Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,464 pages of information and 233,889 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Monotype Corporation

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Monotype composing keyboard.

of 55-56 Lincolns Inn Fields, London, WC2 - Registered Office. Telephone Chancery 5308. Cables: "Monotypes, Holb., London". Works at Salfords, near Redhill, Surrey

1896 Tolbert Lanston patented the first hot metal typesetting machine and Monotype issued Modern Condensed, its first typeface.

1897 Company founded. The Lanston Monotype Machine Company was founded by Tolbert Lanston in Washington D.C. Lanston had a patented mechanical method of punching out metal types from cold strips of metal which were set (hence typesetting) into a matrix for the printing press.

1897 In a search for funding, the company set up a branch in London, under the name Lanston Monotype Corporation Ltd.

In 1899 a new factory was built in Salfords, near Redhill in Surrey, where it has been located for over a century. The company was of sufficient size to justify the construction of its own railway station.

1908 Public company.

1931 Name changed.

In 1936, the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange and became the Monotype Corporation Ltd.

Later the company was split into three divisions: Monotype International, which manufactured spinning mirror switched laser beam phototypesetters; Monotype Limited, which continued the hot metal machines; and Monotype Typography, which designed and sold typefaces. A research and development department was set up in Cambridge to isolate it from day to day production issues.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert as Manufacturers of "Monotype" Casting and Composing Equipment. Machines for swifter, better cost-saving type compositions in famous faces. (Printing Machinery Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. B.1465) [1]

1961 Manufacturers of "Monotype" type-casting and composing machines, "Monophoto" filmsetting machines and wire stitching machines for the printing industry. Also manufacturers of photo-lithographic equipment. 1,750 employees. [2]

In 1999, Agfa-Compugraphic acquired the Monotype Corporation, which was renamed Agfa Monotype.

In late 2004, after six years under the Agfa Corporation, the Monotype assets were acquired by TA Associates, a private equity investment firm based in Boston.

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