Attention all steampunks! I was perusing the internet a few days ago, and I came across this relic. This machine was labeled as the ‘second printing press’ because of the impact it had on the print industry.
Before the Linotype machine, no newspaper had more than eight pages. Every single character, including spaces, that would appear on a printed page would have been tediously set by hand. Ottmar Mergenthaler was the brainchild of this creation, seeking a method to more quickly publish legal briefs. In 1886 the first commercial Linotype machine put to use, and these machines remained invaluable until the ’60s and ’70s where they were replaced by newer technologies such as phototypesetting and eventually of course computerized typesetting.
There is a documentary that is being made, which has already exceeded it’s fundraising goal on kickstarter. People feel like this relic deserves recognition, and not only because of it’s impact in the world. Young and old alike who catch a glimpse of this machine in operation have to feel something for its elegance in design, its mechanical marvel. Later versiouns of the machine consisted of over 2500 parts, and more than half of them moving. Thomas Edison called it ‘the eighth wonder of the world.’ Originally to use the machine you would have to apprentice for seven years, three to learn the operation and four to learn the mechanical ins-and-outs. Have a look for yourself, these are two excellent youtube clips on the subject.