Printing History – Early Typesetting

For more than 400 years after the invention of printing, all type was set by hand. By the 19th century, man began to con sider the possibility of creating typesetting machines. Numerous machines intended to replace hand composition were invented. Of all the various types of type setting machines invented only two remained. Machines such as the Linotype, Intertype and Ludlow which cast metal slugs (one-piece fully spaced lines); and the Monotype which casts individual pieces of type in justifi ed lines. The invention of these machines took place in the early 1900″. As late as the early 1960″, these machines were still considered “state of the art” The machines used hot lead to forge and mold type in slug or individual form. After usage, the lead type could be re-molten to be used again. During the late 1960″, com puter technology began to take form with the development of the com puter/fi lm system. Using an electric typewriter with a special punch tape unit, the punched tape could be taken to a computer controlled processor. Once the tape was fed to the pro cessor, the punched tape would drive individual photo one by one to produce a page of text in another negative form.

It was only a few short years ago, twenty-fi ve to be exact, that the hot metal type sys tems were “state of the art”. Today, these large hot complex machines have been re placed by chips, computer monitors and software leaving them for museums. Then Today!