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Steam-Powered KnowledgeWilliam Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860$
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Aileen Fyfe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226276519

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226276540.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 April 2021



The Flood of Cheap Print

(p.1) Introduction
Steam-Powered Knowledge
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the role of the steam-printing machine in the flood of cheap print. Print had the power to influence consumers' minds and souls. Cheap print affected people's minds, not just the material conditions of their daily lives, and represented a potential force for true social improvement. The most striking symbol of the new world of abundant, cheap print was the steam-powered printing machine. Part 1 of this book explores the early decades of W. & R. Chambers, during which they made the transition from hand-press techniques to stereotyping and steam printing, and experimented with alternative ways of using those processes. Parts 2 and 3 investigate the way in which their business and technological practices responded to significant changes in commercial context, both instigated by emerging steam-powered transport technologies.

Keywords:   cheap print, people's minds, steam-printing machine, Chambers, stereotyping, social improvement

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