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Judith Yaross Lee <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 31 Jul 2007 13:13:02 -0400
text/plain (16 lines)
Poor timing and strong competition and mechanical complications are all
part of the story of the Compositor's failure and Twain's lost investment,
but they're not the whole story.  My own sense from research some years
ago, when I traced the Paige patents and the competition along with Twain's
investments, notebooks, and correspondence, is that he conflated the
automation needs of newspapers and fine printers.  Human compositors worked
for both in quite the same way, but the mediocre quality produced by the
Linotype was quite sufficient for products that were going to wrap garbage
the next day, while the Paige machine was too expensive for that purpose or
to replace human compositors, though it produced excellent copy as well as
and faster than the most skilled human competition, according to
well-publicized races that the investors set up and publicized.

Judith Lee
Ohio University