Compugraphic Universal 2

ANOTHER machine not listed in the museum's catalogue
ANOTHER machine not listed in the museum’s catalogue.

It would appear to be one of the Whittaker company’s early photosetters.

Steve Robertshaw, Ex Whittaker & Compugraphic UK Engineer, updated this page with the following:

The Machine refered to in the Whittaker collection is in fact a Universal 2.

You will note on the nameplate next the name Universal II TG (Total Graphics) this makes it one of the last Universal 2 manufactured.

The Universal 4 Had in fact 8 founts on two film strips each could be used in any of 12 sizes.

Metal Type regular Steve Young supplied the following information on the Compugraphic Universal:

The Universal 4 was a single user input and output machine. The bromide was contained in a section on the side of the machine and the user keyed text directly on to the paper.

There was a single line display on the front above the keyboard and one could edit one line at a time, as soon as the “Execute” (return) key was depressed the line was written to bromide and the display emptied for the next line.

There were removable “width cards” for the various different fonts. Four fonts could be loaded at the same time (hence Universal 4) — the wrong width card with the wrong font produced interesting results!!!

The fonts were contained on individual film strips which were wrapped around a drum at the other side of the machine — when the relevant key was depressed the drum revolved until the corresponding letter was positioned over the top of the place on the bromide indicated by the width card and the light source flashed it onto the bromide via a lens and the lens moved to the next position and so on.

When an ad was completed, the user hit return a couple of times and then commenced another ad. When the cassette was full, or whenever required, the user removed it and placed it directly into the developer. On output the comp then cut and pasted the text.

3 thoughts on “Compugraphic Universal 2”

  1. The first machine I have been trained on in my first job! I used to work for Compugraphic… If you need any info I have not forgotten!

    1. Glad it brought back some memories Serge, if you have anything further to add that may be of interest, please let me know.

  2. When Compugraphic Universal 2s were introduced to the Bucks Herald in the early 70s, customers came with reps to see one in operation. I was always able to put on a good show as I was a decent typist as I’d trained with the RAF for National Service. Every time a new improved machine arrived in the office I was given it. I remember MDTs and the PowerView. I also worked the Compugraphic ACM 9000, which was a brilliant piece of equipment. This put me in good stead when the Apple computer arrived with QuarkXpress, which I still use.
    In late 2015, I wrote and composed a whole newspaper on my PC in my home office when Dad’s Army was filmed in Bridlington.
    I love hearing stories about print, especially in newspapers.

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