We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

History of the Linotype Company

by Frank Romano

Publication Year: 2014

From the Victorian era to the start of the twenty-first century, the Mergenthaler Linotype Company dominated the typesetting and printing industries. Unlike previous books which have ended with the invention of the Linotype, Frank Romano tells the rest of the story. This book details the products, the people, and the corporate activities that kept the company ahead of its competition in hot metal, phototypesetting, and pre-press technology. Over ten corporate entities eventually formed the U.S. manufacturer, which ended its corporate life as a division of a German press maker. What began in 1886 ended finally in May 2013, when the Linotype Library division of Monotype Imaging was closed down. After 127 years, the last resting place of the history of the Linotype Company is in this book.

Published by: RIT Press

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.0 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (108.0 KB)
pp. ix-x

There are lots of books about Ottmar Mergenthaler and the invention of the Linotype. This one brings together in one place all the major documents and all the corporate information. It is a time capsule of just about everything the company did...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (55.8 KB)
pp. xi-xii

David Pankow for his vision and encouragement
Matthew Carter for reviewing the first draft
Mike Parker for what was his last interview
Andrea Gallo for typing most of the historic documents...


pdf iconDownload PDF (123.3 KB)
pp. xiii-xvi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (971.4 KB)
pp. 1-4

Tradition has it that type from the first Linotype machine was used for portions of the New York Tribune editorial page of July 3, 1886. The Linotype matrices in the machine the night before that day’s paper...

read more

1. Clephane's History of the Linotype

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.0 MB)
pp. 5-14

On December 1, 1910, an obituary appeared in The New York Times for a man who had been the guiding spirit behind the development of the typewriter, the Linotype typesetter, Alexander Graham Bell’s...

read more

2. Linotype's Early Years: Great Expectations and Unforeseen Betrayals

pdf iconDownload PDF (11.2 MB)
pp. 15-48

The earliest years of the company were difficult ones. Two documents in particular describe the excitement, conflict, and pettiness that plagued the Linotype’s development.
The first is an excerpt from Melville E. Stone’s...

read more

3. Mackey's 1936 History of the Linotype Company

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 49-74

In 1936, Joseph T. Mackey, then president of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, wrote a history to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the day on which the first Linotype machine was put to practical...

read more

4. Mergenthaler's Linotype Machines, 1883-1972

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.7 MB)
pp. 75-114

The Linotype machine was a work in progress. Over its production life, it underwent changes, modifications, and additions (by both the company and third parties). Its basic operating principles did not...

read more

5. The Logotype and Other Competitors

pdf iconDownload PDF (8.2 MB)
pp. 115-128

Ottmar Mergenthaler was very sensitive to criticism regarding his inventions. When the Monotype was introduced in 1890, he heard that its ability to correct one character at a time was superior to the...

read more

6. The Intertype

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 129-142

By 1905 the basic Linotype patents had expired, which opened the company up to competition. Hermann Ridder, of New York state, had always been interested in composing machines and had previously worked with the Monoline and Victorline...

read more

7. John Rogers: Inventor, and Perfecter of the Linotype

pdf iconDownload PDF (807.2 KB)
pp. 143-152

This is a fascinating story about an early crisis for Linotype and how a small piece of metal and a midwestern mechanical engineer saved the Linotype Company...

read more

8. Key People Who Built the Company, 1888-1960

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.1 MB)
pp. 153-168

Philip Tell Dodge was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, July 11, 1851. His father later published a newspaper in Minnesota, but when the boy was ten years old the family moved back to Schenectady...

read more

9. The War Years

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.9 MB)
pp. 169-174

Because of Linotype’s expertise in mechanical engineering, it was one of the many U.S. companies that joined in the war effort during World War II. This relationship involved manufacturing bombsights...

read more

10. The Business of Type

pdf iconDownload PDF (28.7 MB)
pp. 175-224

Early in the company’s history Ottmar Mergenthaler made his type punches by hand, cutting them, just as Gutenberg did. Thus the first Linotype types were inconsistent and slow to produce...

read more

11. Mergenthaler Expands Beyond the Linotype

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.9 MB)
pp. 225-232

The Mergenthaler Linotype Company made and sold more than just linecasters and type. It manufactured duplicator presses; sold sheet-fed presses made in Italy, web presses made in Seattle, and color...

read more

12. Linotype's Periodicals and Special Publications

pdf iconDownload PDF (9.8 MB)
pp. 233-246

Linotype began publishing a periodical for customers and business prospects in 1904. The first, The Linotype Bulletin was a collection of articles on maintenance, typography, user news, and corporate...

read more

13. Mergenthaler Offices and Factories

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.6 MB)
pp. 247-252

Mergenthaler opened his first machine shop in Baltimore in 1883 and developed the prototype for his first mechanized typesetting machine on Bank Lane in a block now bounded by Charles, Baltimore...

read more

14. My Life at Linotype

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.4 MB)
pp. 253-262

There was almost no parking around 29 Ryerson Street, Brooklyn 5, NY, so most of us arrived by bus. A bus connected the IRT subway line and the Long Island Railroad stations at the Williamsburg Savings...

read more

15. The Phototypesetting Era and Corporate Mergers

pdf iconDownload PDF (11.2 MB)
pp. 263-278

Linotype would introduce 16 major models of photographic typesetter between 1958 and 1995. After 1995, the market eliminated typesetting as a separate step in the pre-press process with desktop publishing...

read more

16. The Eltra Era: Linotype Becomes a Modern Conglomerate

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 279-298

In 1962 Fortune magazine released a report citing Mergenthaler Linotype as the 217th largest industrial company in America.1 In 1963 the report’s data did not list Mergenthaler Linotype, but instead a...

read more

17. Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF (5.3 MB)
pp. 299-304

There were rumors that Mergenthaler died destitute in a poorhouse (though he actually died in his home), and by some accounts Mergenthaler was considered a millionaire. Some measure of his wealth can be...

read more

18. Mergenthaler Linotype Chronology

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 305-324

Ottmar Mergenthaler is born on May 11 in Hachtel, Bad Mergentheim, Germany. He is the fourth child of village schoolteacher Johann Georg Mergenthaler (1820–1893) and Rosine Ackermann (1828–1859)...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (492.3 KB)
pp. 325-328

The X Project began in earnest in 1958 when sales of the Intertype Monarch were having a sig-nifi-cant effect on Linotype sales. The Monarch was designed to run from paper tape and was affecting...

Fonts Manufactured by Linotype or its Subsidiaries

pdf iconDownload PDF (887.0 KB)
pp. 329-444


pdf iconDownload PDF (159.2 KB)
pp. 445-452


pdf iconDownload PDF (176.0 KB)
pp. 453-464

E-ISBN-13: 9781933360751
Print-ISBN-13: 9781933360607

Page Count: 480
Illustrations: 650 illustrations, some color
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Mergenthaler Linotype Company -- History.
  • Mergenthaler Linotype Company -- Biography.
  • Linotype -- History.
  • Typesetting machines -- History.
  • Type and type-founding -- History.
  • Mergenthaler, Ottmar, 1854-1899.
  • Printers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Inventors -- United States -- Biography.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access