Featured Films in the Collection

“Farewell ETAOIN SHRDLU” - 1978 - 29:08

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” - 1965? - 24:20

 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.


“Monotype - Making Sure - How the Machines are Made” - 1955? - 28:00

The Monotype is a wonder of mechanics and engineering and in this film you will see the process of manufacturing the Monotype from beginning to end.

The film starts by showing the Salfords, UK train station and entrance into the Monotype factory, then shows all of the milling, drilling, cutting, and casting required to make the casting machine. After that, we see the keyboard and paper-punch apparatus being constructed.

The film ends with footage of testing and calibrating the machine and images of the Monotypes being shipped all over the world.

“Getting to Know ‘Monophoto’ Filmsetters” - 1963 - 38:00

Learn all about the ‘Monophoto’ Filmsetter from Monotype. This machine attempts to bridge the gap in typesetting from the hot metal machines to the “new and exciting” world of photo typesetting.

Using light-sensitive paper, a photographic lens, and photo type matrices, the Monotype casts type that can be used for offset printing instead of the old, hot-metal process.

See diagrams of the machine, dark room processing, and in-depth explanation of paste-up techniques. 

(note: audio is missing for the first 35 seconds)

“A Monotype Composing Machine” Silent Film - 1925 - 58:30

This silent film starts with a brief overview of the Monotype Works buildings as well as the company homes for workers. See hundreds of Monotypes being built in the factory from raw materials to the casting machine and keyboards.

At 33:25, His Majesty the King, Duke of York (whom "The King's Speech" was based on) visits the Monotype factory. He inspects the workers and factory and then learns how to type on a Monotype keyboard.

Monotype - Handle with Care and Understanding" - 1965 - 24:00

This film was created to explain how to properly care and maintain a Monotype Casting Machine mould block (where the molten hot-metal is cast into the matrices).

For anyone interested in the inner-workings of the Monotype Casting Machine, there is a great, slow-motion explanation with parts of the machine in clear plastic so you can see how it functions.

“Monotype - Casting Good Type” - 1958 - 38:00

Has your Monotype ever produced low-quality type and you can't figure out why? This film was created to show you how to properly maintain your Monotype Casting Machine to cast perfect type, every time.

The film features an easy-to-understand series of diagrams showing how the Monotype casts type from molten metal as well as the correct way to clean dross out of your type metal. It is as exciting as it sounds!

More Films in the Collection

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

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 Eighth Wonder” - 1961 - 25:00

Made for the 75th anniversary of the Linotype in 1961, this film shows the impact that the invention of the Linotype had on the printing industry and the world. There are excellent sections on typeface design, cutting steel punches, using the Benton engraving machine, and the manufacture of Linotype matrices.

The film showcases various models of Linotypes, machines running via tape and Teletypesetting, as well as Linofilm machines and the process of producing film type matrices.

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

“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” - 1976 - 19:02

“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" - 1966 - 10:27

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” - 1970 - 8:45

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” - 1955 - 20:44

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.

“The Art and Technique of Photoengraving” - 1950s - 28:50

This film, created by Horan Engraving, shows the entire process of photoengraving. Starting with taking a photo, it shows camera work, engraving, etching, plate preparation, touch-up, zinc & copper plates, one-color process, four-color process and more.

If you want to learn how a photograph becomes a printing plate and a final print in a newspaper or book, look no further.

“Hand Composition at R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.” - 1940s - 11:30

This silent, black & white training film was created for The Lakeside Press in Chicago. Using title cards, the film shows the step-by-step method of properly assembling hand type in a composing stick, kerning, display line composition, initials, cutting leads and slugs, spacing, and proofing. A great film for learning the basics of hand composition.

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

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.

“Type Speaks” - 1948 - 25:27

For anyone interested in seeing the entire process of type manufacturing, this is one of the best films made.

Created by the American Type Founders Company, this film features the appearance and narration of Ben Grauer, a famous NBC radio personality explaining his love of books and modern printing. The history of printing is briefly shown followed by showing the in-depth process of matrix and punch making.

The film shows the most in-depth and visually easy-to-understand process of making type. It follows the entire process of type making from original design (showcasing Lydian by Warren Chappell) to pattern making, punch cutting, matrix making, and the use of the Benton engraving machine.

“Special to the Times” - 1982 - 22:10

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” - 1973 - 17:38

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" - 1969 - 13:54

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" - 1962 - 10:21

"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" - 1967 - 10:28

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.

“Printing Through the Ages” - 1950 - 12:09

A very easy to understand and simplified explanation of how printing began. The film starts with the beginning of writing and continues to tell the story of printing including Gutenberg, punch cutting, iron hand presses, hot-metal type casting, high-speed rotary presses, and newspaper production.

“The Manhattan Alphabetical Phone Directory” - 1940s - 21:30

This silent, black & white film was made as an in-house film for the New York Telephone Company and shows the process of updating the Manhattan telephone directory daily and then incorporating them into the massive yearly book.

It describes how a Linotype works, shows proofreading, lockup, printing, binding, paper cutting, stereotyping, and gluing. There are also some pretty goofy title cards and a crazy final scene with a guy smoking in a mirror for no apparent reason.