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For more than four hundred years after the invention of printing, all type was set by hand, a slow process with each letter selected and assembled one after the other in a line.

In the nineteenth century, typesetting machines were invented. Intertype and Linotype machines used hot lead to cast type in slugs (lines of type), and the Monotype cast individual pieces of type. The typesetter used a keyboard to direct casts of letters and punctuation into place. After printing, the lead type was remelted to be used again. This era of newspaper production was labour intensive, characterised by high noise levels and the smell of ink.

Typesetting machines were used extensively until the 1960s, when computer technology revolutionised the making of newspapers. The typewriters and typesetting machines of earlier eras have been replaced by electronic newspaper production using computers and digital imaging.

Newspaper production in 1900

Click here to view lantern slides.

Newspaper production in 2003

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Intertype typesetting machine

Intertype typesetting machine

This machine, built in 1948, was used by the Mount Gambier newspaper Border Watch until 1978. The Braund family used it in their printing business, Supreme Printers at Holden Hill, from 1978 until 2000, when the family donated it to The Advertiser.

Donated by Advertiser Newspapers Limited

Linotype links

Link to sa.gov.au - South Australian Government

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