Linotype Devanagari typesetting, 1933

John Hudson's picture

I've uploaded a scan of something I picked up a while ago: a Linotype keyboard operation manual for hot metal Devanagari typsetting, dated 1933 [PDF, 5.06MB]. It's interesting as an example of the decisions made in adapting a complex script to a mechanical typesetting system, and a useful contribution to the history of the development of the 'half form' mechanism, here used not only for conjuncts but also to build many of the basic letters in combination with the common vertical stroke.

quadibloc's picture

Thank you very much, this is fascinating information.

brianskywalker's picture


hrant's picture

Thanks for sharing. Observing simplification solutions is always very educational.


kentlew's picture

Thanks for sharing this, John. I was vaguely aware of Linotype’s modular approach, but hadn’t seen all the individual components layed out. I certainly did not expect to see the क split down the middle like that, with its permutations. Some interesting compromises — not always completely happy, but clever nonetheless, given the constraints of the technology.

brianskywalker's picture

Some clever modularity. The way that the letters are made up of vertical splits is fascinating. I wonder how far we can take these ideas into our own practice.

We already make our glyphs of reusable parts. But this seems unconventional even with that in mind. Exciting! :-)

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