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2 occurrences of "roots of mechanical collation"
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Steven Escar Smith [*]

The Hinman Collator represents one of the most important applications of technology to the study of literature ever made. Yet only a part of the story of its invention is widely known, and that is often distorted in the telling. Moreover, many important influences and antecedents are largely lost in the shadows of bibliographical history. This essay will address known, unknown, forgotten, and misunderstood aspects of the beginnings of mechanical collation and along the way attempt to place the collator, or at least its birth, in a broader historical context. It will also examine the commercial manufacture and sale of the collator and attempt to assess some of the factors behind the machine's early and lasting prominence.

The collator was developed in the late 1940s by the Shakespeare scholar Charlton Joseph Kadio Hinman [plate 1]. By 1978, when the last machine was manufactured, around fifty-nine had been acquired by libraries, academic departments, research institutes, government agencies, a few private individuals, and a handful of pharmaceutical companies.[1] Though built for the study of printed texts and used primarily for the creation of critical editions of literary authors, the Hinman Collator has also been employed in other projects where the close comparison of apparently identical images is required, everything from the study of illustrations to the examination of watermarks to the detection of forged banknotes. Since the 1960s other collating machines have been developed and over the years alternative methods of collation proposed, but none has been as successful or influential as that developed by Charlton Hinman.[2]


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Hinman's invention greatly increased not only the speed at which texts could be compared but also the effectiveness of such comparisons, and it made collation on a large scale possible for the first time. The most famous use of the machine was by its inventor and resulted in his Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare (1963) and the Norton facsimile of the First Folio (1968). Hinman estimated that without the aid of his machine, the research for these projects would have taken over forty years. Without the collator, as he himself recognized, his study would have been a “practical impossibility” (Printing 8), as would have the work of the many scholars who compiled dozens of bibliographies, produced hundreds of volumes of critical editions, and undertook countless bibliographical and textual investigations on his machine over the next five decades.


In 1946, Charlton Hinman applied for a patent on his new machine, then still in its earliest developmental stages (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 101). He was just back from the war, where he had served as an officer in a naval intelligence group based in Washington, D.C. (Tanselle, Life 33). Before entering the military, he was working as a Research Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, engaged in the arduous task of collating by hand the First Folio text of Othello (Bond, Letter). This work was an extension of his dissertation, “The Printing of the First Quarto of Othello.” He had taken his doctoral degree in 1941 from the University of Virginia, where he was Fredson Bowers' first Ph.D. candidate (Tanselle, Life 33).

Hinman had chosen from the very start of his career to associated himself with projects that involved the close examination of printed texts. This was a natural choice given the exceedingly analytical, not to mention practical, turn of his mind. When he graduated from high school, his father had insisted that he take six months of vocational training before entering college. Through middle age he was a “tinkerer,” making croquet mallets on his wood lathe, building retaining walls, and taking on other around-the-house projects (Barbara Hinman). His second wife, Myra Mahlow, commented that he was


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“just the kind of man who ought to be associated with printing... because he liked things down in black and white. He liked to see the eternal verities verified” (Martin).

The purpose of the machine for which he was seeking a patent was straightforward and grew directly from the needs of his research. During the Renaissance, the period of his specialty, books were proofread and corrected continually during the printing process, and early uncorrected sheets were commonly bound up with corrected ones from later in the print run. Thus the printed matter in the last book sold could, and usually did, differ substantially from that of the first, as it also could and quite often did from nearly every other copy in the printing. These variations are precisely the details the collator was developed to help detect. The operation of the device Hinman would eventually build was also straightforward. The operator sets up one book turned to a particular page on a platform on one side of the machine and another copy from the same printing turned to the same page on a platform on the other. He or she then views these items, which are superimposed via a set of mirrors, through a pair of binocular optics. After making adjustments to bring the two objects into registration, the operator activates a system of lights that alternately illuminates each page. If the pages are identical, they more or less appear as one; if they are not identical, the points of difference are called to the operator's eye by appearing to dance or wiggle about.

