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The Monotype System Books

Started by wasshuber, April 23, 2018, 10:37:27 PM

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I am researching the Monotype System Books (parts I, II and III - Copyfitting) Lanston Monotype released. They published a first edition in 1912 and then in 1916 a revised edition was printed. A few questions that maybe somebody can comment on:

1) Were these books also distributed in Europe? Were these the go-to books for Monotype operators in Europe or were there other similar books published around the same time in Europe?

2) Does anybody know who wrote these books?

3) Is information about these books in the "Monotype Recorder"? Are these books mentioned or discussed there?

4) How important or influential were these books? In particular Copyfitting seems to be groundbreaking. The use of the term 'copyfitting' appears to be starting with the publication of this book.

Dave Hughes

Welcome to the Forum wasshuber, and thanks for posting. I've moved your post to the Monotype section. Hopefully one of our Monotype experts will be able to shed some light on the questions raised.
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John Cornelisse

answer 1: as far as I know, they were only used in the US, but I cannot be sure about this. The very first years both companies worked colse together...

answer 2: no author know... I do not know any name of the authors of manuals, US or UK...

answer 3: there were two monotype recorders, one in the US, the other  in the UK.

From the US-periodical I do not have any copy of any year, most copies I have of the UK-recorders, are to be  read in the library.

answer 4: the people behind the keyboard were essential for the whole system, the keyboarders were perfectly trained to produce the ribbons.

For every comp-caster in the plant, three men of ladies were needed to produce enough ribbons to keep the caster happy and busy...

They were trained to do the job, making tables, making mathematical formulas anything.

Besides the Monotype recorder, there was the "Technical Bulletin", another Monotype periodical... More dedicated to the technical issues of the system...


Thanks for moving it to the proper category. The US version of the Monotype Recorder, which was called the "Monotype: a journal of composing room efficiency" is freely available digitally on the HathiTrust Start was April 1913. I think it ran for longer than there are digital editions available, but I don't know for how long.

I do have a person who I think was the author of "The Monotype System" and "Copyfitting". His name was Edward Gallaway from Chicago. The reason why I think he is the author is threefold:

1) He borrowed without quoting and attribution paragraphs for a course he wrote later for R.R. Donnelley. He typically does quote and attribute other authors, but not when he borrows from his own writings. This suggests he was the author.

2) We have done a linguistic analysis of the known later books Edward Gallaway wrote about estimating for printers and the linguistic fingerprint matches remarkably well.

3) The photo of the operator sitting at the keyboard, which is included in The Monotype System book does match various attributes of Edward Gallaway from whom we do have some photos.

Anyway, I don't know how interesting the authorship question is for folks here, but if anybody finds any mention, review or comment about the Lanston Monotype books or about Edward Gallaway I would very much appreciate it to hear about it.

John Cornelisse

Edward Gallaway from Chicago, who was he ? What was his function and status in the Lanston Monotype compagny ? I cannot find anything about this person...


His position in the Lanston Monotype company is unknown. All the business papers of Lanston have been destroyed in the 1960s.

Edward Gallaway was a very interesting guy. He learned the printer's art at the Delphos Weekly Herald when he was 15 years old. (Born 1868, died 1930). Then was mainly what he called a traveling compositor. Also typeset for a year at a German newspaper in Indiana. In 1889 he started his own newspaper in Fort Payne called the Payne Weekly People, but that venture folded a year later. Then he changed his career for three years and traveled with circuses as the orator. After that he setup his own job printing business in Chicago. This was followed by several ventures in the print industry until he worked more permanently at Bentley-Murray, then wrote for Lanston Monotype the Monotype System books and then in 1918 he joined R.R. Donnelley, became the head of the estimating department, and wrote a course for their apprentice school. End of 1924 he left R.R. Donnelley and opened his own School for Estimating for Printers in Chicago for which he wrote two textbooks "Estimating for Printers" and "How to Price Job Printing Properly".

I am also convinced he was the cardshark who wrote "The Expert at the Card Table" (1902) under the pseudonym S.W. Erdnase. And possibly he is also Eugene Edwards who wrote "Jack Pots" (1900).

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