Today is a very special day – not only in the history of the Linotype, but also in the history of communication and technology.
On this date in 1886, the German clockmaker, Ottmar Mergenthaler demonstrated the first Linotype Type Casting Machine at the New York Tribune in New York City, USA. In front of a gathering of printers, newspaper men and reporters, the machine was first put in to production, casting lines of printable type for the Tribune.
At this demonstration, Mergenthaler sat at the machine and cast the first line of type. It is alleged that Whitelaw Reid, the owner of the Tribune, exclaimed “Ottmar! You’ve done it! A line of type!” A reporter asked what the new machine was called and Reid replied, “Why yes, we do have a name. We are going to call it the Linotype.”
This simple demonstration was the culmination of 10 years of extremely hard work by Mergenthaler. His genius and skills were put to the task of inventing a machine that would revolutionize the world. His Linotype sped up the production of printable type and singlehandedly caused the biggest revolution in printing and communication since Gutenberg.
It can be said that the Linotype was the “Twitter of 1886″ for it sped up the spread of information at a dramatic rate. Without the Linotype, news and information moved slowly, but now, people could read the news within hours of the event. Due to the speed and low cost of printing, literacy dramatically increased as more and more books and newspapers were published.
So let us always remember July 3rd, the genius inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler and his fascinating machine that revolutionized the world.
About the Film
Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centred around the Linotype typecasting machine. We are excited to announce a second Kickstarter project to help us cover post-production expenses. We need your help with the expenses of editing, colour-correction, sound mixing, motion graphics, music acquisition and archival footage.
With your help, we can deliver the highest quality production possible. Please read on to learn more about becoming involved with our project, and then visit the Kickstarter page to learn about the rewards. Your involvement is vital for bringing this project to fruition.
About the Film
Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, the Linotype revolutionized printing and society. Very few people know about the inventor, his fascinating machine, or the revolution it sparked. The Linotype brought about a change in communication as dramatic as Twitter today.
The film tells the surprisingly emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world. We have discovered that the Linotype was more than just a machine – it was a career, a skill, and a passion. Even in the face of modern technology, many still believe it to be the best way to create beautiful typography.
Although the film is about a machine from the past, we have found that the Linotype is still a relevant piece of printing technology that has something to say about the future of communication and news.