Printing, the art of taking impressions from figures or characters, on paper, linen, silk, etc.— It is divided into three distinct branches; namely, 1. From copper-plates, for pictures, which is denominated rolling "-press printing. 2. From blocks, on which birds, flowers, and other representations are cut, for printing linen, cotton, or similar articles ; and which is known under the name of calico-printing. 3. From moveable letters, for multiplying books, and winch has received the appellation of Ietter-press printing.
The branch last mentioned, is indoubledly the most curious and valuable; as to its general dissemination, may be chiefly attributed the progress of learning ; the numberless discoveries and improvements in the arts and sciences, together with a variety of other valuable contrivances in domestic life, that must otherwise have been confined to the knowledge of a few individuals, if not totally lost to mankind. Hence, several cities have contended for the honour of its first introduction ; but the claim is confined principally to Haarlem, in Holland (where it was invented by Laurence Coster), and to Mentz, in Germany (where Faust and Guttenberg were the first printers): to each of these it may in some, measure be ascribed; the printing with separate -wooden types being first practised at Haarlem in 1430; as that with metal types (which were first cut, and afterwards cast) was discovered at Mentz, in the year 1444 or 1445.
From Holland, the art of printing was introduced into England, about the middle of the 15th century : it was first carried On at Oxford ; whence it has been diffused to every quarter of the island, and is now brought near to its acme of perfection.—A more minute account of the history of this valuable art, will be found in Mr. Ames's History of Printing (3 vols. 4to. 31. 13s. 6d. 2d edit.); and in Messrs. Bowyer's and Nichols's Origin of Printing (8vo. 2d edit. 5s. boards).
In the year I795, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc. conferred a bounty of forty guineas on Mr. Ridley, for his invention of a Printing-press, on a new construction ; but, as a description of its mechanism would be intelligible only to printers, the reader is referred to the 13th vol. of the Society's " Transactions" where it is accurately described, and illustrated with an engraving,