The work that Hinman conducted at the Folger before the war was part of a long and unglamorous tradition: centuries earlier, Samuel Johnson, for instance, had observed that collation is “dull” but “necessary” work (Preface xlviii). Collating Othello at the Folger, Hinman was carrying out his research (Hinman, “Alternate Projection”), as had generations of scholars before him, by what some editors have termed the “Wimbledon method” (McLeod, McLeod Portable Collator 2). With two copies of a book open before him, he read from each alternately, line by line and letter by letter, looking back and forth, keeping his place with the aid of a fingertip. Another time-honored technique, though there is no evidence that he used it, is sometimes called “circle collation” and requires more than one person (Oakman 333). One individual reads aloud while the others follow along silently. Done correctly, the person reading aloud calls out marks of punctuation, line breaks, dropped-letters, and other printed features in addition to the words. Collation has always been a laborious and time-consuming activity, but compared to machine collation the older techniques are particularly tedious. Partly because of this, they are also vulnerable to mistakes. In the Wimbledon method, it is very easy to overlook something as one's eyes dart back and forth between pages. In the other method, unless all readers exercise extreme care, it is difficult to differentiate homonyms, e.g., “knight” and “night.” The circle method also does not do a good job of distinguishing alternate spellings of the same word, “go” and “goe,” to take a famous example from the First Folio. Because these routines also involve the act of reading, it is easy for a


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researcher to be distracted from typographical features by the content of the text. In addition, neither technique is amenable to efficient collation of multiple copies.

Hinman was distinguished from the many collator-scholars before him by the scale and intensity of his work, for never before had the writings of Shakespeare, or any other author, been subjected to such a close textual reading in so many apparently identical copies. The scholarly scrutiny of the physical characteristics of books dated back several decades before the invention of his machine. At the beginning of the twentieth century, building on the work of a few nineteenth-century trailblazers (notably Henry Bradshaw and William Blades), W. W. Greg and other proponents of what would come to be known as the New Bibliography sought to raise the standards of their field. They advocated techniques and methods that they found lacking in most past as well as contemporary projects, namely “observation, comparison, formal rules of procedure, analysis of materials, and logic” (Maguire 32). Though these qualities are common to good research in any field, it was precisely their conspicuous absence in so many bibliographical undertakings that led Greg and his fellow reformers to encourage a more “scientific” approach. Much has been made of their association of bibliography with science, and it is not my purpose either to revive or review those discussions here. Suffice it to say that in using the term they were attempting to underscore the rigorous and systematic nature of their work in contrast to what they saw as little more than a “dilettante interest in old books merely as antiquarian objects” (Tanselle, “Bibliography” 60).[3] In the history of this movement, the name Fredson Bowers stands equal to, if not even a little ahead of, that of W. W. Greg. Bowers was a second generation New Bibliographer, but his contributions to the theory and development of the movement were enormous. It has been observed that he put the “American” in the “Anglo-American” approach to bibliography (Tanselle, Life 146). In studying under Bowers, Hinman was receiving his New Bibliographical training in situ. One commentator even referred to the collator as an “electronic Bowers” (“Mechanized” 156). Though offered in jest, this description is particularly apt. The machine descends directly from the most important aspect of the New Bibliography—its rigorous emphasis on physical evidence and specifically the evidence found in the very objects under investigation. Greg, Bowers, et al. made books the focus of research in a way that they had never been before; they were now primary evidence in their own history. There were people, as will be discussed below, who preceded Hinman in the attempt to use technology as an aid to the study books and printing, and in time this emphasis on physical evidence would lead to the introduction of photography, microscopes, beta-radiography, micrometers, and other techniques and tools to the field. However, the Hinman Collator, as the first and the most famous device invented specifically for the close and systematic analysis of printed works,


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represents the spirit of this movement incarnate. In a sense, it is indeed an electronic New Bibliographer.

For Hinman as a textual critic, the underlying assumptions as well as the overall goal of his research were also the same as for his theoretical forebears, though they were the originators of neither the goal nor the assumptions. Their analytical and material-based emphasis was new, but the orientation and aim of their work was the same as it had been for generations of editors. W. W. Greg and Samuel Johnson worked under essentially the same paradigm and sought the same quarry. Both men saw the printing process as inherently corruptive and both desired to excise those corruptions to establish a text more representative of what the author in question wanted or intended. As with Johnson, the author whose intentions Hinman was pursuing was no less than the inimitable Bard himself, though Hinman came to the task with a much more sophisticated knowledge of the printed remnants before him as physical structures. The collator was invented precisely to help detect, and thus help sweep away, all the non-authorial words, letters, and even marks of punctuation standing between Hinman and the ideal exemplar he was striving to reconstruct. In words that echoed those of editors for hundreds of years before him, he described his goal as nothing less than the reconstitution of “what Shakespeare actually wrote” (Printing vii).

