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I'm sure American people know the story, but I'm certain that everyone here will find it interesting. In an article about Mark Twain I've read yesterday, I've discovered that the writer went bankrupt in late XIX century, losing 200.000 dollars in a financial investment in the Paige Compositor, a typesetting machine which was a commercial failure. A fast Google search gave some interesting info on the episode:
The story soon remined me about another tyepsetting system gone wrong, the German Uhertype, which predated photocomposition in the Twenties (more info on Christopher Burke's book on Jan Tschichold, who designed a Gill-inspired sans for the machine).