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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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William A. Bullock

BULLOCK, William A., inventor, born in Greenville, Greene County, New York, in 1813; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 14 April, 1867. At an early age he, with his brother, learned the trade of iron-founder and machinist. He devoted all his leisure to books, and acquired a good theoretical as well as practical knowledge of mechanics. After engaging m various pursuits, and making, among other things, hay-and cotton-presses, he began the publication of a newspaper, the "Banner of the Union," in Philadelphia in 1849. The establishment was removed three years later to Catskill, New York, where he made in 1852, for his own use, a wooden press turned by a hand-crank. To this machine a self-feeder was attached, which contained the germ of one of his most important inventions. Mr. Bullock soon afterward went to New York City, where he constructed a fast press on the planetary system for "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly." His name became immediately prominent because of the unprecedented rapidity with which a very large edition of the paper, containing an illustrated account of a prize-fight, was issued. He devoted his attention to, and perfected, about this time, the automatic feeding mechanism that forms an important feature in the presses bearing his name. Mr. Bullock now gave his energies to the problem of constructing a printing-press that should embody in one machine accurate self-adjustment and feeding, perfecting, or printing on both sides, with the highest rate of speed. He was successful in accomplishing all these objects, and the Bullock web perfecting press revolutionized the art of press-building. In carrying into practice his plans, he fed the paper from a roll containing five or six miles of linear measurement, moistened it by passing it through a spray, carried it between the impression cylinder and the form, first for one side, then for the other, and cut the sheets off at the proper intervals with great precision with a serrated knife which struck the paper with lightning-like rapidity, and was so constructed as rarely to need sharpening, after which the sheets were automatically delivered on the receiving-board at the rate, in his earlier presses, of 12,000 an hour. Subsequent modifications and improvements have brought the delivery up to 30,000 an hour. While engaged in setting up and adjusting one of his new presses for the "Public Ledger," in Philadelphia, Mr. Bullock was, 3 April, 1867, accidentally caught by the main driving-belt from the engine-room. His leg was crushed, and he sustained other injuries, which caused his death. He had a long time in his confidence one of his workmen, a foreigner, to whom he had imparted many of his ideas, so that after his death improvements of his own devising were made, and the Bullock press rapidly superseded all previous ones.

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