According to the statement made last week, the Record office is now at the corner of Maple and First streets and this issue has been composed on the linotype just installed. A description of this machine follows:
A machine to set type was the dream of inventors from the time when the printing business began to assume a position of importance among the trades. The original idea was that the machine must handle type-founders’ type and compose it into lines with the help of one or more operators. A number of machines were made along this line. Some were failures entirely, while a few others were perfected so that they would set type, but found to be too expensive to operate. It was through experimenting with a machine for the more rapid transcribing of reports of law cases and the reports of legislative committees that the idea of a slug-casting machine developed.
The Mergenthaler Linotype is the most successful one-man machine in the world. It is a single machine which at the will of one operator assembles a line of matrices, casts a slug from them, trims and delivers the slug into a galley ready for use, and finally, distributes the matrices back into their respective channels in the magazine, where they are ready to be called down again in their turn, by the touch of a keybutton. With the exception of the assembling of the matrices, the entire operation is automatic.
In form the Linotype is not like any other machine. It is in reality the assemblage of four distinct machines or parts so arranged that they work in harmony – the magazine, the assembling mechanism, the casting mechanism, and the distributing mechanism. The magazine is on top of the machine, sloping from back to front at an angle of 37 degrees, and consisting of two brass plates placed together with a space of about 5/8 of an inch between. The two inner surfaces are cut with 92 grooves or channels running the up and down way of the magazine, for carrying the matrices. The matrices slid down these channels on edge. The matrice is of brass. The teeth which appear in the V at the top of the matrix are used in the distribution of the matrices. By an ingenious arrangement either one-letter or two-letter matrix can be used in the same machine, and either character of the two-letter matrix can be used at will.
The spaceband, which is used to separate the words in a line and at the same time to "justify" the line to the end of the slug, consists of two steel wedges.
The assembling mechanism is the only part of the linotype where the human mind is applied to the work of the machine. It is necessary for the eye to read the copy, and the mind, through the medium of the fingers, to translate the copy into the assembled lines of matrices; after that the machine acts automatically.
The keyboard is made up of 90
|keys, which act on the matrices in their channels in the magazine. The slightest touch on the keybuttons releases the matrix, which drops to the assembler belt and is carried swiftly to the assembler. When a word is assembled the spaceband key is touched and a spaceband drops into the assembler. When the necessary matrices and spacebands to fill the line have been assembled the operator raised the assembler by pressing the lever on the side of the keyboard. When the assembler reaches its highest point it automatically starts the machine and the matrices are transferred to the casting position.
The casting mechanism consists of the metal pot, mold disk, mold, ejector, and trimming knives. When the line of matrices leaves the assembler, they pass to a position in front of the mold disk. The disk makes one-quarter turn to the left, which brings the mold from the ejecting position, where it stands while the machine is at rest, to the casting position. It then advances until the face of the mold comes in contact with the matrices. The metal pot advances until the pot mouthpiece comes in contact with the back of the mold; at this point the pump plunger descends and forces the metal into the mold and against the matrices. The pot then recedes, the mold disk withdraws from the matrices and makes three-fourths revolution to the left, stopping at the ejecting position from which it started. The slug is ejected and assembled in the galley.
During the last revolution of the disk the bottom of the slug is trimmed off, and in the process of ejection the sides of the slug are trimmed, so that when it drops into the galley the slug is a perfect line of type, ready for the form. After the slug has been cast, the matrices are carried up to the second position, where they are pushed to the right, and the teeth in the V at the top of the matrices engage the grooves in the distributor bar of the second elevator, which descends from the distributor box at the same time that the matrices rise to the second transfer position. The second elevator then rises toward the distributor box, taking the matrices with it, but leaving the spacebands; these are then pushed to the right and slide into the spaceband box, to be used again.
As the second elevator rises toward the distributor box with its load of matrices, the distributor shifter lever moves to the left until the elevator head has reached its place by the distributor box. It then moves back to the right and pushes the matrices off the second elevator distributor bar into the distributor box, where they meet the "matrix lift" and are lifted, one at a time, to the distributor screws and distributor bar proper. Teeth in the matrix and the grooves in the bar are so arranged that when a matrix arrives at a point directly over the channel in which it belongs, it "lets go" and drops into its channel.
If, however, there is a matrix in the line which was not designed to
|drop into one of the channels operated from the keyboard, it will be carried clear across the distributor bar and dropped into the last channel, and from there it will find its way to the "sorts" box.
The distribution of the matrices is the most wonderful part of the Linotype. The distributor will handle the matrices day after day and week after week, taking the lines as they come, separating the matrices and dropping each one into its proper channel without an error. It does its work automatically and requires very little attention.
When the Linotype was first designed it was thought that, at best it would be used only for newspaper composition, and, perhaps, no larger than 8 point would be used. But such has been the excellence of the machine and its product that it has taken possession of every branch of composition for the printing trade.
The Linotype is sometimes called a typesetting machine, but this is not correct; it does not set type. It is a different departure from the old typesetting methods. It might be considered a substitute for typesetting. It is, strictly speaking, a composing machine, as it does composition, but its product is not set type, but solid slugs in the form of lines of type with the printing face cast on one edge.
The original Linotype carried 90 characters in one magazine and the mold was stationary; that is, in order to change the length or thickness of the slug the entire mold was removed and another substituted. The development of the machine from the original type has been steady aand gradual. As printers learned to adapt their work to the machine and the machine to their work, they demanded more of the Linotype and improvements began to appear, one of which is a magazine with 180 characters.