An iron frame to fasten types in to print with. — M.
A great revolution has taken place with respect to chases. They were formerly made thin and narrow, but are now made thicker, which gives more safety to a form in quoining; and they are made much broader, both in the rim and the crosses, which adds to their strength and durability.
It is customary to dovetail the crosses into the rim of wrought iron chases, and to have mortises for duodecimos and eighteens, so as to move the crosses according to the size of the work for which the chase is wanted. This plan is convenient in many instances, but it is in many others inconvenient and wasteful.
It is necessary to have chases in an office with the crosses loose, to a limited extent, as they could not well be dispensed with on many occasions; but I would have as few as possible; for the mortises in the rim cut the quoins to pieces, and the loose crosses are frequently used for pokers, and for tightening quoins in forms when they get slack. By these means they are bent and destroyed, and the chases to which they belong are rendered nearly useless. The loose crosses have also another disadvantage: they frequently get mislaid or lost when taken out for folios, or broadsides, and when the chase is wanted for any other size, the cross cannot be found, and the compositor, or person who has the care of the furniture, is obliged to take such a cross as he can meet with, and which he can drive into the mortises with a mallet; this cross is sometimes of a different thickness from the right one, and affects the register of the pages in working, particularly if the furniture and the chase be transposed, as too frequently occurs through carelessness.
There is less waste and destruction when the crosses are rivetted into the rim; for the chases are then always ready for use — the crosses can never be mislaid nor destroyed — and the whole implement is much more durable than when the parts are separate.
Cast iron chases are now coming greatly into use, and answer the purpose very well. The crosses are fast, the whole chase being cast in one piece, so that there must be chases for each size, viz. folios, quartos, and duodecimos; the crosses fixed for these sizes will answer every other, except broadsides. They are cast from a card chase to the largest size; and stand locking up and the usual wear, without breaking. These chases are much cheaper than those made of wrought iron.
There are some chases now made with the inside of the rim bevelled off from the cross to the angle, to answer the purpose of sidesticks and footsticks; a piece of broad, or narrow, being used at the sides and feet of the pages. This plan appears to be economical with regard to furniture.
The usual practice in cutting chases for 18mo. is to place the long cross about one third of the width from one of the sides of the chase, and two thirds from the other, for the purpose of making it fall in one of the backs; by this mode one of the quarters in the offcut has only two pages in it, so as hardly to admit of quoin room, the other has four; and the remainder of the form is also divided unequally, one side of the long cross having four pages, and the other eight pages. This method of imposing an 18mo. is inconvenient, and the large quarter is in danger of falling out. The plan appears to have been adopted merely to cause the long cross to fall in one of the backs, which is of no consequence whatever. I have always imposed eighteens in chases cut for 12mo. which I prefer; for the quarters being more equal, make the locking up more secure, and the only difference in the imposition is, that the long cross falls in a gutter, instead of a back.
Mr. T. C. Hansard took out a patent for “Improvements on, and Additions to, Printing Presses, and various Processes relative to Printing. “Among the different articles are chases, which Mr. Hansard thus describes: — “The Demi- (or half) -Chases are made so as to contain the pages imposed within a less measure of square than usual. One side of the rim is made particularly straight, and rather less in breadth than the other three sides: this narrow side forms the part to lie in the middle of the Table of the Press: by turning a pair of chases so made on contrary faces, the two narrow sides will join and form as one chase.
The pages are not in these chases, as in others for all sizes above Folios, locked-up by having side sticks and quoins on all four sides, but only on one side, and at each end. The inner Forme being locked up on the right side only, and at each end, and the outer Forme on the left side only, and at each end; and the margin being made when the two demi-chases are laid together on the Imposing Stone, as if the same were one large chase of double dimensions, the pages will require no more margin in the centre of the double sheet, than a fair equal proportion for the division of margin. The chases must be made in proportion to the size of the work intended to be executed.”