- Ottmar Mergenthaler
Born May 11, 1854
Died October 28, 1899
Cause of death tuberculosis Nationality German Occupation inventor Known for Linotype Awards John Scott Medal (1891)
Ottmar Mergenthaler (May 11, 1854 – October 28, 1899) was an inventor who has been called a second Gutenberg because of his invention of the Linotype machine, the first device that could easily and quickly set complete lines of type for use in printing presses. This machine revolutionized the art of printing.
Life and career
He was apprenticed to a watchmaker in Bietigheim before immigrating to the United States in 1872 to work with his cousin August Hahl in Washington, D.C. Mergenthaler eventually moved with Hahl's shop to Baltimore, MD. In 1878, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
He invented the Linotype machine in 1886, a machine that allowed an operator to automatically set Brass matrix, which revolutionized the printing industry. Before Mergenthaler's invention of the Linotype in 1884, no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages.
He died of tuberculosis in Baltimore in 1899.
An operational Linotype machine is on display at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, in the museum's print shop. Baltimore's vocational high school, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical Senior High School, which opened in 1953, is named after him, although it is commonly referred to simply as "MERVO".
Mergenthaler Hall on the Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University was constructed in 1940-41 with money provided by Eugene and Mrs. Ottmar Mergenthaler, son and widow of Ottmar Mergenthaler.
- Basil Kahan: Ottmar Mergenthaler – The Man and his Machine; Oak Knoll Press, New Castle (DE), 2000 – ISBN 1-58456-007-x
- Baltimore History Site
- Linotype – Chronik eines Firmennamens (Linotype – Chronologie of a Company Name): e-book on the Linotype machine
- Overview of Mergenthaler's life
- Ottmar Mergenthaler at Find a Grave
- Iles, George (1912), Leading American Inventors, New York: Henry Holt and Company, pp. 393–432, http://www.archive.org/details/leadingamericani00ilesrich
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