In addition to a practical cast of mind, a theoretical framework that emphasized the books themselves as primary evidence, an orientation toward the author as the authority in textual matters, and training at the hands of the individual who would become the foremost textual and bibliographical scholar of the postwar era, Hinman also had before him a famous example of the application of technology to bibliographical research. In 1910, William J. Neidig used composite photographs to superimpose images of title-pages in the famous Pavier quartos (Neidig) [plate 2]. By this method, Neidig confirmed Greg's earlier contention that most of these nine Shakespeare plays had been printed in 1619 rather than variously in 1600, 1608, and 1619, as their title pages are dated. When Neidig examined his superimposed images, he found that the upper half of the pages varied as the titles of the plays changed. The bottom half of each page, however, often registered exactly the same in many details, even in regard to the wear of the type and nicks in the woodcut ornament. No seventeenth-century printer would have left a title-page standing for twenty years, and neither could a compositor have successfully reproduced the pages so exactly. Therefore the plays must have been printed, as Neidig concluded and Greg had earlier argued, at the same time. Both Neidig and Hinman, though a few decades apart, were collating texts, only in slightly different ways. Neidig, perhaps because he was more interested in similarities than differences, did not take the next step of viewing the pages alternately. Nevertheless, in striking on the idea of superimposition, he carried a baton that would later be passed to Charlton Hinman, though Neidig himself would not do the passing.

In the 1930s, Edwin Eliott Willoughby recognized in the seventy-nine


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copies of the First Folio at the Folger a treasure trove of textual and bibliographical data. The Folio had been the subject of his graduate work, and in 1932 he revised and published his research in a short monograph on the subject (Printing). Willoughby realized, as Hinman would a few years later, that by traditional methods the collation of all those copies of the Folio would take more than one working lifetime. In 1933 he proposed a project to collate the First Folios and set out to find an optical instrument which would “superimpose the image of a page of the Folio in one copy upon the same page in another copy” (Willoughby, Uses 95). He apparently located two such devices, though where he found them and specifically how they worked he did not say. Neither did he use them for very long. One generated too much heat to be safe for books and the other caused severe eyestrain. Furthermore, Willoughby, like Neidig, only pursued the idea of mechanical collation as far as superimposition. The advantages of viewing images alternately did not occur to him. However, in attempting to apply collation by superimposition to regular pages of text rather than just title-pages, Willoughby carried the baton a bit further than Neidig and, more importantly, passed it on to Hinman. In 1941, during Hinman's term as a Research Fellow at the Folger, Willoughby, who was on the Library staff, told Hinman about his earlier experiments (Uses 95).

There were other runners before and between Neidig and Willoughby, however. In 1931, G. A. E. Bogeng, librarian of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, described the use of the stereoscope to superimpose printed texts in the search for typographical variants (Bogeng 138-140). Stereoscopes have been around since the early nineteenth century and have been used for many purposes. They were a popular Victorian parlor novelty, and they were also used by astronomers (“Stereoscope”). Bogeng, in fact, was not the first to envision a textual application for the device. In 1894, the Frenchman F. Drouin proposed the stereoscope for the detection of forged banknotes. He also suggested that the device might be useful in the examination of printed books, though, not being a bibliographer, the idea of using it to discover typographical variants within editions did not occur to him. He suggested instead that the device might be useful for distinguishing between similarly typeset copies of different editions (Drouin 102-103). Drouin described several different types and configurations of the device, though he did not specify which would be best for working with books. Neither is it possible to tell from Bogeng's account what kind of stereoscope he was describing. It does not appear that he was writing about one designed exclusively for bibliographical work, however. He spent a good deal of effort explaining the difficulties produced by the device's restricted field of vision. If he or someone else had put one together specifically for textual collation, it seems likely that they would have designed an apparatus capable of displaying an area adequate for the texts they were studying. But if Bogeng was not describing a stereoscope built or adapted especially for the study of books or other printed documents, his description also does not offer any clues as to whether


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he was describing the use of one borrowed from an observatory or some other source. Whether Hinman knew of Bogeng's work (or Bogeng of Drouin's suggestions) is not known, but there is some evidence that Hinman may have experimented with a stereoscope just after the war.[4]

