The Linotype Machine: Hot affair blows cold

LINOTYPE OPERATORS. First introduced commercially in the USA in 1886, the linotype was used by newspapers to cast lines of type, rather than individual letters, hence its name, “line-o-type.” Sitting in front, the machine operator enters the text on a keyboard. The machine assembles letter molds to make a line. Heated metal is used to cast the assembled line as a single piece, called a “slug,” which awaits placing in a press for printing. After printing, the slugs can be melted again for use in other jobs. (Photo by Alex Badayos and provided by CJJ)

(This article was written by Mayette Tabada for the CJJ Media Gallery and is reprinted here with permission) For generations, men slaved over heated metal for love of the printed word. Then the affair turned cold. Before the advent of computer-aided publication, newspapers were printed using a Linotype machine. When it was introduced in 1886,…