John S. Davis and the Noble
Art of Printing
Jacob D. Rawlins
As with many nineteenth-century
professions, printing was not considered a job or a career; it was an integral
part of the identity of the master printer. In other words, printing was not
something that a person did, it was
who that person was. Rapid
advancements in the technology and business of printing during the nineteenth
century, however, changed that notion of self-identification. Master printers
were replaced by hobbyists, who kept traditional forms of printing alive, or by
laborers, who worked on the new presses manufactured during the Industrial
The early printing efforts of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints show the balance between hobbyists and
master printers in the mid-nineteenth century. When the church sent its
missionaries to countries around the world beginning in the 1830s, one of the
first tasks facing these missionaries was to set up printing presses in order to
print tracts and other religious materials.
While the missionaries were able to perform the basic mechanics of printing,
most had not been formally trained. As the church grew, however, some master
printers were converted and began to ply their trade alongside the missionaries
in service of the fledgling religion. One example of such a master printer is
John S. Davis, who performed much of the church's printing in Wales from the
time of his conversion in 1846 until he emigrated to the United States in 1853.
Davis was a printer to his core. Once he
completed his apprenticeship in 1842, he always signed his name as "John S.
Davis, Printer," whether the publication was in his native Welsh or in English.
Davis's work in printing, which (including his apprenticeship) spanned
twenty-six years and two continents, defined his life and his legacy, even
though he spent nearly as much time (twenty-one years) as a storekeeper after
he retired from printing due to illness in 1861.
Unfortunately, Davis left very few
records of his training and early career. Many of his diaries, which he kept
daily through much of his life, have been lost or destroyed.
From his surviving letters and other writings, we can piece together where he
trained and worked from 1835 until 1846. After those first eleven years, the
record becomes much more clear. In 1846 Davis was baptized into the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and began printing tracts, scriptures,
hymnals, and a periodical, Udgorn Seion ("Zion's
Trumpet"), which included many of his own writings and translations, both in
Welsh and English. From 1846 to 1853 Davis produced thousands of pages for his
church in Wales.
Davis continued printing after he
emigrated from Wales to Salt Lake City, Utah. There he worked for several
different presses, including the presses that published the church-owned Deseret News and other local newspapers.
In 1859 he was elected Public Printer for the Legislative Assembly in the Utah
Territory. He also served in the presidency of the Deseret Typographical
Association (later changed to the Deseret Press Association, to "embrace all
those associated, whether intimately or remotely, with the press; while the
former name confined its practical operations to printers alone."),
whose purpose was to celebrate the art of printing and publishing.
By the time of his retirement in 1861, Davis had made many contributions to
printing in the Utah pioneer colony as well as to the records of the early
Welsh Latter-day Saints.
Later chapters in this volume will
address Davis's career and writings after 1846. This chapter will attempt,
through examining the historical setting and documents from contemporary
printer's manuals, to fill in the gaps in Davis's training and early career by
setting him in the context of nineteenth-century printers. This context will
not only provide a picture of what Davis likely experienced in his formative
years, but will also help modern readers understand what it meant to be a
master printer in the nineteenth century.
Printing in the Nineteenth-Century
In February of 1856, the Deseret
Typographical Association held its second annual meeting in Salt Lake City,
with John S. Davis as the keynote speaker. As part of his address, Davis noted:
has been, and must always continue to be, on the increase, both here among the
saints as well as among the nations of the earth. There has never been a period
in which the art has reached such a perfection as it has at the present day.
Observe the newspapers of the age; they travel as upon the wings of the wind.
They are attached to steam from the making of the paper, to its transmission
from the press to distant parts. Look upon the electric telegraph, with
lightning speed, conducting intelligence to the printing establishment; see the
copy divided between the numerous compositors, and how quickly the steam press
throws out its eight sheets at a time, ready for steam again to distribute them
over land and sea with a speed that is astonishing.
As his references to steam make clear, Davis
and his associates in the Typographical Association were in the midst of a
revolution in publishing technology. Advancements in manufacturing and
communications during the nineteenth century transformed an industry that had
remained fundamentally unchanged since Johannes Gutenberg invented the mechanical
printing press in the mid 1400s. Hand-printing techniques and tools in use for
centuries were updated, improved, and finally replaced during the 1800s,
beginning with the introduction of the iron handpress at the beginning of the
century and followed by steam- and electricity-powered compositing and printing
machines later in the century. As Davis wrote in 1855:
Art is not of early date,
its improvements are so great,
I have wonder'd much of late
see such handsome Printing.
wooden types have given place
metal ones of finer grace;
the old presses hide their face,
steam machines have won the race.
