Moxon, Joseph

Moxon, Joseph
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
b. 8 August 1627 Wakefield, Yorkshire, England d. 1700
English publisher of mathematical and technical books.
Moxon acquired a knowledge of mathematics, map making and many technical arts, to which, as a result of some time spent in Holland, he added a knowledge of languages. By 1657 he was established in Cornhill in London, "at the sign of Atlas", where he published and sold "all manner of mathematical books or instruments and maps whatsoever". Soon after 1660, Moxon was appointed Hydrographer to King Charles II, i.e. map and chart printer and seller. By this time his shop was on Ludgate Hill, and in 1683 it had moved to the west side of Fleet Ditch, but retained its name "at the sign of Atlas". Moxon's most important publishing venture was a series of handbooks, never completed, entitled Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy- Works. It was begun in 1677 and was intended to be published monthly and cover the whole range of practical techniques, such as metal-turning and woodworking. However, the series was suspended after a year or so due to the effects of the Popish Plot, which "took off the minds of my few customers from buying". He resumed publication with the most important of these works, Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing, which appeared in 1683–4. Although printing had been invented more than two centuries earlier, this is the first detailed account in any language of printing, and includes all aspects of the process: type casting, setting, and construction and operation of the press itself, together with the organization of the printing shop. It served as the basis of future handbooks throughout the age of the hand press.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1678.
1683–4, Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing, reprinted 1958, eds H.Davies and H.Carter, London: Oxford University Press (this facsimile reprint includes the most detailed account of Moxon's life and work, with full bibliographical details of the book itself).

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

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