The Ludlow Typograph debuted at the very start of the 20th century, intended by its inventor, William Ludlow, to be an economical version of the Linotype.
The Linotype had been around for decades by that point, and it had revolutionised the setting of type, which previously needed to be hand-done by swift, skilled typographers.
While the Linotype was certainly not an easy machine to operate and maintain, its keyboard operation and its ability to cast reusable slugs (instead of precious, easy damaged foundry type) made it a huge game changer.
It was the disruptive technology of its day, instilling fear amongst hand compositors, and allowing book publishers and newspapers to distribute their products more quickly and less expensively.
Still, the Linotype was a huge investment with a big footprint, and smaller print shops (“job shops”) were not necessarily able to afford one.
Besides the cost, though, the Linotype was not necessarily a great tool for decorative headlines; its strong suit was in setting large passages of body text.
The Ludlow Typograph, on the other hand, could cast beautiful, decorative headlines at up to 240 points.
It quickly became the must-have tool for setting headlines, and even ended up besting its competition in the long run, the Merganthaler All-Purpose Linotype.
via Three Steps Ahead.