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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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(p.253) Epilogue
Steam-Powered Knowledge
University of Chicago Press

William Chambers died after several months of physical frailty and failing memory. He was “the poor lad by honest industry rising to eminence,” who had risen “from poverty to opulence, and from obscurity to the highest service and honour which his city could bestow.” Chambers' ultimate success and wealth showed the possible mass market for print, for those who understood how best to supply it. After his death, his memorialist remarked that had William been apprenticed to a grocer instead of a bookseller, he would no doubt have “have risen to the first rank of merchants.” He utilized stereotype plates for Chambers's Journal. These plates lost their role in coordinating the Journal's two British editions when Chambers decided to break their long-standing agreement with William Orr. W. & R. Chambers were moderately successful in their American business dealings, but it was a hard-won and carefully managed success.

Keywords:   William Chambers, Chambers's Journal, stereotype plates, William Orr, bookseller

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