FAQs, Myths, & Misconceptions

Linotype & Intertype

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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. (Links in "{braces}" refer to entries in the Notes and References section.)

Note: Many of the answers here are rather long and very detailed. One might ask whether shorter and less detailed versions would suffice. 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.


1. What It Is and Does

1.1. Is the Linotype a Printer?

No, but even the question is misleading.

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.)

The question you meant to ask is: "Is the Linotype a printing press?"

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 (or Intertype) itself produces no paper/printed output.

This is mis-represented in {Bieber 2011}

2. Invention and History

2.1. When was the Linotype invented?

The Linotype was not invented all at once. It was developed over a period of about 15 years from 1876 to around 1890/1892. 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 1970s.

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).

1876. 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.

1878. 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. Mergenthaler abandons this machine in 1879, but Clephane et. al. continue to work on it through 1884.

1883/1884. Development by Mergenthaler of the "First Band Machine," a keyboard composing machine which produced strip-format paper stereotype matrices for later casting. It employed patrices (like punches) arranged in vertical bands to produce a single strip-format paper matrix in one operation.

1883 & 1884. Filing by Mergenthaler (1883) and Moore (1884) for two different methods of casting complete lines of type (rather than individual types or full stereotype plates) from these paper stereotype matrix strips. This is the origin of the first of the three major technical features which most characterize the Linotype: the slug-line of relief printing type. It is possible that this method was used as early as the 1878 development of the Rotary Impression Machine.

1884/1885. Development by Mergenthaler of the "Second Band Machine," a keyboard composing machine with integrated casting apparatus working directly from metal matrices (in vertical bands in this case). Initial prototypes lacked automatic line justification. This was the first keyboard-controlled linecasting machine.

1885. Double-wedge line justification. Near-simultaneous independent development of what became the spaceband by Mergenthaler and Jacobs W. Schuckers. In development in 1884, patents by both in 1885. The spaceband is the second of the three major technical features which most characterize the Linotype. Mergenthaler applied it initially to the Second Band Machine.

1884/1885. Mergenthaler conceives of the idea of recirculating individual matrices. This was the third of the three basic principles characterizing the Linotype. Patent filed 1884. Experimental machine by 1885.

1885. Matrix Combination Teeth. The patterns for these teeth are in their first use ad hoc. Later they employed a binary counting scheme (7-bit big-endian), but at present I do not know when this was developed or who developed it.

1886. First (limited) production Linotype. The model now known as the "Blower Linotype" (then the "Tribune Machine") in commercial use at the New York Tribune. This machine had a Second Elevator and most (but not all) of the features of the first really successful machines of the 1890s (including matrix Combination Teeth). The "etaoin" keyboard was developed to meet technical requirements unique to this model .

1890. Introduction of the "Square Base" Linotype. Except for the structural shape of the machine frame, this was a Linotype in its modern form.

1892. Introduction of the "Model 1" Linotype The mechanism of the Square Base Linotype together with the more elegant "star" base. (Note: This was not the "Simplex" Linotype. See When did Mergenthaler Develop the "Simplex" Linotype?)

So when was the Linotype "invented"? Personally, I'd opt for 1890, the date the Square Base Linotype entered production. That is the date at which the Linotype began to become a significant part of the printing industry. The Square Base Linotype was also the first production machine to have the Second Elevator (one of the most visible characteristic features of the Linotype). However, one might reasonably opt for 1886, the date that the Blower Linotype entered limited production.

If you're emphasizing the dates of the development of technologies, then it is more important to you that the most characteristic principles of the Linotype were in place by 1885:

Less critical innovations include:

At the present time I do not yet know who developed the use of binary coding for sorting in the matrix Combination Teeth and the Distributor Bar.

The machines and ideas of the period 1872-1882 are really just precursors which indicate an interest and a line of development but do not themselves contain the important characteristics of the Linotype.

2.2. When did Mergenthaler Develop the "Simplex" Linotype

This is a trick question. He didn't. There never was any machine called the "Simplex" Linotype in America. Ottmar Mergenthaler never built one. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company never made one.

Yet one might be forgiven for thinking that it existed. The best authorities since the last half of the 20th century all talk about it. Richard Huss, in his comprehensive 1973 survey The Development of Printers' Mechanical Typesetting Methods identifies the "Simplex Linotype (Model 1)" as the machine of 1890 which "was the basis for all succeeding designs". ( {Huss 1973}, pp. 136-137.) There is a sure sign of confusion here, because while a prototype for what became the Model 1 was demonstrated in 1890, the Model 1 itself was not introduced to the market until 1892.) George Corban Goble, in his 1984 doctoral dissertation on the Linotype (still the standard scholarly reference) writes of "the Model 1, sometimes called the Simplex." Frank Romano, in his popular 1986 book Machine Writing and Typesetting: The Story of Scholes and Mergenthaler and the Invention of the Typewriter and the Linotype captions an illustration of the Square Base Linotype: "The Simplex Linotype (1890) provided the pattern for all later linecasters." ( {Romano 1986}, 5th plate after p. 74. A few plates later (10th plate after p. 74) he captions a photograph of another Square Base Linotype "The 1890 Square Base Model 1 Linotype".) Just before the turn of the 21st century, Basil Kahan, in his biography Ottmar Mergenthaler (still the best biography of Mergenthaler there is) Identifies the "Simplex" as the basic fully developed Linotype model which "in time ... became known as the Model 1." ( {Kahan}, 185.)

Quite a number of other modern sources also refer to Mergenthaler's invention of the "Simplex" Linotype (variously dated to 1892, 1890, and even 1886!) For the most part, they just quote each other. It's a catchy, quick way to summarize the history of the Linotype in a simple tag. Yet all of these sources, even the good ones (Huss, Goble, and Kahan, especially) are far removed from even secondary sources. All of them are wrong, and it is possible to trace the origin of their error. For an extensive study of this, with references, see the Notebook The "Simplex" Linotype (Never Made in America).

What follows here is a brief summary of that study (with references omitted). The place to begin is with a firm identification of the first three commercially produced Linotypes and their names.

