Mergenthaler, Ottmar ôt´mär mĕr´gən-tä˝lər [key], 1854–99, American inventor of the Linotype (see printing). Mergenthaler was born in Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1872 and was employed to inspect and repair clocks in the government buildings in Washington, D.C. After 1876 he lived in Baltimore, where he perfected his linotype, first patented in 1884 and put into operation in 1886 in the office of the New York Tribune. The machine revolutionized the publishing industry by allowing lines of metal type to be set from a keyboard similar to a typewriter instead of each piece of type being set by hand.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Libraries, Books, and Printing: Biographies