David Bruce, Jr.

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1. Overview

US. 1802-02-06 - 1892-09-12. Typefounder, punch and patrix cutter, and machine designer.

Note: See the Note on Bruce Genealogy for sorting out the various Bruces and the locations in these Notebooks where they appear.

Son of David Bruce, Sr. and nephew of George Bruce. Father of David Wolfe Bruce.

Introduced the force pump into general use for production hand casting (ca. 1834). Invented the first successful type casting machine (1834-1845, commercial type production by 1845), the pivotal type caster.

His memoir, published as History of Typefounding in the United States is perhaps our most important primary account of typefounding in America in the early 20th century and of the early development of machine typecasting. It was not published until the Twentieth Century, however.

A portrait of David Bruce, Jr. was reprinted in 1887 in [Bullen, Henry Lewis.] "David Bruce. Inventor of the Type-Casting Machine." The Inland Printer. Vol. 4, No. 12 (September 1887): 801-802 .

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2. Literature

Works by and about Bruce, reprinted when possible, including his patents. (In the case of the patents, some of these items are links to their presentation in the Notebook on the Pivotal Type Caster where, in addition to the low-quality digitizations preserved by the USPTO there are at times versions scanned from old analog photostats of actual printed versions.)

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Bruce. US Patent 631. (1838)

US patent 631, "Machine for Smoothing the Sides of Type." Issued 1838-03-10 to David Bruce, Jr.

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Bruce. US Patent 632. (1838)

US patent 632, "Machine for Casting Printing-Types." Issued 1838-03-17 to David Bruce, Jr.

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Bruce. US Patent 3,324. (1843)

US patent 3,324, "Improvement in Type-Casting Machines." Issued 1943-11-06 to David Bruce, Jr. of Williamsburg, NY.

This is the basic patent for the pivotal type caster in the form that it became successful. It lacks only a choker valve (but not all pivotals had choker valves).

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Bruce. US Patent 4,072. (1845)

US patent 4,072, "Improvement in Machines for Casting Types." Issued 1845-06-07 to David Bruce, Jr., Williamsburg, NY.

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Bruce. US Patent 5,483. (1848)

US patent 5,483, "Improvement in Type-Smoothing Machines." Issued 1848-03-28 to David Bruce, Jr.

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Bruce. For the Commissioner of Patents. (1850)

The paper on "Type Founding" in the Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1850 (Washington, DC: Office of Printers to the House of Representatives, 1851): 398-403 is by George Bruce, not David Bruce Jr. Click here to go to it.

For several years, I had mis-filed this report here. My thanks to Steve Saxe for pointing out this error.

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[Bruce] "Art of Type Founding." (Part 1, May 1858)

[Bruce, David, Jr., attrib.] "The Art of Type Founding." The Printer. Vol. 1, No. 1 (May 1858): 2.

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[Bruce] "Art of Type Founding." (Part 12, April 1859)

[Bruce, David, Jr., attrib.] "The Art of Type Founding: George Bruce" The Printer. Vol. 1, No. 12 (April 1858): 281-282.

A biographical sketch, almost certainly by David Bruce, Jr., of his uncle George Bruce.

35 Megabyte PDF of PNG images. Scanned by Stephen O. Saxe from his copy. My thanks to him for making this scan and allowing its reproduction here.

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"Inside of a Type Foundry." (1858)

[Anon., probably David Bruce, Jr.] "Inside of a Type Foundry." The Printer, Vol. 1, No. 6 (October 1858): 116-117.

This article is unsigned, but is probably by David Bruce, Jr. He was at this time writing a series of articles on the "Art of Type Founding" for The Printer, and certain stylistic aspects of this article are very much in keeping with that series.

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Bruce. In the Typographic Messenger. (1866)

Bruce, David, Jr. "Mr. George Buxton Lothian." The Typographic Messenger II (November 1866): p. 1. This was the house organ of "The United States Type Foundry"; the type foundry of James Conner's Sons. I have not yet seen it; my citation here comes from {Silver 1965}, p. 46, n. 1.

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Bruce. In the Typographic Messenger. (1867-1868)

Bruce, David, Jr. "Type Founding in the United States." The Typographic Messenger, Vol. 3, Nos 1 & 2 (November 1867 & January 1868). This was the house organ of "The United States Type Foundry"; the type foundry of James Conner's Sons. I have not yet seen it; my citation here is from {Bruce 1981}, p. viii, n. 2. Rollo Silver cites it and mentions it as a source for information on the early type casting machine of Elihu White and William Johnson {Silver 1965}, pp1. 23, 61.

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Bruce. US Patent 80,448. (1868)

US patent 80,448, "Improvement in Type-Machines." Issued 1868-07-28 to David Bruce [Jr.] This is for a jet-breaking mechanism applied to a pivotal caster.

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Bruce. US Patent 83,828. (1868)

US patent 83,828, "Improvement in Type-Casting Machines." Issued 1868-11-10 to David Bruce [Jr.] Improvments in the cam control of the caster, and a mechanism for stopping the machine when it fails to deliver types.

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Bruce. History of Typefounding. (1874, 1925)

Bruce, David, Jr. The History of Typefounding in the United States. By David Bruce, Jr. Printed from the Unpublished Manuscript Dated November 1874, Preserved in the Typographic Library and Museum [of American Type Founders], Jersey City . Ed. Douglas C. McMurtrie. (NY: Privately printed, 1925)

This is the first publication of the work later edited and published in a new edition by Eckman in 1981 . Eckman judges McMurtrie's edition to be a "sorry travesty" of Bruce's original manuscript.

