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Curvilinear Printing

In the year 1805, a Mr. Zach. Allnutt published proposals for “a New Mode of Universal Linear Printing, named by me Curvilinear Printing, being a neat, expeditious, and cheap Method of printing Plans of Rivers, Canals, Roads, Estates, Encampments, Mathematical Figures, and all other Sketches required to illustrate any Subject.”

“The Time required in executing such Plans, and on which a Calculation of their Expence may be easily made, would be,

“For an Octavo Plan of Demy or Foolscap paper not very much crouded. Time one person one day.

“For a Quarto Demy or Foolscap paper not much crouded, or for an Octavo much crouded, Time two days.

“For a Folio Foolscap not much crouded, or Quarto much crouded, Time three days.”

He then proceeds to say, that he had published a small pamphlet, in which he had inserted some specimens of Maps of Rivers and Canals, and a Plan of a Building; and executed various Plans of Estates; and of Military Positions (but not with Soldier or Tent Types purposely cast), and a Sketch of a Machine, &c.; and that these specimens were composed with common printing types (except the Trees, Houses, Churches, and Compass, which were cast so as to be moveable,) and printed with a common letter-press.

He proposed to “discover and explain ” “the precise Method of such Curvilinear Printing, with a full and particular Description,” “if a sufficient Number of Persons, to answer his Expectations, engage as Subscribers of Ten Guineas each.” “But if there should not be a sufficient Number of Subscribers hereto according to the Inventor's Expectations, He will be ready to treat with any Person, or Persons collectively, for the sole Use of this New Method or Invention.”

I never knew of any person subscribing, or of any printer practising this particular manner of printing; and I believe that Mr. Allnutt's discovery would have sunk into utter oblivion, but for a few of his Proposals, one of which is now lying before me.

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