Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum


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"Specimen Book of Electrotypes"
Engraved Illustrations of Pacific Coast Scenery, etc., furnished for use by Publishers and Printers.
* * *
The Pacific Press Publishing House
Oakland, Cal.

In 1885, the Pacific Press Publishing House, an Oakland, California, publisher of books on religious (Adventist), scientific, and other subjects including Pacific travel, issued a large format (11" x 16"), 278-page catalogue entitled "Specimen Book of Electrotypes" containing several thousand engraved "cuts" being offered to the publishing and printing trades for rent (illustrations and maps) or sale (trade and advertising cuts, etc.) to be used to illustrate their own publications. In addition to many general illustrations, the volume features an extensive collection of many hundreds of engravings of all sizes entitled "Pacific Coast Scenery." Included among these images are a number of maps and other illustrations relating specifically to the Central Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Union Pacific Railroads. (As appropriate, images from this collection will be scanned at high resolution and added to other pages on the Museum to help illustrate the various articles and exhibits located there.)

Illustrated below are the Title Page from the "Specimen Book" and the volume's introductory "letter" to printers and publishers which describes the various galleries of cuts and the terms for their use. These are followed by images of seven of the electrotypes from the "Specimen Book" (four maps and three engraved illustrations) which relate to the CPRR and SPRR. (High resolution versions are linked to each of these illustrations which can me viewed by clicking on each image.) —BCC

Specimen Book of Electrotypes.  Title Page.
Title Page

Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

     During the past eight years we have been accumulating, by purchase and exchange, a large collection of valuable electrotypes, comprising Pacific Coast Scenery, Illustrations of a General Character, a fair selection of News and Trade Cuts, Society Emblems, etc., and a line of original Advertising Card Novelties, which we now make available and bring to the notice of the Printing and Publishing Trades by the issue of this book.

          Our Pacific Coast Cuts, many of the finest of which were engraved for us by one of the best of engravers, form the most complete and attractive collection on the subject on the Coast.

          Our General Illustrations comprise Eastern and European Scenery; Natural History -- animals, birds, reptiles, fishes, plants, etc.; Biography -- portraits of men eminent in Literature, Art, Music and Science; and a large number of miscellaneous subjects, which are appropriate for for illustrating Christmas stories and other tales.

          The cuts comprised within the divisions, Pacific Coast Scenery and General Scenery and Miscellaneous Illustrations, will be furnished to Printers and Publishers on the following conditions, namely: We do not care to sell electrotypes of these illustrations outright, but loan them with the understanding that they are to be used but once and returned to us within one month, except where the parties are at a distance, when longer time will be given; but in certain cases we will sell them.  Prices will be furnished on the desired No. or Nos. being specified.  It is also understood and agreed that no impressions for electrotyping are to be taken from our cuts without our permission.  Our rates are: for Pacific Coast cuts, 10 cents per square inch; for Miscellaneous cuts, 5 cents per square inch; postage or expressage to be paid by the party ordering.  The Trade Cuts, Advertising Novelties, etc., and all cuts marked with the price, are of course sold outright, as in purchasing from a type foundry, though at considerably lower rates.  Cash with the order, by Draft on San Francisco, P. O. Order, or Express, is required although where a sufficient amount is remitted to cover express charges both ways, in case cuts are left uncalled for, they will be sent C. O. D., less amount advanced.

          We are constantly adding to our stock of electrotypes, and as they accumulate in sufficient quantities, we shall publish supplements containing all new cuts, which we will mail to parties holding copies of this book.

          While we have bestowed considerable care on the press work of these cuts in order to bring out their artistic capabilities, they show to no better advantage than any competent pressman, with due care, may make them. appear.  While not working to the best advantage on uncalendered paper, they will show up very nicely on ordinary book paper printed dry, and it is useless to try to print a fine cut in any other way.

          We have one of the best appointed and most complete Electrotype and Stereotype Foundries in the West, and wish to call the attention of country printers and publishers to the saving that may be effected by them in stereotyping their standing ads., church directories, department and editorial headings, and job work, where a large number of impressions is to be run, or where the job comes in frequently and is kept standing.  The saving in the way of material, and time on filling and replacing sorts, will repay the cost of stereotypes many times over.  We send you herewith a scale for ascertaining the cost of work.  In using it, please bear in mind that standing newspaper matter may be stereotyped -- unless it contains cuts, when it should be electrotyped -- but should be cast on metal base to avoid shrinking and swelling; circulars, flyers, bill-heads, letter heads, cards, labels, etc., may be either electrotyped or stereotyped on wood base, the electrotype being the more durable, and especially desirable where fancy type or ornaments are used.

          In conclusion, please remember that getting up this book has cost us much labor and expense, and we shall retain the ownership of it, and reserve the right to recall it, hence we request that you will preserve it with care and refrain from mutilating it.

Very respectfully yours,

               Twelfth and Castro Streets, Oakland, Cal.

Pacific Railroad Electrotypes
(Click on each image below for a high resolution version.)

"Guide Map of the Rail and Stage Routes to the Yosemite, Big Trees and the Geysers" from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

"Map of Summer & Winter Resorts and other places upon and near the Central & Southern Pacific Railroads in California" from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Map of Railroads from San Francisco to Sacramento from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Map of Oakland California and the CPRR Long Wharf fromt the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Engraving of the "West Portal, Tunnel No. I, C. P. R. R." from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Engraving of "View on S. P. R. R." from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Engraving of "View on S. P. R. R." from the Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Logo from Specimen Book of Electrotypes.

Courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.

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