When more than one compositor is employed upon any work it is styled a companionship.
There are different ways of working in companionships: one is, for each to work on his own account, to write his own bill, charging what he has done, and correct his own matter. At other times all the individuals work is charged and received in gross in the name of the companionship, and the division into the respective earning of each is made by the clicker.
In this case, to prevent unfairness, arising from any of the companions taking an undue advantage over the others, the copy should be strictly kept from their inspection, and a stated quantity invariably given out for each when any of them are out of copy, and not before; by this means each of them will have an equal chance for any fat that may occur. I have found in practice this method to be the fairest for all the individuals.
Another method is working on time or in pocket, where each individual exerts himself to further the work in any way that appears to the clicker the best, either composing or correcting, as the case requires. In this form of companionship the whole of what is done is written in one bill, and equally divided among the companions, provided they have been punctual in their attendance, and have not taken more than the prescribed time for their meals, &c.; otherwise they are subject to fines for infraction of the rules agreed to for their guidance.
As it often happens that a work is required to be printed with the greatest possible despatch, the plan of working upon Lines is frequently adopted, which is found in practice to be the most expeditious method of facilitating the work at case.
As soon as a work that requires despatch is put in hand, the overseer selects such men as are able to complete a great quantity of work in a given time, and appoints one of them who thoroughly understands his business, and is in other respects qualified, to undertake the management of the work, and to do every thing which would interfere with the regular business of distributing, composing and correcting. This person is styled the clicker.
While the companionship proceeds to the distribution of letter, the clicker applies to the overseer for the copy, receives instructions respecting it, and procures leads and every other necessary sort. He then draws out a table in the following form, or something similar.
In the first column he sets down the name of each compositor when he takes copy; and in the second the folio of the copy, that he may be able to ascertain instantly in whose hands it lies. In the third column he notes down the number of lines each man has composed opposite to his name, as fast as the galleys are brought to him. In the fourth he sets down such remarks respecting the copy, &c. as may be necessary, and also any circumstance that may occur in the companionship.
|Compositors Names||Folios of Copy||Lines composed||Memoranda|
When the members of the companionship are ready for their first taking of copy, they are to receive it from the clicker in small quantities, taking care that the two first have shorter takings than any of the others, to prevent as much as possible any delay in the making up. During the time the first taking is in hand, the clicker sets the head, the head lines, white lines, signature lines, together with side notes, and other extraneous matter. As soon as the first person brings him his matter, he counts the number of lines, and inserts it in the table; he then gives him another taking of copy, and proceeds with the making up. The same plan is observed with the rest of the companionship.
The work will now proceed rapidly, provided there be no hinderance with respect to letter, &c. If the clicker find that he cannot make up the matter as fast as it is composed, he should call the companion who is last in copy to his assistance. In this case the clicker counts the lines he has composed, sets them down in the table, and takes notice of the time he is off, which is to be made up to him by a deduction from the share of each person.
The proofs should be read immediately after they are pulled, and given to the clicker to be corrected. As soon as this is done, he gives the proof to the compositor whose matter stands first, who should immediately lay up the forms and correct his matter, then forward it to the next, and so on, till the sheet be corrected; the compositor whose matter is last in the sheet then locks it up, and carries the forms to the proof press.
As soon as one of the companionship is out of copy, and there is no more to be given out, the lines of the whole must be counted off, and set down in the table, and then every one does as much as he can for the general benefit. If there be not work enough to employ the whole, those who are not wanted may go to their regular work, and the time of their absence, till the rest of the companionship return to theirs, will be deducted from their respective shares.
In the outset the value of the lines is calculated, so that each of the companionship shall be paid, in the first, instance, for what he composes: the head and direction lines, the white lines, the branching out, the short pages, and the white pages, are termed fat; these the clicker sets, they are included in the general account, and the amount divided among the companionship. By this means each compositor will receive a share of the whole, according to the number of lines he composes, and an equal share of the fat, and the clicker's share of the bill must be equal to that of the person who has set the greatest number of lines. “If leads, or any other materials, run short, a clever and active clicker will not wait for a supply from the overseer, who may be prevented attending to him at the moment, but will immediately forage for them himself, well knowing that expediting the work is for his own advantage as well as for that of the companionship.
Those companions who do not compose half as many lines as the compositor who has the greatest number, receive only a share of the fat equal to one half of what those do who have worked regularly; and those who do not compose more than one quarter, only receive equal to one quarter of a regular share.