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Agfa Monotype Corporation

The Monotype Chronicles
1982– 1991



Monotype drawing office.

John Dreyfus retired as Typographical Adviser to Monotype. He was followed by John Miles.

John Latham appointed Director of a self-contained Typography Division within the corporate structure of the Monotype Corporation. He previously held senior management positions within the activity.

Monotype System 272 for improving the efficiency of hot-metal composition by providing an input keyboard with an electronic monitor coupled to facilities for editing and printing-out 31-channel spools.

Dunfermline factory closed in Britain reflecting the shift from mechanical to electronics products in the portfolio of the Monotype Corporation.

Linotype-Paul Ltd. introduced the APL-100 and APL-200 video input keyboards incorporating Apple II personal computers. In the same year, Typecraft Systems Ltd. launched inexpensive terminals founded on the Commodore Pet personal computer. Both developments were significant in marking the beginning of a trend towards the use of generic hardware for the fabrication of composition systems and a move away from proprietary equipment.

Clarion (Series 917). Reflected the growing interest of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. in the newspaper market.

Monotype supplied IBM with digital fonts for its 600 dpi 4250 Printer operating on the principle of electro-erosion of the coated surface of a laminated substrate.

Monotype Lasercomp Sprint continuing the technical philosophy of the earlier Lasercomp (1976), but deploying digital fonts encoded as outlines, instead of as pre-sized bitmaps. The characters were expressed as vectored outlines. Included in the machine controller was computer logic for dynamically sizing characters on the fly.

Ira Mirochnick joined Monotype Inc. in the USA as Financial and Operations Officer.

Further financial re-structuring occurred when Barclays Bank took control of the property interests of the Monotype Corporation Ltd. which continued to receive support from the National Enterprise Board and fresh capital from the Electra Investment Trust, Drayton Consolidated Investment, and Grosvenor Development Capital.

Remnant artifacts and equipment of the Lanston Monotype Machine Company passed to Mackenzie-Harris Corporation of San Francisco from Hartzell Machine Works. The new owners were established typefounders and trade typesetters.

Adobe Systems Inc. released initial details of a novel RIP based on a page description language called PostScript.

Graphics sub-system developed for the Monotype Lasercomp consisting of an input digitizing scanner, a file manager and database, and a graphics screen for cropping and enhancing pictures.

National Enterprise Board withdrew from the Monotype Corporation. Its interests were redeemed by a consortium of financial investors.

Apple Computer Inc. introduced the Macintosh computer which was to become a bedrock of desktop publishing.

Monotype Lasercomp Blaser, an upgraded and workable version of the Lasercomp Sprint (1983).

Monotype Systems formed a joint venture with Chelgraph Products Ltd. and took a 67 per cent holding. Chelgraph developed RIPs and imaging engines.

All the elements vital to the desktop publishing revolution were in place, namely: the Apple Macintosh computer with graphical user interface and WYSIWYG screen; the Adobe PostScript page description language with rasterizer and digital fonts; the Aldus PageMaker program for electronically assembling pages complete with digital graphics; and a range of PostScript output devices exemplified by the low-resolution Apple LaserWriter plain paper printer and high-resolution Linotron 101 and Linotronic 300 imagesetters.

Cantoria (Series 962) by Ron Carpenter. Owes something to Della Robbia produced by the Lanston Monotype Machine Company in 1902.

Footlight (Series 1156) by Chong Wah.

Monotype Lasercomp Express able to output a broadsheet newspaper page containing text and graphics every minute at a resolution of 1000 lines per inch.

Monotype Lasercomp Pioneer with two output resolution/speed combinations: 1000 lines per inch at 18 inches per minute and 1500 lines per inch at 10 inches per minute.

Monotype 512 Direct-Entry Phototypesetter with a novel imaging technology based on a light-switching array (LiSA) chip developed by Philips. In essence the chip, traversing in front of the light-sensitive material, had 512 potential exposure points which could be made transparent or opaque by the drive circuitry. Behind the chip was a light source. Front-end logic for text entry, editing, and composition was in the form of an Olivetti M24 personal computer. Outline digital fonts for the machine were in Cambray coding developed by Chelgraph for the ACE (ASCII Coded Escapement) page description language.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. regained the status of a public company with a quotation on the Unlisted Securities Market. It raised £4.67 millions for re-investment.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. acquired a 75 per cent shareholding in GB Techniques Ltd., a supplier of a computerized and clustered text processing and composition system. Two years later the remaining 25 per cent holding in the company was purchased.

Calisto (Series 1160) by Ron Carpenter.

Abadi (Series 1193) by Chong Wah.

René Kerfante joined Monotype as Managing Director of the Typography Division in succession to John Latham.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. ceased manufacture of hot-metal keyboards and casters, though spare parts and matrices continued to be made.

Monotype Systems (the electronic equipment division) purchased Graphic Systems Equipment S.A. in France.

