The Lost Art of Paste-Up

When I started using a word processor as a middle schooler in the early 1980s, I recognized the editing commands “cut” and “paste” as metaphors. 

Here’s a short video showing the physical cutting and pasting that was required to arrange paragraphs of text prepare a document for mass production.

According to layout rules, you’re not supposed to end a line with just a single word at the end of a paragraph, and you’re not supposed to break up a paragraph so that a single line from that paragraph begins or ends a column. 

Note that this editor actually shaves slivers of paper between words, picks each word up, and scoots it over in order to tighten a line of text and make the story fit in the available space.


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