Louis Marius Moyroud (pronounced MOY-rood; February 16, 1914 – June 28, 2010) was a French-born American inventor who co-developed the phototypesetting process with Rene Alphonse Higonnet, which allows text and images to be printed on paper using a photoengraving process, a method that made the traditional publishing method of hot metal typesetting obsolete.
Louis Marius Moyroud was born on 16 February 1914 in Moirans, Isère, France. He attended engineering schools and received a government scholarship to study engineering at the École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers, graduating in 1936. He served in the French Army as a second lieutenant starting in 1936, and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1939. He was hired in 1941 by LMT Laboratories, an ITT Corporation subsidiary based in Lyon.
In the early 1940s, he and Higonnet visited a printing plant where they saw the traditional printing process of hot metal typesetting, in which molten lead was cast to form lines of type to make the print for a newspaper or book, a method that dated back to the earliest days of printing and that had seen its last major advance in the late 1880s, when Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the Linotype machine. They thought that the process "was insane" and sought alternative methods that would make the process electronic. They developed a device they called "Lumitype", which used a typewriter-like input device to allow letters to be selected from a spinning disk using a strobe light and projected onto photographic paper which could then be photoengraved to make printing plates, which they first unveiled in France in September 1946.
They moved to the United States, where the Graphic Arts Research Foundation was created to foster further development of their photocomposing method, which was patented in the U.S. in 1957. While the process they developed had higher initial costs, Rini Paiva of the National Inventors Hall of Fame described how the photocomposing process "definitely revolutionized the printing industry", allowing books, magazines and newspapers to be printed more easily and at substantially lower cost.
The foundation had spent $1 million by 1949 to develop the process, which was available for use at a price of $400 per month. The first book printed by their device was The Wonderful World of Insects in 1953 as a demonstration for MIT Press, which included 46 photographs on its 292 pages. Vannevar Bush called the process "a milestone in the graphic arts"> In 1954, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts became the first newspaper to adopt the method for all of their printing.
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Louis Moyroud Dies at 96; Helped Revolutionize Printing", The New York Times, July 1, 2010. Accessed July 2, 2010.
- Inventor Profile: Louis Marius Moyroud, National Inventors Hall of Fame. Accessed July 2, 2010.
- Staff. "M. I. T. GETS A BOOK 'SET' BY PHOTO TYPE; New Machine Eliminates Use of Metal -- 75 Expected to Be Ready by 1954", The New York Times, February 6, 1953. Accessed July 2, 2010.