Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ottmar Mergenthaler and the revolution in printing

Ottmar Mergenthaler
May 11th. 1854 to October 28th, 1899

Not a household name of inventors but revolutionized the mechanics of printing. He was the inventor of the hot lead linotype. He is "...regarded as the greatest advance in printing since the development of moveable type 400 years earlier. He moved to the U.S. in 1872. At the age of 32, he designed and built his first linotype machine. With it, the two operations of setting and casting type in lead lines were performed simply by touching the keys of a board similar to the keyboard of a typewriter. His machine enabled one operator to be machinist, type-setter, justifier and typefounder. His machine was first used in 1886 by the New York Tribune newspaper, followed by many great improvements on its design. He died at the early age of 45."

Linotype machine [Wikipedia]

From the Internet Archive of films is a two part story of the linotype machine. This is one of those vocational films that were perpetually run in high schools and took up boring lecture time.

Typesetting: Linotype [Part I]

Typesetting: Linotype [Part II]

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