Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who is Ottmar Mergenthaler?

Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the linotype composing machine in 1886. His invention was a great improvement from Gutenberg’s press that helped authors and the newspaper industry published their stories much easier and quicker. With the time and money they save, they can produce and publish more printed materials that they usually did. The linotype was a much celebrated invention that Thomas Edison even called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Mergenthaler worked on the linotype for years until he perfected the first commercially known machine called “The Blower”. It was first used by the New York Herald Tribune. Since, then a lot of improvements have been done on the machine. There were 10,000 linotypes in used by 1904 and the number skyrocketed to 100,000 by 1954. However, the linotype lost favor in the media by the 1960s when photographic typesetting and offset lithography were introduced.   

Sadly, Mergenthaler died young and never really reaped profits from his invention primarily because he agreed to get a $50 buyout royalty early on rather than get ongoing percentage from the machine’s sales.

1 comment:

  1. That wasn't a very wise step taken by Ottmar. He was, I guess, blinded by the money. But how much would $50 be today since it seems to me that that's so much for him? Anyway, we still thank him for the "Eight Wonder of the World."