Mergenthaler, Ottmar

Mergenthaler, Ottmar
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
b. 11 May 1854 Hachtel, Germany
d. 28 October 1899 Baltimore, Maryland, USA
German/American inventor of the Linotype typesetting machine.
Mergenthaler came from a family of teachers, but following a mechanical bent he was apprenticed to a clockmaker. Having served his time, Mergenthaler emigrated to the USA in 1872 to avoid military service. He immediately secured work in Washington, DC, in the scientific instrument shop of August Hahl, the son of his former master. He steadily acquired a reputation for skill and ingenuity, and in 1876, when Hahl transferred his business to Baltimore, Mergenthaler went too. Soon after, they were commissioned to remedy the defects in a model of a writing machine devised by James O.Clephane of Washington. It produced print by typewriting, which was then multiplied by lithography. Mergenthaler soon corrected the defects and Clephane ordered a full-size version. This was completed in 1877 but did not work satisfactorily. Nevertheless, Mergenthaler was moved to engage in the long battle to mechanize the typesetting stage of the printing process. Clephane suggested substituting stereotyping for lithography in his device, but in spite of their keen efforts Mergenthaler and Hahl were again unsuccessful and they abandoned the project. In spare moments Mergenthaler continued his search for a typesetting machine. Late in 1883 it occurred to him to stamp matrices into type bars and to cast type metal into them in the same machine. From this idea, the Linotype machine developed and was completed by July 1884. It worked well and a patent was granted on 26 August that year, and Clephane and his associates set up the National Typographic Company of West Virginia to manufacture it. The New York Tribune ordered twelve Linotypes, and on 3 July 1886 the first of these set part of that day's issue. During the previous year the company had passed into the hands of a group of newspaper owners; increasing differences with the Board led to Mergenthaler's resignation in 1888, but he nevertheless continued to improve the machine, patenting over fifty modifications. The Linotype, together with the Monotype of Tolbert Lanston, rapidly supplanted earlier typesetting methods, and by the 1920s it reigned supreme, the former being used more for newspapers, the latter for book work.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Franklin Institute John Scott Medal, Elliott Cresson Medal.
1898, Ottmar Mergenthaler and the Invention of Linotype, New York.
Further Reading
J.Moran, 1964, The Composition of Reading Matter, London.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Mergenthaler, Ottmar — born May 11, 1854, Hachtel, Württemberg died Oct. 28, 1899, Baltimore, Md., U.S. German U.S. inventor. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1872. While working in a Baltimore machine shop he began experimenting with type molds, and in 1884 he patented… …   Universalium

  • Mergenthaler,Ottmar — Mer·gen·thal·er (mûrʹgən thô lər, mĕrʹgən tä ), Ottmar. 1854 1899. German born American inventor of the Linotype typesetting machine (patented 1884). * * * …   Universalium

  • Mergenthaler, Ottmar — (11 may. 1854, Hachtel, Württemberg–28 oct. 1899, Baltimore, Md., EE.UU.). Inventor germano estadounidense. Emigró a EE.UU. en 1872. Mientras trabajaba en un taller mecánico de Baltimore comenzó a experimentar con moldes tipográficos, y en 1884… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ottmar Mergenthaler — (* 11. Mai 1854 in Hachtel, heute Stadtteil von Bad Mergentheim; † 28. Oktober 1899 in Baltimore) war Uhrmacher und ist der Erfinder der Linotype Setzmaschine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ottmar Mergenthaler — Born May 11, 1854 (1854 05 11) Hachtel …   Wikipedia

  • Ottmar Mergenthaler — (né le 10 mai 1854 à Hachtel et décédé le 28 octobre 1899 à Baltimore) est un inventeur allemand qui a été appelé le second Gutenberg pour son invention de la linotype en 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ottmar Mergenthaler — Ottmar Mergenthaler. Ottmar Mergenthaler (Hachtel, 10 de mayo de 1854 Baltimore, 28 de octubre de 1899) fue un inventor alemán. Nació en Hachtel, Württemberg, Alemania, tercer hijo de un maestro de escuela y aprendiz de relojero anterior a su… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mergenthaler Vocational Technical Senior High School — Mergenthaler Vocational–Technical High School Reimagining Excellence Address 3500 Hillen Road …   Wikipedia

  • Ottmar Mergenthaler — (Hachtel, 10 de mayo de 1854 Baltimore, 28 de octubre de 1899) fue un inventor alemán. Relojero de oficio, en 1872 se trasladó a Estados Unidos y en 1884 inventó la linotipia, máquina usada en la composición tipográfica …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mergenthaler — [mʉr′gən thäl΄ər, mʉr′gənthôl΄ər] Ottmar [ät′mär΄] 1854 99; U.S. inventor of the Linotype, born in Germany …   English World dictionary

  • Mergenthaler Linotype Company — An 1896 Mergenthaler Linotype stock certificate The Mergenthaler Linotype Company is a corporation founded in the United States in 1886 to market the linecaster invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler. With the company s primary product, the Linotype… …   Wikipedia

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