The first Linotype produced commercially went into commercial service in 1886 and remained in production until 1890. It had no special name at the time; by the end of its production it was known simply as "the Linotype." Subsequently it has been referred to as the "Blower" Linotype due to its use of compressed air, but it has always been clear that this is a later name applied to this machine for the convenience of historians. Here is a photograph of the sole surviving machine, as shown in a 1935 publication

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(From {Pearson 1935})

The second model of Linotype to be produced commercially went into production and was offered for sale in the US in 1890. It had no special model name when introduced or at any time during its production in the US. It was known just as "The Linotype," or sometimes "The New Linotype" (to distinguish it from the earlier model). Subsequently it has been referred to as the "Square Base" Linotype due to its visually imposing and generally rectilinear base, but just as is the case with the "Blower" Linotype it has always been clear that this is a later name applied to this machine for the convenience of historians. Here it is in a cut from the same 1935 source:

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(From {Pearson 1935})

In 1890 Ottmar Mergenthaler also demonstrated in public a prototype of a revised machine which was very similar to the model introduced commercially in 1892. Production of this style of machine did not begin in 1890.

The third model of Linotype to be produced commercially went into production in 1892. The earliest known advertisement for it in the trade press dates to 1893. This 1892 model was known, at the time of its introduction, as just "The Linotype." It remained in production for over a decade (another model, the Model 2, was not introduced until 1902; the successor to the 1892 machine was the Model 3 of 1903); it was available on special order until at least 1916 (possibly later); it was officially supported with parts through at least the 1930s. After the introduction of the Model 2, Mergenthaler Linotype Company technical literature uniformly refers to this 1892 model as the "Model 1." Here it is, as shown in the first ad for it:

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(From {{ Inland Printer Feb. 1893} )

At no point before 1954, 62 years after the introduction of the Model 1, was any Linotype in America called the "Simplex." To find a "Simplex" Linotype, we must go to Germany.

The German Linotype licensee, Mergenthaler Setzmaschinen-Fabrik GmbH, Berlin, was set up in 1896. We do not know which model Linotype it first produced (For comparison, English licensee started shipping a derivative of the "Square Base" in 1892 (just after its production ceased in the US) and did not ship a derivative of the Model 1 until 1895. The Canadian Linotype company also begain with a derivative of the Square Base (in 1889) and kept it in production until 1909. All non-US Linotypes based on US models differed from the US models (and the Canadian, English, and German companies each soon diverged significantly in their engineering from the US models).

In any case, at some point before 1901 they began producing a German-made Linotype which was clearly a derivative of the US Model 1. Also at some point by 1901 they began referring to this machine as the "Simplex."

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(From {AfB 1901}, p. 282)

Thirty years later, in the German literature, the name "Simplex" began to be applied to American Linotypes in German-language histories of the Linotype. The earliest instance of this is from an article in 1932, which claimed that the "Simplex" Linotype was developed in 1892. So it would appear that in the 1930s the Germans started to apply the name for one of their early Linotype models, "Simplex," to the first really successful American Linotype, the Model 1. But the situation did not remain even this simple (pun intended) for long; by 1934, a different article dated the "Simplex" Linotype to 1890 (the year the Square Base entered production).

1954 was the centenary Ottmar Mergenthaler's birth. The German Linotype company (by then Linotype GmbH) commemorated this by having Willi Mengel write a celebratory history of the machine, Die Linotype Erreichte das Ziel (roughly: "The Linotype Reached the Target"). In it, he names and illustrates what he calls the "Simplex-Linotype" and identifies it with the 1890 machine (but he doesn't call it a prototype, but rather "the final form" and the "first mother of all Linotype models which later developed.") Mengel was simply continuing the errors of the then standard German histories of the Linotype.

But in America the Mergenthaler Linotype Company published an abridged translation of Mengel's book in that same year, as Ottmar Mergenthaler and the Printing Revolution. In it, for the first time ever in an American publication, they used the name "Simplex": "1890 saw the construction of the Simplex Linotype, which started the triumphant spread of Linotypes all over the world. The Simplex provided the pattern for all later models." (Their English translation is an idiomatic, but accurate, version of what Mengel wrote.)

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(From {{Mengel 1954 US})

Within a month (by August, 1954), Americans had forgotten their own history (we do this, a lot) and began passing resolutions at conventions, commemorating Ottmar Mergenthaler's development of the Simplex Linotype. Since then the situation has become even more confused. Mengel was simply incorrect in two ways: that Mergenthaler built a "Simplex" Linotype and that in 1890 machine "started the triumphant spread of the Linotype." (He did not, and the Model 1 was introduced in 1892.) No doubt because of the date (1890), later writers came to believe that the "Simplex" Linotype was the Square Base Linotype (which was) introduced in 1890). Error compounds itself, and no doubt because people came to think that the "Simplex" was the first Linotype and because the first commercial Linotype was the "Blower" Linotype, since the 1980s there have been histories of the Linotype which date the "Simplex" to 1886.

All subsequent references in American and English Linotype literature to Mergenthaler's supposed "Simplex" Linotype can be traced to this 1954 importation in Mengel's book of the 1930s misunderstanding in the German literature of the difference between the early German "Simplex" Linotype and the machines actually produced in America. Once Huss fell into this trap in 1973, subsequent writers really didn't stand a chance. It hasn't been possible to rectify this error until the 21st century, when the text-searching of massive quantities of digitized literature became possible. Once you start applying these modern tools and actually searching the literature, it becomes clear that "Ottmar Mergenthaler's Simplex Linotype" is an imaginary beast.

2.3. Was Mergenthaler a German or an American?

Ottmar Mergenthaler was born a citizen of the Kingdom of Württemberg. When he first became involved with the series of developments which would lead to the Linotype, he was a citizen of the German Empire. At the time of his involvement with (and invention some of) the basic principles of the Linotype, he was a citizen of the United States of America.

In greater detail:

Ottmar Mergenthaler was born in Hachtel, near Bad Mergentheim, in the Kingdom of Württemberg on 1854-05-11; his family had long been resident in this area. Germany did not exist as a nation prior to the unification of the German Reich (usually rendered in English as the German Empire) in 1871. During the period from 1815 to 1866, the Kingdom of Württemberg was a sovereign state which was a part of the Deutsche Bund ("German Confederation"). In the map below, it's the yellow area just below and left of center.

