders, more or less in number, in an opposite direction to the rotatory action of the type-revolving cylinder, to which the sheets are fed, and from which they are taken up and thrown off in regular piles by self-acting flyers.

Inking machines, card-printing presses, hand-lever printing presses, proof presses, copperplate and lithographic presses, are all turned out from this department in that perfection which has obtained for the Messrs. Hoe a celebrity really world-wide, and caused their names to be known and their improvements adopted in almost every country of the world, and that, too, through no blind accident of fortune, but by dint of real superiority and merit. In proof of this, it will be necessary only to state that hand-presses of this establishment are at this moment in successful operation in Canada, the British Provinces, Cuba, Calcutta, Mexico, Bengal, nay, even in unimproving, stationary China, where they were introduced during the visit to that strange country of Mr, Cutting, as United States Commissioner.

large press

Attached to the hand-press room is a small chamber appropriated to the safe-keeping, sharpening and ordering all the drills and edge tools of the department, under the care of one person, who is answerable for the safeguard and efficiency of the whole stories, which have been thrown together, for the perfecting of the vast and wonderful fast-printing machine, by the removal of the ceiling, in order to make room for the great and complicated mass of moving cylinders, and to give space for the operations of the numerous artisans employed upon it.

The machine now in building, is one of six cylinders, for the use of the New York Herald, which now drives one of four cylinders, and is the same in almost every respect that of the Tribune, being made with wide cylinders for the printing of double sheets; while that of the Sun, with eight cylinders, is suitable only for the smaller folios of that journal. With regard to this machine, as we , shall notice it more fully when we come to speak of it as in operation, we shall say no more in this place exeept that it is the head and front of all the wonderful inventions and improvements which now enable joumals to be furnished to the world at prices merely nominal, their vast and unheard of circulation compensating their moderate prices, and producing in the gross, a highly remunerative profit.

The six cylinder press is calculated to throw off twenty-five hundred copies to each cylinder, fed by one man, or an aggregate of fifteen thousand in the single hour. The four cylinder press now in operation in the light and beautiful vault of the Herald, has done even more than at this ratio, having, when pressed, actually thrown off twelve thousand copies in one honr. These presses were first introduced by the Messrs. Hoe only some five or six years ago; and their utmost calculation, as to the probable number which they should ever be called upon to manufacture. was five and twenty, but so marvelously has the demand exceeded their wildest imagination that they have already built sixteen, one of which is, as we observed heretofore, in operation for La Patrie, the French government organ; and three more are ordered, and in progress of formation. About four months is required for the erection of one of these splendid machines, or if extraordinary exertions be used, even a shorter time.

It is a pregnant filet, and one singularly corroborative of the soundness of the writer’s view, as expressed in the early portion of this article relative to the effect of machinery in increasing rather than diminishing the number of hands employed, or likely to be employed, in the business of printing, in consequence of the daily augmenting demand for printed matter arising from its cheapness and perfection that, since the introduction of the fast-printing machines the call for hand presses has greatly increased.

During the past year, the sale of this article alone, by the Messrs, Hoe, rose to so many as five a week during the whole twelve months; in all amounting to two hundred and sixty, besides all the other instruments and appliances of the printers’ and bookbinders’ professions. After this, completing the press making department, we come to the cylinder press rooms, occupying one entire flat of the building, in which we find the patent improved double cylinder, the single small, cylinder, and the single large cylinder printing machines, in every state of progress from their very inception to absolute perfection. These machines are so excellently and clearly described in the Messrs. Hoe’s illustrated catalogue,. beautifully got up for the use of their customers, that we cannot do better than extract their words as more plain and comprehensible than any we could readily substitute for them, we therefore give them as below, without doubt or hesitation: “The Double Cylinder Printing Machine. In its arrangement this press is similar to the Single Small Cylinder Machine; except that it has two impression cylinders each alternately giving an impression from the same form.

The sheets are supplied by two attendants, and, if required to print short editions of various sizes, it will be necessary to have a boy at each end of the press to receive the printed sheets, but where large editions or forms of uniform size are worked, not requiring frequent changes of the tape-wheels, the self-sheet-flying apparatus is very efficient and economical, placing the printed sheets in heaps with precision, and dispensing entirely with the two boys otherwise required for that purpose. “The large amount of printing ordinarily done on these presses, and the consequent speed required, have rendered necessary greatly increased strength and weight of material in all the parts, together with simplicity in the mechanical arrangements, and the utmost perfection of workmanship.

