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Memory Lane

Started by Mechanic, May 06, 2010, 07:28:08 AM

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Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type


The door opens at the composing room and we spill out into another world: a Martian landscape of Mergenthaler Linotypes' where printers like pianists play bizarre keyboards ("etaoin shrdlu"), casting words into hot type, set backwards a line at a time until a tray is assembled for the inked galley proofs and the page lockups. The non-words "etaoin shrdlu" are the first 12 keys in two rows at the keyboard's left; they're used to fill out a garbled line of type, indicating it should be discarded in a "hellbox."

Another trip down memory lane. Robert D. McFadden describes his first  day as a copy boy at The New York Times in 1961.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dan Williams

Great post! Did he mention a 436 page Sunday edition? Wow, thats something. Surely their weekend edition is not nearly as large now a days. Those old telex and teletype machines were nothing to disparage. They got the job done. On the other hand, one contemporary notebook computer with WIFI versus how many of those old mechanical relay/vacuum tube contraptions...? His account of the cultural divide between editors, reporters and the trades is a stark reminder.

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Printers' Tales - Over 30 stories from the pre-digital age. Buy now on Amazon/Apple Books

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