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(This map is entitled "Karte des Deutschen Bundes 1815–1866 / Map of German Confederation 1815–1866." It was published 2008-01-19 by Wikimedia Commons user kgberger. The original is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Deutscher_Bund.svg. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide PNG rendering of this map. Here is a local copy of the original SVG vector graphics version: german-confederation-1815-1866-Deutscher_Bund.svg)

In 1866, the German Confederation collapsed. Many of the northern states in it joined in a North German Confederation, but the Kingdom of Württemberg did not. Ottmar Mergenthaler would have been about twelve years old at the time. (The North German Confederation is outlined with a red line in the map below; the major portion of it consisted of the Kingdom of Prussia, shown in blue.)

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(This map is entitled "Karte des Norddeutschen Bundes 1866–1871 / Map of North German Confederation 1866–1871." It was published 2007-03-09 by Wikimedia Commons user kgberger. The original is at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Norddeutscher_Bund.png It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The image above links to a local copy of the original PNG-format version.)

With the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the Kingdom of Württemberg became a part of that empire. Mergenthaler was 17 at the time. Here's a map which shows the former Kingdom of Württemberg in relation to the new German Empire.

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(This map is entitled "The Kingdom of Württemberg (Königreich Württemberg) within Germany at the time of the German Empire" It was published 2007-05-11 by Wikimedia Commons user "52 Pickup". The original is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map-DR-Wuerttemberg.svg. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide PNG rendering of this map. Here is a local copy of the original SVG vector graphics version: wurttemberg-in-german-empire-Map-DR-Wuerttemberg.svg )

In 1872, the 18 year old Mergenthaler emigrated to the United States rather than risk draft into the army of the German Empire. ( {Goble 1984}, pp. 46-47.) Here's a map of the U.S.A. as it appeared when he arrived.

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(This map is entitled "Map of the states and territories of the United States as it was from 1868 to 1876." It was published on 2006-07-29 by Wikimedia Commons user Golbez. The original is at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_1868-1876.png It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The image above links to a local copy of the original PNG format image.)

Ottmar Mergenthaler became a US citizen in 1878 ( {Kahan 2000}, p. 12.) The only change by 1878 in the map above would be the admission of Colorado as a state in 1876, the year Moore and Clephane contacted Hahl and Mergenthaler.

Kahan also reports that he "considered himself to be an American" but enjoyed a circle of friends within the German-American community.

So Mergenthaler was ethnically German (more specifically Swabian). From his birth to 1871 he was a citizen of the Kingdom of Württemberg. From 1871 to 1878 he was a citizen of the German Empire who was resident in the German Empire from 1871 to 1872 and resident in the United States from 1872 to 1878. From 1878 to his death he was a US citizen. One could think of him in this period either as an American or as a German-American.

In 1878, the year of his US citizenship, Mergenthaler was still at work on the "impression machine" which was the first of several precursors to the Linotype and the basic ideas of the later Linotype had not yet been developed.

For a discussion of how this question can be muddied by imprecision, see the note {Hobson 2013}, A.

2.4. Did Benton's Engraving Machine Lead To the Linotype?

In Simon Garfield's otherwise fine recent book Just My Type {Garfield 2010} we learn:

"... [forty years after 1845] Linn Boyd Benton invented the pantographic punchcutter in Milwaukee. This was an ingenious router that cut steel punches for metal type (it was swiftly adapted for wood type, too), and led directly to the invention of two American machines that changed not only the way type was made but almost everything about the way type was consumed for the next eighty years. ... The Linotype (1886) and Monotype (1897) systems of mechanical typesetting..." (p. 239)

This is a pretty standard modern story. Garfield doesn't cite his sources, but he could have learned this story from any number of previous accounts. Unfortunately, it is inaccurate both as a whole and in almost every detail. Let's consider first its smaller-scale errors and then the large-scale error in its assertion that the Benton engraving machine "led directly to" the Linotype and the Monotype.

Starting historically, Benton's pantograph engraving machines were not "swiftly adapted" for cutting wood type. Benton developed the first versions of his engraving machines in the 1883-1885 timeframe. By this time wood type had been cut by pantographic routers for nearly half a century. Darius Wells and David Bruce Jr. first applied machine routing techniques to the making of wood type at some point just prior to 1828. In 1836, George Leavenworth and Edwin Allen both (independently) applied pantographic control to the routing of wood type. This equipment was adopted by all later makers of wood type (e.g., Page, Morgans, Hamilton) By the 1880s the manufacture of wood type by pantographic routing machinery was a significant industry on the verge of consolidation into the Hamilton organization. ( {Kelly 1969}, pp. 51-53) If anything, the difficulty for the historian should be how to demonstrate that Benton in Milwaukee, a mere 90 miles south of Hamilton in Two Rivers, was not influenced by wood type pantographs rather than vice versa. (There is no evidence that I am aware of to suggest that he was, other than the general fact that pantographic machinery of all kinds was in wide use in many industries from the 18th century on.)

Linn Boyd Benton did live in Milwaukee and did develop pantographic engraving machines in the early 1880s. He was not the first to apply pantographic engraving techniques to the making of matrices for metal type (the Central Type Foundry in St. Louis began the direct engraving of matrices in 1882 using a pantographic engraving machine of German origin . Nor was Benton's machine "swiftly adapted" (or adopted); while it was advertised in 1884, the first lease of a machine did not occur until 1889. This was about the time that Schroeder & Werner (late of the Central Type Foundry) set up the first commercial matrix engraving firm.

Benton's achievements were still significant; it's just that by casting them as a single event of inspired genius we obscure their genuine merit. He actually developed at least five pantographs during his lifetime, and his punch/matrix engraving machines were not necessarily even the most interesting of these. Details of his early work on these are lost. A 20th century reconstruction of his methods by William Gregan of American Type Founders indicates that his first pantograph was employed for cutting patrices in typemetal, not punches in steel. ( {Cost 2011}, p. 73) If you line up the dates in Benton's work, this might have been in 1883 or early 1884. By July 1884, his firm was advertising to cut punches in steel by machine in The Inland Printer. This is a clear indication that his vertical pantograph punch engraving machine was in operation by this time. The patent on it was filed 1884-02-29 (for what became US patent no. 332,990, issued 1885-12-22). Benton did not cut matrices directly until 1899, long after many others had entered this field both within the type foundries and as independent matrix engravers.

