Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 158 of 244

156 | MAY + JUNE 2015 the foundry era, which reaches back 500 years, visitors walk through a history that includes the dawn of mechanized hot metal typesetting with the Linotype and the advent of the Monotype. A va- riety of early strike-on typesetters give way to early phototypesetting machines including the Monophoto and Fotosetter, followed by photo- type equipment and finally comput- ers of the early digital age. "There's no real start and stop to it, but rather a morphing," says Pickard of the printing industry's shifts in methods and models. "The collection is both old and new," notes Pickard. "Some of the presses are 100 to 175 years old. It is a good overview of what printing has been over the last 500 years." In fact, the museum has about 30 presses on site—many of which are kept in working order for classes and workshops—plus 120 tons of equipment stored in an off-site warehouse. In addition to the Linotype drawings, MoP is home to the remaining master drawings for the original 1949 Photon photo- typesetter, the first commercially successful machine of its kind. Interestingly, many of the first phototypesetters were developed here in northeastern Massachu- setts—Photon, Compugraphic, and Itek—all of which are represented at the museum. At MoP, visitors learn myriad dates marked by innovation in printing. For 400 years, for exam- ple, individual letters were hand cast and set manually. The Linotype was developed in 1886 and enabled typesetters to mechanically set an entire line at once—it was largely responsible for powering news- papers through the 1970s. "The commonality between all this and in-depth LIVE Vintage typesetter keys; California Job Case; and Kim Pickard the thing that drives change is the way the type is made," notes Pickard. "After the invention of moveable type in 15th-century Europe, the world had to wait four centuries for the next revolution in typesetting." The Mergenthaler Linotype machine speeded up the production of books and news- papers, slashing production costs and making printed materials available to a much larger reader- ship than ever before. In 1945, phototypesetting came into existence. It allowed printers to set type onto photo paper; characters on a spinning disc or a film were transferred to paper using an electronic flash, much like that of a camera. "A lot of people didn't think it was as good, but it was good enough. And because it was cheaper, it took over," explains Pickard. This enabled printers to set their own type, which became profitable. It also proved a viable security meas- ure. "It wasn't unheard of to have typesetters steal brochures from a competitor," notes Pickard. One of the first unions was a typesetting union during the time of the Civil War. With the arrival of phototype, companies could control their own type, which meant they didn't need to be part of a union anymore. Newspapers were the last frontier in terms of photosetting and offset type—major invest- ments were needed to replace old 12TH ANNUAL PRINTING ARTS FAIR June 21 TYPE SALES April 4 June 21 September 19 November 28 ONGOING EXHIBITIONS Fowler Wood Cuts Anna Hogan Wood Cuts Chinese Printing Arnold Arboretum save the date

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