Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
T the present time there are two important questions agitating 
the minds of printers in this country, viz., the increase in the 
t of production owing to shorter hours, new expenses due 
to legislation, and the higher cost of material, and consequently 
the best means of finding out the real cost of printing under 
these changing conditions. 
In the " good old days " of printing, when competition was less keen 
than it is at the present time, the question of cost finding was much simpler 
than it is now. Then there were no type-setting machines, no large and 
expensive printing machines, and binding was almost entirely a hand 
process. Consequently the wages cost was the principal item in production, 
and the general expenses, depreciation, rent, power, etc., were small when 
compared with the present day. 
When composition was produced entirely by hand, and when the ma- 
chines were largely of the same character, and did not vary so greatly in 
value, a uniform percentage added to wages might perhaps have been ap- 
proximately correct ; but now the composition may be produced by hand 
or machine ; the printing may be done on a cropper or a 6o by 40 two- 
revolution press, and in the binding room the work may be hand or machine. 
It is essential, therefore, that a printer should know the actual cost of each 
process, whether done by hand or by the various kinds of machines. 
The wages cost only, as a basis of estimating, is absolutely fallacious ; 
for a workman whose wages may be 9d. per hour may be working by hand, 
or he may be attending a machine which costs, for interest and depreciation 
alone, IS. or more per hour, quite apart from all the other general expenses. 
If the same percentage is added to the wages in both these cases, either the 
hand work is reckoned at too high, or the machine work at too low a rate. 
The only way to find out what the cost really is, is by some cost finding 
system, which puts on to the departments and processes the capital charges 
and other expenses that have been incurred in producing the work. If there 
is no cost linding system the printer must make a leap, more or less in the 
dark. Instead of knowing accurately the cost per hour of each process or 
machine, he " estimates " this cost, and too often the estimate is what has 
been called a " guesstimate," full of inaccuracies. 
When doing work for a customer, a printer does not only sell the work 
produced by his workmen, which is represented by the wages cost on the 
job, but he also sells the use: for a certain time of his premises, plant and 
capital. In addition, he sells the experience of his travellers, the use of his 


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