Fascinating Video of the Last Edition of Hot Metal Typeset New York Times

Fascinating Video of the Last Edition of Hot Metal Typeset New York Times

This video was a 1978 documentary filmed of the last day the New York Times was printed in hot metal typeset in a Linotype machine before it transitioned to computerized cold typeset. The old method was similar enough to original Gutenberg process that old Gutenberg himself would have recognized it.

In the movie we see dozens of men typing each line, setting each line in lead, creating 40-pound blocks for each page that were used to print the paper. What’s equally fascinating is the look at what replaced it, the first computerized systems, which look equally outdated and obsolete.

At the end of the film, we see the grizzled typesetters and others now working at computer terminals in a clean well-lit room rather than hot-type machines in a dark, industrial workspace. And yet even all those typesetters are gone, replaced by even more digital automation. I’m glad this record has been preserved.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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