The point here is not to belittle Benton's achievement. His work was remarkable, and influential; I hold it in the highest esteem. The point, rather, is to indicate that type-making by nontraditional methods was contemplated by a number of people other than Benton in the 1880s. The presence or absence of Benton's pantographs, which did not become more widely known until 1889 when they were first leased, would not have been at all relevant to the developers of composing machinery in this period.

More significantly, Benton's pantographic patrix/punch engraving machine, attested by 1884 and leased commercially in 1889, in no way "led directly to" any particular composing machine.

By 1884, for example, while certainly most type was still set by hand, at least three type-setting machines were in at least limited commercial use: the Kastenbein (from 1869 on), the Burr (1873) / Empire (1880), and the Thorne. Of these, the Thorne went on to reasonable commercial success. Others, such as the Paige (1873 on) were in more or less advanced stages of development.

Looking specifically at the Linotype: Mergenthaler's first involvement with typographical composing machinery was in 1876. By 1878 he was engaged in building the "Rotary Impression Machine," which may be seen as the first predecessor of the Linotype. In early 1883 he set up his own shop for building what became the "First Band Machine." The patent for this was filed the same month that Benton first advertised punch engraving services, July 1884. (But Moore's patent on the slug-line was filed earlier, in February 1884.)

Mergenthaler continued, developing the Second Band Machine by August 1884. This was an integrated keyboard composing machine and linecaster. By 1885 he had built a prototype of a machine employing all of the basic principles of the Linotype: slug-line composition, double-wedge spacebands, and recirculating matrices. A more developed version of this machine entered limited production and commercial service in 1886 as the machine which would become known as the "Blower" Linotype .

We know from Mergenthaler's own autobiography that at the time of the introduction of the Blower Linotype in 1886 he was entirely unaware of Benton's work (although he was aware of the issues that it could resolve, and had begun work on punch machinery of his own). Through the research of Carl Schlesinger, we know that for the first six months the Blower Linotype employed electroformed matrices. (See Schlesinger's edition of Mergenthaler's (auto)biography in {Mergenthaler 1989}, but see also the possibility that the 1884 patent for Mergenthaler's Second Band Machine depicts electroformed matrices .) The use of electroformed matrices allowed it to match the existing type of the New York Tribune exactly, but these matrices proved insufficiently durable. Mergenthaler replaced these with matrices driven from hand-cut punches; these continued in use until late 1888. In 1888, with relations between Mergenthaler and the syndicate which controlled the Linotype at a low point, the syndicate became aware of Benton's machine and began commissioning punches from Benton, Waldo & Co. In 1889 they leased their first Benton pantograph for making punches in-house.

The Benton pantographic punch engraving machine was without question significant for the large-scale production and ultimate success of the Linotype, but the Linotype itself was developed and put into commercial service with no knowledge of it at all.

A similar argument can be made for the Monotype, the development of which began by 1885 (when the first patents for it were issued to Tolbert Lanston) without any knowledge of Benton's work. (Although since the Monotype took longer to come to market, the Benton pantographic punch engraver was adopted at a point which was relatively earlier in its development). For more information on the early history of the Monotype, see Rich Hopkins extraordinary book on Tolbert Lanston. {Hopkins 2012}

One may also pick nits and note that neither the Linotype nor the Monotype are typesetting machines. The Linotype is a composing linecaster. (The Mergenthaler Linotype Company went to great pains to note that the Linotype was not a typesetter and that it used no types.) The Monotype is a composing typecaster. It does not set type but rather it casts type as composed matter. These may seem like small matters in the 21st century, where "type" has come to mean any form of lettering not physically done with a pen, but for the history of printing and the transition from pre-cast hand-set type to interactively cast machine-composed slug-lines and types, they matter. A machine such as the Thorne was a type-setting machine. Machines such as the Linotype and Monotype were not. The only effect they had on "the way type was consumed" was to dramatically reduce the scale of its consumption.

2.5. Did the Linotype Lead to Benton's Cutting of Punches?

Many histories of printing and the Linotype tell a story of the influence that the Linotype had on Linn Boyd Benton, causing him to start cutting punches in steel. Even solid, reliable authors such as James Eckman (1965), Basil Kahan (2000), and Patricia Cost (2011) repeat this story. It is false.

This story stems from one source, an article by Henry Lewis Bullen, "Linn Boyd Benton - The Man and His Work," which appeared in in The Inland Printer, Vol. 70, No. 1 (October, 1922), pp. 60-64 (and the frontispiece). It has no earlier source, and Bullen didn't even repeat it in his later articles on similar subjects.

By way of background, the story presumes that you know that Linn Boyd Benton had developed his pantograph engraving machine and that he used it initially to cut patrices in typemetal for electroforming matrices. We do not actually know anything at all about the very early (1883/1884) versions of Benton's machines. However, it is relatively certain that he was using it in this way (research by the ATF matrix engraver William Charles Gregan, after interviews with Benton's son Morris Fuller Benton, came to this conclusion). So that much of Bullen's story is confirmed by another source.

Bullen tells a story which has Whitelaw Reid of the Mergenthaler Printing Company (which later became the Mergenthaler Linotype Company) discovering that Benton had a patrix engraving machine. Desiring a better way to make punches (in steel), he dispatched Philip T. Dodge to Milwaukee to convince Benton to adapt his machine. Bullen tells a good story. He reports conversations. He mentions that Dodge offered to pay Benton a specific sum to make the experiment - which Benton did, with success.

The trouble is, the dates don't line up. The "Blower" Linotype was in commercial production by 1886, initially with electroformed matrices and then with matrices punched using hand-cut punches. Through 1887, Mergenthaler was unaware of Benton's machine and was at work on his own machinery. The earliest date for which there is evidence that Whitelaw Reid and Ottmar Mergenthaler knew of Benton's machine is January, 1888.

