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Phototypesetting is a method of setting type, rendered

obsolete with the popularity of the personal computer
and desktop publishing software, that uses a photographic
process to generate columns of type on a scroll of photographic paper.[1] Typesetters use a machine called a
phototypesetter, which quickly project light through a
lm negative image of an individual character in a font,
through a lens that magnies or reduces the size of the
character onto photographic paper, which collect on a
spool in a light-tight canister. The photographic paper or
lm is then fed into a processor, a machine that pulls the
paper or lm strip through two or three baths of chemicals, where it emerges ready for paste-up or lm make-up.
Linotype CRTronic 360

The major advancement presented by the phototypesetting machines over the Linotype machine hot-type machines was the elimination of metal type, an intermediate step no longer required once oset printing became the norm. This cold-type technology could also be
used in oce environments where hot-metal machines
(the Mergenthaler Linotype, the Harris Intertype and the
Monotype) could not. The use of phototypesetting grew
rapidly in the 1960s when software was developed to convert marked up copy, usually typed on paper tape, to the
codes that controlled the phototypesetters.
To provide much greater speeds, the Photon Corporation produced the ZIP 200 machine for the MEDLARS
project of the National Library of Medicine and Mergenthaler produced the Linotron. The ZIP 200 can produce
text at 600 characters per second using high-speed ashes
behind plates with images of the characters to be printed.
Each character has a separate xenon ash constantly ready
to re. A separate system of optics positions the image
on the page.[4]

Berthold photosetting units tps 6300 and tpu 6308


1950s and 60s

Initial phototypesetting machines

1.1.2 Use of CRT screens for phototypesetting

Phototypesetting machines project characters onto lm
for oset printing. In 1949 the Photon Corporation in
Cambridge, Mass. developed equipment based on the
Lumitype of Rene Higonnet and Louis Moyroud.[2] The
Lumitype-Photon was rst used to set a complete published book in 1953, and for newspaper work in 1954.[3]
Mergenthaler produced the Linolm using a dierent design, and Monotype produced Monophoto. Other companies followed with products that included Alphatype and

An enormous advance was made by the mid-1960s with

the development of equipment that projects the characters from CRT screens. Alphanumeric Corporation (later
Autologic) produced the APS series. Rudolf Hell developed the Digiset machine in Germany. The RCA
Graphic Systems Division manufactured this in the U.S.
as the Videocomp, later marketed by Information International Inc.. Software for operator-controlled hyphenation was a major component of electronic typesetting.


Early work on this topic produced paper tape to control

hot-metal machines. C. J. Duncan, at the University of
Durham in England, was a pioneer. The earliest applications of computer-controlled phototypesetting machines
produced the output of the Russian translation programs
of Gilbert King at the IBM Research Laboratories, and
built-up mathematical formulas and other material in the
Cooperative Computing Laboratory of Michael Barnett
at MIT.

the typesetter loads a dierent font strip or uses a 2x

magnifying lens built into the machine, which doubles
the size of font. The CompuWriter II automated the
lens switch and let the operator use multiple settings.
Other manufacturers of photo compositing machines include Alphatype, Varityper, Mergenthaler, Autologic,
Berthold, Dymo, Harris (formerly Linotypes competitor
Intertype), Monotype, Star/Photon, Graphic Systems
Inc., Hell AG, MGD Graphic Systems, and American
Type Founders.

There are extensive accounts of the early applications,[5]

the equipment[6][7] and the PAGE I algorithmic typeset- Released in 1975, the Compuwriter IV holds two lmting language for the Videocomp, that introduced elabo- strips, each holding four fonts (usually Roman, Italic,
rate formatting[8]
bold, and bold Italic). It also has a lens turret which has
In Europe, the company of Berthold had no experience eight lenses giving dierent point sizes from the font, genin developing hot-metal typesetting equipment, but being erally 8 or 12 sizes, depending on the model. Low-end
one of the largest German type foundries, they applied models oer sizes from 6- to 36-point, while the high-end
themselves to the transference. Berthold successfully de- models go to 72-point. The Compugraphic EditWriter
veloped its Diatype (1960), Diatronic (1967), and ADS series took the Compuwriter IV conguration and added
(1977) machines, which led the European high-end type- oppy disk storage on an 8-inch, 320 KB disk. This allows the typesetter to make changes and corrections withsetting market for decades.
out rekeying. A CRT screen lets the user view typesetting
codes and text.


