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Supplanting the Linotype

Started by Mechanic, October 05, 2010, 03:50:06 AM

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The following item appeared in the West Australian Sunday Times, Sunday 9 January 1898. I like the summation in the last sentence.

Supplanting the Linotype

Can it be that the Linotype after superseding the type foundry and the composing frame is to be thrust aside by a new mechanical wonder? This is what we are requested to believe by Mr. G. W. Stevens, the writer of an article on the Monotype in the New Review. It is the invention of a Mr. Lanston, an American, and it is to be seen at work in Leadenhall-street. It is described as "one of the greatest marvels of all the marvelous history of machinery, the crown of over five centuries of development in the most vital of all civilising arts." It consists of two parts; the one resembling a typewriter; while the other is the setting machine. These are independent of each other.

The man at the machine begins by setting an index, and this fixes the length of the line required. "Then he commences playing on the keys as with a typewriter; only each key, instead of writing a letter, punches two round holes in a roll. So he taps letter after letter until he has punched a word; then he taps a space,and on to the next word. Presently, when he is coming to the end of a line, a bell rings.'' This means that the line is so nearly full that the operator mast justify. The machine does this with absolute mathematical exactness. '' When the roll or ribbon is punched full it is lifted off the key-board and fixed on to the casting and setting machine," where the holes correspond precisely with a set of dies comprising all the characters and symbols used in typesetting, into which the molten metal is injected, and the type is cast and shot out into a galley.

" The Monotype," the writer tells us, " can set tabular matter and overrun illustrations better than can be done by hand ; and it is the only machine which can make full use of capitals and italics, as supplied in a full fount of type Other machines can produce but a hundred characters with a hundred different movements ; it can produce 225 with 30." . . . " Eight expert key-board operators can punch roll fast enough to keep 10 machines going ; one man can feed and mind all 10!" By-and bye, Mr. Stephens hints, every author will become his own printer -[and may a pitiful Providence have mercy on the world when that happens !]

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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