Although Davis looked forward to the
latest printing technologies, he had not been afforded many opportunities to
use them. Davis, like most printers of that time, had been trained in
traditional methods. But he and his contemporaries were among the last
generation of master printers to oversee every aspect of publishing.
In Bruce Michelson's book about Mark
Twain's career in publishing, which began in about 1850, he writes, "The
eager-looking boy in this daguerreotype [Samuel Clemens at age 15] was learning
printing as a traditional craft. Each day at his job, however, he bore witness
to an upheaval that was giving reproduced words and pictures a dominion that
had been unimaginable as recently as the year of his birth."
Even in the pioneer colony in Salt Lake City, which had first been settled in
1847, traditional printing technology and methods began to be replaced in the
1860s by faster and more efficient machines and techniques:
shop-shaking change that came to the [Deseret]
News during the Civil War was the
bringing of a new press. It was a Hoe cylinder model, which had been a
newspaper wonder of the century. It was steam-powered, and it could pour off
eighteen hundred papers an hour, compared with about one hundred twenty for the
original News hand-operated press.
Davis, then, witnessed the evolution of
printing from a time-intensive, hand-operated, traditional art form to a
steam-powered industry that took full advantage of the technologies of the
Industrial Revolution. To fully understand the importance of this evolution,
one must examine (1) the traditional art of printing, (2) hand-printing in the
nineteenth century, (3) the advent of printing machines during the Industrial
Revolution, and (4) the changing roles of the printer throughout the evolution
The process of printing, or pressing
paper on an inked form to produce multiple copies of the same text or image,
had been used for centuries in Asia and Europe. But it wasn't until Johannes
Gutenberg's inventions pioneered modern printing that mechanical printing finally
became a practical alternative to hand-copied manuscripts. The genius of
Gutenberg's press lay primarily in two factors: (1) the mechanized system that
provided consistency and efficiency in the printing process, and (2) durable,
metal, movable and reusable type.
Printers before Gutenberg used a variety
of devices to transfer ink to paper. All of them, however, relied on the
printers themselves to press the paper onto the inked forms to produce the
final printed page. Gutenberg built a mechanical press that used a hand-pulled
lever to apply even, intense pressure to paper sandwiched between the inked
form and a flat cover. The device allowed the printers to produce more
consistent publications with less effort and more efficiency.
Gutenberg also developed movable,
reusable type. Earlier printers generally used hand-carved wood or copper
plates that were inefficient, since each page had to be carved independently,
and tended to deteriorate with use. Consequently, it often took months to
complete the printing of a single book. Gutenberg's individual metal letters, which
were strong enough to withstand damage from both the ink and the pressures of
printing, were set into forms that ensured an even height and, therefore,
consistent printing. If a letter broke or if a correction needed to be made to
the text, the printer could simply replace a few letters instead of an entire
page. The moveable type also allowed the compositor to be typesetting the next
page while the previous page was being proofed or printed. Once a page was
printed, the letters were removed from the forms and reused in later pages.
Gutenberg's inventions began the age of
modern printing. In the next three centuries, hundreds of presses were built
throughout Europe, all based on Gutenberg's original design and its revision by
William Janszoon Blaeu in the 1620s.
Over time, printers developed various innovations to make the process more
efficient and incorporated larger wood beams into the press frame to make them
able to withstand the repetitive strains of the printing process, but the
design was basically the same. As Richard-Gabriel Rummonds notes:
press technology remained more or less stagnant for almost 350 years. It is
true . . . that some minor improvements were made on the wooden press during
this period the frames were strengthened, the platens were reinforced, and the
action of the screw was made more efficient but the basic construction of the
power-inducing or pressure mechanism, which consists of a spindle and screw,
endured virtually unchanged.
As the technology improved, however, the
need for greater efficiency, greater speed, and an ability to handle greater
pressure led to the development of the iron handpress and, later, the cylinder
press and other printing machines.
