Wednesday, April 24, 2019


When I teach Western Civ, I explain Gutenberg's use of movable type, and how until the 1960s, printing would have been recognizable to Gutenberg, even with the electric motors operating the presses.  After that, he would have yelled "Witchcraft!"  This video from 1959 explains typesetting:

One of those trailing edge jobs that the left used to complain would be destroyed by automation.  Look at all the out of work typesetters roaming our streets threatening to throw lead type at us!  A reader tells me the alloy used for type was Linotype and made great cast bullets, but is now hard to find,


  1. That brought back memories. When I was in 7th grade, my Dad taught English & typesetting at my school (that was not an unalloyed blessing) and I got to help him distributing type and also setting type for... doggone if I remember what, but it could've been flyers of some kind for the school events.

    It was Jr. High, and looking back I'm surprised that they had a class in typesetting at all, but they did. At one time I was pretty good at typesetting, which required a lot of what is now arcane knowledge; a lot you just had to know in order to do it.

    All that is now a lost art. I'd forgotten all about it until your post; now I feel like one of those antiques that made buggy-whips!

  2. I remember when I toured the Press telegram as an elementary school student in 1970. One thing about those days, the printers were the last editors the stories saw before printing. We never fully appreciated how many people would review a news report before it would go to print back then.

  3. I learned to set type at John Adams, back when you needed a car to date a ninth grade girl. Fred Anderson was the teacher. For the life of me I cannot recall the name of the class.