Oscar H. Harpel. Harpel’s Typograph or Book of Specimens: Containing … Examples of Letterpress Job Printing Arranged for the Assistance of Master Printers, Amateurs, Apprentices, and Others. Cincinnati: Printed and published by the author, 1870.
A maverick in his trade, Cincinnati printer Oscar Harpel authored the first design manual for job work when he published Harpel’s Typograph in 1870. Recognizing and promoting the creative potential of job printers because of the ingenuity required for such ad hoc work, Harpel provided nearly 200 pages of specimens of ephemera from professional colleagues. The samples include badges, bills of lading, thirteen different types of “cards” (invitation, mercantile, wedding and reception, etc.), checks, labels, programs, tags, and tickets composed of display type and graphics. The manual also advises on starting a printing office, letterpress composition, printing equipment and supplies necessary to the press room, as well as an index of “Technical Terms Used by Printers.”