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Author Topic: Monotype Keybars  (Read 431 times)

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John Nixon

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Monotype Keybars
« on: May 15, 2019, 09:45:12 AM »
Question:
Was there a difference between English and American key bars?
Cheers, John Nixon



John Cornelisse

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Re: Monotype Keybars
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 06:05:03 PM »
Keyboarding... the keybar needs to be adjusted to the layout of the diecase and the wedge.

In the old days Monotype was keen enough to give every printshop a special layout. In this way nobody could keyboard for his neighbouring printshop. So everybody had to buy the keyboard-equippement in full.

And changing a keybar when needed, I do not know many people who would be able to do this at all.

For Times New Roman there were thousands of different versions available. Not only for non-english languages...

And any permutation of a row would give you another possible layout...

Nowadays it is far more handy to use a computer controlled interface. Than you can change your layout to your own demands and wishes. And even use another wedge with the right set, when you might not have the prescribed wedge with the right set at all.

At some time Monotype was also trying to use computers in an attempt to set aside keyboarding. Small computers were used to control punching machines producing ribbons. Those computers, were very exxpensive in those days. only a limited number were sold, and they are all different... They might look the same but inside parts and electronics can be different, the developpement of electronics goes faster and faster.

And not many of these computers have survived, and when they still are there, communicating with them... might be difficult with modern computers.

Making ribbons... it becomes more and more difficult to find unused rolls of ribbon paper.

I fear that keyboarding will end some days, the casters, those will be used a lot longer.

John Nixon

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Re: Monotype Keybars
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 12:59:37 AM »
Hi John:

Interesting thoughts.

It turns out that the keyboard are universal.

I have had a great time teaching myself the intricacies of the Monotype Keyboard, it is detailed but not overly demanding, even down to the ways of creating specially kerned characters using unit adding and subtracting.

The ability to operate the keyboard and caster are learnable and hopefully interested people coming to this technology will learn and embrace it.

At The Printing Museum of New Zealand we have about 8 boxes of ribbon paper and will not run out anytime soon.

We have actually has success in using a laser engraver to produce ribbons using never tear (indestructible paper) for repeat castings of sorts.

I guess being a Tradesman Linotype operator has been an advantage, also understanding that the Monotype system is not the enemy of the Linotype/Intertype way of doing things.

Monotype, like Linotype and Intertype developed computer/tape driven devices to reduce owner costs as non-tradespeople could be employed.

We are busy with casting orders and have great feedback about the quality of our work and the willingness to create type for correct kerning.
We recently had new mats made at the Type Archive so we can produce vowels with macrons on them for use in the Māori language.

Cheers, John

Christophe Slychan

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Re: Monotype Keybars
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 09:01:45 AM »
We have actually has success in using a laser engraver to produce ribbons using never tear (indestructible paper) for repeat castings of sorts.

Very interesting, tell me about this approach. Do you have a special winder that moves the ribbon row by row (X axis), and the laser head is moving across the ribbon (Y axis) making perforations in some of the 31 positions? How do you generate the signal sequence? (i.e. what typesetting / encoding software do you use?)

I've never heard of making ribbons this way. I've seen (and done, successfully) direct machine control with solenoid valves sending compressed air signals where the ribbon readout takes place, I've seen a keyboard's paper tower (i.e. perforator) controlled with solenoid valves, and I've seen (although not in person) the Monotype electronic perforator. But this is something completely different :)
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