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Short Stories of Science and Invention

A Collection of Radio Talks by
Charles F. Kettering


45.   The News Gets Around

Mergenthaler     At the time Mergenthaler was working in Baltimore many people were trying to invent some sort of typesetting machine. One of the early efforts was that of Moore. His machine struck impressions on pieces of paper with a typewriter. The paper was then cut into strips and used much the same as type. A man by the name of Clephane helped finance Moore but the project failed. Mergenthaler, although he had no experience in printing, told Clephane he thought he could produce a typesetting machine that would work.

     Clephane agreed to finance him and then began the long years of cut and try for the young inventor. He started off much the same as Moore but made many mechanical changes. He tried typing on papier-mache and used this as a mold in which to cast the type - something like a waffle iron. But, as in the case of some waffles, the paper stuck to the hot metal and spoiled everything. By this time Mergenthaler was 30 years old and his problem was far from solved.

     The project looked like a failure, but inventors as I know from personal experience, can think fast in an emergency. It was perfectly evident to Mergenthaler that type was cast every day in regular metal type molds. Why not use these instead of paper? Why not set up individual metal type molds in a line and cast type a line at a time?

     At last he had these ideas built into a working model which he tried out in the composing room of the New York Tribune in July 1886 - ten years after he had first started to work on the idea.


- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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