On this Day:
1814 The Times of London first printed by automatic, steam powered presses built by German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer – makes newspapers available to a mass audience.
The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, in turn wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times, which do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1966.
The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, such as The Times of India and The New York Times. In countries where these other titles are popular, the newspaper is often referred to as The London Times, or as The Times of London, although the newspaper is of national scope and distribution. It is considered a newspaper of record in the UK.
The Times had an average daily circulation of 417,298 in January 2019; in the same period, The Sunday Times had an average weekly circulation of 712,291. An American edition of The Times has been published since 6 June 2006. The Times has been heavily used by scholars and researchers because of its widespread availability in libraries and its detailed index. A complete historical file of the digitised paper, up to 2010, is online from Gale Cengage Learning.
The Times was founded by publisher John Walter on 1 January 1785 as The Daily Universal Register, with Walter in the role of editor. Walter had lost his job by the end of 1784 after the insurance company for which he worked went bankrupt due to losses from a Jamaican hurricane. Unemployed, Walter began a new business venture. At that time, Henry Johnson invented the logography, a new typography that was reputedly faster and more precise (although three years later, it was proved less efficient than advertised). Walter bought the logography’s patent and with it opened a printing house to produce books. The first publication of the newspaper The Daily Universal Register was on 1 January 1785. Walter changed the title after 940 editions on 1 January 1788 to The Times. In 1803, Walter handed ownership and editorship to his son of the same name. In spite of Walter Sr’s sixteen-month stay in Newgate Prison for libel printed in The Times, his pioneering efforts to obtain Continental news, especially from France, helped build the paper’s reputation among policy makers and financiers.
The Times used contributions from significant figures in the fields of politics, science, literature, and the arts to build its reputation. For much of its early life, the profits of The Times were very large and the competition minimal, so it could pay far better than its rivals for information or writers. Beginning in 1814, the paper was printed on the new steam-driven cylinder press developed by Friedrich Koenig. In 1815, The Times had a circulation of 5,000.
Thomas Barnes was appointed general editor in 1817. In the same year, the paper’s printer James Lawson, died and passed the business onto his son John Joseph Lawson (1802–1852). Under the editorship of Barnes and his successor in 1841, John Thadeus Delane, the influence of The Times rose to great heights, especially in politics and amongst the City of London. Peter Fraser and Edward Sterling were two noted journalists, and gained for The Times the pompous/satirical nickname ‘The Thunderer’ (from “We thundered out the other day an article on social and political reform.”). The increased circulation and influence of the paper was based in part to its early adoption of the steam-driven rotary printing press. Distribution via steam trains to rapidly growing concentrations of urban populations helped ensure the profitability of the paper and its growing influence.
The Times was one of the first newspapers to send war correspondents to cover particular conflicts. William Howard Russell, the paper’s correspondent with the army in the Crimean War, was immensely influential with his dispatches back to England.
In the dystopian future world of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Times has been transformed into an organ of the totalitarian ruling party. The book’s lead character Winston Smith is employed in the task of rewriting past issues of the newspaper for the Ministry of Truth.
Rex Stout’s fictional detective Nero Wolfe is described as fond of solving the London Times’ crossword puzzle at his New York home, in preference to those of American papers.
In the James Bond series by Ian Fleming, James Bond reads The Times. As described by Fleming in From Russia, with Love: The Times was “the only paper that Bond ever read.” (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
My family complains that I never talk during breakfast because I still read a newspaper at the breakfast table.
You can say…. I’m behind The Times…
Second, a Song:
Peter Charles Combe OAM (born 20 October 1948) is an Australian children’s entertainer and musician. At the ARIA Music Awards he has won three ARIA Awards for Best Children’s Album, for Toffee Apple (1988), Newspaper Mama (1989) and The Absolutely Very Best of Peter Combe (So Far) Recorded in Concert (1992) and three additional nominations (Chopsticks (1990), Little Groover (1996) and Live It Up (2017)). His best-known tracks are “Toffee Apple”, “Spaghetti Bolognaise”, “Mr Clicketty Cane”, “Juicy Juicy Green Grass” and “Newspaper Mama”. His Christmas Album (November 1990) reached the ARIA Albums Chart top 50 (per Wikipedia).
Here is Peter Combe performing “Newspaper Mama”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.” – Thomas Jefferson
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky