Linotype machine keyboard

The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o'-typea significant improvement over the previous industry standard, i.

The linotype machine operator enters text on a character keyboard. The machine assembles matriceswhich are molds for the letter forms, in a line.

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The assembled line is then cast as a single piece, called a slugfrom molten type metal in a process known as hot metal typesetting. The matrices are then returned to the type magazine from which they came, to be reused later.

This allows much faster typesetting and composition than original hand composition in which operators place down one pre-cast glyph metal letter, punctuation mark or space at a time. The machine revolutionized typesetting and with it especially newspaper publishing, making it possible for a relatively small number of operators to set type for many pages daily. Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the linotype in Clephane and his associate Charles T.

Moore, who sought a quicker way of publishing legal briefs. Improving his invention, Mergenthaler further developed his idea of an independent matrix machine. In July,the first commercially used Linotype was installed in the printing office of the New York Tribune.

Here, it was immediately used on the daily paper and a large book. Initially, the Mergenthaler Linotype Company was the only company producing linecasting machines, but in time, other companies would begin manufacturing them. The Intertype Company produced the Intertype, a machine closely resembling the Linotype, using the same matrices as the Linotype, which started production around Where Mergenthaler prided themselves on intricately formed cast-iron parts on their machine, Intertype machined many of their similar parts from steel and aluminum.

Major newspaper publishers retired Linotype and similar "hot metal" typesetting machines during the s and s, replacing them with phototypesetting equipment and later computerized typesetting and page composition systems.

As of [update][5] the last-known newspaper still using linotype in the United States is The Saguache Crescent.

The operator interacts with the machine via the keyboard, composing lines of text. The other sections are automatic; they start as soon as a line is completely composed. Some linotype machines included a paper tape reader. This allowed the text to be typeset to be supplied over a telegraph line TeleTypeSetter. It also allowed for several tape perforator operators to prepare paper tape to be processed by a single linotype machine, essentially decoupling the typing speed of the operators from the operating speed of the linotype machine.

Each matrix contains the letter form for a single character of a font of type; i.Linotypetrademarktypesetting machine by which characters are cast in type metal as a complete line rather than as individual characters as on the Monotype typesetting machine.

It was patented in the United States in by Ottmar Mergenthaler. Linotype, which has now largely been supplanted by photocompositionwas most often used when large amounts of straight text matter were to be set.

In the Linotype system, the operator selects a magazine containing brass matrices to mold an entire font of type of the size and face specified in the copy at hand. A keyboard is manipulated or driven by paper or magnetic computer tape to select the matrices needed to compose each line of text, including tapered spacebands, which automatically wedge the words apart to fill each line perfectly.

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Each matrix is transported to an assembling unit at the mold. The slugs produced by the machine are rectangular solids of type metal an alloy of lead, antimonyand tin as long as the line or column measure selected. Raised characters running along the top are a mirror image of the desired printed line. After hot-metal casting, a distributing mechanism returns each matrix to its place in the magazine. Linotype Article Media Additional Info. Print Cite verified Cite. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.

Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. Woodside Press - The Linotype. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History.

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Ottmar Mergenthaler's 2nd Linotype machine. Read More on This Topic. A composed line, with matrices and spacebands, in a Linotype machine. Dwiggins, Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.

Each of the matrices was individually notched so that it could return only to its proper slot in the magazine after use.View them all as they are published at www. The linotype machine, invented in by Ottmar Mergenthaler, revolutionized typesetting and with it the newspaper industry. The machine operator used a character keyboard to assemble groups of letters into a mold; which was cast as a single piece of type. This process was much faster than when an operator had to place each character one at a time.

It now sits in the lobby of the Foster's printing press facility in the Venture Drive industrial park off Sixth Street. Foster said the people who operated them were very much craftsmen, and the linotype operator was as valuable as the linotype itself.

Before the linotype, most newspapers had no more than eight pages due to production restrictions. Digital access or digital and print delivery. It was a hazardous position because the hot lead type could fly off and burn the operator.

Foster said it really changed the speed at which news could be provided. Clue to tomorrow's Thing: It was an armory but no weapons allowed now.

Site Archive.The Linotype and the Intertype are complex machines with a complex history. They're also increasingly unfamiliar in our world. It's not surprising that there are a number of obvious questions about them which have perhaps non-obvious answers. It is also not surprising that there are many misconceptions about them which have been repeated too often some of which date back many decades, to people who should have known better.

