Victorian Printing and Publishing: A Selective Chronology

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

1692 Richard Bentley's fifty "modern novels" reprints an early example of serial installments
1698 Edward Ward's London Spy appears in eighteen parts; inspires few successors
1732 boom in cheap publications begins about this time
1740 publishing in parts well established by this date
1760 Smollett publishes Sir Launcelot Greaves in his British Magazine -- "first large piece of fiction written expressly for publication in a magazine" (Patten, 52).
c. 1800 Stanhope tests iron printing press
1803 Gamble and Donkin's Fourdrinier cylindrical paper-making machine, which leads to cheaper, more quickly accessible paper.
1804 First book printed by stereotype process
1810 steel-plate prcess for printing large numbers of illustrations patented; takes a decade to become popular
1811 Friedrich Koenig patents steam-powered cylindrical printing press
1820 Pierce Egan devises scheme to issue monthly colored plates by the Cruikshanks.
1822 Church's composing machine for setting type
1826 Photographic processes used in making illustrations
1830 Edward Chapman and William Hall establish bookselling establishment
1831 Captain Maryat's Metropolitan Magazine "first to make a regular feature of of origibnalserial stories" (Patten, 50-51).
1831 depression in book trade
1832 penny weeklies built large cuirculations
Charles Knight's Penny Magazine builds enormous circulation by providing illustrations
1836 Dickens's Pickwick Papers accidentally invents Victorian boom in serial publication


Patten, Robert L. Charles Dickens and His Publishers. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1978.

Victorian Web Overview Charles Dickens Economics

Last modified December 2003