Yet in July 1884 Benton, Waldo & Co. had claimed in a trade note in The Inland Printer advertising the capability of cutting punches in steel by machine.

We do not know why Bullen fabricated this story in 1922, or what his source was. No doubt he believed it. But unless P. T. Dodge had a time machine, it isn't true.

(For a more thorough discussion of this, with sources, see the CircuitousRoot Notebook on my Issues with Henry Lewis Bullen's works.

3. Technical Aspects

3.1. How Many Different Matrices Can a Linotype Hold?

At last, a relatively simple question!

The standard main magazine for a Linotype has 91 channels and is intended to hold matrices for 90 different sorts (one sort per channel). There are two channels for 'e', although not all machines were equipped to take advantage of this extra 'e' channel. Despite the fact that they all have 91 channels, the standard main magazine is called a "90 channel" magazine.

Each main magazine holds a single "matrix font." This is a single style of type (e.g., Caslon) at a single body size (e.g., 12 point). At first each Linotype matrix carried a single mold cavity and could cast only one character Later, in text sizes, two characters per matrix were used. Typically the second character was a variant on the first (so one matrix font might supply, say, 12 point Caslon with (Caslon) Bold), but in some cases it might be an unrelated face.

The first attempt to increase capacity was to add main magazines. This allowed as many matrix fonts as you had main magazines. This was done in two ways: In one style of machine the use of each magazine was independent. You could not mix matrices from one magazine in a line with those of another. In the other style of machine, the "mixer" machines, you could. In most cases, even when more than two magazines were supported, you could only mix from two magazines at once. (The exception to this was the most unusual Model 9 and its derivatives, which could mix from four magazines simultaneously.) American-made Linotypes and Intertypes supported between one and four main magazines. (There were some later German Linotypes with six.)

A Linotype-compatible matrix has 7 matrix "Combination Teeth" on it. This gives 128 possible combinations. The means of distribution for a "90-channel" magazine is an implementation of pure 7-bit binary counting used as a sorting method.

The 90-channel magazine differed in construction details in the very early machines, but at the introduction of the Model 5 (1906) it settled down into a style which remained in use until the end of production. (Intertype magazines, however, are not compatible with Linotype magazines.)

The other way in which capacity was added was to provide means of using wider matrices for larger type. The width of each channel in a Linotype magazine is fixed (widths vary from channel to channel; the width of a channel expected to carry 'W' is greater than that of one expected to carry 'l'). It turns out that when increasing type body size, you run out of width in the channel well before you run out of available height for the matrix casting surface. The solution is, somehow, to provide magazines width wider channels which will, therefore, accomodate wider matrices for bigger type.

The first solution here was to provide auxiliary magazines alongside the main magazines. These were made in several formats. They employed extensions of the original distribution and assembly systems. (The 7-level coding on the Linotype matrix allows 128 combinations. Subtract 1 for no teeth (such matrices fall into the quad box). Subtract 1 for all teeth (such matrices run through the distributor and down the "pi chute"). Subtract 1 for the extra 'e' channel. Subtract the 90 channels of the standard main magazine. This leaves 35 possible tooth combinations for use in auxiliary/side magazines.) Linotype, at least, supplied at various times 28-channel, 34-channel (narrow) and 34-channel (wide) auxiliary (side) magazines.

The second solution was to provide a main magazine of the same external size but fewer (wider) channels. This began with the Model 20 in 1917, which introduced the 72 channel magazine. The coding for the distribution remained the same (certain codes were simply not used) and the keybaord remained the same (certain keys were not used). A few machines were equipped with an extraordinarily clever arrangement whereby both 72 and 90 channel magazines could be used on the same machine. (These are extremely rare today.)

One could, by the time production matured, purchase 72/90 mixers with four main and four side magazines. These were most impressive.

The third solution was to redesign the magazines in an incompatible fashion. This was done by Linotype in the later machines which became known as the "Wide Range" or (later) "Rangemaster" models (Models 27 & 28, and later the 33, 34, 35, and 36). These employed larger magazines with wider channels. Regular Linotype matrices would run in them, but the magazines from the "Rangemaster" models could not be used on regular machines.

Did I say that this was a simple question? Just answer it with "90" and that will probably satisfy both the layperson and the enthusiast.

3.2. Why the "etaoin" Keybaord?

3.2.1. The "etaoin" Keybaord Layout

The standard arrangement of the alphabet in the various keyboard layouts used with the Linotype and Intertype is unique to these machines. It's natural to inquire into its origins. The answer is partially, but not completely, known. It is obscured, however, by the lack of careful distinction in understanding technology and the repetition of various unsupportable stories.

Here's an illustration of one of the more common Linotype keyboard layouts. There were many differences in detail for specific applications, but most of these differences affected the less used keys (such as the small caps in the center section and the ligatures on the far right). The basic arrangement of the alphabet in two sections (lowercase on left, uppercase on right) in "etaoin shrdlu" order (as read down the rows, not across) was standard.

[TO DO: put an illustration here]

3.2.2. Distinction 1: On Speed

The first careful distinction which must be made concerns speed. An anonymous, undated (but probably mid-20th century) article on the Linotype keyboard illustrates the problem with careless logic: "With the idea of speeding up the setting of type, the old Linotype keyboards and their letters arranged in decreasing order of the frequency with which they appear in the language. This allowed the left hand to key all the most used characters and spacing and the right hand to handle the caps, punctuation, and everything else." {Tampa 2011}.

From the point of view of user interaction with a keyboard, this is obviously wrong. Human fingers are arranged left-to-right (as they're held in front of you), not up-and-down. Human society is (not necessarily for the better) dominated by right-handers. Arranging a keyboard so that the most comon keys are in a vertical row at the far left of the machine is possibly the worst thing that you could do ergonomically. Indeed, most Linotype keyboard fingering methods use only a few fingers from each hand, in part because of the difficulty of using the entire left hand on a vertical row of keys.

(As an aside, the "qwerty" arrangement predated the Linotype, and Mergenthaler rejected it. But the querty keyboard has its own set of myths regarding machine layout and the speed of typing. {qwerty}.)