Hand Printing in the Nineteenth Century
In the early 1800s, Charles, the third
Earl of Stanhope (1753-1816) invented the iron handpress. This press improved
on the original wooden design with a stronger frame and a more efficient lever
system that required only one pull per printed page instead of two. An 1808 printer's
manual by Caleb Stower discusses the benefits of the new technology:
common press does not, without great labour, produce an adequate impression,
from heavy works in small letter; it must therefore be an important point to
gain as accession of power, with, at the same time, a diminution of labour.
This is more completely done by the Stanhope press, which is capable of ten
times the force of the common press, with, perhaps, a tenth of the labour.
The newly developed iron press proved to
be very popular with printers throughout Europe, even though it cost more than
three times as much as the older wooden presses.
Stanhope's press combined speed, efficiency, and power in a way that allowed
printers to produce more pages in less time, which was vital as information and
transportation networks improved and the population in towns and cities
exploded. By the mid 1800s, very few wooden presses remained in active use,
except to produce proofs or to do light work as secondary presses in larger
The ready availability of the
manufactured iron presses resulted in a rapid increase in the number of small
print shops, both in Europe and the United States. Because the new presses
could be operated with fewer people and, therefore, lower operating costs, journeymen
printers who, under the traditional system, could only hope to rise in the
ranks in one of the larger print shops, were able to strike out on their own to
take care of local printing needs, such as newsletters and books.
Although the iron handpress was vastly
superior to the wooden common press, it still had to be operated according to
essentially the same methods used by printers back to the time of Gutenberg:
the printers would set the type by hand, ink the forms, position the paper, and
apply hand-force to the lever to create the impression. The iron handpress,
though it dominated small shops and book publishing for nearly a hundred years,
was destined to be replaced by a technology developed only a few years after
Stanhope's invention: the perfecting cylinder press, which was the precursor to
later steam- and electricity-powered printing machines.
Introduced in 1814, the perfecting
cylinder press used a series of hand-cranked rolling cylinders rather than flat
surfaces to ink the forms and press the paper. This machine could produce seven
times the number of pages an hour 900, printed on both sides than the still-new
iron handpresses could. The incredible leap in efficiency was further magnified
by the later introduction of steam and electric power.
Newspaper publishers jumped on the new
technology, since it allowed them to print in numbers never possible before. As
population and circulation numbers increased, the presses likewise increased in
size and power to meet demand. The process was accelerated still more as
transportation and communication networks improved, thereby increasing the
number of subscribers a newspaper could reach.
Although small print shops used handpresses
until the early 1900s, by the middle of the nineteenth century, newspapers and
larger print shops all used the new cylinder machines, relegating the iron handpresses-like
the wooden presses before them-to proof work. Publishing was changed still more
by the introduction of typesetting and compositing machines at the end of the
nineteenth century. The most drastic changes, however, were not in the tools of
the craft; rather, the greatest changes came in the roles of the craftsmen; the
printers and others associated with the press.
The Changing Roles of Printers
The Industrial Revolution dragged a
traditional craft into the modern age. On the surface, it simply replaced
hand-built presses with manufactured printing machines. But, more importantly,
the nineteenth-century technological advancements were accompanied by a
reorganization of the publishing community. Master printers like Davis, who had
been involved in every stage of publishing-from writing, editing, proofreading,
typesetting, and printing to producing their own typefaces and inks were
replaced by publishers who, though engaged in producing copy, were not usually
involved with the mechanics of typesetting and printing, and machine workers
who were not involved in the production of the text. In essence, the changes in
printing in the nineteenth century diversified the craft; it spread the
expertise across a variety of careers, instead of expertise being concentrated
in the guild masters.
Before printing machines reorganized
publishing, however, the iron handpress brought another significant change to the
industry. The inefficiency of the wooden presses required more people to
operate them. Consequently, prior to 1800, printing offices generally employed
between ten and thirty people, including a master printer, journeymen with
various specialties, and a number of apprentices. The iron press, though not
much smaller than the older presses, was more efficient, thereby allowing fewer
operators to produce the same amount of pages. This efficiency, combined with
the greater availability of the presses, types, and inks because of improved
manufacturing and transportation, provided for an explosion in the number of
smaller shops run by fewer than ten people-and often just a single printer.
John Davis experienced all of these
changes. He was likely trained in a small or mid-size traditional printing
office. His first job was in a small office and, when he opened his own print
shop in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, he did all of the work himself for the first several
years. When he emigrated to the United States, however, he entered a larger
community that, though still young, featured a large number of printers. By the
end of his career in printing, he was working in a diversified environment
where his training in all aspects of publishing, though still an asset, was no longer
necessary because most of the jobs were specialized.
