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Preserving the Visual History of the Printed Word


PrintingFilms.com was established by Doug Wilson in 2012 after his work as director and producer of Linotype: The Film. During the filming process, Doug was given a box of 16mm Linotype promotional films by Dave Seat for digitization.

In 2013, Carl Schlesinger (a former Linotype operator at The New York Times) donated his extensive collection of films to The Museum of Printing which assisted in the preservation of these films in 2015.

Along with donations from other archives and collections, this website will grow with content to safeguard the technologies and processes of printing, journalism, and typography for future generations.

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Preserving the Visual History of the Printed Word


PrintingFilms.com was established by Doug Wilson in 2012 after his work as director and producer of Linotype: The Film. During the filming process, Doug was given a box of 16mm Linotype promotional films by Dave Seat for digitization.

In 2013, Carl Schlesinger (a former Linotype operator at The New York Times) donated his extensive collection of films to The Museum of Printing which assisted in the preservation of these films in 2015.

Along with donations from other archives and collections, this website will grow with content to safeguard the technologies and processes of printing, journalism, and typography for future generations.

 
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Call for Films


Do you have 16mm, 8mm, or VHS copies of printing-related films that have not been digitized? We may be able to help.

Please email us with the details of your collection making sure to include the title, date, subject and any other details about the film.

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Call for Films


Do you have 16mm, 8mm, or VHS copies of printing-related films that have not been digitized? We may be able to help.

Please email us with the details of your collection making sure to include the title, date, subject and any other details about the film.

Films in the Collection


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Films in the Collection


Featured Films


“Farewell ETAOIN SHRDLU” - 29:08 - Color - 1978

A film created by Carl Schlesinger and David Loeb Weiss documenting the last day of hot metal typesetting at The New York Times. This film shows the entire newspaper production process from hot-metal typesetting to creating stereo moulds to high-speed press operation.

At the end of the film, the new typesetting and photographic production process is shown in contrast to the old ways. There are interviews with workers at NYT that are for and against the new technology. In fact, one typesetter is retiring on this final day as he does not want to learn the new process and technology.

This is the first time the film has ever been available in HD from the original 16mm master film.

“From Hot Metal to Cold Type” - 24:20 - Color - 1965?

 This film was created by the International Typographic Union to encourage their members to become more comfortable with the new “Cold Type” technology revolutionizing the typesetting industry.

Starting with an explanation of the hot-metal process, they feature the Intertype Fotosetter and then go through the entire photo-composition process. The film shows camera work, stripping, chemical development, and paste-up. It ends with an aerial view of the ITU building in Colorado Springs, CO.


More Films in the Collection


“Graphic Communications - We Used to Call it Printing” - 22:30 - Color - 1969

Starting out with the funkiest song the late 1960s could create, the film shows a fashion photo shoot for the title screen of the film. It shows all of the processes involved in making the final print including photography, laser scanning, platemaking, printing, and trimming.

The film features the printing of The Wall Street Journal in California showing the way that the articles are transferred using phone, microwave, and paper-punch tape. All forms of printing are displayed from small, letterpress jobs to printing on pharmaceutical drugs and packaging for toothpaste.

Beginning at 17:41, there is a FIVE minute “music video” (for lack of a better term) for printing that has the grooviest pan flute and beats you’ve ever heard. Worth watching just for that!

“The Wide Window of Mr. Malone” - 26:12 - B&W - 1965

“George Malone sees the world through many windows” but the window that allows him to see the most is his daily newspaper The New York Times. The film tracks back the history of the newspaper and relates it to “today” in 1965. It shows the many departments and people involved in creating one of the most well-known newspapers in the world.

There is an extensive display of the various foreign offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Bombay, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. The end of the film shows the production process and schedule for printing a new edition every day.

“You and the World of Print” - 19:02 - Color - 1976

“Where does print come from?” is the question asked at the beginning of the film and it attempts to show the process of printing from tress to final product. Using a few of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation “Graphic Communications Through the Ages” series of oil paintings, the film shows the history and technological improvements of printing.

A simple explanation of offset-lithography is given along with views of large, web presses, bindery techniques, and paper making. Created by the Printing Industries Association of Texas, the film ends with a pitch for people to join the printing industry and get jobs that will eventually become high-paying and skilled.

"Linotron 1010" - 10:27 - Color - 1966

The Linotron is a very early CRT exposure machine. It creates a page (not just a line) of text at one time. Using a film grid of characters it can create up to 1,000 per second.

