The Anatomy of Metal Type.

A term not labelled on this diagram is the kern, the part of the face which extends over the side of the type body and rests on the shoulder of the type next to it, or on a special, high piece of spacing material.
Kerns are often found on the letters f and j, among others.
The pin mark was an indentation originally made by a feature of the mold used on the earliest type casting machines.
With improved casters the indentation wasn’t functionally needed, but the mark was sometimes kept to identify the foundry that made the letters.
One point is about 1/72 of an inch. (.0138″)
A pica is 12 points. (.1660″)
Type high = .918”
via Setting Type By Hand – Letterpress Commons.

The Isolator, Anti-Distraction Helmet, 1925.

A full-face helmet made from solid wood, Gernsback’s invention claimed to cut out 95 per cent of any noise bothering the wearer.
Another handy feature was the minimal vision it allowed.
A small piece of glass granted the person wearing it sight, but even that was painted black, with only a thin segment scraped clear to allow you to see paper in front of them.
The good (and maybe bad) of being both an inventor and publisher, is no one can stop you publishing images of your own ridiculous inventions.
This contraption was featured in Gernsback’s own magazine, Science and Invention, in 1925.
Later, the inventor added an oxygen tank when it was found wearers were getting sleepy inside the quiet, dark and – as it turns out – carbon-dioxide-filled helmet.
Laugh all you want, but it seems as though the Isolator may have actually worked – at least for Gernsback.
His editing and writing output was so vast that some now dub him the Father of Science Fiction.
Source: The Isolator: This Insane Anti-Distraction Helmet From 1925 Would Fit Into Any Modern Open Office ~ vintage everyday

The Lanston Monotype, circa 1890.


This old-style description of  The Tolbert Lanston Monotype invention is from “The Advertiser,” Adelaide, South Australia. circa 1900.

The age of miracles has not, as some would have us believe, gone by.
The discoveries of science, the wonders of invention, are as astonishing in their way as any of the marvels dreamed of by men of old. In the matter of printing, for instance, what wonderful triumphs have been accomplished. So great are tbey that one would scarce imagine anything new could be invented.
Typeseting machines of marvellous speed and accuracy are already in use in hundreds of offices.
But the recent invention of an American engineer Tolbert Lanston  (1844-1913) is a marvel. This latest invention is the Lanston Monotype machine.
Its name indicates its essential difference from those typesetting machines which cast their type in whole lines, for tbe Monotype casts each letter singly, thus allowing ease of correction.
The Monotype is in two parts. The first is a keyboard, and the second is the typecasting machine proper. The keyboard is operated by a compositor, who strikes keys representing letters, points of punctuation, etc.
The pressing of a key does not, however, liberate the type, but simply perforates a ribbon of paper, which, when placed on the castng machine, governs all its movement.
Everything that can reasonably be required of a printing machine can be done by the Monotype. The perforated ribbon when put into the casting machine works backward, so that the last letter, quad, or point struck by the compositor is the first to be set by the machine. As the spool of ribbon is unwound the perforations govern the mechanism.
This consists brieffly of a pan of molten type metal kept liquid by a set of gas burners. A series of matrices  set in a die case into which the molten metal is injected, a carrier of type, and a maker of lines which is almost human in its action.
Although so complex in its parts, the working is so easy and methodical that one man can look after some 10 machines. All he has to do is to oil the machinery, occasionally put a block of metal into the melting pan and puts the lines of type onto a galley, which, when filled, is replaced by empty ones by the engineer.
Tbe type on the galley is then corrected, made up and dealt with by the compositor in precisely the same way as a galley of type set by hand. The superiority of the Monotype over most of its rivals is that instead of the line being cast solid, each letter is separate, and should any error have been made it can be remedied without the whole line having to be remade.
Another and obvious advantage of this is that the type, after being once used, can be distributed and used over and over again, just like the ordinary type bought from the type foundry. If the original type is not  wanted, it can be thrown into the melting pot and the metal used time and again.
The power required to drive the machine is claimed by the inventor Mr Lanston to be very small. The molten metal is forced into the matrices by pneumatic pressure, and is immediately cooled by cold water, which circulates through the mold. It is claimed that the types thus cast are equal to those made in the ordinary way at the type foundry.
Another advantage is that the Monotvpe requires so few men to attend to it. Thus eight operators and the machinist can work 10 machines. Yet another advantage is the small amount of space required for the plant, for the keyboard takes up no more room than a sewing machine, while the actual typesetter covers scarce a square yard.
From the foregoing facts and details some idea of the machine we have described may be gathered. But the Monotype must be seen to be appreciated.
Understood by the layman it cannot be, but appreciated it must be by all who witness its wonderful performance-
There is something almost uncanny about the way the thing works. A ribbon of perforated paper is put into a machine, and immediately types issue from it, words are spelled, lines are made and put into their place, and before the eyes of the spectator the column of type visibly grows. It will work day and night. It is useless to praise the inventive genius which created such a machine.
The Lanston “Monotype” type setting machine is one of the most wonderful inventions even of this age of wonderful things.

Alois Senefelder, Father of Lithography.

