The Hand that Keeps the World Informed

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By 1923, this powerful sentiment and image had become a masterpiece of Expressionist art. It was not always so.

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Here is the earliest version I know of. It is from 1914, and is an excellent example of the "pictorialist" school of photography dominant at that time. Photographic tastes have changed, and it is easy to dismiss a piece in this style, but if you study it on its own merits, it stands up well. I'm not yet sure of the machine in use here; it might be a Model 9.

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From The Linotype Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 2 (September, 1914)

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Here is an interim version, from 1916.

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From The Book of the Matrix[:] Announcing Specimen Book of Type Styles. (Brooklyn, NY: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, 1916)

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Finally, here is the same image transformed in 1923 into a compelling expressionist woodcut (somewhat incongruously surrounded by a perfect period 1920s border, as if Edvard Munch and Bruce Rogers were fighting over the page). This is one of the finest images ever made representing the Machine Age.

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From Orcutt, William Dana and Edward E. Bartlett. The Manual of Linotype Typography. (Brooklyn, NY: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, 1923). In the original, this image (the frontispiece of the book) is tipped in.

Here is my original 1200 dpi RGB scan (158 Megabytes): manual-of-linotype-typography-1923-000-02-ii-frontis-1200rgb-recrop-8606x11792.png


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