The film starts with a great animated sequence showing the speed of change and the overwhelming mass of communication. The Linotron 1010 is a CRT machine in three parts; the control unit, the character generator, and the output/display unit. It no longer uses tape input, but now uses magnetic tape from computers.

“The Diagrammer” - 8:45 - Color - 1970

Promotional film for the Mergenthaler Diagrammer which helped automate technical drawings for schematics, electrical diagrams and drafting.

With a "James Bond" style introduction, this amazingly complex machine seems more exciting than you would think.

There is a great little sequence showing the 1886 Blower Linotype (before its restoration and acquisition by the Smithsonian Institution) and the Elektron. It also gives a quick overview of typing for tape perforation.

“Blue Streak Linotypes” - 20:44 - B&W - 1955

This film features the Model 31 (with up to four magazines) and the Model 32 (with up to 8 magazines with the auxiliary magazines). Many new safety features and speed improvements are displayed.

Key features: one revolution magazine shifting, swinging keyboard for ease of service, pot safety stops, easy knife adjusting, Mohr Lino Saw, mechanical quadding, and the thermo-blow mold blower.

“I.T.U. Electronic Progress” - 16:34 - Color - 1966

A film created by the International Typographic Union to display the advancing electronic technology being introduced to typesetting and printing. It specifically demonstrates “A System to Computerize Advertising Composition at the Washington Evening Star” in Washington D.C.

This film shows an IBM 1620 computer and additional storage disks working with Linofilm typesetters that were installed in July of 1963. There is a very in-depth explanation of the process of early computer and film typesetting. Additionally, new forms of plate making with cameras and photo composition are shown.

“Special to the Times” - 22:10 - Color - 1982

A film created by The New York Times to show how the newspaper goes from idea to printed product in 1982. With A.M. Rosenthal as the Executive Editor, they show the meeting of editors and leaders of different parts of the newspaper deciding what goes on the front page.

The film also features foreign corespondents and photographers covering the 1982 war between Israel and Lebanon and PLO refugee camps. The Washington D.C. Bureau is shown to demonstrate the depth of experience and knowledge of the reporters and photographers.

The editoral staff is shown deciding on the often-controversial editoral articles published. Many other departments of the newspaper are shown including the financial section, arts critics, police reporters, city reporters, architecture section, etc.

“Communications - The Printed Word” - 17:38 - Color - 1973

Using the Kimberly-Clark Corporation “Graphic Communications Through the Ages” series of oil paintings, this film goes through the history of printing starting with paper making in Egypt and shows most of the major advancements in printing technology from Gutenberg to Mergenthaler to Frederic Goudy.

At 16:30, there is a small break from the oil paintings to “modern day” footage before the film ends.

"Linotron 505" - 13:54 - Color - 1969

Featuring the cathode-ray tube Linotron 505 for high-speed film typesetting. Although this is a film machine, the input is still controlled by perforated tape.

The film features many interesting line diagrams on how the CRT machine works and exposes the characters onto paper or film. It goes into great depth about the optical grid system of characters on glass plates.

The ability to photographically create "fake" italics is possible for the first time and the film explains how the characters are created into the optical grid. The facilities and photo labs that create the grids are shown in great detail. The film ends with an aerial view of the Mergenthaler (a division of Eltra) production plant in Long Island.

“Linotype Elektron" - 10:21 - Color - 1962

"In the age of jet speed, Mergenthaler presents the Elektron: fully automated typesetting that is jet fast and all new from the base up." This film showcases the completely re-designed Elektron Linotype.

Fed by perforated tape, the Elektron can cast up to 15 lines per minute without an operator at the machine. With many electronic and hydraulic parts, the Elektron was Linotype's last hot-metal type casting machine.

Although many improvements were made, the limits of mechanical type setting had been reached and the Elektron was too little too late for the market that had moved on to photo and computer composition.

"The Tactics of Tapesetting" - 10:28 - Color - 1967

Created by Mergenthaler to show off the newest typesetting, film and computer machines to the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

This film was created at a time when all newspapers knew film and computer technology were the future, but they were not yet convinced in which technology to invest. It features the Elektron, tape-perforating keyboard center, Linofilm Quick, and other early-computer machines.

Many newspaper men in suits, thick glasses and skinny black ties.

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Sponsors


PrintingFilms.com is seeking dedicated sponsors that believe in preserving this great resource. We need assistance in locating films, researching copyrights, digitization, and website maintenance. If you are interested in helping, please get in touch.

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Sponsors


PrintingFilms.com is seeking dedicated sponsors that believe in preserving this great resource. We need assistance in locating films, researching copyrights, digitization, and website maintenance. If you are interested in helping, please get in touch.