Ged, William

Ged, William
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
b. 1690 Edinburgh, Scotland
d. 19 October 1749 Edinburgh, Scotland
Scottish inventor of stereotyping.
While in business as a goldsmith and jeweller, he came across the earliest known attempt to make stereotypes, that by Van der Meys of Leiden in the sixteenth century. He soldered types to the bases of a bed of type, but the process proved too expensive to be adopted. Ged took out a patent of privilege in 1725 to develop Mey's method, agreeing with a printer that if they could make casts of made-up pages of type they "would make a fortune". After many experiments to find a suitable metal, he arrived at an alloy similar to type metal. However, Ged's efforts to promote his stereotypes were blocked by the indifference of the printers and the opposition of the compositors. He tried his luck in London but failed again for much the same reason as in Edinburgh. Thither he returned, but he died in poverty.
Further Reading
J.Nichols, 1781, Biographical Memoir of William Ged (the 1819 edition includes "Supplementary narrative of William Ged and his inventions, written by his daughter").

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

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