linotype machine, book binding, technologies

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Linotype Machine, Typesetting, Book Binding Tech

Xah Lee, 2010-12-17

A fantastic video.

〈Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion〉 (2009) by John Carrera

All my life, i've been interested in symbols. I recall, in 1980s, in the back of big dictinories, there's a appendix of list of symbols and their nams, group into category of fields. e.g. punctuations, printer's symbols, astronomy, math, geometry, chemistry, survey, etc. In the past 20 years, the interest has expanded into typesetting, fonts, TeX, syntax and notation systems, etc. These are all related. Symbols are needed for written communication, and in math and comp lang, they are tied to notation and syntax. When printed, it relates to printing technologies, Typesetting, font. In our digital publishing era, most of these have moved to the desktop computer with associated new techs, such as keyboard, input method systems (e.g. chinese input methods), unicode, math notation software systems. (For a collection of articles, see: Xah's Unicode TutorialXah on Programing LanguagesMath Notations, Computer Languages, and the “Form” in FormalismKeyboards, Layouts, Hotkeys, Macros, RSI )

Have heard of Linotype machine many times in the 1990s when i was reading about TeX, but never had any idea what it looks like or how it works. This video showed the machine at work, also, it showed many printer technologies as a craftsmanship. Including classic technologies of book binding, making the page stack curved, printing decoration on book page edges, creating leather book cover, embossed letters on the leather cover, cutting finger holes on page edges (a semicicle-wedge-shaped “hole” for each letter A, B, etc cut into page edges). (Much of these are no longer practiced, but can be seen in older thick dictionaries). Fantastic video. (thanks to meowcats for mention)

pictorial websters book Full leather with emboss

“Pictorial Websters”. amazon

The one that sells on Amazon is a mass produced version at $20. The one shown in picture above is a delux version manually crafted as shown in the video. It sells for few k. Here's a quote from the author's comment at vimeo:

The deluxe copy shown in the video is from an edition of 26 is $4600, but there is also the regular run of 100 books (doesn't have fingertabs) in $3200 binding, $2600, and $1800, and now from Chronicle Books a very splendid $35 version. Chronicle has a contest on their website where you can WIN the deluxe in the photo!

The company “Quercus Press”, has a site with much more info:

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