Here I'll try to address these, identifying references with reasonable thoroughness. Note: Many of the answers here are rather long and very detailed. One might ask whether shorter and less detailed versions would suffice.

linotype machine keyboard

The answer to that, at least, is short: no. There have been any number of explanations of the Linotype over the last century and a quarter which have been blissfully free of detail. They've often been inspiring, but they've almost always been wrong. As we become more and more distant not only from the Linotype but from the printed word itself, the degree of inaccuracy has only increased. If you desire to understand a complex machine, you must be prepared to confront complexity.

If you aren't willing to do this, then go away. It is well to remember the second half of Einstein's dictum that things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.

linotype machine keyboard

A "printer" can be one of two things: 1 a person who operates a printing press or runs a printing business, or 2 a machine attached to a telegraph line or a computer to produce graphic output on paper.

As an aside, a printing press is not a "printer" or, worse, a "letterpress". Calling a printing press a "printer" is a sure-fire way to annoy a real, human printer. No, the Linotype is not a printing press. It is a keyboard or sometimes tape operated typographical composing casting machine which produces as its output metal "slugs" of relief printing type which contain not just a single character of type but multiple characters up to, at times, an entire line.

The maximum length of an ordinary Linotype or Intertype slug is 30 picas. There were models and variations which could cast longer slugs - to 36 or 42 pica - but these were not as common.

The slugs produced by the Linotype or Intertype are then used in relief "letterpress" printing. The Linotype was not invented all at once. After that point, while the basic principles of the machine remained constant it was further developed over a period of eight decades until the mid s.

For a more detailed look at the pre-history and history of the Linotype, see A Timeline of Composing Linecaster Development. Here, more briefly, are various salient dates which may be associated with aspects of the development of the Linotype click on each highlighed date to go over to a more detailed explanation, with sources and references, on the Timeline. Charles T. Moore moves the development of his lithographic machinery to the machine shop of August Hahl in Baltimore.

This included a machine for producing strip-format paper intermediates for lithographic printing but Moore's patents also envisioned the possibility of strip-format paper stereotype matrices. This was Ottmar Mergenthaler's first exposure to printing-related machinery and to Moore's backer, James Ogilvie Clephane.

Clephane asks Mergenthaler to build a paper strip stereotype composing machine based on Moore's and Mergenthaler's work. This became the "Rotary Impression Machine," the earliest direct precursor to the Linotype. This machine produced its output character-by-character on its paper strips, not an entire line at a time.Perhaps one of the most notable inventions in the United States print world is the Linotype machine, developed in by a German watchmaker named Ottmar Mergenthaler.

This machine differed from others in a variety of ways and had profound affects on printed work. Overall, it turned out that the simplicity and mechanistic nature of the Linotype fueled its success in the world of print. Linotype DEMO:. The Linotype was very loud, which is why many deaf people were hired to work with them because they were not bothered by the noise level of the machines Wilson.

This video demonstrates the loud nature of the machine. The Linotype is a seven-foot tall typesetting machine that works by creating one line of type at a time. It uses matrices, which are small brass units that have edges indented with characters that are assembled into lines to compose text.

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Once the matrix line is established, a line of type is automatically cast via a solid bar known as the Linotype slug. The operator types the information on the keyboard and the Linotype pulls type, which can then be printed. There are four major components that allow the Linotype machine to function properly: the magazine, the keyboard plus its parts, the casting mechanism, and the distributing mechanism.

The matrices are contained within the magazines and they represent type cases. The keyboard functions to release the matrices in the desired order. The keyboard allows the operator to control the machine and compose the lines of text. Once everything is set with the keyboard functions, the rest of the process is automatic Rodgers The matrix is the heart and sole of the Linotype machine.

To produce a slug line of typethree things must be accomplished:. The operator presses keys on the keyboard, which releases matrices from the magazine channel. The matrices are then delivered to the assembling elevator, in the correct sequence. The letters are engraved in the matrices. The line of matrices is then sent to the casting unit and a plunger injects the molten type metal lead into the mold. The slug is then ejected into the galley tray which holds the lines in the correct order.

At the same time, the matrices are transferred to the second elevator and raised to the distributor and finally, they are returned to their respective channels in the magazine Wilson.

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Once the Linotype slug is created, it is taken to the proofing area, locked into a bed press, then inked and printed to see if there are flaws in the type. If there are mistakes or errors, the slug goes back to the composer to be recast.

Once the slug has been successfully proofed, it is signed off on and sent to the press. While running many presses, it turned out to be a pain to proof many lockups of type. Therefore, a cast of an entire form would be made so that an identical cast could be placed on all presses in order to meet the circulation demand and print newspapers in volume Wilson.

The Linotype keyboard.

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The Linotype keyboard looks very similar to a typewriter. It has 90 keys and it separates letters based on their case—all lowercase letters are on one side based on their frequency of letter use and all uppercase letters are on the other side.

