THE ADVANTAGES for the compositor using the Universal Typewriter Keyboard Arrangement of the Lanston Monotype Keyboard cannot be overestimated. This is the perfect grouping of keys determined after years of experimenting for transforming words into key strokes at maximum speed with the minimum effort.

The operator could not see the type that was set on a screen, or any other method to preview the text until it was cast. It would be fair to say the operator was for all intents and purposes, partially blind.

There were only a series of holes perforated in a spool of controller paper which contained all setting information.

Monotype D Keyboard
© MMII Copyright: Lanston Type Company

COPY FOR SETTING was fed through the holder seen protruding left outwards from the keyboard. An electric light hung above.

The spool of controller paper is top-centre.

Keys when tapped allowed an escapement of air which drove a combination of two pins perforating the controller paper. Different keystrokes dictated which pins where chosen.

Different combinations of holes; different characters, different word spaces, line justification and caster function.

The system of holes controlling mechanical devices was invented by Joseph M. Jacquard. Jacquard invented the 'Jacquard Loom'.

Type faces had their own unit rows, their own wedges, stop bars, often their own keybars and sometimes their own keybanks. Not to mention line up standards.

Kerning was possible.

Tabular setting was also possible and usually produced much better setting than by a hand compositor. Quicker too. But an unskilled typesetter could make a real mess.

Although not clearly shown the Unit Wheel is above the keybanks, middle and below the spool of controller paper.

The Unit Wheel computed the unit total of all characters, a bell would ring when space was running low on the line length, a unit drum indicated what remained. The operator determined whether to word break for instance, or fit a small word such as, of or the, before tapping the keystrokes dictating the measure of the spaces between the words that were set.

'Simple', that's what the salesmen said, but it wasn't. Remember one thing–you were setting blind. Did the Monotype Keyboard operator have control over his setting? You can bet, it was more than possible, if not he was destined to push the broom.

Monotype® is a registered trademark of Agfa/Monotype. Lanston is a trademark of Gerald Giampa, the Lanston Type Company and his interests. Lanston Monotype in England and Lanston Monotype in America were always a separate corporate entity.