More generally, there were also other scholars and individuals who had used technology for bibliographical or closely related purposes. In 1935, R. B. Haselden published a short monograph on the use of scientific devices for the study of manuscripts. One of the instruments he recommended was the comparison microscope. Though it neither overlays nor alternates images, this device is suggestive of optical collation (Haselden 50-52). Haselden also drew on works that discussed the study of paper and books in law enforcement, specifically for the detection of fakes and forgeries. The forensic investigation of documents has a long tradition outside of but not completely unknown within bibliographical circles. In his history of papermaking, Dard Hunter cited many early twentieth-century legal cases that utilized the examination, and in some instances the “collation,” of watermarks (408-427). Hunter's examples involved a different kind of evidence from what Hinman used, but they provide examples of and precedents for a material-based approach that pre-dates Hinman by several decades. The influence of forensics is most evident in Carter and Pollard's study of the Wise forgeries, the most brilliant example of analytical bibliography to precede Hinman. They drew on the technical expertise of individuals in the fields of papermaking and of type design and manufacture, and used tools such as the microscope to analyze paper fibers as well as to compare typographical impressions. The extent to which any of these individuals knew of or were influenced by each others' work, or how much if anything Hinman owed to any of them other than Willoughby, is unknown. Carter and Pollard, Neidig, and even Haselden (given that his monograph was published by the Bibliographical Society) would have certainly been known to Hinman. The important point, however, is that individuals before him pondered similar problems and attempted to solve them in very similar ways.[5]


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Though Hinman's military service interrupted his work at the Folger, ultimately it only hastened the progress of his research, for separated from all those copies of the First Folio he had the time to seriously think about mechanical collation and its labor-saving potential. He was trained as a Navy cryptanalyst and assigned to a code-breaking unit in Washington, D.C., though he would spend most of the war on special assignment in Australia (Bond, Letter). Other members of his intelligence unit no doubt encouraged his wartime ruminations. Fredson Bowers was his commanding officer, and William H. Bond, Giles Dawson, and Ray O. Hummell, all of who would go on to distinguished bibliographical careers after the war, served in the same group. In the course of his service Hinman heard a story about the analysis of aerial photographs that guided his thoughts on mechanical collation. He later reported it in two slightly different versions, the best known of which was published in the pages of Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. There he states that the military used aerial photography as an aid in the evaluation of target areas—“gun emplacements and the like.” The process involved taking aerial photographs before and after a bombing run. The images were later overlaid on a screen and then viewed alternately: “first one picture for a fraction of a second, then the other picture for the same brief period, then the first picture again, and so on. The result was—or at any rate was supposed to be—that wherever there had been no change in the target area since it had first been photographed the screen showed only a single, perfectly motionless picture of that area; but that wherever there had been a change the picture on the screen flickered or wobbled” (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 103). The other version was delivered as a lecture in June of 1947 to the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. It is essentially the same except that he does not explicitly mention bombing. Instead, he recounts that aerial photography was used to evaluate the movement of enemy supplies and other resources. He also now sets the scene in the Pacific and specifically identifies the Japanese as the object of this observation (“Why 79” 12).

In both instances he states that the story was not completely true. The military did use aerial photography in its intelligence gathering efforts. Many so-called “pre-” and “post-strike” photographs survive in archival collections

Plate 1

Page Plate 1
[Description: Charlton Joseph Kadio Hinman]

Plate 2

Page Plate 2
[Description: Composite photograph produced by William J. Neidig]

Plate 3

Page Plate 3
[Description: Blink comparator at the Harvard College Observatory]

Plate 4

Page Plate 4
[Description: Patent drawing of Hinman's prototype collator]

Plate 5

Page Plate 5
[Description: Second, re-designed Hinman Collator]

Plate 6

Page Plate 6
[Description: Delivery of the Ohio State University collator]

Plate 7

Page Plate 7
[Description: University of Iowa collator]

Plate 8

Page Plate 8
[Description: University of Houston collator]


