Landline Manual Telegraphy &

Electromechanical Teletypewriter Service

image link-topic-sf0.jpg

I suppose most people who come to an interest in telegraphy or teletypewriters do so through paths quite different from mine. One might reasonably come to them from earlier interests in ham radio or radio telegraphy (RTTY), military teletype use, railroad history, or historical re-enactment. I came to it through an interest in letterpress printing and a once important but now almost forgotten machine, the Teletypesetter.

I suppose that it isn't surprising that researching the background for the Teletypesetter led to an interest in telegraphy. I don't do electronics well, but this isn't electronics - it's electrics, which has an altogether different feel to it. It has all of the dangers of mechanics, plus the risk of electrocution, with a bit of rather nasty chemistry thrown in; perfect!

The telegraph also represents the perfect balance for communications technology, poised between the steel nib pen and the cellphone. It's just enough to make tele-communications possible, but not so much as to make it cheap (in every sense). From a social and psychological point of view, manual telegraphy is the ideal communications technology. If you're going to send a telegram, especially if you're going to key it yourself, you'd better have something worth saying. Telegraphy makes worldwide communication possible, but automatically filters out the 690 minutes of drivel from the 700 minutes a month that Americans spend on their cellphones.

Moreover, the machines of 19th century telegraphy are simply beautiful - Steampunk at its best, done in brass and hardwood. Teletypes are just as marvellous as Dieselpunk. Nothing after the introduction of packet switched networks even comes close.

So here are some Notebooks on telegraphy. They concern landline telegraphy entirely (no radio), and cover manual telegraphy (keys and sounders), the Teletype (and related) and the Teletypesetter (and related). I'll start with trying to understand the systems and equipment (which aren't difficult, but many of the details are now nearly forgotten) and proceed through wiring the house for telegraphy (trying to make an instrument or two along the way). My goal is to continue to printing telegraphy (the Teletype) and to running my linecasters through a working Teletypesetter installation. I'm a long way from that right now.

(There's also a tiny bit on telephony, but that's only because I didn't have any place else to put it.)

See Wiring Notes within the ../ Electrical Components set of Notebooks. These cover issues such as cable lacing and cable splicing.

image broadside-divider-sf0.jpg

Manual Landline Telegraphy

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Telegraph Systems

[NOT ONLINE YET] [Simplex. and Switchboard Use.] [Diplex.] [Duplex.] [Quadraplex.] [Gallery of Telegraph Images]

Telegraph (but not yet Teletype) Bibliography (References, Links, and Some Reprints).

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Telegraph Sources, Bibliography, and Reprints

(But exclude telegraph construction projects, Teletype (5-Level), and Teletypesetter (6-Level).

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Telegraph Equipment

[NOT DONE] Manual telegraph equipment. Telegraph line and switching equipment for manual telegraphy and teletypewriter/teletypesetter service. See also Batteries (link).

image link-to-projects-sf0.jpg

Telegraph Project Bibliography

A list of (and for some, copies of) projects for building telegraph components and systems.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Telegraph Practice

[NOT DONE] [American Morse Code vs. International.] [Railroad Operating Practice.]

Bibliography (References, Links, and Some Reprints) for learning American Morse Code and for American commercial and railroad landline telegraph practice.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Wiring the House for Telegraph

[NOT DONE] I am not living in the wrong century. I'm living in the correct century - it's just that it is a century other than the present one.

image broadside-divider-sf0.jpg

The Teletype & the Teletypesetter

The Teletype breaks my categories. It is a telegraph (albeit a very fancy one), so it belongs here. But it is also a writing machine, so it could have gone in its own category in the " Typefounding, Lettering, & Printing " set of Notebooks. An important variation of the Teletype, the Teletypesetter is an integral part of hot metal linecasting, and so should be treated in The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press .

