Friday, 24 September 2010

The Next Step . . .

When I left Qualitex, in 1978, my next job was for a trade typesetting company, ECG Reprographics Ltd. They used Linocomp 2 machines. I had used a Linocomp 1 when on block release at the School of Printing, Australia Road. The Linocomps were desktop phototypesetting machines producing bromides for paste-up. However, they were restricted in that the only view you had of your setting was a small marching screen of about 50 characters. The Mk 2s were only a little more advanced than the Mk 1s. They were fair workhorses at the time but the film strips used tended to scratch easily and pick up dirt which seriously affected the crispness of the type.

ECG became MG Reprographics in the early eighties and the directors decided on purchasing a Berthold TPS6000 system. This meant spending two weeks in 1982 in London training at Heidelberg in Chiswick as the Falklands conflict began.

The Berthold was similar to a Monotype caster/Monophoto, in as much as it was noisy due to it being electro-mechanical and used glass matrix grids through which the font was exposed. It could hold up to 7 fonts plus a ruling grid. The quality of the output was exceptional but you were restricted to producing either A4 or 300mm x 300mm bromides. Again, the main drawback was that you couldn't actually see what you were producing unless you had the extra page view screen. The total amount of setting was 100 lines of text and the 7 inch floppy disc.

I operated this equipment for the next eight years.

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