William Ged - Encyclopedia

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WILLIAM GED (1690-1749), the inventor of stereotyping, was born at Edinburgh in 1690. In 1725 he patented his invention, developed from the simple process of soldering together loose types of Van der Mey. Ged, although he succeeded in obtaining a cast in similar metal, of a type page, could not persuade Edinburgh printers to take up his invention, and finally entered into partnership with a London stationer named Jenner and Thomas James, a typefounder. The partnership, however, turned out very ill; and Ged, broken-hearted at his want of success due to trade jealousy and the compositors' dislike of the innovation, died in poverty on the 19th of October 1749. Two prayer-books for the university of Cambridge and an edition of Sallust were printed from his stereotype plates. In his time the best type was imported from Holland, and Ged's daughter reports that he had repeated offers from the Dutch which, from patriotic motives, he refused. His sons tried to carry out his patent, and it was eventually perfected by Andrew Wilson.

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