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The Begining to the End

Started by Mechanic, March 12, 2018, 11:19:06 PM

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Almost as soon as Linotype was perfected, plans were under way to automate the process of typesetting.
Like most good inventions the automation of linecasting machines was as a result of others building on the groundwork of others. In 1902 Frank Pearne a young electrical engineer approached Joy Morton who in turn convinced Charles Krum, a mechanical engineer, to invest in the development of printing telegraphy. After a year Preane lost interest, Krum was enthusiastic and continued to develop the machine, (which led, through his collaboration with Teletype) to included line caster control.
However it was with the backing of Frank Gannett, the owner of a US newspaper chain, and the inventive genus of Walter Morely that culminated in Linotype and Intertype machines being automated. The Gannett Morely teletypesetter system was demonstrated in 1928

In 1951, the Associated Press started using their new "teletypesetting" service in Charlotte, NC. The news information was transmitted using a perforated, paper tape. At the receiving end of the circuit, a punch produced the perforated tape. At the same time a hard copy was printed out on a teletype printer for editorial subbing. The tape could then be used by typesetting machines. The first message sent was "Greetings. This is the opening of the first Teletypesetter circuit," for they were the first news agency in the U.S. to begin such operation.
The photo is from Harvard Square Library. It shows Frank Gannett holding the tape used in the first demonstration of a teletype machine operating a Linotype. Exactly how this machine worked I have no idea. It is certainly nothing like the Teletypesetters that were around in the 1950's.

Existing line casters running around eight lines a minute was slower than the TTS units could operate. Both Linotype and Intertype set to work making machines run faster.
The Linotype Comet 1954 12 lpm, Intertype Monarch 1958 14 lpm and the Linotype Elektron 1962, 15 lpm.

The End
In 1938 The New Scientist published a patent claim for a phototype setting machine, by Intertype's English subsidiary. The machine was based on Intertype's linecasting machines, but the metal pot was replaced by a camera. The matrices had a type character negative in the side, rather than a punched character mould on the edge. The machine was limited to around eight lines a minute. The first machine was installed in the United States Government Printing Office in 1946.
Mergenthaler Linotype designed an electro-mechanical phototypesetting system, consisting of a photo unit, keyboard and a composer. The type characters were stored as negative images on a grid.
1959 First Linofilm installation at National Geographic. The Linofilm speed was 20 LPM
Many machines of this nature were manufactured, by a number of industry related companies, too numerous to name.
The next step was to Cathode Ray Tube typesetters (CRT) machines which appeared in the late-sixties. Type characters were stored digitally. Line counts per minute were in the thousands. CRT machines could be driven directly by computer. Editorial and advertising copy could be entered directly into the computer, negating the need to re-keyboard the copy in the composing room. Newspaper companies jumped at the chance to eliminate the re-keyboarding. Then a bitter struggle started that resulted in print unions loosing out to automation.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dave Hughes

Nice post George, I didn't realise that tele-typesetter technology was being developed as early as 1928.

Shame there aren't any detailed photos of the early systems. Looks like they are demonstrating on an Intertype in the pic.

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I believe that it is a Linotype model 5, but it could very well be a machine rebuilt by Intertype.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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