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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 219 - My First "Computer"

Back in the 1970’s when I was just starting out in the newspaper business, hot type was going out and cold type, that is words machine typed on a strip of paper, was coming in.

The machines that produced this type were very rudimentary computers. They worked this way: A typist would type on a machine that created a punched tape that was run through a reader that made a typewriter create justified columns (like newspaper columns). This piece of paper was trimmed, run through another machine to place wax on its back, and pasted into place on a cardboard backed page. This page was photographed and printed.

The entire operation was mechanical but you could see the glimmerings of computerization even then. As the years passed, the machines became more and more sophisticated although the model of punched tape run through a reader lasted until rudimentary disks became available.

The computer didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Many companies, particularly in publishing, were using computer-like equipment long before the IBM single floppy machine appeared. This computer was simply the latest in a long line of technology developed from the 1960s on.

Perhaps familiarity with those archaic typesetting machines made the transition from typewriters to computers much easier for those of us who came out of the newspaper business. After all, we’d been using a form of computer for many years before the real thing arrived on desktops everywhere.

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