But just as the layout of the qwerty keyboard was designed to speed overall machine production rather than the fingers of the typist (see the note on {qwerty}), so it is also possible that the etaoin keyboard layout was designed for the benefit of the machine rather than its operator. (No inventor would knowingly design a keyboard layout for the purpose of slowing down the production of his or her machine!)

3.2.3. Distinction 2: Unintended Advantages

The second careful distinction which must be made is one between advantages of a particular keyboard layout (which may be real advantages) and the reason for its adoption. Designs may have consequences unforseen by their inventors.

So for example it is true (I believe) that the "etaoin" keyboard layout reduces the likelihood of transposed matrices. In a Linotype, the matrices are released from the magazine by an escapement and first fall under they influence of gravity alone. They then travel leftward toward the assembly area. (In the 1886 "Blower" Linotype they were propelled there along rails; in post-1890 Linotypes they fall onto a belt and are carried to the Assembling Elevator by that belt.) It is perfectly possible to press a key which releases a matrix on the right side of the magazine and then press another key releasing a matrix on the left side before the first matrix has moved to the left of the second matrix. This would result in a transposition of the intended order of the matrices. Matrices drop by gravity faster than they travel along the belt. Putting the most-used matrices on the left (which is what the "etaoin" arrangement does) will ameliorate this. But even though I was told at first that this was the reason for the etaoin arrangement, and even though it is true, I no longer believe that it was the reason Mergenthaler devised etaoin.

Similarly, others have claimed that "the keyboard arrangement [etaoin] was to facilitate the return of the most used mats to the magazine as quickly as possible." {Linofish 2013} This is also true - because the matrices are distributed left to right into the magazine, the ones on the left of the magazine will be distributed faster. This can matter if you're a good operator able to "hang" the machine (compose one line while casting the last line while the line before that is distributing - I'll never be that good!) But again, even though this is true, I do not believe that it is the reason for the development of the etaoin keybaord.

3.2.4. Unwarranted Extrapolations

Finally, one must take care not to extrapolate. For example, it is reported that Charles Letsch, an "aide" of Mergenthaler, said that Mergenthaler "tore a two-column story out of the Sun and asked me to count all of the letters and other characters in it to determine the most used characters. And the rsult of that count set the standard arrangement." {Allen 1936} While this may explain how Mergenthaler knew that "etaoin shrdlu" represented the letter frequency of English (though printers and typefounders obviously had been aware of letter frequency for centuries), it does not explain why the keyboard was arranged in order of letter frequency. (Goble says that Mergenthaler was responding to "complaints ... from operators wanting a keyboard with a convenient grouping of characters most frequently used," but he cites no evidence for this (Kahan, who has read Letsch's account in {Allen 1936}, implies that Letsch reported this.) More significantly, however, it fails to account for the fact that the etaoin arrangement is actually an inconvenient grouping of characters most frequently used.

3.2.5. What Mergenthaler Wrote

There is, however, evidence from Mergenthaler's own pen (or at least his patent attorney's pen) which explains the reason for the etaoin keyboard layout. It has to do with the implementation of recirculating matrices in the "Blower" Linotype of 1886. In this machine, the magazine of tubes which held the matrices was vertical (not inclined, as it was on later machines). This meant that matrices, once released into the magazine's tubes, simply fell to the bottom of the tubes without restraint.

Mergenthaler believed that there was some risk of matrices being damaged in this drop, and that this risk was naturally greater the longer the drop. The length of this drop would be reduced by either (a) a tube being shorter or (b) a tube being partially full of matrices already. Mergenthaler took advantage of both of these conditions by arranging (a) the magazine tubes of the Blower Linotype to descrease in length from left to right and (b) the magazine tubes on the left to be used for the more common characters. A matrix font does not have the same number of matrices for each character; it has more matrices for the frequently used ones, and fewer for the less frequently used. The combination of these features meant that the magazine tubes toward the left of the Blower Linotype, which had to be more nearly full length to accomodate a greater number of matrices, would also tend to be partially full of these matrices and thus minimize the vertical drop. At the same time, the tubes toward the right, which could be shorter as they had fewer matrices to accomodate, would also (because they were shorter) tend to minimize the vertical drop.

As Mergenthaler expresses it in his US patent 378,798 for the Blower Linotype (filed 1886-07-17, issued 1888-02-28):

"This inclination [of the assembly "matrix guide or conductor"] is advantageeous not only in that it facilitates the descent of the matrices, allowing a weaker blast to be used with safety, but also in that it causes the matrices to assume more readily the required position therein, and also in that it admits of the magazine-tubes being gradually reduced in length toward the right side of the machine. This reduction in length is advantageous not only because of the diminished expense, but because it permits the use of a small number of matrices for those characters which are seldom used without the necessity of having the matrices fall a long distance when delivered from the distributing mechanism above. If long tubes were used with a smaller number of matrices in their lower ends, each matrix would acquire a considerable velocity in falling to its place in the tube. This would tend to the mutilation of the matrix." (p. 3, lines 105-124)

Basil Kahan was aware of this, as unlike many others who have written on the subject he took the time to read the patent specifications. ( {Kahan 2000}, pp. 179-180) I had the opportunity to bring Kahan's research on this subject to the attention of the LETPRESS list in 2013 {MacMillan 2013}

The first Blower machine was installed in July 1886. There is some overlap of reported dates with regard to keyboard issues. (Kahan (p. 45) cites July 22 1886 as the date of the conversation about keyboard layout, and says that this was three weeks after the machine began work). But Mergenthaler's patent was filed July 17, 1886 (issued Feb. 28, 1888). Two resolutions to this are possible: Either Mergenthaler modified his patent filing after July 22, or Letsch, writing 50 years later, is off by a few days in his date. My own suspicion is the latter, and that the reduced-length magazine tubes and the "etaoin" keyboard arrangement were an integral part of the Blower Linotype from its first development. The magazine tubes on the experimental recirculating matrix machine of 1885 which immediately predated the Blower Linotype were all of the same length.

I am in fact personally inclined to be very suspicious of the entire story of Mergenthaler asking for a character count so that he could change the keyboard layout of the Blower Linotype just after it entered production. He could have determined character frequency much more easily by looking at any fonting scheme of a typefoundry. More importantly, the variable length magazine tubes of the Blower Linotype (vs. the single-length tubes of its experimental predecessor) make sense only when used with the most numerous (and frequently used) matrices to the left and the least numerous to the right. It is unlikely that Mergenthaler changed the entire magazine apparatus of the machine on the fly three weeks after it entered commercial production.

