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Started by Mechanic, October 30, 2009, 10:15:02 AM

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Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type



The following is two and a half pages extracted from "AN EPOCH IN PRINTING, By Faustus"  The extraction is from the first job set on the first Linotype manufactured in Canada in 1892. The booklet can be read on:-

Does its inventor, and do his enterprising coadjutors, deserve their success? There is in the Linotype not only the happy idea which has proved the key to the problem of the ages, but there is the result of prodigious thinking and working on the part of the inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler, of Baltimore. There is also the fruit of the most daring investment of all available means, not only by him, but by a number of enterprising men, whose insight and faith supported them through the anxious adventure. Some two millions of dollars were, I understand, added to Mr. Mergenthaler's investment of brains before the first Linotype machine of the present make became a material actuality. Part of this was spent on acquiring the rights of previous inventors, so that these or their representatives received the market value of their inventions, and, probably, in most cases, a good deal more than could otherwise have been realized upon them. The earlier Linotype machine was completed in 1887, and a large number of machines of that pattern, now entirely superseded, came into use in the United States and Great Britain. The first completed machine of the new pattern was set to work in 1890, and already more than two hundred of them are in successful operation, making a total exceeding four hundred of these machines in daily use in the, United States, Canada, Great Britain and France, the number being added to week after week.

The factory in Brooklyn for the manufacture of the Linotype is just now being enlarged to an enormous size, and another factory is at work on them in Baltimore. An immense factory is also in operation in Manchester in England. The factory of the Canadian Linotype Company, No. 25 Bleary street, Montreal, was secured in May, 1891, and was in full working order in July in the construction of the first lot of eleven machines.

Each machine is constructed of 3.500 parts, and every part must be so perfectly made that it will fall into place in any one of the machines. The perfection of workmanship required for this is such as is seldom needed and seldom met with. For nearly seven months parts have been in process of being cut into shape by means of a multitude of very exact machines, and by means of many special tools which had to be made for the purpose, and have been stored away in sets, ready to be assembled together when the time should come. When at last the time for assembling came the pieces went together as perfectly as the dry bones in the prophet's vision, and everything fitted to perfection. The first of these machines is complete to-day, and the present is the first work that has been done on a Canadian made Linotype machine.

The Linotype Company ask hereon the congratulations of all interested in the progress of the printer's art. The work is here submitted as it drops from the machine. It could hardly be much better and need never be worse.

The secret of the Linotype machine is that it casts a line of letters in one solid slug, the matrices and spaces from which the line is cast being previously arranged by the machine by means of a keyboard similar to that of a typewriter. The average rate which has, so far, been attained in practice has been about 4,000 ems an hour, but this will be exceeded as expert operators are developed. The matter thus set is easily handled, and is ready as it comes from the machine either for the press bed or for the stereotype foundry. Corrections are easily made by recasting lines, the time occupied being much less than that occupied by making similar corrections in the ordinary manner in movable type.

Montreal, Feb. 19, 1892.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dave Hughes

Interesting stuff, George.

Who'd have thought in this era of internet TV on demand, streaming audio services, etc. that people like ourselves could use the medium to take a close look at some type matter produced on the first Canadian Linotype!

Must say it looks pretty good quality. However, the title page with its justified setting and word-breaks seems odd, but I would guess that style would have been the "norm" in that era.

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I must admit, Dave, that I was a little confused when I read the story. I had been told that Linotypes had been manufactured in Toronto by Canadian Linotype and that Mergenthaler had purchased both Linotype and Machinery (L&M) and Canadian Linotype in 1909. Further internet browsing revealed a paragraph in a story about printing equipment manufactured in Canada.

"Two models of Linotype machine were built in Canada, the first manufactured by the Linotype Company in Montréal in 1891 and the second by the Canadian-American Linotype Company Ltd of Toronto after it acquired the Montréal firm. Both models were exported to Australia, South America and South Africa in competition with Mergenthaler Linotype of the US."

Maybe some one knows the history of  L&M.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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