Expansion of technology to small users

A Berthold Diatronic master plate, showing Futura

Compugraphic produced phototypesetting machines in

the 1970s that made it economically feasible for small
publications to set their own type with professional quality. One model, the Compugraphic Compuwriter, uses
a lmstrip wrapped around a drum that rotates at several hundred revolutions per minute. The lmstrip contains two fonts (a Roman and a bold or a Roman and
an Italic) in one point size. To get dierent-sized fonts,

Because early generations of phototypesetters cant't

change text size and font easily, many composing rooms
and print shops had special machines designed to set
display type or headlines. One such model is the
PhotoTypositor, manufactured by Visual Graphics Corporation, which lets the user position each letter visually and thus retain complete control over kerning.
Compugraphics model 7200 uses the strobe-through-almstrip-through-a-lens technology to expose letters and
characters onto a thin strip of phototypesetting paper that
is then developed by a photo processor.
Some later phototypesetters utilize a CRT to project the
image of letters onto the photographic paper. This creates a sharper image, adds some exibility in manipulating the type, and creates the ability to oer a continuous range of point sizes by eliminating lm media and
lenses. The Compugraphic MCS (Modular Composition System) with the 8400 typesetter is an example of
a CRT phototypesetter. This machine loads digital fonts
into memory from an 8-inch oppy disk. Additionally,
the 8400 is able to set type-in point sizes between 5- and
120-point in 1/2-point increments. It is extremely fast
and was one of the rst output systems (the other was
also a Compugraphic machine, the 8600) that is able to
create camera-ready output with a maximum width of 12
As phototypesetting machines matured as a technology
in the 1970s, more ecient methods were found for
creating and subsequently editing text intended for the
printed page. Previously, hot-metal typesetting equipment had incorporated a built-in keyboard, such that
the machine operator would create both the original text
and the medium (lead type slugs) that would create the
printed page. Subsequent editing of this copy required

that the entire process be repeated. The operator would have been to return to the traditions of metal type. Adrian
re-keyboard some or all of the original text, incorporating Frutiger, who in his early career redesigned many fonts
the corrections and new material into the original draft.
for phototype, noted that the fonts [I redrew] dont have
CRT-based editing terminals, which can work compati- any historical think of the sort of aberrations
bly with a variety of phototypesetting machines, were a I had to produce in order to see a good result on Lumimajor technical innovation in this regard. Keyboarding type! V and W needed huge crotches in order to stay
the original text on a CRT screen, with easy-to-use edit- open. I nearly had to introduce serifs in order to prevent
the drafts
ing commands, is faster than keyboarding on a Linotype rounded-o corners instead of a sans-serif
were a bunch of misshapen sausages!"[12]
machine. Storing the text magnetically for easy retrieval
and subsequent editing also saves time.
An early developer of CRT-based editing terminals for
photocomposition machines was Omnitext of Ann Arbor,
Michigan. These CRT phototypesetting terminals were
sold under the Singer brand name during the 1970s.[9]

2 References
[2] Ren Higonnet


Transition to computers

Early machines have no text storage capability; some machines only display 32 characters in uppercase on a small
LED screen and spell-checking is not available.
Proong typeset galleys is an important step after developing the photo paper. Corrections can be made by typesetting a word or line of type and by waxing the back of
the galleys, and corrections can be cut out with a razor
blade and pasted on top of any mistakes.
Since most early phototypesetting machines can only create one column of type at a time, long galleys of type were
pasted onto layout boards in order to create a full page
of text for magazines and newsletters. Paste-up artists
played an important role in creating production art. Later
phototypesetters have multiple column features that allow
the typesetter to save paste-up time.

