Phototypesetting is defined as the manual and automatic production of typesetting by photographic means. The final good is a film or photographic paper, which be used for the copy of the printing forms. The origins of phototypesetting go back to the 19th century. But only in the middle of the 20th century these technique found their way into the printing industry. A distinction is made between phototypesetting devices, that were operated manually and phototypesetting machines, which were controlled mechanically or later electronically.
The phototypesetting devices operate according to the optomechanical principle.
The devices project light through a film negative image of an individual character in a font, through a lens that would magnify or reduce the size of the character onto film. The Diatype of the Berthold AG is perhaps the best known Phototypesetting device. It was first presented in 1960. Among the Diatype the Museum of the Printing Arts exhibit a selection of so-called headline-setting devices: the Letterphot-Vario from 1971, the Staromat from 1966 and the Photo-Typositor of the Visual Graphics Corporation from New York.
The first Phototypesetting machine in Germany was a Monophoto of the Monotype Corporation. The machine was constructed in 1959 and is technically based on the Monotype. But instead of the pouring system the Monophoto has an exposure chamber to expose the matrices on film.
Already in 1965 there were machines with digital fonts and cathode ray tubes.
A highlight of this development was the Linotype CRTronic, the first digital Phototypesetting compact system. Both machines are part of the permanent exhibition.