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The Linotype

Linotype Machine at Bullion Plaza Museum, Miami, Az Photo by Robert Licano

It may be hard to believe that the hulking piece of machinery now on display at Bullion Plaza Museum was once praised by Thomas Edison as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World” and inspired John Hendel writing for The Atlantic magazine  that, “…to embark on Linotype – was to embark on greatness.”

The machine, invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in the 1880’s, revolutionized the printing business by developing a system of matrices and hot metal which could take a line of text from a specially designed 90-key keyboard and convert it to a sheet – hence creating a “line-o-type-” – which could then be rapidly duplicated. The Linotype was recently featured prominently in The Post, about the publishing of the Pentagon Papers , but by 1979 the Linotype was being replaced by computers. And by the early ’80s their reign had come to an end.  

It was the legacy of greatness and the Linotype’s revered place in American history and local newspaper publishing that inspired Miami residents, Bob Jacques and Gary Vessels to rescue the last one in Globe-Miami from a ignominious end and ensure its place in local history as truly a wonder. 


About Linda Gross

Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.

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