From the Archives no. 4—Photo-lettering

The February 1954 issue of Linotopix (vol. 3, no. 1), published by Mergenthaler Linotype, announced the first demonstration of the Linofilm (to take place on April 19 to a select group of industry professionals). At the same time it also introduced Reditype from Linotype’s subsidiary, the Davidson Corporation.

Reditype, the idea of John A. Willett, was “designed to improve the Company’s competitive position in the growing field of photolithography.” The process was described as a “fast, economical method of setting limited quantities of ‘cold’ type in sizes above 36 point that will supplement the Linotype.” Reditype used vinyl plastic characters which could be moved about on a pressure-sensitive board to assemble words and text. Once a layout was arrived at, the results were photographed—but without the aid of a camera or darkroom [!]—to create Reditext. An offset plate was made from the film. Then the vinyl plastic letters were redistributed just like metal type. Type could be set at an angle or on a curve. There is no mention of any ability to condense, expand or slope the letters.