Upon a type-writer, a rate of sixty words per minute from dictation is not very high. The Senate Hansard reporters of Canada employ several type-writers who average from sixty to seventy words and over for considerable periods of time. Allowing the speed of the operator on the type-casting machine to be twenty-five per cent less, we have at least forty-five words per minute as the practical rate of the machine. This is equal to seven thousand one hundred and five ems per hour. As already said, I saw one man at the Linotype set for half an hour from a phonograph at a rate of nearly eight thousand ems per hour, and the setting was as "clean" as that of the average compositor.
Summing up the comparison between hand setting and machine casting, I find: 1. The machine is much more easily learned.
2. No type is required. 3. Less space and fewer hands are needed in the composing-room. 4. Setting is cleaner, and probably one third cheaper. 5. Justification is automatic and perfect. 6. By changing the matrices, which can be done in half an hour, a different style of type becomes available. 7. "Leading" can be done much more quickly. 8. There is no "pi-ing," or mixing up of type. 9. Fewer typographical errors are likely. You do not have inverted letters, nor mistakes due to the type having been wrongly "distributed" in the case, which are a source of frequent typographical blunders.
Drawbacks and Possible Complications.—It will be asked, How is it that these remarkable machines have not at once sprung into popularity?—so cheap, so rapid, so easily learned, so economical! How is it that so little has been heard about them? Well, the patents were only perfected last year, and the machines are not yet being made fast enough to supply the demand. Meanwhile, there are many possible complications, the fear of which must cause the average printing-office to hesitate to try the machines. 1. The machines require power to drive them effectively. The failure of power for any reason would seriously interfere with them, although they can be driven by foot-power in an emergency. 2. They require gas or gasoline for their furnaces; the failure of the gas from leakage, or cold, or accident, would stop the machines.
3. The molten metal in the melting-pot must always be at a tolerably even temperature; otherwise the casting is bad, perhaps impossible. It is claimed that this difficulty has been overcome in the Linotype, and that the temperature of the molten metal is automatically kept at a temperature varying not more than 10° Fahr. A column of mercury is connected with the melting-pot, and when the temperature causes the mercury to ascend beyond a certain point, it lowers the gas-jets which supply the heat. When the mercury descends below a certain point, it turns on the gas more strongly. 4. The machines are composed of many