Bruce, David

SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
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b. c.1801 USA
d. 13 September 1892 USA
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American inventor of the first successful typecaster.
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He was the son of David Bruce, typefounder, who introduced stereotyping into the USA. As a boy, he was employed on various tasks about the typefoundry and printing works of D. \& G. Bruce until 1819, when he was apprenticed to William Fry of Philadelphia, at that time the most eminent printer in America. However, he ran away from Fry and returned to his father, from whom he continued to learn the typefounder's trade. Around 1828 he moved to Albany, where he took charge of a typefoundry. Two years later he was back in New York and joined the firm of George Bruce \& Co. In 1834 he moved to New Jersey, where he set about producing the improved form of typecasting machine for which he is chiefly known. Having achieved success, he set up in business again in New York and remained there until his retirement some twenty-five years before his death. Bruce in fact invented the first effective typecasting machine in New York in 1838 and patented it the same year. His machine incorporated a force pump to drive the molten metal from the pot into the mould. The machine, operated by a wheel turned by hand, could produce forty sorts of various sizes per minute. The machine speeded up the production of type: between 3,000 and 7,000 pieces of type could be cast by hand, whereas these figures were raised to between 12,000 and 20,000 by the casting machine. The Bruce caster was not introduced into Britain until 1853. It was later supplanted by improved machines, notably that invented by Wicks.
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Bibliography
1887, letter, Inland Printer (September) (provides some biographical details).
Further Reading
Obituary, 1892, Inland Printer (November): 150.
James Moran, 1965, The Composition of Reading Matter, London: Wace (provides some details of the Bruce machine).
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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