In 1739 Scottish Goldsmith William Ged printed a 12mo edition of Sallust, which was probably the first book to announce on its title page that it had been printed from stereotype plates rather than moveable type. Ged did not, however, attempt to patent the process. In 1784 Andrew Foulis, Printer to the University of Glasgow, and Alexander Tilloch, a printer in Glasgow, were awarded British patent No. 1431 for "A Method of Making Plates for the Purpose of Printing by or with Plates instead of the Moveable Types commonly used, and for Vending and Disposing of the said Printing Plates and the Books or other Publications therewith Printed, whereby a much greater degree of Accuracy, Correctness, and Elegance will be introduced in the publication of the Works both of the Ancient and Modern Authors than had hiterto been attained." Their process Tilloch claimed to have invented in 1781 without knowledge of Ged's prior work.
In their brief specification Foulis and Tilloch stated that their "method of making plates for the purpose of printing by or with such plates, instead of the moveable types commonly used, which is performed by making a plate or plates for their page or pages of any book or other publication, and in printing off such book or other publication at the press; the plates of the pages to be arranged in their proper order, and the number of copies wanted thrown off, instead of throwing the impressions wanted from moveable types locked together in the common method; and such plates are made either by forming moulds or matrices for the page or pages of the books or other publications to be printed by or with plates, and filling such moulds or matrices with metal or with clay, or with a mixture of clay and earth, or by stamping or striking with these moulds or matrices the metal, clay, earth or mixture of clay and earth."