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Agfa Monotype Corporation

The Monotype Chronicles
1971– 1981



Photina (Series 747) by José Mendoza y Almeida. Third typeface produced by the Corporation specifically for phototypesetting.

One of José Mendoza's sketched plans for the widths and weights of Photina.

Seaco 1600 cathode ray tube phototypesetter, the first device to incorporate the use of digital founts with characters encoded as outlines. The machine was a commercial failure.

First clustered, multi-terminal, front-end composition system installed at the News-Journal in Daytona Beach as supplied by Xylogics Inc.

First issue of The Seybold Report on composition systems. It has become the most authoritative publication on pre-press issues.

Helvetica by Max Miedinger made available on Monotype machines.

Hartzell Machine Works Inc. appointed non-exclusive dealer for products of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. in the USA, alongside the American Type Founders Company which had previously held an exclusive status.

The Times newspaper of London appeared on 9 October for the first time in the Times Europa typeface designed by Walter Tracy. It later reverted to the original Times New Roman.

MGD Graphic Systems Division of Rockwell International announced the Metro-Set cathode ray tube phototypesetter, the first to deploy successfully digital fonts with characters defined as outlines.

Harris Corporation released the Harris 2200 video display terminal which attempted to simulate electronically the final printed page by using generic and scalable stick-igure fonts. It marked the beginning of developments of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display monitors that became essential in desktop workstations.

Monophoto Filmsetter 400/31 designed from an amalgam of mechanics, fluidics, and electronics. Photo-matrices consisted of 400 individual characters encased as a grid. Text was input as 31-channel spools in the traditional manner of the Monotype Corporation.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. acquired by the Grendon Trust (a property investment group) which itself ran almost immediately into financial difficulties and was absorbed by CST Investments Ltd. led by Christopher Selmes. Monotype became the target of insensitive asset stripping and some £2 millions were diverted elsewhere. It was a debilitating year for the Corporation which left the stock market after 42 years as a public company. Two successive Chairmen were appointed over the twelve months: Allan Brent by the Grendon Trust and Brian Trent by CST Investments, the former replaced the long-standing Sir George Harvie-Watt.

Vienna Agreement for the Protection of Type Faces and their International Deposit drafted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation after much lobbying and preparatory work by the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI).

Monotype offices at 43 Fetter Lane closed and sold after an association with the address lasting 68 years.

New along-the-line measurement system introduced for Monotype typography based on a square em-quad divided into 96 units. In the traditional Monotype system, the em quad was seldom square. Its width varied to match the overall characteristics of a wide or narrow face and was divided into 18 equal units. The 96-unit system came in with the Monophoto 400/8 machine.

Monophoto Filmsetter 400/8 perpetuating the engineering, optical, and typographical principles of the preceding Monophoto Filmsetter 400/31, but requiring input of text in the form of 8-channel justified tapes. Matrix grid capacity was 400 characters in 20 ¥ 20 rows.

John Hitch appointed Managing Director of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. following the new ownership of the previous year.

Ikarus font digitization system perfected by Dr. Peter Karow. It was adopted by several leading manufacturers of composition equipment in order to develop digital type libraries.

John Latham promoted at Salfords to Group Typographical Manager from Head of the Type Drawing Office.

Surviving artifacts and equipment of the Lanston Monotype Machine Company sold by American Type Founders to Hartzell Machine Works of Chester in Pennsylvania, an organization that had repaired moulds for Monotype over many years.



Monotype Lasercomp

Monotype Lasercomp, the first commercially successful digital laser imagesetter prompting a whole new generation of high-resolution photographic output devices. It exposed pages, complete with text and graphics, in raster-scan form. That is a helium-neon (red) laser beam was deflected by a spinning polygon across the breadth of a page at 1000 sweeps per vertical inch and synthesized images on progression down the page. Preparing the bitmap input data and controlling the output process was an early raster-image-processor (RIP). Digital fonts featured in a Monotype development for the first time and took the form of pre-sized bitmaps.

Xerox 9700 electrophotographic printer using digital fonts: the passable and persuasive low-resolution output (300 dpi) caused much pause for thought in the traditional graphic arts’ business.

Financial rescue plan devised whereby the National Enterprise Board, Barclays Bank, and City Computer Systems purchased the Monotype Corporation Ltd. from the Grendon Trust. Dr. Peter White appointed Chairman.

Linotron 202 cathode ray tube phototypesetter popularized the use of digital outline fonts, as did the CRTronic direct-entry machine of the following year.



Monotype Recorder initiated after a 10 year lapse. (This is the Centenary edition cover)

Centre for Advanced Research set up in Cambridge under Dr. David Hedgeland at the instigation of Professor Brian Gaines, Deputy Chairman of the Monotype Group in Britain.

Robert Shove appointed Managing Director of Monotype International, a division of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. with responsibility for pre-press electronic products.

New Series of the Monotype Recorder initiated after a lapse of ten years without publication: the last previous edition of Autumn 1970 had been dedicated to the work of the recently deceased Beatrice Warde.

Calvert (Series 806) by Margaret Calvert. Originally designed for signs on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Nimrod (Series 814) by Robin Nicholas. First used by the Leicester Mercury in its year of introduction.

Roger Day appointed Managing Director of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. with Peter Rippon as Chairman.

Jack Matson, former Managing Director of the Monotype Corporation Ltd., died on 23 November.

Germany absorbed the terms of the Vienna agreement on the protection of typefaces into its legal code.

Bitstream Inc., a provider of digital type fonts and unattached to any composing machinery manufacturer, formed by Mike Parker and Matthew Carter.

IBM introduced its personal computer. It was soon adopted by several systems integrators and software developers as the kernel for composition systems.

Xerox Star 8010 workstation incorporating a graphical user interface (GUI) of icons, menus, mouse control, and a WYSIWYG display screen: the GUI approach to computer operation was destined to become ubiquitous in the Apple Macintosh and PC Windows machines. It made computers less daunting and more congenial to use.

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