Although John Davis lived in the midst of
vast changes in the printing industry, his apprenticeship likely followed the
traditional path. While no direct record of Davis's training survives, many
other descriptions of printing apprenticeships are available through various
sources. Benjamin Franklin wrote often of his apprenticeship, which began
nearly a century before Davis's. Mark Twain recorded details of his early work
in the 1850s as well. One of the better resources, however, was published in
2004 by the British Library: Nineteenth-Century
Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds,
which extracts readings from 20 nineteenth-century printer's manuals.
Printers had a vested interest in
ensuring the continuing quality of their craft. To this end, some of the top
printers published detailed manuals that covered everything from setting up the
press, forging or selecting type, mixing inks, and the practical business and
operations of printing to the qualifications and duties of all the workmen in a
printing office. In his book, Rummonds organizes extracts from the manuals
topically to show how changing conditions, including new technologies, affected
the daily operations of a printing establishment.
While these manuals are valuable
resources, they do have significant weaknesses. First of all, they are not
firsthand accounts of real events in printing houses. Rather, they present an
idealized view of the operations and expectations of the publishing community.
Even though the authors of the manuals lived and worked in printing houses,
they place heavy emphasis on how things should
have been rather than how they were.
Second, each of the manuals relies
heavily on earlier versions. The authors borrowed freely from other manuals to
establish procedures, rules, and regulations. While many of the rules may,
indeed, have been common to all printing establishments, the way they are
written suggest an ideal rather than a reality. For example, many of the
manuals include stringent qualifications for new apprentices. While some are
reasonable ("understands and can speak his native language grammatically"),
some qualifications border on the ridiculous, especially for a boy of twelve to
fifteen years: "It is of great advantage to a[n apprentice] to have some
knowledge of the arts and sciences, the Greek, the Latin, the French, and the
Third, the authors of the manuals spend a
considerable number of pages moralizing and giving advice to all the people
involved in publishing. From admonishing masters in their treatment of
apprentices to discussing the drinking habits of journeymen and the various
vices of the apprentices, the printers who wrote these manuals are never afraid
to share their opinions on the finest qualities a printer could possess, as
well as what evils could ultimately destroy the craft. For example, "A most
pernicious and destructive system has, of late years, crept into the
profession; . . ."
and "With a noble purpose as the end of all your actions, and with action
becoming your purpose, your success is merely a question of time,'always
provided you have some brain and abundant common sense."
Even with these weaknesses, however, the
manuals provide a glimpse into the life of a nineteenth-century printer, from
his apprenticeship to opening his own shop. The manuals were widely used by
printers, probably more for their practical instructions on the mechanics and
business of printing than for their advice on other matters. If nothing else,
these manuals provide a view of printing that is far wider than the experience
of a single author, like Franklin or Twain. And, in the case of John Davis,
when there are so few other sources, these manuals provide invaluable records
of the day-to-day tasks Davis likely experienced during his apprenticeship and
The Printing Office
There is no record of the size of the
print shop where Davis served his apprenticeship. In the nineteenth century,
the smallest printing offices were run by a single printer who occasionally
took in a boy to assist in the work. Larger shops could employ up to thirty
people: a master printer; a number of specialized compositors, proofreaders,
and pressmen, most of whom were termed journeymen;
and several apprentices. By the middle of the nineteenth century, printing
offices of all sizes existed throughout Europe and America. Given the size of
the communities in Wales at the time, it is reasonable to assume that Davis
served his apprenticeship in a small to mid-size printing office.
John Davis began his apprenticeship in
1835 at the age of thirteen. Most printing apprentices at that time, both in
Europe and in the United States, were indentured for seven years. Some
printers, however, had begun experimenting with different methods of training,
including shorter terms of indenture, indenture without providing room and
board, and treating apprentices as day laborers, with no long-term contract.
These alternate training methods were frowned upon by the manual writers, who
deemed them less than effective in training apprentices and, therefore, harmful
to the craft. Indeed, it was the practice of not providing room and board to
apprentices that one writer deemed "a most pernicious and destructive system."
Additionally, the printing trade unions did not admit any person who served
less than a seven-year apprenticeship in a formal setting.
