Monday, October 11, 2010

Pioneer of printing - Harper's

Harper's magazine is a weekly magazine which covers many general interest like literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts in nowadays.  However, you may not know the promoters also had made a big contribution of printing skill to the later generations.
Harper’s Magazine was founded in 1850.  In those days, industrialism was beginning to be the major force in United States.   The Harper brothers — James, John, Joseph, Wesley, and Fletcher actually were the innovators and pioneers in the printing industry.  They were the first to utilize steam as the motive power in pressroom, and they also the forerunner to promote the art of electroplating.  During the 1840s, the Harper brothers used a new printing method to print out a bible which called “Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible.  With pretty illustration and delicate hand-sewn binding, the bible had contributed a very significant achievement to affect Graphic design and book production at that time.  For preparing to print the bible, Joseph A. Adam invented an electrotyping process.  This involved pressing the wood engraving into wax to make a mold, which was dusted with graphite to make it electroconductive.  Then an electrodeposit of metal was made in the mold.  The printing method enabled the publishing of the bible up to fifty thousand copies installments.  

Harper brothers started to have their book publishing house which named “Harper & Brothers”.  As Fletcher Harper said that it was “a tender to their business”, they saw bright-colored visions of the future of American journalism and American literature.  This should be the demand from the society, so they understood that it was a good time to start their business of publishing a periodical.   In 1850, their first magazine “ Harper’s New Monthly Magazine was launched.   The first press was 7,500 copies, and they were sold out immediately.  The circulation was up to 50,000 issues after six months.  The shortage of skillful journalists, it caused the tendence to reprint English novels on their publication for fulfilling the majority of literate American readers.   The offshoot “Harper’s Weekly” orientated to be published as a weekly newsmagazine in 1857, Harper's Bazar for woman in 1867, and Harper's young People for the young audience in 1879. 

At that moment, Harper brothers already employed art staffs to create the woodcut illustration for their publishing.  Thomas Nast was the conspicuous one.  He was started to be draw for Harper’s magazine in 1862 and remained with the Harper’s Weekly for more than 20 years.  Nast was a very awesome caricaturist.  He was talented to use animals to satirize the political parties.  The most familiar character should be Uncle Sam. 

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