200The Rogers Typograph would produce a line of type using a methodology fundamentally similar to the Linotype machine but with a rather Heath-Robinson-looking gravity method of returning the matrices to their starting point. You’d tip over that fan-like structure at the top and allow the matrices to fall back to their starting point. However the machine fell afoul of The Mergenthaler Company’s patent for the very idea of a solid line of type cast in one operation.  To dodge this problem, Rogers sold his Typograph rights to a German company and the German Typograph became a fairly successful competitor to the Linotype in Europe and around the world. For patent reasons The Rogers Typograph Company was eventually bought out by The Mergenthaler Company for about half a million dollars, a record sum for a patent acquisition at that time. After a flurry of patent infringement suits, Mergenthaler Co. needed to make the acquisition in order to get the rights to the adjustable spaceband which Rogers had cleverly obtained.

This engaging amateur video of a presentation by Mark Barbour at the International Printing Museum in Carson CA shows the machine, tells the patent story, and also shows the Linotype Junior, the ultimate descendant which finally brought Rogers’ wire-carried matrices to the marketplace.