This day in Mohawk Valley history: March 7, 1903
Our New Simplex Typesetter, Herkimer Democrat, March 7, 1903
New Simplex Typesetter
This is a progressive age, Herkimer is a progressive village, Herkimer business men are keeping pace with the growing interests of our beautiful village, hence it is necessary that every business enterprise should be as well equipped as possible to ad vance the line of business in which they are engaged. The press of Herkimer should certainly keep up with all this steady advancement.
For several years the Little Falls Times, edited by John Crowley, has had the distinction of having the only typesetting machine in this county, but this week the laurels have been plucked from him and another paper has entered the line of progress and that is the Semi-Weekly Democrat.
Early in January the machine known as “ The Simplex” typesetting machine, manufactured by the Unitype Co., of New York, was arranged for and this week it was installed in, our office. This issue of the semi-weekly was produced by it. It is a wonderful invention and will enable us to give a much better paper, and it is also a great economizer of time. Besides newspaper work it is fitted for book work, which will enable us to turn out law work, etc., with a promptness that will put hand composition in the shade. We expect to have the company’s expert with us till Wednesday and we especially invite all who are interested in this machine to call in Monday and Tuesday afternoons when we will have a public demonstration. Ladies are also invited and no one need hesitate to call, as our office towel will be visible and we will be glad to explain the working of the machine to you. Our editorial friends are especially invited.
The Thorne simplex unitype typesetting machine, 1880
“In theory, the Unitype was a logical solution to the typesetting dilemma– instead of having a group of typesetters gathering metal type by hand, a machine would do the work for you! Thorne called the Unitype the one-man typesetter. It combined the concept of a typewriter and typecase. Metal type was stacked in channels inside a metal cylinder, which were organized by characters, and an operator would use the keyboard to dispense the type. The type would go down a chute and into a galley, where it would already be arranged into words and sentences. Once the galley got too full, someone would take it away and put the type into the press for printing. After the printing was completed, they would take the galley of type to the back of the machine where it could go back inside the cylinder. The Unitype would sort each character back into its respective channel by using a series of notches on the side of the type. The position and number of notches would correspond to a specific letter, number, or other character that the machine could recognize and categorize accordingly.” – The International Printing Museum