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CHAPTER XI.
CALICO PRINTING.

“Truth is not local; God alike pervades
And fills the world of traffic and the shades,
And may be feared amidst the busiest scenes

Or scorn'd where business never intervenes.”
CowPER.

We come now to treat of the important art of calico printing, which constitutes a very large branch of the cotton manufacture, and by means of which the value of calicoes, muslins, and other cotton fabrics, are greatly enhanced. Cotton cloth, when used for the outer garments of the female sex, the drapery of beds and windows, the coverings of furniture, and similar purposes, is ornamented with colours and patterns. Unlike silk and woollen fabrics, cottons are very rarely dyed of a uniform colour throughout; a variety of colours is fixed upon a single piece, and they are printed on the white cotton or muslin in an endless variety of patterns, thus giving a light and elegant effect to the print. The art of the calico printer, therefore, not only comprehends that of the dyer, which requires all the aid of chemical science, but also that of the artist, for the designing of tasteful and elegant patterns; that of the engraver, for transferring those patterns to the metal used to impress them on the cloth; and that of the mechanician, for the various mechanical processes of engraving and printing. Taste, chemistry, and mechanics, have been called the three legs of calico printing. Calico printing is believed not to have been practised in Europe till the seventeenth century. In what country the art was first introduced is doubtful. Calico printing has been the subject of modern improvements, which may be compared in importance with those in cotton spinning and bleaching. First was the block printing. But the grand improvement in the art was the invention of cylinder printing, which bears nearly the same relation in point of despatch to block printing by hand, as throstle or mule spinning bears to spinning by the one thread wheel. This great invention is said to have been made by a Scotsman of the name of Bell, and it was first successfully applied in Lan

cashire, about the year 1785, at Morney, near Preston, by the house of Livesey, Hargreaves, Hull, & Co.; celebrated for the extent of their concerns, and the magnitude of their failure in 1788, which gave a severe shock to the industry of that part of the country. This new mode of printing may be thus described:—A polished copper cylinder, several feet in length, (according to the width of the piece to be printed.) and three or four inches in diameter, is engraved with a pattern round its whole circumference, and from end to end. It is then placed horizontally in a press, and, as it revolves, the lower part of the circumference passes through the colouring matter, which is again removed from the whole surface of the cylinder, except the engraved pattern, by an elastic steel blade, placed in contact with the cylinder, and reduced to so fine and straight an edge as to take off the colour without scratching the copper. This blade has received the name of the doctor, which may be a workman's abbreviation of the word abductor, applied to it from the purpose which it answers; or may have been given from a vulgar use of the word to doctor, meaning to set to rights. The colour being thus left only in the engraved pattern, the piece of calico or muslin is drawn lightly over the cylinder, which revolves in the same direction, and prints the cloth. After the piece is printed, it passes over several metallic boxes, six feet long, ten inches broad, and six inches deep, heated by steam, which dry it. A piece of cloth may be thus printed and dried in one or two minutes, which by the old method would require the application of the block 448 times. Nor is this all: two, three and even five cylinders may be used at the same time in one press; each cylinder having engraved upon it a different portion of the pattern, and being supplied with a different colour. The piece passes over them successively, and receives the entire pattern almost at the same moment. To produce the same effect by hand block printing would have required 896, 1344, 1792, or 2240 applications of the blocks, according as two, three, four or five cylinders may have been employed. The saving of labour, therefore, is immense : one of the cylinder printing machines, attended by a man and a boy, is actually capable of producing as much work as one hundred block printers and as many tear boys. But the course of improvement did not stop here. Another admirable invention, analogous to that just described, multiplied the advantage of cylinder printing. The process of engraving itself, instead of being executed by the graver on the whole surface of the copper cylinder, is now performed by mechanical pressure, which transfers the pattern from a very small steel cylinder, only about three inches in length and one in diameter, to the copper cylinder three or four feet in length. The principle of this invention is the same which Mr. Jacob Perkins applied to the multiplication of plates for the printing of banknotes, and Mr. Perkins has the reputation of being its inventor. Mr. Joseph Lockett, engraver for calico-printers in Manchester, introduced this system about the year 1808: he may be considered as at least one of the inventors, and he certainly did more than any other person to perfect it. The method of transferring is as follows:—The pattern intended to be engraved is so arranged in the first place by a drawing made to agree with the circumference of the copper cylinder, as that it will join and appear continuous when repeated. This is then carefully followed by the engraver, and cut or sunk on a small steel cylinder, about three inches long and one thick, so softened or decarbonised as to admit of being easily cut. The steel is then tempered or hardened, and by means of pressure against another cylinder of softened steel, a fac-simile is made in relief, that is, raised upon the surface. The second cylinder is then hardened in the same way, and it becomes hard enough to impress the whole engraving, even to the most delicate lines on the copper cylinder, when pressed against it in a machine. The small cylinder originally engraved is called the die; the second cylinder, which is in relief, is called the mill. The latter is successively applied to the whole circumference of the copper cylinder, which is thus entirely covered with the pattern, as finely wrought as if it had been directly produced by the tool of the engraver. The surface of the die originally engraved is not more than about one-fiftieth part of the surface of the copper cylinder, and the engraving itself is therefore multiplied fifty-fold. By this means the most delicate designs, which would occupy an engraver as many months to effect by hand, can be completed in a few days; of course the cylinders are produced at a much less price, and they may be executed in a very superior manner. Should the copper cylinder be so far worn as to require the pattern to be re-engraved, it can be done by the same process with amazing rapidity, and at a very trifling cost, as the mill is already prepared. Other modes of transferring are practised. In some cases the die is cut on a flat surface, and the pattern transferred in relief to a cylinder, which again transfers it to the copper cylinder at proper distances on the surface. In other cases the die is cylindrical, and the mill flat. When the design is very small, and requires to be repeated a great number of times on the copper cylinder, the pattern is engraved round the whole of the steel cylinder, so as to join or meet in the circumference, and at such

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