The noise and annoyance occasioned by the concussion of the bed against the springs, which are placed at each end of the machine to overcome the momentum of the bed, has been removed by means of adjustable India rubber buffers placed at the points of contact, which in no way interfere with the lively and certain action of the spiral springs. ” Each Machine is furnished with Roller Moulds, two sets of Roller Stocks, Blankets and Band; also, Fly Wheel and Stand, if to be driven by hand power; or Counter Shaft, two hangers and Pulley, if by steam power. ” The Patent Single Small Cylinder Printing Machine. In this press the form of types is placed upon a flat head, and the impression taken upon the paper by means of a cylinder, while the form is passing under it.

The small size of the cylinder allows the machine to be constructed in a very compact manner, so as to shorten the distance which the bed travels, thereby considerably increasing the number of impressions in a given time, beyond the single large cylinder press. “The machine is of convenient height for use. One person only is required to teed down the paper, whose position is but a step from the flour. It will give from 2,000 to 3,000 impressions per hour, with perfect safety to the machinery.

The printed sheets are thrown out by a fly frame in a uniform pile. Register sufficiently accurate for newspaper and job work is obtained by the patent feed guides, which are attached to each press. When required, a registering or pointing apparatus is furnished, and the press may then be used advantageously for book work. “This press is made in the same substantial manner as the double cylinder press described above, with buffers similarly arranged to prevent noise. ” When driven by steam power, No.8 occupies feet by 12 feet. If by man power, requiring fly wheel and stand, it occupies 8 feet by 16 feet” Each Machine is furnished with Roller Moulds, two sets of Roller Stocks, Blankets and Band; also, Fly Wheel and Stand, if to be driven by hand power; or Counter Shaft, two Hangers and Pulley if by steam power.

The patent single large cylinder printing machine. This machine is particularly adapted to book and fine newspaper work. It has a perfect registering apparatus and sheet-flyer; also adjustable iron bearers, so that stereotype may be worked with the same facility and beauty as type forms. One boy is required to lay on the sheets, and the press may be driven by man or steam-power. With the same attendance, it will print twice as fast as any bed and platen machine, and equally as well in every respect; say from 1,000 to 2,000 impressions in an hour, according to the size of the press, and the quality of the work desired.

Vulcanized India rubber impression-cloth for these presses is now furnished; and as it is not readily indented by the type, forms of different sizes may be worked without any change of blankets. Overlays are conveniently made on the rubber, and may be removed by a wet sponge. To prevent noise, buffers are applied as in the double cylinder machine. An artist’s drawing-room completes this department.

Old Steam Engine


To waste no more words, however, in mere speculation, but to come to facts, the history of the origin and progression of these truly wonderful works, of which more anon, is in itself by no means void of interest even of something of romance. In the well-known and ill-remembered yellow fever summer of New York, an Englishman by birth, a carpenter by trade, landed in the city of the plague, a stranger, friendless, sick, and but scantily provided with what has been termed the root of all evil, which one third of our people, however, regard as the sole object and aim of exertion and existence here and hereafter.

His good fortune, or rather-for we believe not in fortune-his good providence brought him in contact with that most singular of geniuses, Grant Thorburn, With him he boarded, with him struggled through the terrors of the prevailing pest, by him was tenderly nursed, and from his roof entered into business with SMITH, the well-known machinist and inventor of the hand-press which still bears his name; nor is it yet superseded by more recent improvements. Their partnership terminated only with the decease of Mr. Smith; from which time, under the sale conduct of Mr. Hoe-for the stranger guest of Mr. Thorburn was no other than the father of the energetic, inventive and enterprising gentlemen, whose works we are about to describe-the business became permanently established, and yearly advanced in popularity and reputation, which constitute profits.

Still, greatly as he improved upon what had been before, at his death in 1834, the average annual sales of the concern did not exceed 50,000 dollars; they never now fall short of 400,000; and often amount to half a million. Such are, and will ever be, the consequences of energy, industry, probity and sobriety, joined to an earnest and sincere application of that talent, which each one of us in some sort possesses, to its true and legitimate increase and improvement- in other words, to quote a book so much out of fashion-and the more the pity!- in these piping times of progress, as the old church catechism, a quiet resolve to ” do our duty in that state of life to which it hath pleased God to call us,” Shortly after the death of Mr. Hoe, sen., his sons and successors, finding the then premises insufficient, moved to the ground now occupied by their great manufactories, occupying a hollow block four stories in height, of two hundred feet front on Broome street, by one hundred in depth on Sheriff and Columbia streets, as also a second lot on the other side of Broome street, containing their saw works, hardening furnaces, stables, and other necessary buildings. In these works, a bird’s eye view of which is prefixed to this paper, and the ground plan of which we here present, the Messrs. Hoe continually employ three hundred men, some of them persons of great ability as draughtsmen, pattern-makers, mechanicians, and the like-men literally of every nation, as nearly as may be, under the sun; among whom are comprised several Armenians, said to be persons of great intelligence and excellent deportment.