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around the country. Furthermore, the military did experiment with various techniques to heighten the effectiveness of aerial photography. For example, Harold E. Edgerton, an MIT engineer and pioneer of high-speed photography, was employed by the Army Air Force to build a better electronic flash device for night time surveillance. The part of the story that was false involved the superimposition and alternate viewing of pictures. The military, as Hinman later pointed out, conducted experiments along these lines (Gwinn) but to his knowledge had no “success in this particular kind of photographic reconnaissance” (“Why 79” 12) for “several good reasons” (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 103). Hinman did not enumerate these reasons, but at least one of them is not difficult to imagine. Using World War II technology, it simply would not have been possible to photograph the same patch of ground twice from exactly the same altitude and position in the sky under the same atmospheric conditions, and without being able to replicate those conditions more or less exactly, the two photographs would not have registered well enough to make their superimposition possible, much less meaningful. The importance of the story for Hinman was that the “underlying principles” were sound and thus helped steer him in the right direction (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 102).[6]

Fascination with Hinman's wartime experience has led to a glossing over or exaggeration of certain of its aspects and, in turn, to some misunderstanding about the development of mechanical collation. It should be emphasized that Hinman's unit specialized in cryptanalytic work and not photographic analysis (Bond, Telephone, 30 March 2001). Thus, the aerial photography experiment was something that Hinman “heard,” perhaps from a neighboring unit or a colleague elsewhere in the intelligence community, and not something that he observed directly. This fact by itself may account for the slight differences in the two versions of the story and some of the ambiguity that has surrounded it. He possessed no first-hand knowledge that the military had a method of examining photographs similar to the one that he used to study books. Another detail that has been misunderstood (and Hinman never


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made the point clearly himself) is whether machine collation first occurred to him during the war and as a result of his intelligence work.[7] The war certainly played an important part, but not because it gave him the idea of the collator in the first place. Rather, the war provided the time to ponder an idea he had been considering for some time, to speculate “on ways to avoid such labors [i.e. textual collation by sight]” (“Why 79” 1). The war also put Hinman in an environment, surrounded by like-minded scholars and supervised by his dissertation advisor, unusually conducive to bibliographical musings. And, as I have shown, Hinman was also not the first person to harness technology in an effort to study texts generally or even to compare copies from within the same edition.

Unfortunately the aerial reconnaissance story has been repeated so often that it has eclipsed a more important technological antecedent, and one that actually worked. Arthur M. Johnson, who would take over the commercial manufacture of the collator, wrote that Hinman developed the basic design of his machine after studying something called the “astronomer's microscope” (Johnson, Letter to William P. Barlow, 21 Nov. 1973; Johnson, Hinman Collator [1972?] I). The device to which Johnson was referring is properly known as the blink comparator [plate 3] and was invented in 1904 by the German instrument-maker Carl Pulfrich (Drummeter 14). The basic principle behind the blink comparator is the same as that of the Hinman. Two objects, in this case photographs of the same star field taken on different dates, are set up in the machine, superimposed, and then viewed alternately. Any difference between the images calls attention to itself by appearing, just as on the Hinman, to dance or move about. The most famous use of the comparator was made by C. W. Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto with it in 1930 (Moore 81; Abbott 158).

Hinman knew of this machine and may have even investigated adapting it for books (Bond, Letter). A primitive blink comparator had been used at the McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia from the 1920s through the 1940s (Virtual Museum). It is not known if Hinman ever saw the comparator at Virginia, but we do know that he spent time studying, if not an actual device, then at least the principles behind its operation. The military's unsuccessful wartime experiments may have encouraged Hinman, but the blink comparator was the real technological model for his machine. The collator is therefore better viewed not as a completely new invention but rather as a new application of an older technology. Hinman himself said his device was based on “conventional principles” put to use “in what patent lawyers call `a new mechanical environment'” (“Mechanized Collation at the Houghton Library” 132).[8]