3.2.6. Survival

With the introduction of slanted magazines with the Square Base Linotype of 1890, the original need for the etaoin arrangement as Mergenthaler identified it in his 1886 patent disappeared. (Friction between the matrix and the inclined magazine slowed the descent of the matrix to safe speeds.) This allowed the use of magazines with channels (in place of the former tubes) of uniform length. However, the Assembler Front of these post-Blower machines now took on the inclined characteristics of the magazine tubes in the Blower Linotype. This is an interesting change which deserves a closer look: when combined with a descending-frequency order in the magazine, it assists in reducing issues of matrix transpositions. (But it is unrelated to Mergenthaler's issue of matrix damage, as the Matrix Delivery Belt is soft; neither is it related to the advantages of an etaoin arrangement for faster distribution.)

Moreover, the keyboard itself changed (the Blower Linotype had a 107 key keyboard; subsequent machines had the more familiar 90 key keyboard). Yet the etaoin arrangement remained unchanged throughout nine decades of Linotype production from 1886 to the late 1970s.

No doubt it didn't hurt that this arrangement had other advantages (reducing matrix transpositions, speeding distribution), but still it represents an extraordinary survival of a particular configuration into machines in which the original reason for that configuration had disappeared. There were about 200 Blower Linotypes. There were well over 100,000 post-1890 Linotypes and Intertypes. All of them retained the keyboard layout that Mergenthaler designed to reduce matrix damage in those first 200 machines.

(As an aside: The Linograph, a successful early 20th century competitor to the Linotype which re-implemented the basic Linotype technologies, used vertical magazines with uniform channel lengths. But it employed shorter magazines (and also shorter matrices), which would reduce the vertical drop. It used the etaoin keyboard arrangement.)

3.3. How Many "Levels" is the Teletypesetter Code?

The standard Linotype main magazine has 90 different channels, each holding matrices with one or two character positions. Up to four main magazines may be present. Up to four side magazines, with up to 34 channels each, may also be present. That's 992 different possible sorts, plus the spaceband. Plus specifications for quadding (if supported).

The Teletypesetter tape is a 6-level tape which therefore provides 64 different possible punch combinations. How can it control a Linotype or Intertype?

The basic answer is that it employed shift and unshift codes. Six level tape allows 64 possible code combinations. Subtract two of these for the shift and unshift codes. This gives 62 non-shift codes in each of the two shift positions, or 124 possible code points.

This is sufficient to control a single main magazine (90 channels), which is all that is necessary. The TTS was employed primarily in straight matter for newspaper work and did not have to accomodate multiple magazines or side magazines. It could, however, accomodate both the "upper rail" and "lower rail" positions to use both characters on two-character matrices. (This constituted, basically, a second shift/unshift. So, really, the TTS code supports 6 bits - 4 shift positions = 60 code positions, * 4 shift positions = 240 code points if two-character matrices are in use. But some of these were taken up with control codes (elevate, quadding, etc.))

BTW, it is anachronistic to refer to Teletype or Teletypesetter tapes as having a certain number of "bits" (5 for TTY, 6 for TTS). The Teletype dates to 1910 (Krum's start-stop transmission patent, No. 1,286,351) and the Teletypesetter to 1928. Claude Shannon did not use the term "bit" in its modern sense until 1948. These are "5-level" and "6-level" codes.

4. Notes and References

Note: Several secondary sources are particularly reliable - notably {Huss 1973}, {Goble 1984}, and {Kahan 2000}. But even they may err when they rely upon unreliable earlier sources - notably Henry Lewis Bullen.

{AfB 1901} Archiv für Buchgewerbe. Band 38, Heft 7. (Leipzig: Verlag des Deutschen Buchgewerbenvereins, 1901): p. 282. This issue has been digitized by Google from the Princeton University copy of Band 38, part 2.

{Allen 1936} The account by Cahrles Letsch of counting letter frequencies for Mergenthaler is reported most accessibly in {Goble 1984}, p 85. Goble's source in turn was an article by John E. Allen, "Veteran Machinists and Operators Recall Early Days of Linotype" which appeared in the Linotype News [vol. and number unknown] (August, 1936), p. 3. I have not yet read Allen's article.

{Bieber 2011} In a 2011 music video by Justin Bieber ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Arthur Christmas Version)") a Linotype is used as set dressing. The producers clearly had no idea what a Linotype was, but as it had a keyboard they placed paper apparently coming out of it as if it were some kind of typewriter. This is on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAI_xI9wQnE

{Cost 2011} Cost, Patricia. The Bentons Rochester, NY: R.I.T. Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011.

The conclusions of William Gregan that L. B. Benton first used his vertical pantograph to engrave patrices, not punches, were conveyed first to Theo Rehak and the from Rehak to Cost. There is no actual evidence to support them, but Gregan's conclusions make perfect sense given the type-making technology of the period. Moreover, Gregan's opinion as a practical matrix engraver should be held in high regard. Bullen also reports that Benton first engraved patrices, but his account cannot be trusted on its own as it is riddled with other, major, errors.

{Garfield 2010} Garfield, Simon. Just My Type: A Book about Fonts. NY: Gotham Books (Penguin), 2010.

{Goble 1984} Goble, George Corban. The Obituary of a Machine: The Rise and Fall of Ottmar Mergenthaler's Linotype at U.S. Newspapers . Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1984.

{Hobson 2013} Hobson, James. "Retrotechtacular: Linotype Machines, Mechanical Marvels." Blog posting on 2013-09-17 at http://hackaday.com/2013/09/17/retrotechtacular-linotype-machines-mechanical-marvels

This is a fairly conventional contemporary article about the Linotype as a "mechanical marvel." It's not entirely wrong, but it's not exactly right, either. (In particular, its reference to "type sets" and their use in "stamping in the mass production of printed media" indicates that the author has little knowledge of letterpress printing technology.) However, this blog posting and the comments it received are quite revealing in their documentation of current misconceptions about the Linotype.