Besides this, their principal factory, they have another large and well built establishment, containing ware-rooms, counting-house, blacksmith’s shop, machine shop, and steam-engine room, in Gold street, nearly adjoining Fulton. This, though in fact headquarters, we shall pass over for the time being, premising only-in order to show the perfect method and system of time and labor-saving with which every thing belonging to this firm is conducted that they have at their own expense, and for their own private use, erected an electric telegraph, carried by the permission of the proprietors over the roofs of houses, from the counting-room to the uptown factories, by which the smallest message or order is conveyed, and answered almost instantaneously. Nor are the proprietors dissatisfied with the result, having found by experience that the great original expense was very speedily compensated by the gain of time, and yet more of precision which it introduced.

Returning up-town, therefore, we will descend into the vault under the first yard, in which we shall find the moving puissance of all the vast machinery of hammers, planes, lathes, drills, grindstones, tools and devices, almost without name or number, which are constantly laboring with their iron nerves, noiseless, tireless, indefatigable, through every story of the great building-in the shape of the boilers and steam-engine, which, beside furnishing all the motive power, supply every part, of the building, by a very ingenious application, with a constant stream of evenly tempered, pure, heated air, at the same time maintaining a thorough ventilation, and all without the slightest danger of fire. The spent steam is brought into a series of coiled pipes within a trunk, through which a continual stream of pure external air flows without intermission, and is carried by wooden tubes through every story and room of the building; as is likewise an ample provision of Croton water, as well a provision again~t fire, as for the cleanliness and comfort of the men.

Of the engine there is nothing very special to be observed, as it is of the old construction, and, though perfectly eft1cient, not now to be imitated or adopted. It is a horizontal high pressure engine of about forty horse power, under the head of steam usually employed, though capable of exerting considerably more force, if called upon. There has been recently attached to it a singularly ingenious little machine, in the shape of a hydraulic regulator, of which great expectations are entertained, and which, in the very short time it has been tested, works to admiration, one week only having elapsed since its application. To attempt to describe this, or in fact any other complicated machine, in an illustrative article such as this pretends only to be, were an absurdity; for the operations of the simplest engines can be rendered thoroughly comprehensible, only-if at all-by thorough diagrams with numerical references, and then comprehensible only to scientific readers, conversant at least with the principles and working of the motive power, and the forces to be exerted by it.

Ascending from the subterranean regions, which are, by the way, so constructed under an open and little occupied court-yard that even in case of any untoward accident the least possible damage would ensue, and certainly no upheaval of whole edifices, as by the explosion of a powder magazine, would be the consequence, we arrive next in the order of production at the great foundery, occupying nearly one half of the ground floor on the Broome street front. Of this, although it furnishes the rude material, the first degree we mean from the actual raw metal for the whole establishment, the saw manufactory alone excepted, there is little to be noted worthy of particular attention by those who are familiar with the operation of furnaces, founderies and casting on a large scale, as in fact there is nothing in it unusual or novel, unless it be what struck us as both novel and unusual, the general absence of noise, confusion, din and turmoil, not to mention ill sounds, ill savors, and oppressive heat, which seems to pervade the whole establishment. steam engine This, ministering as it does largely to the comfort and well-being of all concerned, detracts somewhat, it must be admitted from the picturesque effect of the scenery, and its adjuncts.

Even the neatness and cleanliness of the orderly and well conducted moving about each his own business noiselessly, and obeying a sign or the wafture of a hand, diminished the effect which we almost expect to feel in an iron foundery, a furnace, or a machine shop.

Old Steam Engine

We well remember the impression left on our mind years ago by a visit to some gigantic iron works in Sheffield, an impression which made itself felt for many a month in strange fantastic dreams and painful nightmares-such influence, not on the imagination only but on the nerves, had the dense murky gloom of the dim vaults, suddenly kindled, as by magic, into a fierce incandescent glare by the lava-like torrents of molten iron, the volumes of black smoke, the stifling heat of the oppressed and exhausted atmosphere, and then the roar of unseen waters, suggestive of those subterranean streams of Hades, Acheron and Cocytus, the whirr and hurtling of unnumbered wheels, the terrible and deafening clang of the huge trip-hammers, literally making the solid earth jar and tremble; and last and most appropriate to the scene, the swarthy, grim-visaged workmen, fit representatives of Vulcan and his Cyclops, now glancing into lurid light, now vanishing into darkness, as the fitful flashes rose and fell.

