Thought you might be interested in an append from a different list that
discusses Twain's unfortunate investment in an early typesetting machine.
A quick reply to Jim Downey, re his reply to Mike Mahoney--your comments
the technology having an effect (or not) on the quality of writing
brings to mind Mel Kranzberg's First Law of Technology: "Technology is
good nor bad--nor is it neutral." (quoted from Stephen Cutcliffe & Robert
Post, eds, In Context: Eaasys in honor of Mel Kranzberg, Lehigh U.P. 1989;
247). I would say this law applies pretty well to desktop publishing and
Which reminds me...Samuel Clemens (a.k.a Mark Twain) lost most of his
fortune backing an automatic typesetting machine (the Paige Compositor),
never was made to work reliably and was pushed out by the Mergenthaler
Linotype. Seems that Twain was infatuated with the wonders of this
when you examine the reason more closely, you find that it had one feature
that he was most impressed by--it could right justify text automatically.
thought the machine was being run by the Devil himself! (As a youth Twain
worked as a printer, before he became a riverboat pilot, so he knew
about setting type by hand).