Moreover, the field of the Teletypesetter quickly expands. It includes not only Teletype equipment which is "just linke 5-level, but with an extra tape position" but linecaster components which don't look like Teletypes at all (the TTS Operating Unit), related attachments for linecasters (e.g., the Shaffstall Mat Detectors), tuning and maintenance procedures for linecastesr which never would have been done were it not for the TTS, compatible and competitive systems (e.g., the Star Autopositor), standalone typographical computers (e.g., the Compugraphic JusTape), computer peripherals, and in the end the control of phototypesetting equipment as well. The Teletypesetter was really at the heart of the transition of typography from metal through photo to digital in the 20th century. But it was (a) a technology which enabled/controlled other technologies, (b) often a transitional technology (hot metal to photo, for example), and (c) generally an invisible production technology. It is inherently hard to document.

Basically, what I'm doing is documenting all of the 5-Level TTY material here in this present set of Notebooks, more or less gathered all together. The 6-Level TTS equipment gets covered elsewhere, in the The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press. The coverage of the two (TTY and TTS) will be in generally parallel sections, but because the Typefoundry and Press Notebooks themselves are much more extensive and complex the TTS-related Notebooks there are not grouped together. To the (very small) extent that I cover TTS-related material in a phototypesetting context, that will happen in the (equally small) Phototypesetting Notebooks in the general Typefounding, Lettering, & Printing Notebooks.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletype (5-Level) Theory & History

Introduction & Why. [The Theory of Isochronous Start/Stop Transmission.] Gallery of Teletype Images.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletype (5-Level) Sources, Bibliography, and Reprints

References. Links and sources. Partially annotated bibliography.

These are primarily for 5-level Teletype equipment. For 6-level and Teletypesetter, see the Tape and Remote Control of Linecasters Notebooks.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletype (5-Level) Equipment

CircuitousRoot Teletype Equipment. Consumables & Supplies. Teletype Installation & Building a Private Line.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletype (5-Level) Wishlist

Beautiful things without which my life cannot be complete.

image broadside-divider-sf0.jpg

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletypesetter (6-Level) Theory & History

This is a link "up and over" to The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press -> Surveys: Type Processes and Machinery -> Introduction II: Surveys of the Equipment -> History and Surveys of Hot Metal Machinery -> Composing Linecasters -> Teletypesetter (6-Level) Theory and History.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletypesetter (6-Level) Sources, Bilbiography, & Reprints

This is a link "up and over" to The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press -> Mechanics: Type Machinery in Detail -> Linecasters: Linotype & Intertype; Ludlow -> Literature for Linecasters. In that section, look up the literature for the appropriate device by its manufacturer (e.g., Teletypesetter Corp., Shafstall, Mergenthaler Linotype Company, Star Parts, etc.)

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletypesetter (6-Level) Equipment

This is a link "up and over" to The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press -> Mechanics: Type Machinery in Detail -> Linecasters: Linotype & Intertype; Ludlow -> Teletypesetter (6-Level) Equipment.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

The Teletypesetter (6-Level) for Phototypesetting

This isn't well-covered, but insofar as it is, it will be covered in Artifice -> Applications -> Typefounding, Lettering, & Printing -> Phototypesetting.

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Teletypesetter (6-Level) Wishlist

This is a link "up and over" to The CircuitousRoot Typefoundry and Press -> Mechanics: Type Machinery in Detail -> Linecasters: Linotype & Intertype; Ludlow -> Teletypesetter (6-Level) Wishlist.

image broadside-divider-sf0.jpg

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

A Wire Service in Miniature

[NOT DONE; may split this topic and move the pieces elsewhere] [5-level Teletype service.] [From the Teletype to the Linotype.] [The Teletypesetter (6-level) in Wire Service Operation. (for TTS technology itself, see the Teletypesetter)]

image broadside-divider-sf0.jpg


Although I greatly admire Alexander Graham Bell, I do not care for his best-known invention. The telephone is inherently rude, and nothing can make it otherwise.

Still, bits and pieces of the literature of telephony come up in the study of the more refined field of telegraphy. This isn't a significant enough interest of mine to warrant its own category, so I'll stash them here.

[click image to go to page]

image link-blank-sf0.jpg

Literature on Telephony