Breaking

Preparing and printing the New York Times, 1942


Long before computerized printing presses and journalists were able to enter stories via computers, the process of creating the newspaper of the day was a much more difficult, hand-crafted process.

In September 1942, Office of War Information photographer Marjorie Collins visited the offices of the New York Times located in the iconic One Times Square and an annex on 43rd Street.

There, she documented each step of the messy, physical process as news coming over the stars was sorted, edited, rewritten, scheduled and printed, all under an ever-increasing time frame.

The Thursday, September 10, 1942 issue was dominated by reports of fighting in Europe and the Pacific, as well as rationing and reductions on the home front (with a recap of the Yankees' victories over Brown and horse racing at the Aqueduct Racetrack). ,



"HotType" is shorthand for the hot metal typesetting method widely used in the 19th century. Typesetters created lines of text using brass letters, then poured molten lead into the mold.

The resulting plates were used to print books and newspapers. Later, the lead was thrown back into the "hellbox", re-melted, and reused.

This technique had several advantages: it reduced labor as there was no need to manually position the typefaces, and inserted a crisp new type for each printing job.

In the case of Linotype machines, each line was cast as a strong continuous block (hence the "line o'type") which was useful for rapid newspaper printing.

It was the standard technology used for mass-market printing from the late nineteenth century, eventually declining with the advent of phototypesetting and then electronic processes in the 1950s to 1980s.





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