THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


54 Benjamin Franklin's composing stick ca. 1785
This composing stick may have been purchased in France in the 1780s by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) while he was serving as minister to France for the United States. Made of wood, the composing stick has a head, knee and rail faced with brass, and employs the slotted knee and screw system, commonplace several hundred years ago, to fix the length of the line of type being composed. At the time, Franklin operated a private press for the production of leaflets and broadsides in his house at Passy, outside of Paris. The composing stick was used by Franklin and his grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, according to Henry Lewis Bullen who acquired it for the American Type Founders Company Library.
Various funds

Collections and Treasures