Ya' know if you were *really* going to be a purist about it, you'd by a
magazine made by pre-Mergenthaler techniques!
I can set cold type in a chase, sort them back into the typecase, and I know
em's, en's, spaces and quads. I can run a Kluge platen press. I can't run a
Linotype - Bob wouldn't let me near that baby. 'Xcept to melt the lead back
Don't get me started on the whole "font" vs. "typeface" mess...
I could sit and watch a Linotype run for hours. I think it was the
inspiration for Rube Goldberg's output.
We actually had two - that also saw light duty use. For some reason, we did
our classifieds on it. I suspect it was to make reprinting the ad next week
Ol' Bob really could read upside-down and backwards faster that I could
setup the Galley Proof press and get copy out to the Proofin' Gals. Two
ladies who "read aloud" to each other all day, every Tuesday.
We has just obtained a new fangled photo typesetter - Singer, if I recall
and it was seeing light use too. However once we hired a gal fresh out'a
journalism school (who actually knew how to work it) it got more and more
use. The type was on a "film wheel" as I recall.
We had four or five Platen presses of various sizes. And a small offset
Looking back now - some 30 years later - I realize:
- Bob was a real craftsman
- And a true gentleman to take a punk kid like myself under his tutelage
- I probably shouldn't have been running the platen presses at age 16
- I probably inhaled more lead fumes that I should have... :)
God bless you Robert Watson - thank you for the experience!
You want a "co-incidence"? Goldberg was born the year the Linotype hit
BTW, if you're not familiar with it, look up a Science-Fiction short-story,
by the title of "Etaoin Shrdlu". It's a _good_ read. Albeit disquieting.
*ESPECIALLY* for those with familiarity with where the title comes from.
Undoubtedly. Particularly if you had lots of repeats. Just pull the slugs
for the dead ads, shove up the remainder, set the new ads, and rack 'em
below the re-runs. About 1/2 the labor of 'editing source' and re-outputting
to a photo-typesetter. Also photo-paper wasn't cheap and _was_ 'one time
use' material, while the lead was re-usable. Hot-type is less expensive,
but cold-type is faster.
Also an issue in the early days of photo-typesetting and 'offset' printing,
was the fact that small font sizes lacked the clarity/crispness of hot type/
Note: it's upside-down _or_ backwards. (It's "mirror-image", just like
a film negative.)
*All* it takes is practice. And _not_ all that much. It's also a skill
that, once learned, you practically never forget. I frequently "don't
notice" that I'm reading backwards, even today -- e.g. sign in a store
window that's meant to be read from the -other- side of glass. Sometimes
I notice that fact when I'm 3/4 of the way through the sign, sometimes
I missed the beginning of this, but have to join in. My father
was a Linotype operator and one of his brothers was the Linotype
salesman for, IIRC, Illinois and surrounding area.
This was before air conditioning and my fathers biggest
complaint was that the Linotype area was 20 degrees hotter than
the rest of the shop. And in Louisville in the summertime, the
rest of the shop was hotter than hades :-). The company (Slater
& Gilroy) had 3 or 4 Linotypes and they always seemed to be
surrounded by fans running at top speed :-).
And don't forget the hiss of a mouthpiece that didn't seal correctly as it
sprayed your leg with molten lead. Learned real quick why that big Arkansas
stone was meant to be used on the mouthpiece regularly. Still have the
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