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Typewriter Keyboard on Linecaster

Started by Dave Hughes, March 10, 2008, 11:22:15 AM

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Dave Hughes

Many thanks to George Finn for sending this little curio in by email:

Taken from a 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics, did this ever take off?

QuoteTypewriter Keyboard On Typesetting Machine
Typists can now set type on Linotype and Intertype composing machines through the development of a keyboard that has the standard keys of a typewriter. Forty-four keys, electrically operated, fit over the 90 keys of a standard composing machine. The keyboard can move from one composing machine to another as there is no installation. The new keyboard is simply placed over the top of the existing keyboard and the unit is ready for use when it is plugged into an electrical outlet. The complete outfit weighs only 25 1/2 pounds.

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Robert Griffith
Burleson, Texas

Dave Hughes

Not sure, the picture seems a little "stylised" you can see the electrical cable.

I like the way they skim over the weight issue as well. "The entire outfit weighs only 25 and a half pounds." That's nearly two stone! A lot of weight to put on top of a lino keyboard!
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Dave Hughes

Don Black is selling one here:

He describes it as being rare. He's got a better picture of it though:

Looks like the same one, it's got the same blank space to the right.
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Here is a close up view of the keyboard:

Robert Griffith asks
QuoteHow the heck does it work?

Good question Robert. I'm sure Don Black, or one of his techs could tell you. For a bit of fun I'm going to give it a shot.

If you look at the keyboard you will see that the actual typewriter keyboard is in front of the assembler elevator rod to which the assembler lifting handle is attached, so that the mechanism to operate the machine's keyboard is sitting directly over the linecaster's keys.
Given the vintage of the invention I'd guess that under each typewriter key there would be a leaf switch, which when closed by pressing a key, would either operate a solenoid above a lower or uppercase key depending on the position of the typewriter's shift key. I would assume that a power supply would convert the line voltage to 12 or 24 volts DC.

I don't think the weight would be a problem the Fairchild TTS unit hung on the front of the keyboard and it was no light weight. Although, I would not like to swing the keyboard open with typewriter keyboard in place.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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