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Mergentaler Linotype's 21st Birthday

Started by Mechanic, March 26, 2010, 10:19:46 AM

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Mechanic

On May 11, 1911, the Spartanburg Herald journal, in South Carolina USA, published a story reviewing the trials and tribulation of getting a Linotype suitable for producing lines of type required for newspaper production.  They set the date as April 8, 1890 and the story was to celebrate the 21st birthday of that event. As April 8, 2010 is fast approaching I thought that maybe some of our members and guests would be interested to see how a user of the Linotype 99 years ago felt about the machine that was playing a major part in the production of the Spartanburg Herald journal.

The second par. of the story reads as follows:-

The linotype was not born, Minerva like, from any Jovian brow, but as it stands today is the product of the minds of many master mechanics who have added improvement after improvement, until the perfections and perversities of the machine make it seem a body of metal endowed a human heart and brain.

In another par. the writer extols the virtues of the machine.

The perfection of the Mergenthaler have been lauded in a dozen tongues, its shortcomings have been apologized for in a thousand editorials, but no one but the men who work with the machine have any notion of how godlike are its virtues, how human its faults. In the old days a tramp printer would occasionally fall from the water wagon just when he was most needed, but never was there man so perverse as a linotype on a spree. All over the country there are hundreds of well-behaved linotypes that never strayed from the narrow path of virtue, that are model machines that never have stayed out nights and that don't know the first rules of poker— but there isn't a one of them that isn't waiting quietly and patiently for that time when the whole shop depends upon it to get out the paper and the machinist is out to lunch. When that time comes even the best and noblest linotype will go on a spree. They are machines, but they are printers.

The full story can be read on:-

http://tinyurl.com/yj478lv


George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast
Queensland
AUSTRALIA


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