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Monday, November 8, 2010

Linotype: The Film

We've been spending a lot of time on this blog lately debating the long-term impact of the e-book, but if you (like me) are fascinated by the story of how old technologies revolutionized publishing, check out this trailer for a movie now in production: "Linotype: The Film" (link via Boing Boing).

BTW did you know that Mark Twain went bankrupt investing in the Paige Compositor, a rival to Linotype that Twain was convinced would quickly conquer the world of automated typesetting? I'm guessing that if Twain were alive today he would have turned down the chance of investing in Google and would have sunk all his money into AOL instead . . .


  1. I loved the trailer! Took me back to the 2 summers I spent during college as a proofreader at a typesetting company. There was a roomful of these giant, spider-like, clanking contraptions, operated by guys who sat on little stools at their feet, like supplicants. I remember watching them working at composing type in long metal trays, selecting letters by hand from compartmentalized drawers, their hands moving so fast, and they composed backwards so it would read forwards, as I recall--amazing. And yes, hot lead spurts were an occupational hazard. And in a cold little room that had been built into the loft space was a big, humming, often-malfunctioning computer that got the level of attention and cosseting of a newborn nestled amid its louder, tougher, noisier siblings. I was seeing the transition from hot to cold type happening in real time.

  2. Great story--such a vivid description. Thanks Toni . . .

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