Monotype Systems bought Intertec Electronics Ltd. and Scientex Ltd., the former dealing in digital graphics and the latter in desktop publishing software for technical and scientific applications.

Monotype Systems signed a value-added reseller agreement with Apple Computer for the distribution of Macintosh units.

Aldus PageMaker program made available on the PC platform.

QuarkXPress released, a program for composition and page make-up and a challenger to Aldus PageMaker.

Adobe Illustrator, drawing software released, initially for use on the Apple Macintosh computer.

Monotype Typography and the Compugraphic Corporation sign a cross-licensing agreement for a mutual exchange of proprietary typefaces.

Series 3 versions of the Lasercomp Express and Pioneer incorporated a new proprietary outline font technology named Qubic with the characters expressed as cubic splines with Bézier notation.

Monotype Systems introduced the Prism laser-diode imagesetter with a PostScript RIP, the first device from the company to be dedicated to the Adobe Systems page description language. Additionally the PostScript RIP could be added to any other imaging engine in the company portfolio. PostScript Type 3 fonts (‘unhinted’) were issued to accompany the machine.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. upgraded from the Unlisted Securities Market to a full quotation on the London Stock Market.

Production of the Boston wire stitcher stopped at Salfords.

Brian Lacey resigned as Managing Director of the electronics equipment division of Monotype. He was succeeded by Solly Loredo.

Gerald Giampa acquired the remnants of the matrix-making equipment and artifacts of the Lanston Monotype Machine Company and moved them from San Francisco to Vancouver.

Monotype issued first fonts in the PostScript Type 1 format containing ‘hinted’ refinements under license from Adobe Systems. Previously the Corporation had supplied PostScript Type 3 ‘unhinted’ fonts only.

Monotype produced PostScript Type 1 fonts fot IBM’s O/S2 operating system.

Ira Mirochnick in the USA transfers within Monotype Inc. to the Typography Division.

Sun Microsystems licensed Monotype Typography to develop fonts in the Folio F3 format, an intelligent outline rendering of characters.

Apple Computer licensed a range of fonts in its new TrueType format.

Monotype released Expert Fonts for PostScript users. Included in the character sets were small capitals, non-lining figures, fractions, superior and inferior letters and figures, and an expanded range of ligatures. Such typographical niceties had hitherto been generally withheld from desktop publishers.

Monotype secured a 55 per cent stake in Textdata of Sweden, a company dedicated to the development of high-quality composition software. The jointly-owned venture traded as MonoText.

Monotype Systems obtained a 60 per cent share in Sinclair Imaging Systems, a company involved in data communications and facsimile equipment for newspapers.

Monotype Systems disposed of its 67 per cent holding in Chelgraph Products Ltd. to the De La Rue group, the parent of Crosfield Electronics Ltd.

Dr. David Hedgeland, the principal inventor of the Lasercomp, received the Mullard Award from the Council of the Royal Society.



Ellington, a Monotype specimen designed by Michael Harvey and produced in Monotype's publicity and marketing department in 1990.

Amasis by Ron Carpenter. (The allocation of Series numbers to fonts had stopped by the time work on Amasis began.)

Ellington (Series 1216) by Michael Harvey.

TrueType font technology announced by Apple Computer.

Monotype Typography licensed to Microsoft a set of 13 core fonts in the TrueType format for use in the Windows and OS/2 environments. It was an association that burgeoned further with release of additional TrueType font packages in 1992 and afterwards.

Entire Monotype Classic Font Library issued in PostScript Type 1 format on a CD ROM, together with the Adobe Type Library.

Introduction of the ExpressMaster, ImageMaker 3000, and Monotype Prism Plus output devices.

Monotype announced the LaserBus standard interface for its Series 3 imagesetters and RIPs enabling faster transfer of data between them. Additionally LaserPlex was released to allow multiple RIPs and imaging engines to be multiplexed for increased production throughput.

The Monotype Corporation Ltd. acquired by KBA (King Black Associates), an American investment group. (Robert Maxwell had expressed an interest in the takeover, but nothing concrete materialised.) With the change in ownership, Richard Black was appointed Chairman replacing Roger Day and Jerry Williams became Managing Director.

Imaging engines by ECRM integrated into Monotype output systems.


Dante. A Monotype specimen, designed by Peter Willberg and produced in Monotype's publicity and marketing department in 1991.

Adobe Photoshop, a colour image retouching and reproduction program, developed for the Apple Macintosh computer and later made available to the PC and some Unix platforms.

Monotype opens type production office in Palo Alto, CA to better serve its OEM customers

Monotype released FoneFonts on a CD ROM containing 1400 fonts in the PostScript Type 1 format for users of Apple Macintosh computers.

Dante redrawn for digital setting and new variants added by Ron Carpenter.

Adobe Systems licensed Monotype fonts for the Adobe Type Library.

Adobe Systems announced their multiple master font technology.

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