All of the additional symbols and keys are situated in the middle, between the upper and lowercase letters. There is no backspace key or deletion key on a Linotype machine, which makes it really difficult to abort a mistake. How it differs from previous printing. The invention of the Linotype drastically sped up the printing process and allowed letterpress to flourish. Prior to the Linotype, an army of people was needed to set type by hand—one letter at a time.

This caused chaos and slowed down the printing process because it would take a lot of time to find letters and assemble them into lines.It appeared often enough to become part of newspaper lore - a documentary about the last issue of The New York Times composed using hot metal 2 July was titled Farewell, Etaoin Shrdlu [3] - and "etaoin shrdlu" is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary and in the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.

It is the approximate order of frequency of the 12 most commonly used letters in the English language. The letters on type-casting machine keyboards such as Linotype and Intertype were arranged by descending letter frequency to speed up the mechanical operation of the machine, so lower-case e-t-a-o-i-n and s-h-r-d-l-u were the first two columns on the left side of the keyboard.

Each key would cause a brass 'matrix' an individual letter mold from the corresponding slot in a font magazine to drop and be added to a line mold.

Etaoin shrdlu

After a line had been cast, the constituent matrices of its mold were returned to the font magazine. If a mistake was made, the line could theoretically be corrected by hand in the assembler area.

However, manipulating the matrices by hand within the partially assembled line was time-consuming and presented the chance of disturbing important adjustments.

It was much quicker to fill out the bad line and discard the resulting line of text, then redo it properly. To make the line long enough to proceed through the machine, operators would finish it by running a finger down the first columns of the keyboard, which created a pattern that could be easily noticed by proofreaders. Occasionally such a line would be overlooked and make its way into print.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A common metal-type printing error. Etaoin shrdlu in a publication of The New York Times third line from the bottom. A humorous and intentional example of etaoin shrdlu in a publication of The Day Book. Retrieved December 21, New York Times. Fun With Words. Stanford University. Umm, yeah World Wide Words. Barefoot Boy with Cheek.

Bantam Books. The New Yorker. Archived from the original on October 25, The Complete Crumb Comics. February 14, The Linotype is considered to be the first commercially successful automated typesetting machine.

While the development of the machine was iterative, is given as the invention date for the original machine, and in fact the same basic principles were used in all subsequent Linotype and Intertype models. The Linotype machine consists of a keyboard, laid out based on letter usage, that controls an escapement mechanism at the bottom of a 90 or 72 channel magazine which holds the matrices. When a key is depressed, this escapement allows a mat to fall into the assembler.

When the casting command is given, the spacebands are moved upward to create the correct line width, the entire assembly of matrices and spacebands is clamped tight to the mould, the line is cast and trimmed and delivered to the front of the machine. Then, the spacebands are mechanically sorted out and moved back to the spaceband box, where they will be re-used. The matrices are elevated to the top of the machine, then automatically sorted into the appropriate channel in the magazine via a system of teeth on the matrix.

The sorting and and assembly of the matrices is powered entirely by gravity—only the casting and elevation of the matrices require mechanical assistance. The Linotype was developed with the backing of a consortium of newspaper publishers, specifically for their type setting needs. As such, it excels at setting many short lines of straight copy quickly. The earliest machines could handle only one size of one type style.

Changing type styles, even to an italic of the same font, required stopping the machine and changing the magazine.

linotype machine keyboard

As the machines became more sophisticated over time, matrices with two characters roman and italic or small capsmachines that could mix matrices from multiple magazines, and machines that could handle larger point sizes were developed, dramatically increasing the versatility of the machine. With the exception of headlines, the most sophisticated of the late Linotypes could meet the varied typesetting needs of a small town newspaper: capable of setting body copy, photo captions, sub-heads, and classified ad copy with one machine.

In the patents covering the basic mechanism of the Linotype expired and a group of investors and former Merganthaler Linotype employees formed the International Typesetting Machine Company later changed to the Intertype Company. The general principles of operation of the Linotype and Intertype are exactly the same—in fact, most of the matrices are interchangeable.

Linotype and Intertype

The founders of the new company felt that the marketplace was ripe for a competitor to Linotype, and felt that they could produce a machine with enough improvements to create that competition. By most accounts they did; the Intertype is a simpler machine than the Linotype, and incorporated a number of improvements, while retaining the same functionality.

They also created the ability to easily expand the machine, something not true of the Linotype. David MacMillan Model 31 Linotype. David MacMillan Linotype keyboard. Commercial Engraving and Printing Linotype spacebands in use. Leading American Inventors Linotype matrix. Commercial Engraving and Printing Linotype slugs. Jeff ShaySection editor. Type Foundries.

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Ottmar Merganthaler and the Linotype.


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