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When commenting on Hinman's demonstration of the prototype to the Bibiographical Society of America in 1947, the editor of PBSA was careful to place the word “machine” in quotation marks, suggesting perhaps that the operation of the device was a good deal less precise at this point than the word normally merits (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 99). The primary components of the prototype, as Hinman famously described them, were a “pair of ordinary microfilm projectors (borrowed from the Navy), some pieces of wooden apple box (abstracted from a trash pile), some heavy cardboard (begged from the Folger bindery), and parts of a rusty Erector set (more or less hi-jacked from the small son of a close personal friend)” (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 102).[9] An unacknowledged contributor to this prototype was John Cook Wyllie, Curator of Rare Books at the University of Virginia. Very early on, Hinman thought that the use of “color differentiation” might help in the collation process (Hinman, Letter to John Cook Wyllie, 21 Mar. 1946). The idea was to heighten differences between the pages being compared by preparing the microfilm images of them in contrasting colors. When the images were then overlaid and alternated, any variants would call attention to themselves by not only appearing to dance about but also by showing themselves in different colors, or so the theory went. Wyllie was the point man on this idea. He conducted experiments for Hinman at Virginia using the Eastman Kodak “wash-off relief process” (Hinman, Letter to John Cook Wyllie, 28 Feb. 1946). Although Wyllie achieved beautiful reproductions with this method, they appear not to have worked for collational purposes. Apparently the “scale of reduction necessary for efficient folio work” made the color differences meaningless (Wyllie, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 18 Apr. 1946), and the whole scheme was rendered moot when Hinman redesigned the machine to work primarily with originals rather than photographic reproductions. Wyllie remained an interested and enthusiastic observer, however. He attended Hinman's 1946 demonstration of the prototype for the Modern Language Association (Wyl-


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lie, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 9 Jan. 1947). A few years later he also spear- headed the effort to bring one of the earliest commercially produced machines to Virginia.[10]

Hinman submitted detailed drawings of his prototype with his patent application in 1946, and these drawings show a much more sophisticated design than his PBSA description suggests [plate 4]. The “Alternate Projection Collating Device” consisted of two microfilm projectors placed at right angles in very close proximity to one another. One projector (1) cast an image onto the reflective side of a small two-way mirror (2), which then deflected the image onto a screen (3). The other projector (4) was positioned so that its image was thrown upon the same screen (3) after passing through the back or non-reflective side of the same two-way mirror (2), and in this manner the two images were superimposed. Two occulting discs (11 and 7), one positioned in front of each projector, turned so as to interrupt the projection alternately, thus casting the images on the screen one after the other rather than simultaneously. The speed at which the discs turned, and therefore also the rapidity with which the two images were alternately cast upon the screen, was regulated by means of a rheostat (12). The whole apparatus was mounted on a kind of “bread board” platform (Hinman, Letter to John Cook Wyllie, [Mar. 1955]). Hinman carried out his first experimental collations with this device at the Folger in the summer of 1946. He was granted a patent in 1949,


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though by that time he had abandoned this design and completely reconfigured his idea into the machine we know today. The prototype suffered from four serious flaws: the researcher could not closely study discrepancies without getting in the way of the projected light; taking notes was difficult since the machine worked best in a darkened room (Johnson, Letter to William P. Barlow); the machine was noisy and thus disrupted other researchers (Mason, Personal); and in contrast to the final version, the prototype was not designed to work with the original texts but only with microfilm copies.

The last of these shortcomings was the most serious, for collating from copies always involves, as Hinman well knew, some inherent disadvantages. A photographic image cannot always be relied upon to reproduce the original accurately. Fly specks, for example, are easily transformed into punctuation marks, and very faintly printed marks may not show up at all. Photographs are also expensive, and with a book of any length the time required to take and develop them would exceed that required to perform the collations. What was needed, he suggested, were two machines—one, which would be more common and more frequently used, for photographs, and a second, less common and less often used, for the originals (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 105). The device that Hinman would ultimately build could do both, though it was primarily intended for and has been predominantly used with original texts. Of course, gathering enough original copies of the book he needed was no problem. The Folger, with seventy-nine First Folios, had more than an adequate supply for his purpose. Mechanical collation owes its invention perhaps as much to the rich resources of the Folger as it does to the ingenuity of Charlton Hinman. Certainly without the availability of such a large sample of so important a book, comparison of copies, especially on such a large scale, would not have seemed nearly so necessary, let alone possible.

By July 1949, Hinman had abandoned his prototype for a completely redesigned collator, though a few more years of tinkering would pass before he would consider the device perfected (Altick 188; Hinman, “Variant Readings” 280-281). This was the machine he would use to make his study of the First Folio [plate 5]. Within a few weeks of installing it at the Folger, he had already collated his way through “18 formes” that included “the whole of Othello and parts of Lear and of Anthony and Cleopatra” in all of the Library's copies of the volume (Hinman, “Mark III” 150). Though his work was interrupted for two more years when he was called back to military service for the Korean conflict, in 1951 he was able to report the results of these collations, thus laying the first stone in the scholarly monument that would come to be considered an “irreplaceable landmark in Shakespeare studies” (Blayney 5). At the end of 1952 he was back at the Folger, and the next year he announced that his new tool was, more or less, complete (Hinman, “Variant Readings” 280).


