What Does Linotype Mean?

Linotype is a type of 19th century printing technique that printed an entire line instead of each character on the printing surface. The linotype process allowed the quick and easy printing in bulk of products such as newspapers, magazines and books. This method of printing was used until the 1960s and 1970 until offset lithography and early computerized methods replaced this printing process.


Techopedia Explains Linotype

Invented by a German watchmaker in 1884, linotype is a technique that quickly revolutionized the printing industry. The name is derived from “line of type,” which is a literal description of the process, itself. The method includes molding of characters in the form of a line on a piece of metal known as “slug.” The typesetting is called “hot metal” typesetting. Newspaper, cards, posters, books, magazines and other such bulk printing was greatly improved with this process. Matrices with lines cast are then replaced after printing and are later reprocessed and reused.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.