[3] Prepressure the history of prepress & publishing, 1950

1959, retrieved on 8 May 2014
[4] Harold E. Edgerton, Electronic Flash, Strobe, 1987, chapter 12, section J
[5] Michael P. Barnett, Computer typesetting, experiments
and prospects, 245p, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1965.
[6] Arthur Phillips, Computer peripherals and typesetting: a
study of man-machine interface incorporating a survey of
computer peripherals and typographic composing equipment, HMSO, 1958, London.
[7] Jack Belzer, Albert G. Holzman and Allen Kent, Encyclopedia of computer science and technology, 267- (over
100 pages) .
[8] John. Pierson, Computer composition using PAGE-1,
Wiley Interscience, New York, 1972.
[9] The Ann Arbor News 6 April 1973 Singer Corp. has
completed negotiations with Omnitext, Inc.

Early electronic typesetting programs were designed to [10] Joseph Condon; Brian Kernighan; Ken Thompson (Jandrive phototypesetters, most notably the Graphic Systems
uary 6 1980). Experience with the Mergenthaler
CAT phototypesetter that tro was designed to provide
Linotron 202 Phototypesetter, or, How We Spent Our
input for.[10] Though such programs still exist, their outSummer Vacation (PDF). Bell Laboratories. Check date
values in: |date= (help)
put is no longer targeted at any specic form of hardware. Some companies, such as TeleTypesetting Co.
[11] Compugraphic-to-Macintosh Solutions, , Retrieved on
created software and hardware interfaces between per2010-18-09
sonal computers like the Apple II and IBM PS/2 and
phototypesetting machines which provided computers [12] Frutiger, Adrian. Typefaces - the complete works. p. 80.
ISBN 3038212601.
equipped with it the capability to connect to phototypesetting machines.[11] With the start of desktop publishing software, Trout Computing in California introduced
VepSet, which allows Xerox Ventura Publisher to be used 3 External links
as a front end and wrote a Compugraphic MCS disk with
typesetting codes to reproduce the page layout.
Phototypositor. Archived from the original on
2013-02-07. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
In retrospect, cold type paved the way for the vast range
of modern digital fonts, with the lighter weight of equip Typesetting and Paste-Up, 1970s Style
ment allowing far larger families than had been possible
with metal type. However, modern designers have noted
The Museum of Printing, North Andover, Masthat compromises of cold type, such as altered designs,
made the transition to digital when a better path might


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Phototypesetting Source: Contributors: Heron, DavidWBrooks,

Pratyeka, Denni, SEWilco, Kadin2048, Ruakh, Jason Quinn, Ramalingam, Noisy, Alistair1978, Diomidis Spinellis, .:Ajvol:., Shlomital,
Atlant, Keenan Pepper, Justinbb, Eli the Bearded, Deacon of Pndapetzim, Max Naylor, Jheald, Tony Sidaway, Woohookitty, Haikupoet,
Wavelength, Hairy Dude, Hydrargyrum, Potpublstu, SmackBot, James Arboghast, AFBorchert, Telekid, Jero77, Thumperward, Kshahn,
Andrew c, Mion, Naaman Brown, Paul Koning, German name, Rees11, Albany NY, Doit!, Jodi.a.schneider, Dutchman Schultz, R'n'B,
Ihardcas, Paris1127, Johnbod, VolkovBot, Dave Andrew, TXiKiBoT, Zondi, Le Pied-bot~enwiki, GioCM, Martarius, AlbertJanPool,
Robenel, Rhododendrites, Lineagegeek, AndyFielding, Dthomsen8, Undomelin, Addbot, Morburre, Yobot, SwisterTwister, Echtner, Shadowjams, FrescoBot, Killian441, Teoamez, LittleWink, Born2bgratis, JimKillock, Bogdan247, Michael P. Barnett, Morgan Riley, Doorknob747, Delleson, Blythwood, ChuckSchaldenbrand, Lucy1982, Oensiveb, Bigsisterballerina and Anonymous: 38



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