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Editorial: No pigs here

Part of a continuing series on oddball newspaper terms.

Newspaper offices are a lot safer now that the pigs are gone.

Pigs? Safer?

Let us explain, if we can.

In the beginning, newspaper type (any type, for that matter, since Gutenberg invented the press) was placed letter-by-letter. A type case had drawers for standard sizes of type (8 point, 10 point, 24 point, 72 point, etc., with each inch comprising 72 points) and within those drawers, slots to hold each letter. There were lots of “e” and “s” letters.

Along came the mechanical typesetting machine. Most common in our experience was the Mergenthaler Linotype, which set one line of lead type at a time. Some of us can still see the late Johnny Cox sitting at his Linotype, setting all the week’s news and ad copy on his machine.

Mind you, it was not easy to read the type that came out. It was raised type and it read backwards, upside down. But after a while one might get the knack.

The Linotype made t...

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