Page 6 - Novemberr 2015
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6

VISIT TO ‘SPEEDSPOOLS’ EDINBURGH

SOME of you will have met Harry McIntosh who         'Word' or 'In Design' can be used to control
was a member of the BPS some years ago. For over     text input with complete accuracy, word
forty years Harry has serviced a select number of    spacing, hyphenaƟon, line and page breaks,
customers with a full range of hot metal typeseƫng   etc, before commitment to hot-metal.
faciliƟes using his Monotype Caster, driven not      You get what you see on your own—or
by a convenƟonal
paper punch, but by                                                           his—screen. All this
his own front-end                                                             has been carefully
devised computer                                                              devised and worked
arrangement that                                                              out from first principles
communicates direct                                                           by Harry himself, a
to the caster.                                                                stupendous effort of
                                                                              intelligence, coupled
   I first saw this                                                            with deep knowledge
amazing invenƟon                                                              of the Monocaster
when Harry was                                                                and the computer
operaƟng in Leith                                                             interface. Harry, I
Walk, Edinburgh,                                                              suspect would not h'e
with his Monocaster                                                           escaped the clutches
aƩached to an                                                                 of Bletchley Park in
Amstrad Computer.                                                             1940, and would h'e
He was then engaged                                                           made his name along
in casƟng the whole                                                           with the Alan Turins of
set of Trollop Novels                                                         this world!
that the Folio Society
were reproducing in                                                               So it was a huge
original form. They                                                           excitement and
were so fussy with                                                            privilege to be able,
their typeseƫng that                                                          last month, to make a
it had to look exactly                                                        special visit with the
as in the original                                                            Scoƫsh Print Archival
ediƟons,where it                                                              Trust to Harry's
had of course, been cast in Monotype hot-metal.                               'works'. There he
Thus Harry had to keyboard all the text, cast the    explained his compact set-up and showed
type in galley form and then take a proof pull that  us the system working. With nobody else
was subsequently used as the copy for the litho      in the UK being able to provide this type of
prinƟng of the books. What dedicaƟon this showed;    service, it seems that Harry is never short of
when it would h'e been so easy—and considerably      work—and I suspect is aiming to go on for
cheaper—to merely set the books by computer.         ever—and ever!
                                                        I can do no more but direct members to
   His 'Mac Tronic' system allows the acceptance     the You Tube video 'Speedspools Workshop,
of document files, emails, or copy that can either    Edinburgh 2009'. And thank Harry for
be scanned or keyboarded into a computer which       allowing me to marvel once again at his
is turn is then converted into Monotype hot-metal    ingenuity and astonishing commitment to
or 31 channel punched tape. Thus soŌware like        hot-metal type casƟng. –Ed
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