October 23, 2014
by Dhawal Choksi
We’re pleased to announce that we now have a selection of original Linotype drawings for sale in our shop, priced at £35, they are a great piece of history, and look great on your walls when expertly framed by ourselves!
These hand drawn “Letters” are part of the font library salvaged from the Lynotype Factory on Broadheath, Altrincham, Cheshire, just on the outskirts of Manchester.
These drawings of individual letters in every different font imaginable were the starting point of manufacturing matrices for the Linotype Printing Machine. The matrices are brass moulds of the letter forms, the machine puts these brass moulds in a line, and they are filled with molten metal and cast in a single piece.
The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o-type, a significant improvement over the previous industry standard, i.e. manual letter by letter type setting using a composing stick and drawers of letters.
The machine, invented by a German watchmaker called Ottmar Mergenthaler, revolutionised typesetting; before its existence no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages. It became the industry standard for newspapers, magazines and posters from the late 1800’s up to the 1960’s and 70’s.
The Linotype factory first had its UK operation off Oxford Road in Manchester but as the company became more and more successful it outgrew its Manchester premises and in 1899 Linotype purchased land at Broadheath, Altrincham and built not only a new factory but the world’s first purpose built industrial estate which was formally opened by Lady Kelvin.
In 1903 the company became known as the Linotype and Machinery Company or L&M for short.
The Linotype machine spread throughout the world following the paths of the British Empire. L&M had branches in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Borneo and in 1914 L&M were particularly proud of the fact that the Vatican installed four Linotype presses.
“A great piece of British industrial heritage”