When I was at Le Figaro's headquarters last week, I ran into an old Linotype machine that was showcased in their lobby.

The Linotype is a "line casting" machine used in printing. It was invented in the late 1800's and revolutionized the newspaper publishing industry, much like the internet and content management systems are revolutionizing the publishing industry today. Its working parts are so meticulous, that the machine was invented and built by watchmakers. Major newspaper publishers retired Linotype machines during the 1970s and 1980s. For more information about the Linotype machine, see the Linotype's Wikipedia page.

When confronted with the Linotype in Le Figaro's lobby, I felt a sudden sense of admiration and respect for how it looked, and for how it has contributed to both my personal and professional life. It is well known that geeks can get a bit emotional about machines, I guess ...

Linotype
Linotype
Linotype

Comments

Phil Schaffner (not verified):

From feudalism ('horses & ploughs') over capitalism ('industrialisation/factories, mechanisation, book printing/press, the national states, extensive banking/financial systems' etc.) to informationalism ('peer2peer, participation, decentralisation/personalisation of information/production/energy/finances, attentional hierarchies, user centrism'…)? And then, finally: Life 2.0. ;-) Wow, I am going to recreate myself!

Jürgen (not verified):

I'm with you on this. I've been working in the high-end publishing software industry for best part of 20 years and we've been dealing with companies almost all day every day who were about to replace the Linotypes.

In understanding the effort to "spread the word" only some 25 years ago and before it still makes me feel so fortunate that all our ancestors took the effort. It is just amazing that it worked.

ksenzee (not verified):

My great-grandfather set type for the Seattle Times on a Linotype a hundred years ago. I like to think we're in the same industry.

John (not verified):

When you examine the intricacy of the mechanical parts employed in these machines, they represent a staggering achievement of engineering.