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Linofilm Brings back Memories

Started by jhenry, October 01, 2009, 03:41:48 PM

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The inclusion of the Linofilm on a Hot Metal List seems just wrong, but it did bring back memories of my school days. We operated a linofilm system at RIT (Rochester, NY) as part of a class in photo-composition. I have to say that there were many settings and things to remember when running the keyboard which made it much rougher than plopping on a magazine on the Linotype and keying away. During that class we operated the Linofilm, an early Photon, and a Mergenthaler VIP. Shortly before the end of the semester, they wheeled in a Compugraphic 8400, which, when fed paper tape, the tape would run so fast it would run out of the reader head horizontally for a foot or so before it fell to the floor.

The Linotype & Intertype and a good lengthy run of commercial success when compared with the brief life of some of these early photo-comp machines. I am headed next week to the "Brick City Reunion" at RIT, and three of us oldsters are planning to get together and remember the "good old days" as we see them. I'm sure the photocomp class will enter into the discussions somewhere.

Dave Hughes

Hi jhenry and welcome to the Metal Type forum  :)

I understand what you're saying about the Linofilm stuff perhaps not fitting in, but it's difficult to know where to draw the line, especially when some of the early photo stuff looked like this:

And, of course, as the years roll by what seemed to be cutting-edge rapidly becomes archaic!
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True Dave. Mergenthaler also built a prototype machine, called Linofilm that looked and operated on the principle of circulating matrices with a negative character in the side. They even produced sales brochures, but the machine never went beyond the prototype.

I was trained to service Linofilm in 1964 at about the same time Mergenthaler in their wisdom decided that 16, 11pica lines were not fast enough and upped the speed to I think 20 lines a minute. Unfortunately the complex magnesium shutter mechanism wasn't designed to run at the higher speed.  The thin shutter plates would crack and  a piece would fall out and you would suddenly find you had two characters one over the top of the other. That was when I was first introduced to epoxy glue. Lost a lot of sleep, but in hind sight, they were fun days.

All the relays and radio valves, or tubes, that required half a dozen or so racks about 8" x 24",  would fit on a single chip today.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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