Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Charles-Joseph Panckoucke, 14 November 1782

From Charles-Joseph Panckoucke6

AL: American Philosophical Society

14. 9bre. 1782.

Panckoucke Présente tous Ses respects à monsieur francklin, et Lui envoye La Lettre cy jointe.7

M. franklin à passÿ.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6This is the only extant letter from Panckoucke, the leading Parisian bookseller and publisher. For a biography see George B. Watts, “Charles Joseph Panckoucke, ‘l’Atlas de la librairie française,’” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, LXVIII (Geneva, 1969), 67–205.

7Panckoucke enclosed a Nov. 12 letter he had received from Etienne-Alexandre-Jacques Anisson-Duperron, son of the director of the Imprimerie royale (XXVI, 519) and himself the director-designate: much as Anisson was flattered by BF’s interest, he was not willing to show his printing press until it was perfected. As Panckoucke knew, it was still under construction. As soon as it was finished, he would be honored to show it to BF. APS.

Anisson and others were trying to improve both the pressure of the standard wooden printing press and the size of its platen so that folio sheets could be printed in one pass rather than two. He presented his new press to the Academy of Sciences in 1783, and in 1785 published an illustrated account, Premier mémoire sur l’impression en lettres, suivi de la description d’une nouvelle presse exécutée pour le service du roi; et publié par ordre du gouvernement. His design influenced François-Ambroise Didot (XXXVI, 193), whose second “improved” press was markedly similar to Anisson’s, and the two men quarreled about who had invented the modifications: DBF; André Jammes, Les Didots: Trois siècles de typographie & de bibliophilie, 1698–1998 (Paris, 1998), pp. 11–13; Bibliothèque nationale, L’Art du livre à l’imprimerie nationale des origines à nos jours (Paris, 1951), pp. 17, 80, 89.

Index Entries