This and That
How did Bach feel about the Brandenburgs?

Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type (7) Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

Incredibly, I have run out of things to say on the topic. I notice that I claimed these would be Paul stories, but mostly  they involved  me showing off how much I remember from 50 years ago, and how I still use this arcane (soon to be archaic) knowledge today. Not the IBM MT/ST or the Compugraphic so much as the font stuff.

Now we come to The Tech. My MIT degree says management, but based on the amount of time spent, it should be The Tech  and management… or maybe just The Tech. It was my Alpha and Omega (well, WTBS, and Student House, and Sherry and Beth, and Mike, and Harry/Harrison, and John Taylor rank in there somewhere too. Maybe I’ll unpack this some day)

I was a columnist, news editor and editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Foolishly, I also learned to do typesetting for our twice-weekly editions. Also, we did nearly all the typesetting for MIT. As a result, out typesetting income was usually greater than our advertising income. Plus, prodshop workers were paid for outside jobs, albeit not for newspaper work, which they were expected to do on a volunteer basis. I needed the money as a scholarship student with a lousy all-loan scholarship that left me $10,000 in debt on graduation day, despite setting type and fixing phones.

No production shop/no newspaper. So, I spent the second half of my term as editor managing the production shop, a job I was stuck with for 18 months. Someone had to do it. I left when I got my job with the Associated Press. But that’s another story, hopefully shorter than this one.

The whole series: Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type.



Robert E. Malchman

I guess this was before the convention of titling such articles "Gaggle Cops Tech Board." My favorite wasn't my EIC election, but years later as an Advisory Board member, where it was noted I was The Tech's counsel and, on a per-minute basis, was more expensive than phone sex -- but I screwed people much more thoroughly.

Daniel Dern

WRT "student newspapers, production process, MIT, early 1970s: Of course, contemporaneously, over at THURSDAY (the other other student newspaper, where/when I was editor-in-chief) there was a pair of IBM
Selectrics for Production -- with proportional-spaced type balls (or capability).

We (staff, taking turns) would take submitted copy, and, using these machines, type in newspaper-column width (not quite 3 inches, IIRC), cut that into strips, run the electric hot waxer on the strip backs (or
possibly use spray stickum, memory fails me on this), and, literally and figuratively, do 'paste-up' on the 'boards' which, when done, were driven to the printing shop (I never went on one of these runs, admittedly) where
some magic happened and then papers were printed.

(I don't know whether the proportional-spacing capability was built into the typewriter base -- perhaps into those specific models -- and activated by some physical notch or whatever in the type ball... [DERN DOES A QUICK WEB SEARCH, AHA!]

Some versions of the Electronic Typewriter, the original Model 50, and the
later Model 65 and 85, could use 96-character elements with proportionally-spaced typestyles in addition to 10-pitch and 12-pitch typestyles. This proportional spacing was based on a unit of 1/60 of an inch, since 10-pitch characters took six such units, and 12-pitch characters took five such units. (Many daisywheel typewriters, offering similar capabilities, also had daisywheel elements for 15-pitch typing, using four units per character.) The proportional typestyles offered for these typewriters had previously been offered, along with some others, on 88-character elements for a little-known variant of the MC/ST called the Mag Card Executive.

[Cue Paul Harvey saying "And now you know...the rest of the story."]

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