1972 – Editorial systems & Chromalins

1972 is an important year for editorial systems for newspapers. Harris introduces its Harris 2500 system while DEC announces the Typeset 11 system. A number of major newspaper and IBM form the ‘The Newspaper Systems Development Group’ to define and implement a system for producing fully composed pages containing text and graphics. Of course new systems push out the old: that year the last Linotype is manufactured in the USA.

DuPont Cromalin is launched. It will become the industry standard proofing system until inkjet devices take over.

Harris introduces the 2200, a revolutionary terminal for creating display ads for advertising. It is a very interactive typesetting system. A trackball is used to select a piece of type while a status line shows the location, font and point size of the selected piece.

The ROLAND 800 is the first sheetfed offset press with an integrated ink control system. It can print up to 10,000 sheets per hour. It is one of the highlights of the drupa 1972 show, which for the first time has a show floor that is 100,000 square meters. The other one is the Heidelberg GTO 52, of which a 4-color version is shown below. Of this press 106,000 units are sold worldwide until production is halted in 2014.

Heidelberg GTO 52 offset printing press

Müller Martini develops its first offset web press for business forms. The company will continue making printing presses until 2015 when it shifts its focus entirely to finishing machines.

David Pelham designs a new cover for ‘A Clockwork Orange’, the novel written 10 years earlier by Anthony Burgess. It becomes one of the most iconic book covers ever.

David Pelham book cover

URW is founded. Until its bankruptcy in 1995 it is one of the largest type foundries. One of its founders, Peter Karow, created Ikarus, possibly the first font editor for digital typefaces. One of the typefaces introduced that year, Serpentine from Dick Jensen, has a distinct 70’s look to it.

Serpentine typeface look

These are some important or remarkable events from 1972:

  • Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi is discovered in Guam after spending 28 years in the jungle.
  • U.S. President Nixon makes an unprecedented 8-day visit to the People’s Republic of China and meets with Mao Zedong.
  • The Club of Rome publishes its report The Limits to Growth.
  • Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof  and other key members of the Red Army Faction, a German terrorist group, are arrested.
  • Apollo 17 is the last manned spacecraft that lands on the Moon.

<1971 1973>

11 thoughts on “1972 – Editorial systems & Chromalins

  1. We ran a cg ACM 9000 to produce a small newspaper (among other things) twice a week. Because it read 6-level paper tape in addition to direct input, all of our editorial matter was output on tape from two “blind” keyboards and set on the 9000. We did all the ads, headlines and photo captions directly on the 9000’s keyboard. The ACM 9000 could do it all!! Those were good times and produced lots of good memories.

  2. I have yet a AM Varityper Comp/Set 504. It was one of the best ones that I have ever typed on it. It was under working until 1998 and yet I have put it in a corner of my office and very prude of it. It is very Memorable for me. Never forgot.

  3. I worked for Compugraphic as a Field Technician in southern California, from 1986 – 1992. It was a great job! Worked on the Editwriters, MCS and Powerview systems… then got stuck with all the film processors and cameras! Actually, I enjoyed the cameras! Definitely learned allot of technology. Looking back, it’s simply amazing how the industry has changed! Really enjoyed going to Wilmington for training. Being from sunny southern California, it was a real treat to be in the snow… for a short time of course! Ah, memories!

  4. I’m from Bolzano, nothern part of Italy.
    In 1978 our company bought the Compugraphic 7500 and 7700.
    I didn’t speak english at that time. So the dictionary was my only girlfriend for months.
    Whe opened the first computerbased fotocomposing department in South Tyrol and i worket for years on this mashines.
    But, its a very long time ago….

  5. does anyone remember the infamous Lonotron 505 Digital Phototypesetter? I tore out what little hair I had left? But what a great and well delivered technical training course fron Linotype at Kingsbury.

  6. Okay – who remembers the following and what it was for:

    Scroll Up

    I swear those will be the last four words I speak on this earth!!! XD I worked on more doggone Compugraphic machines in my first 15 years in graphic arts – and every one had it’s own personality.

    I started with the big old machines that you loaded punched strands of paper “tape” through. Believe it or not, I could read some of the punch code. The used tapes made GREAT chains for Christmas Trees – especially the ends of the rolls, which were tinted pink!

    One Compuwriter used to drive me NUTZZZ!!! I had to typeset an entire local weekly newspaper on that poor machine. Mind you, it had NO FLOPPY DISK or INTERNAL MEMORY only one stinkin’ line of text that you could “proofread” before it got sent to the setter. This machine was really sensitive to vibrations, heat and humidity – and I used to FREAK OUT after setting a column of BOWLING SCORES to find out (as it came out of the developer) that Mr. Editwriter had just set 8 inches of GIBBERISH!!

    Soooo I had to lift the lid, drop part of the machine down and PUSH IN ALL THE CHIPS!! The only “good” thing is they were brown and resembled a BOX OF CHOCOLATES, so at least they were pleasing to look at. Then it would be time to put it back together and RETYPE the bowling scores!!

    Later on, in my own business, I was about to switch completely over to DTP (circa 1988). My trusty Edwriter 7500 was wearing out fast!! As keys “died” we’d swap less “popular” keys in to keep it going. At last, the CRT started to fail. My last memories were using the machine WITHOUT THE SCREEN and just setting type “blind!” Hey, it worked!! And, in a way, the Compuwriter helped “train me” to set type without a “saftey net.”

    Now, of course, I work on PCs and Macs (yes, BOTH). While so many people use the mouse, I’m a keyboard-command user, and as such can out work people who can type twice as fast as me. THANK YOU COMPUGRAPHICS!!!

    1. I worked on most of the machines you mention, Nancy, but the EditWriter 7500 was by far my favorite. I was able to make that machine do tricks! I also had trouble with keys dying, but strangely they were lesser-used keys and we got around the problem by using the “Insert Block” function.

      IMHO, some of CompuGraphic’s best functions were the “Insert Space” and the auto tabs.

      Thanks for the memories!

  7. What memories indeed! I bought one of the first two Editwriter 7500s to make it to the UK. The company we bought it from Whittakers would only deliver to the ground floor! Our offices were on the first floor so we arranged for a removal company to attend when the machines was delivered to get it up to the first floor. Four guys arrived to get it up the straight staircase but they could hardly lift it off the ground!! They said it would need safe experts to do the job. They could not get any safe experts that day so the Editwriter ended up spending the night on the pavement 200 yards from Buckingham Palace! Next day it was still there and made it up the stairs. Shortly after that the Editwriters were made in two bits to make shipping and delivery easier! In their day brilliant machines but what a price, £15,000 and £400 for an extra film strip.

  8. I worked for Compugraphic from 1978-1981 in Wilmington in the “Quality Audit” department. There, we gave quality final testing procedures to several of the product lines, with the EditWriter being the most popular. I knew the ins and outs of both the CompuWriter and EditWriter, and the experience I gained, helped me in my career as a Typesetter, Graphic Design and Page Layout artist, a career of which I have remained.

    I remember being called upon to demonstrate the operation of the EditWriter 7500, 7700, and 7770 to visitors of the company, and at open houses. That used to make me feel like they appreciated me.

    I loved working for CompuGraphic. Those were great times. Met some really cool people, attended some awesome parties, and made some lifelong friends.

  9. Brings back memories for me. I worked in manufacturing on both Compuwriter II and Editwriter 7500. The company was producing thousands. As I liked working on these machines I thought at the time that Compugraphic Corp did not value there employees not a good place to work unless they liked you then you could move up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *