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Mergenthaler, Ottmar 1854-1899

Inventor; born in Wurtemberg, Germany, May 10, 1854; came to the United States friendless and penniless when eighteen years old; and first secured employment under the government in Washington to look after the mechanism of clocks, bells, and signal service apparatus. In 1876 he was employed by a mechanical engineering firm in Baltimore. Later, while in the employment of this firm, he made experiments that led to the invention of a type-setting machine. For four years he spent all his leisure time in perfecting his plans. He first conceived the idea of a rotary apparatus, but afterwards made a complete change in his plan and adopted the linotype scheme, which he finally perfected. His machine was worked by a key-board similar to that of a typewriter, and was capable of setting a line of type or dies, adjusting it to a desired width, and casting it into a solid line of type-metal. He secured patents for his invention, but it was not a practical success until the Rogers spacer was purchased by the linotype company which he organized. He died in Baltimore, Md., Oct. 28, 1899.

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