Johann Alois Senefelder (6 November 1771 – 26 February 1834) was a German actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in 1796.
Born Aloys Johann Nepomuk Franz Senefelder in Prague, then Imperial city (Reichsstadt) of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, where his actor father was appearing on stage. He was educated in Munich and won a scholarship to study law at Ingolstadt.
The death of his father in 1791 forced him to leave his studies to support his mother and eight siblings, and he became an actor and wrote a successful play Connoisseur of Girls.
Problems with the printing of his play Mathilde von Altenstein caused him to fall into debt, and unable to afford to publish a new play he had written, Senefelder experimented with a novel etching technique using a greasy, acid resistant ink as a resist on a smooth fine-grained stone of Solnhofen limestone.
He then discovered that this could be extended to allow printing from the flat surface of the stone alone, the first planographic process in printing. He joined with the André family of music publishers and gradually brought his technique into a workable form, perfecting both the chemical processes and the special form of printing press required for using the stones.
He called it “stone printing” or “chemical printing”, but the French name “lithography” became more widely adopted. And with the composer Franz Gleißner he started a publishing firm in 1796 using lithography.
The value of the new cheap and exact reproduction process was recognized early by land surveying offices across Europe. Senefelder was appointed 1809 to be the Inspector of a new Institution set up for this purpose in Bavaria called the “Lithographic Institute” in Munich.
Similar Institutions were subsequently set up under his supervision in Berlin, Paris, London and Vienna.
He secured patent rights across Europe and publicized his findings in 1818 in Vollstandiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerei which was translated in 1819 into French and English.
A Complete Course of Lithography combined Senefelder’s history of his own invention with a practical guide to lithography, and remained in print as recently as 1977 (Da Capo Press).
Senefelder was also able to exploit the potential of lithography as a medium for art. Unlike previous printmaking techniques, such as engraving, that required advanced craft skills, lithography facilitated greater accuracy and textual variety, because the artist could now draw directly onto the plate with familiar pens.
As early as 1803 André published in London a portfolio of artists lithographs, entitled Specimens of Polyautography.
In 1837, lithography had been further developed to allow full colour printing from multiple plates, and chromolithography was the most important technique in colour printing until the introduction of process colour.
Source: Alois Senefelder – Wikipedia

The Columbian press c.1813.

Volunteer Ted Leigh demonstrates how the 1886 Columbian Press was used to print newspapers. (Photos by Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe)
The Columbian press was invented by George Clymer, probably in 1813, inspired in some measure by the earlier Stanhope press.
It was designed to allow large formes, such as a broadsheet newspaper page, to be printed at a single pull.
The press worked by a lever system, similar to that of the Stanhope press and quite different from the toggle action of the slightly later English Albion press.
Clymer’s innovative and powerful combination of levers greatly increased the pressure that could be applied to the printing forme, without causing undue physical strain to the pressman.
The press was first advertised in April 1814.
Although Clymer manufactured and sold a few presses in America, he found the market difficult and moved in 1817 to London, where he began a successful manufacturing programme that lasted well into the twentieth century, initially with operations at 1 Finsbury Street, London.

In 1830, Clymer joined in a partnership with Samuel Dixon, trading as Clymer, Dixon and Co and moving down the street to 10 Finsbury Street, London.
Clymer pursued various business partnerships between 1830 and 1849 before dissolving the partnership; in 1851, the business was taken over by William Carpenter, the first of many takeovers.
Nonetheless, the Columbian press continued to be manufactured into the twentieth century and was also manufactured in various European industrial centres.
The press is sometimes, incorrectly, referred to as the ‘Eagle’ press due to the characteristic bald eagle counterweight which usually sits on the top lever.
Some Columbians have the counterweight in another form; for example, a simple ornament, a lamp, urn, or orb.
Source: Columbian press – Wikipedia

The Cossar Press, Glasgow circa 1900.

This reel-fed flatbed press was the invention of Scottish printer Tom Cossar, whose father John founded a printing business in Glasgow in 1867.
Although never patented, John Cossar had invented a folding and pasting machine to help his newspaper and printing business run more smoothly but Tom was to go a step further with the creation of his masterpiece, which was to become known as the Cossar press.
Tom’s passions lay with designing and manufacturing printing presses. His first complete Cossar press was shipped to New Zealand in 1903 and four years later his two-page wide press, which enabled up to an eight-page paper to be printed in one operation, was installed in the Strathearn Herald premises in Crieff.
THE press is also a symbol of a well known Crieff family’s continuity. David Philips was the last in a long line of Philips to edit and produce the Herald on the mammoth machine.
It began with David’s great grandfather, also David. The paper then passed to David’s grandfather, Edmund, then David Philips senior, affectionately known as the ‘Boss’, before finally coming under the helm of the present David Philips.
As an apprentice David junior learned all aspects of the business, especially using the machinery including the Cossar Press. He remembers one of his jobs was having to crawl underneath it to oil all the holes. He said: “Printing was a different part of the process altogether and it was always recognised as so by the unions.
“You were either somebody who set up the type or you were somebody who printed it. In those days one could never cross over but people did in our place because it was a small concern.” And it was for this reason and the reliability of the Cossar press that the Herald never missed an edition.
“The paper even went out during the general strike and the printing strike. Union members were compelled to go on strike during the printing strike but my father and I worked though the night to ensure the paper appeared.
My forebears had done the same during the general strike, and also assisted with the Perthshire Advertiser to make sure that it was published.
“The Herald was printed on a Thursday afternoon. On press day you could hear it running in the house upstairs and from outside on the pavement. You could feel the vibrations of it operating although you could stand a coin on its edge on it and it wouldn’t move. Tom Cossar was a wizard. The press is still in excellent order
Reporters would type up their pieces and local correspondents send in articles. David and his father would sub-edit them and create the layout. The articles would then be sent through to the case room foreman who would typeset them in hot metal before printing up a proof for final checking. Pages would be imposed and the press would start rolling.
When the paper was printed it would be parcelled up with paste and string and delivered to the depot at Alexander’s Bus Station for onward transportation to the outlying communities.
“We would hear about it if we were ever late,” added David. “Sometimes the paper would burst on the reel. If it had a nick in it or a hole, it would catch. We would have to stop the machine as quickly as possible and clean all the inked rollers again.”
Submitted by Rod Parham