Of a verity there can be no much more appropriate representation of Pandemonium than an old-fashioned English iron works on a large scale. But there is no room for marveling or romancing after this fashion in the machine works of Messrs. Hoe & Co., for all the rooms are well aired, well lighted, and none the less adapted to their purpose for being suitable to the accomodation of men who neither are slaves, nor in anywise resemble devils.

 The Smithy


From the foundery we proceed, across the open yard, to the smithy, a large, lofty, well proportioned apartment, containing two enormous steam-hammers, the speed and consequent impetus of which can be modulated by a very easy application of manual force, at the pleasure of the operator, so that they can be made either to rise and fall as slowly as the maces of Gog and Magog on the great bell of Saint Dunstan’s, or to impinge upon whatever is objected to their descent with a velocity which almost mocks the eye.

In this apartment and its adjunct forge there are no less than eighteen scithies, the bellows of all which are worked by the ubiquitous power of the engine, with anvils of all manners and sizes in due proportion, and sturdy operatives plying them with tranquil and regulated industry, worth five times the amount of human force exerted unequally and impulsively, by fits and starts. These men, for the most part, and, in fact, always when not called off by some casual and unexpected pressure of business in some one department, are kept constantly employed at that peculiar species of work with which each is the most familiar, such method and system in the subdivision of labor being found to insure not only the greatest excellence, but the greatest celerity of workmanship.

In this shop all such portions of the engines, presses, large and small, printing and inking machines, and of the machinery by the agency of which the above machines themselves are created, as are composed of wrought metal, are forged, welded, made new from the commencement, or repaired in ease of damage. For it is worthy of remark that, although many of the labor-saving machines and tools are of English make-not a few by the celebrated Whitworth, said to be the first tool-maker in the world there is not one that cannot, on emergency, be made, mended, or altered, within the precincts of the establishment; while many of the most admirable contrivances are patents and inventions peculiar to this country and this firm.


Immediately adjoining the smithy, is the engine and machine-shop, and on the same floor the large lathe-room containing four enormous surface lathes and two turning lathes, for drilling, boring, turning, . and finishing both circular and horizontal surfaces. From this point, we shall proceed to the saw works, preferring to take each separate department of work by itself from the commencement to the end, rather than to adhere to the precise order and position of the several rooms. as situated in the building.

The first room devoted to this branch of manufacture, which is a very considerable and important item in the business of Messrs. Hoe & Co., the annual sales amounting to not less than 140.000 dollars, in circular-saws, mill-saws, pit-saws, and crosscut- saws, for all parts of the country, is known as the saw-shop. Herein is performed the business of smithing, teething. and blocking the great saws; hundreds of thousands of which are at work, driven by water or by steam-power in every portion of the boundless territories of the United States, to which the enterprising foot and adventurous axe of the white settler has found access-clearing with their restless and indomitable teeth the solid and tenacious fibres of the gnarled live-oaks in the pestilent swamps of Florida, and the dank” regions far away, by Pascagoula’s sunnv bay,” into the crooked knees of mighty vessels, ‘that shall set at naught the howling billows of the wild Atlantic. and the blasts of the mad stormwind, Euroclydon, riving into planks and beams and timbers, that shall build up the places of commerce, and the happy homes of our lordly cities, the white and penetrable flesh of “those captive kings so straight and tall, those lordly pines, which fell long ago in the deer-haunted forests of Maine, when deep upon mountain and plain lay the snow.

The machinery by which these various processes are accomplished is exceedingly fine and worthy of notice, and vastly superior to that used in England; in the dock-yards of which country the circular saws were first brought into service, if we do not err especially that for cutting the teeth, which, worked by Steam-power, does its duty with great rapidity and incomparable precision.

This operation is performed by the vertical descent of a ponderous arm of iron, terminating in a cutter of the form of the notch to be made in the yet soft and smooth edge of the circular plate, which is made by the same power to revolve horizontally upon an axis placed at such distance from the impinging weight as the depth of the notch to be cut requires, and traversing at a rate so timed in unison with the descent of the cutters as to render the series of teeth perfectly continuous and equal; each blow of the cutter forming the interval between two teeth, and each full revolution of the plate completing a circular saw. In the same way is effected the teething of the straight saws, the motion being a direct sliding action in a forward line, instead of a rotatory movement.