Although an apprentice was technically an
indentured servant, the printer had a financial and professional obligation to
treat and train the boy well. In Samuel Whybrew's manual, he describes the
arrangement as follows:
boy who is apprenticed for a number of years, and receives his indenture, is entitled to the attentions of his
employer. He binds himself to serve his time in consideration that he shall be taught "every branch of the
trade, craft or business carefully and skillfully." And inasmuch as his
employer has a sufficient guaranty that his apprentice will devote his whole
time and talent for a few years to the interests of the former, it is
reasonable to expect that the employer will advance his own interests by having
the apprentice taught thoroughly and quickly how he may best accomplish the
design of his apprenticeship, in order that the office may early reap the
benefit of his services.
finished with the term of service, many apprentices continued to work in
various capacities in the printing office where they were trained. In training
apprentices, therefore, the master printer was not only getting seven years of
service, he was also providing for the future of his own shop by ensuring a
steady crop of young employees educated in his own methods.
In traditional arrangements, apprentices
were housed with the master printer or one of the journeymen and were fed
alongside other apprentices and the master's children. Though they worked long
hours during the week, apprentices had Sundays free to attend church and to
visit family or friends. The manual writers viewed providing room and board to
apprentices as essential, for it not only provided for their essential needs,
but it also kept them out of trouble and allowed the master greater control
over them through "threats and corporal punishment."
The manual writers suggest strict care in
selecting apprentices. Each of the manuals, in fact, spells out qualifications
for successful apprentices. As noted above, some of these qualifications were
hopeful at best and entirely unattainable at worst. The suggested
qualifications, however, do give an idea of what printers expected of their new
apprentices. One writer included this description:
most necessary endowments for a lad desirous of becoming a printer are, a
considerable portion of bodily strength and activity; an eye for symmetry of
form and beauty of colour; a willingness to be taught, with a desire to excel;
and a love of reading and study. The most necessary acquirements are orderly
and attentive habits, a grammatical knowledge of his own language, and an
acquaintance with arithmetic and book-keeping. But, in addition, we may
observe, that there are few branches of learning, or even of science, a
knowledge of which will not be found at least occasionally useful to a printer.
Some manuals suggest additional education
in languages, arts, and sciences. Others focus on character and work habits,
rather than previous education: "No boy can successfully learn the Printing
trade in all its details unless he possess the following qualifications: 1,
common sense; 2, industry; 3, a fair knowledge of the rules of grammar; 4, honesty;
5, obedience; 6, perseverance."
In all cases, it appears that, at least in principle, the apprentice in a
nineteenth-century printing office was expected to be above average in intelligence
and eager to learn a variety of tasks. A few of the manuals suggest that the
apprentices continue to pursue the study of languages and other subjects in any
of their spare time.
From the evidence of John Davis's later
career, he was likely an ideal apprentice. He wrote thousands of pages on
various topics, including religion, science, social commentary, and politics in
both Welsh and English. He also composed complex poetry and hymns in both
languages and translated numerous documents, including the entire set of
Latter-day Saint scriptures from English to Welsh. If he did not start out with
the qualities described in the printer's manuals, he certainly obtained them
during his apprenticeship and early career.
An apprenticeship was designed to transform
a boy just out of common school into a fully qualified craftsman. Although the
apprentices often began with menial tasks, such as sweeping and lighting fires,
they moved quickly into learning the printing art. The author of an 1833 manual
entitled The Printer provides a
lengthy and somewhat tongue-in-cheek account of an apprentice's first week in
the printing office: "He is handed over, at an early hour of a winter's day, to
his fellow-apprentice, four years older than himself, who is henceforth relieved
from sundry offices of drudgery that fall to the lot of the youngest."
In this account, the apprentice begins learning on the first day while sweeping
up the extra pieces of type that fall to the floor during the printing process.
This leads naturally to learning to recognize and sort the letters into their
cases, which opens the apprentice's training in compositing (or typesetting).
Printer gives an amusing
insight into the work habits of the other apprentices and journeymen in the
shop, who apparently regularly celebrated St. Monday-hung-over from spending
their wages on a weekend of drinking, they are indisposed and unable to attend
work on Monday. This leaves the new apprentice free to work directly with the
master and the only journeyman sober enough to be at the office that day.
