Fairchild Teletypesetter Perforator
This Teletypesetter Perforator Operator’s
Training Reference Manual was published in
the middle to late 1950’s by Fairchild Graphic Equipment, a division of Fairchild Camera &
Instrument Corp., Fairchild Drive, Plainview, LI., New York.
The factory was located about 30 miles from
Mid-town Manhattan – on Long Island, NY, in
the middle of a potato field.
In 1962 I worked for Fairchild Graphic as a TTS
equipment installer assigned to an area in
Midwest U.S.A. My area consisted of Upper
Michigan, Wisconsin, Eastern 1/2 of Minnesota,
Northern 1/2 of Illinois, Eastern Iowa and North East Missouri.
Fairchild Graphic leased a bare bones
Chevrolet vehicle, low quality heater and no
radio. You had a large selection of parts you carried with you.
The Midwest Area Field Office was located in
downtown Chicago. They created a weekly
route schedule, however, it was changed any
number of times within the week.
The following pictures and words on these
pages might sound strange and not make a lot of sense to most readers, however I will attempt to
explain in simple terms about what is going on with type composition in the 1960’s era of typesetting.
The pocket rule (better known as the code rule) that many
TTS perforator operators and monitors (machine tenders)
carry on their person. Line gauges & code rules – a must!
Presumably most of our readers already are acquainted with Teletypesetter and the increasingly
important role it is assuming in lhe graphic arts industry. For those who are not, as well as for the many
already in the industry who are currently seeking to expand their capabilities, we offer the following by
way of introduction.
The Teletypesetter method of producing type is a semi-automatic procedure for obtaining maximum
results from linecasting machine operation. It begins with the preparation of tape on a typewriter-like
machine known as the TELETYPESETTER PERFORATOR and ends with the utilization of this tape in a
TELETYPES ETTER OPERATING UNIT installed on an Intertype or Linotype linecasting machine -
where it operates the linecasting machine automatically at its geared output level, turning out lines of
type ready for use.
This modern composing room procedure has opened up a new and rapidly expanding field for qualified
touch system operators. In the publishing plant the Perforator Operator has the "key" assignment of
translating copy into the tape which will control the entire sequence of operations performed by the
linecasting machine in turning out the finished lines of type. It is a challenging task which demands
both speed and "know-how" - the ability to produce tape that does not require "reruns" or manual
corrections on the linecasting machine.
How a Linecasting Machine Operates
FOR MANY YEARS, the linecasting
machine (Linotype or Intertype) has
been a standard fixture in composing
rooms, aiding immeasurably in
speeding up the composition of type.
Most readers are somewhat familiar
with its manual operation-how the
operator sitting at the keyboard
depresses various keys to assemble
matrices and spacebands, and th us
forms the mold from which a finished line of type is cast.
In the Teletypesetter process, none of
the functions of the linecasting machine are omitted, and no new
functions are added.
The improvement in machine output is obtained solely by eliminating the peaks and valleys of stop-and
-go manual operation and substituting the steady, continuous, top level production obtainable through
automatic operation. Thus it is essential that we begin our training with a description of how a
linecasting machine operates.
In larger typeshop operations like newspapers and commercial shops such as Blackdot in North East
Illinois, R. R. Donnely, On the Lake Front, Chicago, Ill., Wisconsin Cuneo Press, North Side of Milwaukee
, Wi. it was the norm for one machine tender (monitor) to be responsible for the continuous running 4
machines. This consisted to taking cast slugs from the machine and pass them over to the proof press
operator, inserting new perforated tape onto the Teletype Operating Unit when needed and attending to
assembling of matrices when required.
Larger shops had a call board (triangular box hanging in the middle of the composing machine area
that had 3 panels of numbers representing each machine) that would light the number of the machine
and ring a bell or gong when the monitor would press the call button located on each machine. This call
button was used not only by TTS monitors but also was used by manual operators (one person/one
machine) for any machine malfunction or problem such as stuck lines of type (in mold) or distributor
(roof) stops. On duty machinists would respond to all calls and also hang new pigs of metal on the pig
Linecasting Machine Keyboard
A LlNECASTING MACHINE
KEYBOARD contains 90 keys, arranged in six rows of 15 keys
each, plus a spaceband lever. Figure illustrates a standard
fraction linecasting machine keyboard arrangement. Keybuttons are
generally arranged in three colors: lower case characters,
black; punctuation marks, figures, and special characters, blue; and the capitals, white. The release of a
matrix from the linecasting machine magazine is the final result of a sequence of operations begun with
the touch of a keybutton.
This is a standard layout supplied for Teletypesetter operation where fractions are required.
Matrix – Almost like a Jello Mold – Hundreds of them
Moving Within the Mah-chine!
A MATRIX is a small piece of brass with a letter of the alphabet, figure or some other
character recessed into its edge. The matrix
is used as a mold to reproduce a
corresponding character in type. The
linecasting machine magazine contains 90
channels of matrices, each channel having a
capacity for 21 identical matrices. When a
line of matrices has served for casting the
line of type, each matrix is automatically
distributed to its proper channel.