Hobson says "It was a cold dreary day in 1876, when a German inventor living in American named Ottmar Mergenthaler was approached by James O. Clephane ... so Mergenthaler set to work on a new design. Traditionally, type sets were cast on one machine, and stamped on another to crate the text. On a train, Mergenthaler thought, why not just combine the machines?" A patriotic commenter, "pcf11," objects to this on the basis that "Mergenthaler became a naturalized citizen of the United States and developed his machine after 1884, so Ottmar Mergenthaler was not 'a German inventor living in America' when he had an idea for the Linotype." There is a great deal of confusion in these statements.

a. While Mergenthaler and Clephane met in 1876, Clephane did not ask Mergenthaler to work on machines of Mergenthaler's design until 1878 .

b. I am unaware of any surviving meteorological reports for the date of the first meeting of Mergenthaler and Clephane. However, it was in July (1876) in Baltimore, a month not known for its chill.

c. From 1872 to 1878, a period which encompassed some of the initial work by Mergenthaler on what became the Linotype, Mergenthaler was in fact a citizen of the German Empire living in America. So Hobson is correct in calling him this in 1876 (but he didn't "invent the Linotype" then).

d. Mergenthaler did claim to have had the idea to integrate composing and casting into a single machine on a train ride , but Hobson's account is otherwise misleading. This train ride occurred in 1884, not 1876. Mergenthaler was not integrating traditional typecasting with machine composition (the later Monotype came far closer to that), but rather was dispensing with an intermediate step (strip paper matrices) in the machine as it was then in development (the "First Band Machine," of 1883/1884).

e. But commenter "pcf11" is also misleading in claiming that Mergenthaler "had the idea!" for the Linotype in 1884. The Second Band Machine which came out of this idea on a train was only one stage in the complex development of the Linotype. In particular, it did not incorporate recirculating matrices, and in its first implementation did not employ double-wedge line justification. There is no single idea which is the Linotype.

There are other problems in the Hobson article and its commenters which should be identified.

f. Commenter "Larry" claims that the Linotype justifies text through the use of "multiple step wedges." This conflates a historical dead-end with the method actually used. Mergenthaler used double-wedge line justification from his Second Band Machine in 1885. Unfortunately for him, Schuckers simultaneously developed something like a spaceband and filed a patent which blocked this aspect of Mergenthaler's patent very shortly before Mergenthaler filed his . This became a source of significant litigation in the 1890s. During that time Mergenthaler developed a "stepped" spaceband as an alternative, and produced it in his own shop in Baltimore. (I've seen one in the collection of Don Black in Toronto.) This method was abandoned once the Linotype company purchased the Rogers Typograph Company (who had acquired the Schuckers patent).

{Hopkins 1991} Hopkins, Richard L. His Ideas Got Mergenthaler Started! The Story of Charles T. Moore. Typographical Curiousities No. 13. Terra Alta, WV: Hill and Dale Private Press and Typefoundry, 1991.

{Hopkins 2012} Hopkins, Richard L. Tolbert Lanston and the Monotype (Tampa, FL: Univ. of Tampa Press, 2012)

{Huss 1973} Huss, Richard E. The Development of Printers' Mechanical Typesetting Methods: 1822-1925 . Charlottesville, VA: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia, 1973.

{ Inland Printer Feb. 1893} The Inland Printer. Vol. 10, No. 5 (Feb. 1893): 458. Digitized by Google from the Univ. of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust.)

{Kahan 2000} Kahan, Basil. Ottmar Mergenthaler: The Man and His Machine. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2000)

{Kelly 1969} Kelly, Rob Roy. American Wood Type: 1828 - 1900. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969. (Reissued 2010 by Liber Apertus Press, Saratoga, CA.)

{Linofish 2013} Fischer, Greg ["the Linofish"] "Re: new Lino/Intertype key field test" posting to the LETPRESS discussion list on 2013-05-03 at 12:34:41 -0700.

{MacMillan 2013} MacMillan, David M. "etaoin origins, revisited" posting to the LETPRESS mailing list on 2013-07-21 at 3:26:47 -0500.

{Mengel 1954 US} Mengel, Willi. Ottmar Mergenthaler and the Printing Revolution. Brooklyn, NY: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, 1954.

{Mergenthaler 1989} Mergenthaler, Ottmar and Carl Schlesinger, ed. The Biography of Ottmar Mergenthaler, Inventor of the Linotype. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books, 1989.

In 1898, Mergenthaler dictated his autobiography in the third person and published it anonymously as Biography of Ottmar Mergenthaler and History of the Linotype, Its Invention and Development . This present volume is Carl Schlesinger's edition of Mergenthaler's (auto)biography. It contains substantial additional material by Schlesinger, including his analysis of the electroformed matrices used for the first six months of operation of the "Blower" Linotype in 1886.

{Pearson 1936} Pearson, Frank. Ottmar Mergenthaler. [a "special historical number of"] The Business Printer. (July-August, 1935). Salt Lake City, UT: Porte Publishing Company, 1935.

{querty} The frequently repeated story that the "qwerty" layout was designed to slow typists down is false. The Sholes & Glidden typewriter, as well as most of its successors through the 1890s and into the very early 20th century, was an "understrike" machine with keybars arranged in a circular form to strike up at the bottom of the platen. The "qwerty" arrangement was designed to minimize keybar interference with this particular mechanical arrangement, and thus to speed the overall rate of production of the machine. (The slowest typewriter of all is one that is jammed.) It should also be noted that the concept of touch typing did not exist when Sholes developed qwerty and Mergenthaler developed etaoin.

{Romano 1986} Romano, Frank J. Machine Writing and Typesetting: The Story of Sholes and Mergenthaler and the Invention of the Typewriter and the Linotype . Salem, NH: GAMA Communications, 1986.

{Tampa 2011} This is an image in the flickr photostream of the University of Tampa which shows an anonymous article from an unidentified newspaper or magazine entitled 'Golly, Toto, I don't think were [sic] in "QWERTY" anymore!' The page dates the photograph to May 3, 2013 (but an examination of the digital file dates it to 2011). This is online at: www.flickr.com/photos/42444823@N00/8704035817/in/photostream

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