1966 – Hell Digiset uses bitmap fonts

In 1966 Hell presents the Digiset – the first typesetting machine that works with digitally assembled (bitmap) typefaces. This machine is the first of the third generation of photocomposition systems, which are the first true digital systems. The typefaces are created on a CRT (cathode ray tube, a small television screen). This image is projected onto film or photosensitive paper using a set of lenses. The Digiset can image 1000 characters per second. It is marketed in the US as the RCA Videocomp and still later the Information International Comp80.

The VariTyper Headliner 820 is a small phototypesetter that can set camera-ready headlines from 12 to 90 point. The disc in the middle of the machine holds the typeface. The photographic type is casted on 35mm white photo print paper, which was then automatically developed.

VariTyper Headliner 820

Les Earnest of Stanford develops the first spelling checker. An improved version is released around 1971 and quickly gets distributed worldwide via ARPAnet, the predecessor of the internet.

André Gürtler creates Egyptian 505 in his class in room 505 at the Kuenstgewerbeschule in Basel.

Egyptian 505 typeface sample


These are some important or remarkable events from 1966:

  • The science fiction television series Star Trek debuts.
  • Due to a collision, a B-52 bomber drops three hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares, Spain.
  • Indira Gandhi is elected Prime Minister of India and Leonid Brezhnev becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Union.
  • Mao Zedong begins the Cultural Revolution to purge and reorganize China’s Communist Party.
  • Walt Disney dies while producing The Jungle Book.

<early 1960s 1967>

13 May 2017

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