The first shows the keyboard of the Mergenthaler Linofilm phototypesetter. The box on top of each, with triangles of controls on them, is a Linomix unit. This unit allowed an additional two fonts to be justified at the same time (for a total of three). I'm pretty sure that the machine in the far back corner is also a Linofilm keyboard, turned around and out of commission. The teletype Model 33 in this picure is not a part of the Linofilm system. The scraps of wide paper tape on the flor (and the tape in the spools on the second keyboard) is 15-level tape.
The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide reduction of this photograph, which should be sufficient for most viewing. Here is the original 1200dpi scan (144 Megabytes): mergenthaler-linofilm-consoles-parkersburg-wv-1200rgb.png
Here is a full-resolution version of the image above: pdp-8-computer-used-in-APS-phototypesetter-parkersburg-wv-1200rgb-crop-linofilm-back-2672x4896.png. For the complete photograph, see the Notebook on the APS-2 Filmsetter.
The term "font" is used too loosely today, as if it meant "typeface" generally. To a typefounder, a "font" is a purchasable unit of type. When you buy a font of type from a typefounder, you get a certain number of pieces of metal type, no more, no less.
The term "font" is capable of extension to other type technologies. In the case of phototypesetting, a "font" was a purchasable unit of photographic film. If you purchased Mergenthaler Linofilm system font of Garamond No. 3 Roman (which is the example here), that's what you got, no more, no less. Unlike metal type, you could have as many of each letter (sort) as you wished to expose on film (and depending on the optics of the system you could scale or do other transformations). But if you wanted Garamond No. 3 Italic (a different font), you had to buy it separately.
Here, then, is a font of type (Garamond No. 3 Roman) for the Mergenthaler Linofilm system. The overall external width of this cartridge is 4 9/16 inches. It's a glass plate set in a protective metal shell, with a screen with a grid of round holes over it.
Presentation note: The scans above were done to show the transparent nature of the letterforms through the crude expedient of scanning with the cover of the scanner open. This worked, but it led to color artifacts in the original RGB scan. I've converted it here to grayscale to avoid these. Given the colors of the original (dull silver, black, transparent) this actually represents the appearance of the physical object quite well. As before, the image above links to a 2048x pixel JPEG conversion. Here is the full-resolution version (scanned at 1200dpi, so it is 23 Megabytes): mergenthaler-linofilm-font-garamond-no-3-roman-1200rgb-coveropen-crop-6534x6677-autowb-destalum-grayscale.png
If you really want the original, color, scan, here it is: mergenthaler-linofilm-font-garamond-no-3-roman-1200rgb-coveropen-crop-6534x6677.png But it's 61 Megabytes and the distinctive red background color seen around the grid and through the letterforms in it is an artifact of scanning which is not present in the original. So use it with caution lest you mislead someone into thinking that somehow Mergenthaler was selling rose-tinted fonts :-)
The Mergenthaler Linofilm used an unusual 15-level paper tape with two rows of sprocket holes. Here's a scan of a scrap of 15-level tape, with a steel rule in decimal inches and a scrap of 6-level Teletypesetter tape for comparison.
As usual, the image above links to a 2048 pixel wide JPEG version. This should be sufficient for normal viewing. Here is the original 1200dpi RGB PNG scan (60 Megabytes): paper-tape-15-level-mergenthaler-linofilm-and-6-level-teletypesetter-with-steel-rule-1200rgb-rot90ccw.png
The Parkersburg WV newspaper photographs presented here were clearly done as works for hire for the newspaper, and thus originally owned by the newspaper. They were sold, and I am the ultimate purchaser of them. I am presuming that the copyright of these photographs passed with them when purchased, and that therefore I am the current copyright owner. I choose now to place them in the public domain (and their scans presented here, as well). I have since donated the original of the photograph which includes the view of the PDP-8 computer to the Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications, and Computation. The scans presented here were done while I still owned it.
The photographs and scans of Linofilm fonts and tape are by the author. They are copyright 2014 and are licensed under the same Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license as the rest of the page.
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2014 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
Circuitous Root is a Registered Trademark of David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons "Attribution - ShareAlike" license. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ for its terms.
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