Ottmar! You’ve done it! A line of type!
Whitelaw Reid, New York Tribune, 1886
At the Ampersand 2012 Conference we were treated to a screening of Linotype: The Film over lunch followed by a Q&A session with the director, Doug Wilson (whose very cool ampersand tattoo is set in Scala, fact fans).
This is a wonderful film and not only for type enthusiasts. The Linotype was invented on 3 July 1886 by German watchmaker Ottmar Mergenthaler and created a communication revolution. Publications that previously required to be typeset by hand could be done much faster using the LInotype machine to create lines of hot metal type. This allowed for news to be reported to the public hours after it happened, and also made the production of printed publications cheaper thus allowing for the widespread and timely dissemination of information to the masses. It also didn’t even put anyone out of work, it increased the demand for print so much that hand type setters were employed to operate Linotype machines. Win, win I say.
All in all a fascinating tale of an invention that changed the world, a great piece of social, industrial and cultural history. Linotype: The Film will be released on DVD in October and will also be available Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. Absolutely worth a watch,
Oh and I also treated myself to an awesome letterpress print, pressed by the director himself. Amazing Lintoype artwork by Brian Collins