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The "New York Daily Tribune" Publishes the First Application of the Linotype (July 3, 1886)


Ottmar Mergenthaler's Blower Linotype composing machine was first used by the New York Daily Tribune newspaper on page four of its issue of July 3, 1886. The parts composed by the Linotype can be distinguished from the hand-set type because of a single wrong-font bold face apostrophe. This appears in only three of the stories in columns two and three of the page.

Mechanical composing machines resulted in greatly increased production speed, and lowered typesetting cost, resulting in longer newspapers. Because of the time involved in hand-typesetting, and the constant deadlines to be met, before the Linotype no newspaper consisted of more than eight pages.

Schlesinger, ed., The Biography of Ottmar Mergenthaler, Inventor of the Lintotype (1989) 113-116, with a full-size facsimile of page 4 of the July 3, 1886 issue of the newspaper folded into the volume. Schlesinger, who was an experienced Linotype operator, discovered the first published typesetting done on the Linotype, as the the New York Daily Tribune quietly introduced the new technology without an announcement.

(This entry was last revised on 01-27-2015.)