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Type Setting Machines

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



The first type-setting machine appears to have been in-vented by William Church of Connecticut about 1820. This, after the lapse of twenty years, was followed by a number of others, scarcely a year passing without one or more being made the subject of a patent. In 1857 a machine was invented by Robert Hattersley which is capable of setting from 4,000 to 6,000 types in an hour—about three men's work. This machine, which occupies a space of about two or three feet, has a horizontal stage on which is placed a partitioned tray, containing the rows of type running from hack to front, each row being, of course, all the same letter. Descending vertically along the front of this tray is a series of as many wires with pistons as there are rows of types, and these pistons are depressed by the keys acting by bell cranks, and then return to their positions by means of India rubber bands or springs. A propeller kept in a state of tension by an India rubber string is placed in the rear of each row of types, and draws them forward to the piston. When the girl working the machine presses down, say, an e key, it depresses the e piston, which pulls down with it an e type, and drops it into a tube or channel, which conveys it to what represents the composing-stick, and so on with every letter, figure, comma, or space. Another successful machine is the Mitchell type-setter. The compositor has a key-board. each key of which strikes out a type from a brass slide placed on an incline. The type travels along an endless band to a spot where it is turned on end and pushed forward by a notched wheel. The apparatus comprises numerous bands, the lengths and velocities of which so vary as to enable the types at different distances from the wheel to reach it in the order in which the keys are struck. The words are built up in rows thirty inches long, and "justified," as is the case with the Hattersley machine, by hand.



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