The Linofilm System

The material on this page is taken from a brochure published in circa 1960 by the Mergenthaler Linotype Company. The brochure showcased the company’s latest machines and innovations, including the Linofilm System.

The simple keyboard is one of the main factors to Linofilm superiority. It permits the operator to concentrate on setting type quickly and accurately
The simple keyboard is one of the main factors to Linofilm superiority. It permits the operator to concentrate on setting type quickly and accurately.

WITH the perfection of the Linofilm System, Mergenthaler Linotype Company contributes another revolutionary development to the graphic arts.

Since the latter part of the 19th century, many have sought a practical, economical means of photocomposition. With Mergenthaler’s Linofilm, the only complete and integrated photocomposition system, cold type truly comes of age.

Linofilm not only sets type photographically, but provides also for corrections and alterations, and for makeup into page form.

Extensive economic studies show its clear-cut superiority over other methods of cold type composition.

Economically, Linofilm is superior for several reasons. It’s less expensive as an initial investment, in leasing costs and machine-hour costs.

The keyboard is simple, and separation of keyboard and photographic functions allows the operator to utilize his typesetting skills and time to best advantage.

Typographically, Linofilm adheres to the same high standards for which Linotype has become world-famed; at the command of Linofilm are the matchless typographic resources of Mergenthaler Linotype Company and its affiliates.

The Linofilm System consists of four integrated components: the Keyboard, Photographic Unit, Corrector and Composer.

The superiority of Linofilm is shown right from the basic component, the keyboard. Its simple, designed so that the operator can make best use of his keyboarding skills.

Push buttons and dials are conveniently located so that all typographic functions can be controlled quickly and easily.

Operation of the photographic unit is simple and automatic. Only manual operation is insertion of film or paper and tape.

Width card
The width card, here being inserted in the keyboard unit, provides exact width information for each character in a font to give superlative typography.

The conventional typewriter keyboard has a small bank of control buttons for leading, quadding and centering, justification and other functions.

Eighteen different fonts are instantly available, in a range of sizes from 6- through 36-point. Display sizes can be keyboarded at the same speed as text matter.

The keyboard produces a perforated paper tape containing all the information necessary for the fully-automatic operation of the photographic unit.

The photo unit is capable of handling the tape output of several keyboards, and will produce right-reading positive type on film or photographic paper.

It will change font, point size, leading and line length in accordance with the signals from the tape.

The photographic unit operates at speeds equivalent to 16 newspaper text lines per minute. Line lengths are through 42 picas.

The Linofilm Corrector makes film corrections easy. It simply welds corrected lines in position automatically.

The film has extra strength at the point of the weld, and corrections can be made at speeds of three lines per minute.

The Composer combines the functions of makeup and enlarging, producing a made-up page with all type in precise location – including angled lines up to 90° – and in proper size, ready for the insertion of halftones and artwork.

It will enlarge through 180-point and reduce to 4-point. Widths through 102 picas are available.

The versatility, of Linofilm allows any combination of units to meet specific, individual needs.

Versatility, speed of operation and economy are important characteristics of the Linofilm System, but the ultimate proof of the machine’s superiority is in its product: The printed word.

From its very beginning, the constant goal of Linofilm design has been to provide the finest typography.

In this the Company has been fortunate that it could draw on its own vast typographic resources.

In transferring its famed faces to the Linofilm, Mergenthaler designers took great pains to preserve the character and integrity of each font.

The versatility of Linofilm typography allows the designer great latitude in the creation of beautiful and functional typefaces.

Typographic refinements become routine in Linofilm composition. Kerning is built-in, with the operator selecting kernel characters right at the keyboard.

Letter spacing, both plus and minus, is also easily and quickly handled through keyboard push buttons.

Linofilm font grids consist of 88 negative characters on a sturdy glass plate, and are housed in this turret. Font grids automatically swing into operation as called for
Linofilm Composer
The Composer performs all the functions of make-up at the stone … plus the facility of enlarging or reducing any type to exactly the size required with no reference at all to conventional point size.

While Linofilm fonts have been taken from Linotype’s library of more than a million characters, in each case the Linotype characters have been completely redrawn to take full advantage of the far greater flexibility of photographic composition.

Fine faces for every typographic purpose are now available on Linofilm, and an extensive program is constantly augmenting this type library.

In every instance, the purpose remains the same: to create a final product, on film or photographic paper, that is crisp, clean and black … ideal copy for the engraver or platemaker.

With a versatility unequalled in any phototypesetting equipment in existence, the Linofilm System has a broad range of applications in the field of commercial, newspaper, periodical, book and other classes of printing.

Rather than a competitor, it’s a team mate to conventional hot metal processes …a notable companion to the historic machine invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1886, the invention which Thomas A Edison justly characterized as “the eighth wonder of the world.”

For many decades, graphic arts experts have envisioned a practical phototypesetting method as the machine of the future.

With the perfection of Linofilm, that dream is realized.

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