Multiplying the 90 channels in the magazine X’s 21 =’s 1,890 matrices could fit in a magazine. Now you
might have requirements for 21 loser case “e”s but why have 21 capital “E”s? The vowels “a”, “e”, “i”,
“o”, “u” and “y” channels contained more matrices than most other channels in the magazine. For sure
you don’t need more than 10 “x”s or “z”s.
“Double e” Attachment Arrives!
And for you purists, I’m not forgetting the “Zero” channel – better known as the “double e” channel.
So WHAT’S a double “e” channel. This channel was mainly used when TTS units were adapted to higher output
(lpm) Linotype Comet and Intertype Monarch linecasting machines. Each time the line delivery moved from
home position to the left to deliver a line of matrices a selector lever was camed (Comet) left or right. (Not sure
on about how Monarch did this) This caused a “0” or “1” reed to select lower case “e”s from channel # “0” or #
“1” when assembling the next line of type.
Just think what happened the first time you set a story about history for the song using this word:
“eeeee i eeeee i eeeee iO”. A song “Ol’ McDonald Had A Farm” used
(Don’t laugh! Polka bands in North East Wisconsin – Frankie Yankovic & Cousin Fuzzy – played tunes with that
word) That line used 15 or the 21 lower case “e”s. Only 6 “e”s left in the magazine. Had to wait for the line to
cast and “e”s get returned to the distributor bar and fall into #“1” channel. With the “double e” selector
working I could continue setting the next line, this time using “e”s from the “0” channel.
Spaceband (Wedge) – the justifying word space
THE SPACEBAND consists of a unit of two thin wedge-shaped pieces of metal used as spacers between words of a line. Upon completion of the line, the
spacebands are automatically separated from the matrices and returned to the
spaceband box. Each line of type must contain at least one spaceband when line
justification is required.
Stationary part of Wedge held by casting machines first elevator back and front jaws.
Two tapered steel pieces forced upward on stationary sleeve to create justified line of type. (sample below)
Prevents SLEEVE from sliding off bottom of wedge.
Assembling a Line of Type (Manual Operation)
As THE MANUAL operator "keyboards"
copy, matrices are released from the
magazine. The matrices fall by gravity to a
rapidly moving conveyor belt, which carries
them into an assembling elevator,
assembling the matrices into words.
In response to the operator's touch of the
spaceband lever at the right time,
spacebands drop between words. Visual
judgment of justification is accomplished
by the operator's knowledge of total
expansion of the spacebands in the line
compared to the amount of space left to fill
the line. If the line fails to meet justification,
the operator must add the required extra spacing to the line.
A= Magazine of matrices; B=Matrices dropping down the face plate for assembly;
C= Assembling Elevator; D= Spaceband box holding spacebands;
E= Spaceband chute.
Sending Assembled Line of Type to Casting Position
THE MATRICES AND SPACE BANDS which have been
selected to form the line of type
are elevated and transferred
automatically to the casting
mechanism where they are
locked in place against the mold .
Just before the casting of the line
, the wedge-shaped spacebands
are forced upward to spread the
line to the exact column width.
This is known as justification.
Justifying a Line of Type
A slug (line of type) is
formed by forcing molten lead into the mold, thereby filling the
depressions of the letters in the matrices and at the
same time forming the body of the slug.
(see lines of type on
machine galley – below)
Ejecting a Slug (Line of Type) from the Mold
The metal in the mold cools and hardens almost instantaneously. The slug is then ejected, trimmed, and delivered to the galley, and the matrices
and spacebands are redistributed to their storage channels.
Until recent years linecasting machines
were operated manually by an operator
sitting at the keyboard. Today they are
operated automatically – at a speed and
cadence impossible to match by manual
operation – by a tape-controlled device
known as the Teletypesetter Operating
Unit, which attaches directly to the
linecasting machine keyboard.
Teletypesetter Operating Unit
THE TELETYPESETTER OPERATING UNIT is a self
-contained unit that can be attached
to all varieties of modern ninety-channel linecasting machines.
Once a linecasting machine is so equipped, it may be converted
instantly from automatic to manual
operation — or vice versa — merely
by turning the tape feed control lever on the Operating Unit.
Paper tape reel
It is the function of the Operating Unit
(above) to "sense" the code
combinations in the prepared tape and
translate them into mechanical actions
for automatic operation of the linecasting machine.
Since the Operating Unit can neither
think nor act for itself but is actuated
solely by the perforations appearing in
the tape, it is obvious that the tape must
incorporate provisions for all intermediate linecasting machine
"functions," as well as select the
characters and figures desired in the
finished line of type. How all this is
handled by the Perforator Operator is outlined in detail in Section II and Section III. Meanwhile, let's take
a brief look at another important unit in the Teletypesetter process-The Teletypesetter Perforator.