Typesetting in 1977

18 Nov

CompuWriters, Uniscans, and Typositors: Typesetting in 1977.

by STEVEN HELLER on NOVEMBER 12, 2012

It is sobering to recall all the machinery we needed to set type in the BC-era (Before Computers). Well, I take that back. This was a computer—a Compugraphic, to be exact. This, along with the IBM Magnetic Tape machines, was the state of the art in typesetting via computer back in the late ’60s and ’70s. But it wasn’t digital. The output was photographic. Look at all the chemicals necessary to get a result. Then look at the hardware. With Compugraphic, you could get away with a small area or you might need an entire room for the upscale version.

I worked with the smaller CompuWriter II, but my dream was to get the Uniscan. The former ranged in price from $5,00o to $12,000—the higher the price the better the justification. The latter was $22,000. Both were text-only. Headliners were separate, or you’d have to own a Typositor.

Next time you complain about your iMac or laptop, think of what you missed (if you were born after 1970).

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