I have had this set of handbooks for some years now, and thought I’d share it here as a relic of the print industry as it once was. It is a reprint of the second edition (the others are dated from 1973) comprising six books (208 x 146mm) an originally housed in a slipcase, long since disappeared. Each book covers a different aspect of printing, with plenty of illustrations and photographs, examples and glossaries, and each book ends with a self test.


Of course, it is expected that full technical specifications are included, but only in book 1:


The first book gives a clear technical overview of the business and processes of commercial printing. Questions at the end of book one range from “How can the wide range of printed work be conveniently classified?” to “How does offset differ from direct lithography?”


Book 2 is the typographic bible and would not be without a full table of proofreaders marks:


Self test questions include “What form do mattrices take on photocomposing machines?” and “What part can a computer play in typesetting or filmsetting?” I wonder…


Book 3 is a very practical one that covering three main areas. There is some good information about half-tones and screen sizes:


Self test questions include “Define the term flat copy“, “List the operations in the manufacture of an electro” and “Why is make-ready undertaken?”


Book 4 explains the manufacturing of a wide range of stocks and lists their uses.


Ah, the romance of nomenclature…


Self test questions include “State the dimensions of a double royal sheet” and “Explain the terms retree and broke”


Book 5 is slightly different from the rest as it contains tipped-in examples of different types of print:


Self test questions include “Explain with the aid of diagrams the manufacture of surface and deep etch plates”, “Why is collotype regarded as a planographic process?” and “Distinguish between run-through and struck work.”


Book 6 deals with the production processes that follow printing, folding, cutting and binding:


Self test questions include “How can single leaves be secured in sewn and saddle stitched jobs?” and “Briefly explain library style binding and why it is necessary”

One of the sweetest details in the set is a typo in one of the self-test questions:

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