“Clang, clang, clang” went the Lino…type
“Ding, ding, ding” went the bell
“Zing, zing, zing” slid the copy
At the moment I typed it, it fell
“Chug, chug, chug” went the motor“Bump, bump, bump” rang the lead“Thump, thump, thump” went the matricesWhen it molded, I could see the type fed
“Buzz, buzz, buzz” went the buzzer“Plop, plop, plop” went the gears“Stop, stop, stop” went the typesettersThe moment the chapel meeting nears.
The romance of Linotype was filled ups and downs, thumps and plops. Linotype was the crazy Victorian machine that somehow overcame its industrial age-Rube Goldberg clunkiness and was the fact of typesetting life for decades before phototype emerged.
On Friday February 3, Douglas Wilson’s new film, Linotype: In Search of the Eighth Wonder of the World will premiere at the SVA Theatre – 333 West 23rd St and 8th Avenue.
Linotype was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing, communication and society. The film tells the surprisingly emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world. Because of advances in technology, most Linotypes were scrapped and melted-down by the thousands. Today, very few machines are still in existence. Interviewed for the film are:
Matthew Carter – type designer & former Linotype employeeFrank Romano – preeminent Linotype historianBill Boarman – Head Printer of the United StatesCarol Knopes – former editor at USA TodayOtmar Hoefer – director of typography at Linotype GermanyCarl Schlesinger – former New York Times Linotype operatorNadine Chahine – type designer & Arabic specialist at Linotype
Klaus Trefzer – curator of German Linotype museum
The illustrations here are from The Linotype News, one of many publications issued by Linotype to keep its customers and fans abreast of the hot metal.
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About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →