Downtown in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Linotype Model 31
This machine saw more than a half century’s service molding lines of type from molten metal in the Washington Post’s composing room. It is representative of the very heart of the “hot type” newspaper production process which was used at the Post from 1888 to 1980.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications • Industry & Commerce • Labor Unions. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
Location. 38° 54.267′ N, 77° 2.067′ W. Marker is in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia. It is in Downtown. Marker is on 15th Street Northwest north of L Street Northwest, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are Saint Augustine Catholic Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Katharine Graham (within shouting distance of this marker); Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Metropolitan AME Church (about 500 feet away); Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church (about 500 feet away); William Howard Taft (about 600 feet away); Elizabeth Keckley (about 700 feet away); Statler Hotel (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Northwest Washington.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This link is to a marker for a the Ottmar Mergenthaler house in Baltimore.
Also see . . .
1. James O. Clephane, the Father of the Linotype Machine. Wikipedia entry. “ ‘I want to bridge the gap between the typewriter and the printed page’ he declared in 1872, and began to pursue the invention of a machine for typesetting. Along with Charles T. Moore, he devised a machine which cast type from papier-mâché matrices indented by mechanically assembled characters, but it had numerous defects which they were unable to rectify. Moore approached
“It produced print by lithography, which was problematic. Clephane made the suggestion of using stereography instead, and Mergenthaler began to research this approach, for which Clephane provided financial backing. By 1879, it was still in development. Mergenthaler designed a line casting machine, but then tore up the plans in frustration. Clephane encouraged him to continue; he remained confident in the value of the invention despite all the scepticism and financial embarrassments that accompanied it.
“By 1883, the machine was perfected and patented in 1884. Meanwhile Clephane had formed the National Typographic Company for manufacturing it, with a capitalization of $1 million and named Mergenthaler as manager of its Baltimore factory. The company became the Mergenthaler Printing Company in 1885. It had its first ‘commercial demonstration’ on July 3, 1886, before Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune, who exclaimed ‘Ottmar, you’ve done it again! A line o’ type!’ (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.)
2. Eldon Meeks runs a Linotype machine. “October 16, 2007 — Eldon Meeks, 82, runs a Model 8 Linotype machine, vintage World War II, for the Wapsipinicon Almanac at Route Three Press in rural Anamosa, Iowa, in October 2007. Eldon was born deaf, and is also mute. Video shot by The Gazette’s Dave Rasdal.”
“This is a video of my deaf father at the linotype machine. Many years ago he used to work for the local Anamosa, Iowa newspaper. His former boss used to say Eldon would always know in advance when one of the machines was going to break down. With being deaf, he could feel the change in the vibration that the machines were producing.” (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.)
3. A Place of Their Own. 1989 book by John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch on Amazon.com. “As satisfying as it may be, however, the story of deaf people’s success in the printing trade is a cautionary tale as well. The nature of printing changed rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century, altering its status and reducing (Submitted on April 11, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 4, 2010, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,342 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 4, 2010, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 10, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 8. submitted on April 11, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Confirmation and photo of the site where the marker was located, probably no longer present due to recent construction (demolition of Washington Post Building). • Can you help?