In the English saw-works, owing to the influence of trade-unions, operative-unions, and the like, the application of steam-power to this machinery is prohibited, aud the employer is restricted to the use of hand labor-the cutter being jerked down by man power, and the edge of the plate to be cut being subjected to the striker by hand, the formation of the teeth not being regulated by any absolute scale, but being executed by the calculation or guess work of the artisan, and, of course, varying in accuracy, depth and precision of cutting according to the skillfulness-; or unskillfulness of the individual operator

To the absence of these ingenious combinations, injurious alike to the true interest of operators and employers, the superiority in many respects of American to English machinery is in some degree due; and not less to the over stringency of the patent laws of Great Britain, which often prevent the application of really 1eading and most material Improvements, of a radical nature, to principles secured for the benefit of the inventor. We may here observe that the use of circular saws is very greatly on the increase in this country, more especially in the western portion of it. In the east, for some inexplicable reason, this admirable instrument is far less generally used; and the writer of this article, several year ago, when on a visit to the timber districts of Maine, on expressing his surprise at the non-adoption of this most excellent and labor saving tool, could learn no adequate cause for the prejudice existing against it, unless it were some crude and absurd ideas concerning its vibration and consequent irregularity of cutting-objections not founded on facts, nor confirmed by experience.

From the saw shop the circular plates, now teethed and in the incipient stage of what Willis would call sawdom, are removed across Broome Street into the other building, and introduced to the saw-hardening’ room, where they are converted into highly tempered steel. iron hardening This process is effected by heating the metal in charcoal furnaces to a white incandescent glow, and then cooling it by immersion in baths of oil and other drugs, the combination of which is, we believe, a secret.

saw hardening

This done, the saws are ready for grinding, which is effected in a special apartment of the main building-the fiat, straight saws by hand application to a series of powerful grindstones, driven at a regular speed by gearings worked from the engine and the circular saw, by a very curious and effective patent machine, peculiar to this establishment, and invented by Mr. Hoe himself.

The old method of grinding circular saws, and that still practiced in all other works of this nature, is the application of them horizontally to the great vertically- moving grindstones by the hand; and, when it is considered that these great steel plates run up to six feet diameter and eighteen at circumference, and that they consequently entirely conceal the grindstone from the eyes of the operator who applies them, it will be evident that the process is mere guess-work, and that no certainty can be attained in regulating the thickness of the blades-in a word, that nothing was effected beyond the superficial brightening and abstersion of the surface.


The new machine causes the great circular plate to revolve vertically on its access, while a “pad” to which is applied some sharp, detergent mineral powder, is moved forcibly over its surface with a triple action. In the first place, the pad itself is made to revolve’ with great velocity against the circular plane, in a direction perpendicular to its line of motion. In the second place, it is driven forward against it horizontally with a force increasing or diminishing, in proportion as it may be desirable to render the saw blades thicker or thinner in any particular part of the circumference. It is usual to leave them thicker at the centre, and to grind them away gradually toward the circumference. Thirdly and lastly, the pad, while it revolves vertically in a direction perpendicular to the revolving plane, and is forced horizontal! y against it, is also driven laterally to and fro across its surface; and the result is a degree of equability, or graduation of thickness, as well as of superficial polish, scarcely otherwise attainable.

iron planing room

This machine is one of the special wonders and ornaments of the establishment. It will not be amiss here to add, that with the improvements of their manufacture the demand for circular saws is continually on the increase; and that a single house is in the habit of taking regularly six of these powerful tools weekly from the Messrs. Hoes’ establishment. Returning hence to the leading and principal feature of these works, the manufacture, namely, of all the various instruments and appliances for the art imprimatorial, we are next ushered into the iron planing and cutting engine rooms, for the cutting the cogs of engine wheels, and finishing the surfaces of whatever portions of the machinery must be brought to a smooth and polished face.

This is done by the propulsion of the pieces of metal so to be planed, in a horizontal and longitudinal direction against cutting edges, which again move horizontally across the moving planes, and are pressed downward on them vertically, so as to bring the planing to the requisite depth. The abraded portions are thrown off from the surface, of cast iron in a sort of scaly dust, from wrought iron in long, curled shavings, and the planes’ can be wrought up to almost any desirable degree of finish and smoothness.

The cutting engine for the formation of cogged wheels, bears some relation to that for the teething of saws, the cutter impinging downward, with an action in some degree intermediate between that of sawing and filing, upon the exterior circumference of the circular wheels, which revolve on their axis under them in a rotation so regulated to the fall of the striker as to insure absolute equality in the width of the cogs or projections.