Rus Articles Journal

Linotype: what it, grandfather of a computer set?

do not envy I to glory of first printers Guttenberg, Skorina and even Ivan Fedorov. Their names, of course, of a century and centuries will be remembered, but they had a difficult job. And hundreds of years later printing of drop caps remained business hard.

From where I know it? She was once well familiar with typographical process. Once is in the sixties even the last century when still newspapers in the province gathered separate small letters. More perfect equipment came to large printing houses earlier.

On small metal bars of a tracing of letters were cast head over heels moreover in the mirror image. No, typesetters did not examine each small letter: on bars there was dredging by which the face was determined - it is possible to the touch. Bars settled down in cells of cash desk - the wooden or plastic box with superficial compartments so was called. Letters not alphabetically, and the same as on keyboards, - on the frequency of their use were placed there.

Depending on width of a column the verstatka - a small rectangular tray which the typesetter held in the left hand was regulated, and right put in it letters. Several lines or the small paragraph were gathered, and this fragile work should have been transferred arkhiakkuratno to a proof - on a metal plate in the size a little more newspaper leaf. All this could be ruined easily and on a proof therefore heavy metal whetstones - in printing house they were called babashka - constantly propped up the typed text. Gaps between words, lines, columns were hammered with long whetstones or small squares which thickness was measured in points.

Oh, and long there was a procedure - to impose a newspaper strip! And then still editing! Mistakes turned out from a carelessness not only at a set, but also at analysis. After the newspaper was printed, it was sorted on components again, and the typesetter could throw by a carelessness a small letter not in that cell. Especially as inscriptions on sections were not visible: proofs at the press were well seasoned with paint. At typesetters of a hand always were black. Employees of other shops were white people.

According to safety measures between type-setting and printing shops heavy plates should have been transported on the special cart. But it was heavy and clumsy too. Workers preferred to drag proofs on a stomach though kilograms 30 - 40 at least in them was. I remember, the typesetter stumbled, and … everything on small letters scattered in different directions. All night long worked: one gathered a strip again, and others sorted scattered on the cells in cash desk. Home trudged when the people came to work, but circulation was handed over in time! There were cases, the printer already forgot to fix in the car (on a vernacular - to conclude) proofs, and at the first movement of the machine everything collapsed.

“Spilling fire slovometny, will go to whip a machine gun a linotype...“

But here and technical progress came to our remote place: the printing house received a linotype - the strokootlivny car which in 1884 was patented by the German - American O. Mergentaler. Any more our newspaper with news was not late! By such car still Mayakovsky told about set speed: “… spilling fire slovometny, will go to whip a machine gun a linotype“.

At any door this large object would not pass even if to turn off from it everything that is turned off. Therefore not only took out a frame of a huge window, but also in addition expanded an aperture. The crane hard put a linotype on in advance filled in base. And when connected the car, we all edition went to excursion, the benefit the printing house the floor was lower.

Yes - and - and! “It it seems as the ambulance car goes: itself cuts, itself presses, the help gives“. At once and creative process happens, and destructive. Matrixes move around. After the line will stiffen in metal, matrixes disperse on the apartments that right there on wave of a hand of the typesetter to drop out in the new word. But the first impression (sometimes show something in horror films similar): the huge car, in which everything at the same time moves yes plus in a copper at high temperature, metal melts.

But unlike me, here is how the French writer R. Garaudy poetically described work of a linotype: “After each line the linotype the graceful hand raised a pinch of the hopping matrixes …“ Or: “From tender touches of his fingers copper matrixes slightly shuddered, wakening, and with a cheerful ringing fell down as if the strumming rain drops …“ Very exact description!

Began, the end at this car. What in it the main thing? It seems that - all! Of course, everything begins with the keyboard. The linotipistka types the text, from above from shops the necessary letters are selected and, passing through a liquid alloy, are cast in the whole line at once. And the size of a line - it was estimated in squares - cast in my opinion, the responsible secretary of edition, to desire and was specified on the model of a newspaper strip. Hot lines are not only for effect. When time drew in, they really had to be transferred in mittens.

“The enemy is broken by a brevier and the case on fields gazetno - journal territories...“

I in a manual set, and in linotipny. Their names more on crossword puzzles are known now: pica, brevier, case, nonpareil … Depending on a size (size) they were designated also by figures. The most widespread was - the ninth, or just newspaper. If something small has to be allocated, gathered tenth (case) or bold print … Generally direct tracing was applied, though italics was for emergency. And here headings gathered in the old manner, manually - the choice of fonts was more.

Linotipistka had an opportunity to read the gathered line in matrixes before starting it in a print. And the most attentive we had the most competent a typesetter - sometimes any mistake on a strip was not made. By the way, at a manual set it was necessary to correct only single letters, and now at detection of a mistake - to cast anew all line.

There was an expression that the newspaper lives one day. We joked: so far herring in it will not be wrapped. Precisely she lived one day in metal, and right after release of circulation cleaned gaps, rulers, interline intervals, and lines - in melting. Near printing house the foundry stood where metal from a firm state passed in liquid and back: lines melted and cast in Chushka Spit - a certain size silvery whetstones which were started in a linotype copper.

Process repeated indefinitely. Work with this alloy - it called a metal - it is unhealthy: in its structure tin, lead, antimony. Therefore paid extra to some categories of printers on milk, and the retirement age was five years lower.

Salaries are small, work dirty and heavy, eyes always in tension - what kept these people here, in the drukayena though already and not primitive, how at Ivan Fedorov, but nevertheless far not completely mechanized? First of all, probably, pride that they not only did the newspaper, but also the first it was read - all others learn news only tomorrow!