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Bruce. History of Typefounding. (1874, 1981)

Bruce, David, Jr. History of Typefounding in the United States. Ed. James Eckman. (NY: The Typophiles, 1981). This is a modern edition of a manuscript prepared by David Bruce, Jr. by 1874. It is in nature a personal memoir, not the comprehensive account that its title might suggest. Still, it is probably our best source for information about Bruce. It is out of print but (in this edition) in copyright, so I cannot reprint it here.

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Index to His History of Typefounding

Bruce's memoir, published in 1981 as History of Typefounding in the United States, is probably the single most important source document in the early-to-middle history of the field. Yet it is in form a rambling memoir, not a finished treatise. Eckman's 1981 edition of it is a fine edition, but it lacks an index. The result is that in order to track down particular details one has to re-read the work linearly every single time. While this may be pleasant, it is not efficient. Here, then, is an index into it.

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Bullen, Printers' Review (1887)

Bullen, Henry Lewis. "David Bruce, Inventor of the Type Casting Machine." The Printers' Review, New Series, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Summer, 1887). [The bibliographic information here is from Eckman; I have not yet seen this piece] This journal was the house organ of Golding & Company, for whom Bullen worked at the time.

Eckman indicates that this article was reprinted in The Inland Printer in 1887 (see below) {Bruce 1981}. Bullen, in his "Collectanea Typographica" column in The Inland Printer, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April, 1922): 96 says only that "in the same year [1887, he] contributed an article on the same subject [Bruce] to The Inland Printer."

The (blank) image here links to a placeholder for this article in the CircuitousRoot Henry Lewis Bullen Notebook.

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Bullen, Inland Printer (1887)

[Bullen, Henry Lewis.] "David Bruce. Inventor of the Type-Casting Machine." The Inland Printer. Vol. 4, No. 12 (September 1887): 801-802. It consists of the article by Bullen and a letter, dated 1887-04-19, by Bruce. This was published anonymously, but it must have been the article that Bullen refers to in his "Collectanea Typographica" column in The Inland Printer, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April, 1922): 96.

This article contains some information by Bullen (with contradictory patent dates) and purported transcriptions of two letters by Bruce. There is no information here which is not present in Bruce's History of Typefounding in the United States {Bruce 1981} , though Bruce's acknowledgment of the work of his predecessors does him credit. Eckman (p. ix) refers to Bullen's 1922 article (see below) as an "augmented" version of this piece, but they are really independent pieces.

Scanned by DMM from an original issue. The image here links to a presentation of this article in the CircuitousRoot Henry Lewis Bullen Notebook.

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Bruce. Printers' Review. (1890)

Bruce, David, Jr. "History of Machine Type Casting." The Printers' Review New Series, Vol. 4, No. 2 (March 1890). This was the house organ of Golding & Co. I have not yet seen it in this form. This article was, however, reprinted in The Inland Printer .

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Bruce. Inland Printer. (1890)

Bruce, David, Jr. "History of Machine Type Casting" in The Inland Printer, Vol. 7, No. 12 (Sept. 1890): 1129. This is a reprint of this article from the Printer's Review . It has some information on the early work of Elihu White. It dates the first change from hand casting to 1827, and credits White with the introduction of the force pump. However, the date of 1827 squares neither with the dates for White's own work (ca. 1804-1808) nor with those for Bruce's account of his own development of the force pump (1834; see {Bruce 1981}).

The icon at left links to a PDF of a JPEG (lossy) image of this page from The Inland Printeer (10 Megabytes). Here it is as the original PNG (lossless) image (21 Megabytes): inland-printer-v07n12-1890-09-uw-0600grey-1129 Scanned by DMM from an original issue.

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No. 14, David Bruce

Loy, William E. "Designers and Engravers of Type. No. 14: David Bruce [Jr.]" The Inland Printer. Vol. 22, No. 6 (1899-03), p. 701. Digitized by Google from the Harvard University copy. The icon here links "up and over" to the presentation of this article in the CircuitousRoot reprints of Loy's "Designers and Engravers of Type. However, anyone interested in Bruce or type-making must also acquire Stephen O. Saxe's edition of Loy's article series, co-edited with Alastair M. Johnston: Nineteenth-Century American Designers and Engravers of Type (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books, 2009).

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Bullen. Inland Printer. (1922)

Bullen, Henry Lewis. "David Bruce, Jr., Inventor of the First Successful Typecasting Machine." The Inland Printer, Vol. 69, No. 1 (April, 1922): 61-64.

Eckman (p. ix) refers to this 1922 article as an "augmented" version of Bullen's 1887 articles (see above), but it is really an entirely different piece.

WARNING: a distressing amount of what Bullen wrote - and presented as history - was fabricated from his own imagination and is not true. The discussion in this article of the "discharging pin" is an example of this: it is entirely wrong. See the Notebook on Clarifying the Discharging/Drag Pin. See also the discussion of issues in Bullen's writings

Scanned by Google from the University of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust (Hathi ID: mdp.39015086783506). The image here links to a presentation of this article in the CircuitousRoot Henry Lewis Bullen Notebook. Reprinted together with with p. 96 of the same issue, which is a part of Bullen's "Collectanea Typographica" series.

3. Bibliography

{Bruce 1981} Bruce, David, Jr. History of Typefounding in the United States. Ed. James Eckman. (NY: The Typophiles, 1981).

See also my Index to this work, above .

{Silver 1965} Silver, Rollo. Typefounding in America, 1787-1825. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1965.

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