Metal Type: Home | Library | Forum | Free Ads | Store

The Tactics of Tapesetting (1967) - Video

Started by John Nixon, January 04, 2014, 10:46:58 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type

John Nixon

Check this out:  All about tape composition.

Contains a small amount of actual machine mechanisms - first time I have seen a 6-mold Electron.



Dave Hughes

Thanks for the link John, interesting film, I even liked the cheesy soundtrack!
Printle: Word Puzzle for Printers Play Now

Keep in touch with Metal Type Get our newsletters

David Woodall

Hi As a time served Linotype engineer never in all my years (75) have I seen a proper Lino operator use double space bands, there are some cowboys out there.

Using double spacebands will cause damage metal to metal. The FINS as one writer refers to are called HAIRLINES and are caused by the side wall of a mat getting damaged, this if left will wreck a full font in a very short time.

Getting  back to S/Bs  on the blind end of the S/B box we had a hinged mec which had a round felt pad soaked in some type of oil the bands would get brushed against this while retuning to the spaceband box this did help to keep them free of type metal. This then helps in not damaging the side walls of the mats.

I worked on the SUNDAY TIMES for 11 years, The MANCHESTER GUARDIAN was also printed there, then the name  change to The GUARDIAN.

The M/Cs there were INTERTYPE mainly C4s I in my mind think that they were better that the Linotype. We had ten TTS five what we called LONDON and five MANCHESTER. The MANCHESTER FIVE gave us their news and the LONDON five sent over the wire their news.


The Good Old Days

John Nixon's link to the Mergenthaler film was a trip down memory lane for me. I was working with Canadian Linotype, during the fifties and sixties, and I had the doubtful honour oh installing and servicing this equipment. On all the machines field modifications were the norm. High speed output, using mechanical machines, was a real challenge. This was the beginning of the end for this approach to typesetting.

The first Elektron Linotypes (15 Lines a minute) installed were virtually redesigned and rebuilt, in the field, to stop them destroying themselves.

The high speed Linofilm (20 lines a minute) would shatter the character selection shutter plates. You would have characters superimposed on each other.

The Linofilm Quick (20 lines a minute) used lenses on arms that moved into place. Each lens was held in place in the arm with glue which often let go and the lens would rotate and you would get the wrong character. The service engineer would have to go in and refocus the lenses and glue them in place with Araldite, which had just come onto the market.

Just when all the problems were resolved, the machines along with paper tape, were obsolete.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


WideSpacer wonders

QuoteI was also under the impression that the computerized equipment was more commonly used with phototypesetting,

Computerized typesetting for both hot metal and phototypesetting machines evolved at the same time. In the early sixties programs were available for a number of computers. The IBM 1130 and Digital's PDP8 are two that come to mind. Mergenthaler developed an interface six level paper tape reader for their Linofilm as an additional input from the 15 level paper tape produced by the Linofilm Keyboard. In those days computers had very limited storage. The PDP8 had a memory of 128k so programmers had to be very resourceful. The hyphenation exception program was held on magnetic tape. The exception dictionary was for words that could not be hyphenated by logic. The logic is that most English words can be hyphenated after the second, third, fifth, or seventh letter in the word.

For straight matter hot metal or phototype setting, perforator operators were no longer required to worry about line endings. They just typed to the end of the par and hit return. The computer did the rest.

Display advertising was another matter. The ad copy was coded with mark up instructions, which the perforator operator typed in, to instruct the computer how the lines were to be displayed. This coded output tape could then be loaded on the display ad machine either hot metal or phototypesetter.

In the early 70's Harris intertype developed a display ad VDU the Harris 1100 which allowed the un-coded text of an ad on the six level paper tape to be displayed on a CRT screen and the operator could then visually display the ad as required. A new coded six level tape was then produced.

As mainframe computers become more powerful , industry suppliers started to develop systems using VDTs to enter text directly in to the computer's data base. And paper tape and hot metal typesetters were on their way to history.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


The Linotypes I've used all had knobs on the keyboard that when shifted would drop an em, en, or thin space with the spaceband for wider spacing.

Quick Reply

Please leave this box empty:
Type the letters shown in the picture
Listen to the letters / Request another image

Type the letters shown in the picture:

Shortcuts: ALT+S post or ALT+P preview

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

☛ Don't miss our illustrated newsletters. Click here to see examples and subscribe. ☚