The apprentice performed various tasks as
needed, under the direction of the master printer or one of the journeymen. In
some larger shops, apprentices specialized in one area of the print shop from
the beginning. In smaller shops, they trained in all areas, usually beginning
with compositing and moving to proofreading and then to actually running the
press (younger boys were not generally heavy or strong enough to apply the
consistent pressure required to make a good impression).
The boys were usually introduced to the
various functions early to give them wide experience and to determine if they
had a talent for any one of the areas. Once again, the printer's manuals
provide valuable guidance on the qualifications of compositors, proofreaders,
lad who desires to become a compositor must have had at least a good common
education, he must have been taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and be
able to read different hand-writings with facility, though in this he is
greatly improved by practice in the business. A little instruction in drawing
is also of use, at least so far as to enable him to discover and appreciate
symmetry of form and accuracy of proportion. . . . The want of this acquirement
is often seen in the appearance of titles, whose ugliness is almost enough to
frighten a reader from a book. A knowledge of languages is useful, but not
absolutely necessary, as with care a compositor can follow an author's copy
even when he does not understand the language in which it is written.
is always desirable that a reader should have been brought up a compositor. By
his practical acquaintance with the mechanical department of the business, he
will be better able to detect those manifold errata which, unperceived by the
mere man of learning and science, lie lurking, as it were, in a thousand
different forms, in every sheet; and, if overlooked, evince a carelessness and
inattention to our labours, that must always offend the just taste and
professional discernment of all true lovers of correct and beautiful
typography. . . . A reader ought to be well versed in all the peculiarities of
the English tongue-its idioms, its true genius, and singular adaptation to that
variety of expression in which we embody our thoughts, and pourtray the human
are very different in their habits to compositors. They have not that quiet,
studious appearance which results from sedentary labour and constant
application to reading and deciphering copy. They are usually more robust,
although the exercise of pulling the press bar is not as healthful an one as
might be supposed. A large number of pressmen are ruptured, and there is much
mortality among the class from heart-disease caused by too protracted and too violent
exertion of the upper body.
As noted above, apprentices in smaller
shops, like John Davis, were trained in all of the functions and, therefore,
had to maintain sufficient manual dexterity and intelligence to be a
compositor; develop expertise in language and an attention to detail to be a
proofreader; and gain enough strength to operate the press-all under the
apparent threat of dying at an unnaturally young age.
In addition to training apprentices and
starting them in a career, the printing offices also provided a framework for
proper behavior. Each shop, particularly the larger ones, had a set of strict
rules that governed the operations in the office, including cleanliness,
obedience, and the amount of work to be finished in a day.
These rules were enforced by a system of fines and punishments. While
apprentices earned very little, if any at all, they were subject to the same
rules as the older workers. Punishments for poor behavior in apprentices were
usually more direct than fines, however: withholding of food or physical
reprimands at the hands of the master or his wife.
At the end of his term of service, the
apprentice became free and was usually welcomed into the printer's craft guild
as a journeyman. At that point, he could choose to remain with the printing
office where he was trained (if there were space for another journeyman), seek
employment in another shop, or set up shop himself, if he had the resources to
purchase a press and type. Many apprentices chose to stay in the office of their
master. During the nineteenth century, however, it became easier for newly
minted journeymen in both Europe and America to establish their own business in
a village or small town, each of which desired its own newspaper printing
John Davis completed his apprenticeship
in 1842 and worked in several different establishments before settling at the
press of the Reverend John Jones, in Llanybyther, Carmarthenshire. It was there
that Davis began printing for the Latter-day Saints before his conversion to
that religion in 1846. By 1849, he had saved enough money to purchase an old
iron handpress and a case of second-hand type that allowed him to set up his
own office, which he devoted almost exclusively to his work of printing for the
John S. Davis emerged from an environment
where older printing traditions and practices were being replaced by a new,
industrial system. In many ways, he and his contemporaries in the publishing
industry were the last of the old system. Though many of the printers guilds
and unions continue to the present day, especially in Europe, the common
practice of a single master printer running a shop from creating raw copy to a
final printed product ended in the middle of the nineteenth century. Davis,
however, like many other printers of the time, welcomed the changes he saw
coming because they would strengthen the craft he loved. He was a master
printer and, therefore, was committed to the advancement of printing, not just
to the protection of his own career. As he wrote in 1855:
if we have such noble art,
every person act his part,
join with us in hand and heart
To honor the Art of Printing.