Hot Metal Composition

The oldest form of typesetting, i.e. the process of combining letters and lines into formatted text to form a print original. It was already being used at the time of Johannes Gutenberg. Hot metal composition was originally performed with letters and other symbols made of a lead alloy which were combined manually into lines and blocks of text. Mechanical line composition uses a typesetter to cast complete lines of text which have already been brought to the required width (justified) using appropriate word spacing. The most popular machine of this type is the Linotype. Hot metal composition was replaced by photocomposition and, more recently, by computer setting (Desktop Publishing) and has now disappeared completely apart from individual specific applications.

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