Tanselle's article also provides the best overview of the issues surrounding the debate over bibliography and science.


A receipt at the Folger Library in Hinman's hand indicates that he was reimbursed for the “transportation” of a stereoscope from “PIC.” There is nothing in the note or the rest of the file that identifies “PIC” (Hinman, Autograph). I have found no further information on Hinman's use or study of this device. However, stereoscopes were used in the interpretation of aerial photographs during World War II, though not to analyze before and after shots in the manner that Hinman explained. An aerial photograph taken from directly overhead presents a very unnatural view; because the objects pictured appear flat, they are difficult for a viewer to recognize. Military photo-analysts used the stereoscope to view two photographs, slightly offset from one another, taken consecutively along the line of flight or simultaneously from different cameras in the same plane. This created the 3-D effect that had made the device such a popular parlor novelty. It also gave the images contour and thus made them much easier for the analysts to interpret (Stanley 265-270). Neither Hinman nor anyone else ever mentioned the stereoscope as one of his influences. The principles behind the device have been used by his successors, and for more information on this as well as other applications see note 8.


In his 1947 report on the collator, Hinman stated that William Jackson told him that “such a device was nearly perfected at Harvard several years ago. Wartime shortages stopped work on it before it could be put into operation” (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report,” 105). On the face of it, this statement seems to suggest that yet someone else was working on mechanical collation before Hinman. We know about Willoughby and Bogeng, but neither was working at Harvard, nor were they stopped by wartime shortages. Jackson may have been referring to work that Harvard astronomers were doing with a blink comparator (about which more later in the essay) rather than the application of this technology to the study of books. William H. Bond, who was a graduate student at Harvard before the war, served with Hinman during the conflict, was a Research Fellow with Hinman at the Folger prior to their entering the service, and would return to Harvard after the war and eventually become head of the Houghton Library, is not aware of anyone working on a mechanical collator for bibliographical purposes at Harvard (Bond, Letter). Given Bond's location and his bibliographical interests before and after the war, it would have been very difficult for such efforts to have taken place without his knowledge of them.


There was another technique used by World War II codebreakers that is suggestive of mechanical collation. In their efforts to crack the Germans' famous Engima machine, British cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park overlaid perforated cards called “Jeffreys sheets.” The cards recorded different transmissions of the same message translated into perforations. By superimposing these cards on a light table, the codebreakers attempted to spot similarities in the encryption. This technique would have been known to some Americans. Though the assault on the Enigma machine was led by the British, several U.S. service personnel worked with them (Parrish, 112-113). It seems unlikely, however, that Hinman ever saw or used a Jeffreys sheet. According to a fellow member of his intelligence unit, American work on the Enigma machine was done by the Army, not the Navy. He also has no memory of this technique or anything like it in their unit. Their work involved Japanese, not German, code and relied largely on tools no more sophisticated than pencil and paper (Bond, Telephone, 20 July 2001). It is tempting to link this technique to Hinman. So tempting, in fact, that I feel compelled to raise it here largely for the purpose of ruling it out. There is, again, no evidence that Hinman knew anything about Jeffreys sheets, and unless luck or persistence reveals otherwise we must regard them as only coincidental.


For example, “The collating machine that supposedly `detects' these compositorial differences was a direct outcome of surveillance techniques in the Second World War” (Masten 8).


The blink comparator was itself preceded by an earlier device, the stereo-comparator, which operated according to the principles of the previously mentioned stereoscope. The two devices even share the same inventor in Carl Pulfrich. The blink was apparently an adaptation of the stereo-comparator and both were intended for the same purpose—the comparison of photographs of star fields taken on different dates. But whereas the blink, like the Hinman, utilizes the principle of the stroboscope and signals differences by apparent movement between two images viewed in rapid alternation, the stereo-comparator creates a 3-D effect when the images, viewed simultaneously, do not match. The idea behind the stereoscope would be put to use by some of the Hinman's successors, namely the Lindstrand Comparator in the 1970s, the McLeod Collator in the 1980s, and an even more recent device developed by Carter Hailey (Lindstrand; Zalewski; “Bibliographical Mirrors”). The blink-comparator did not supplant its predecessor. Both have been used effectively by astronomers, their relative merits sometime being the subject of friendly debate (Drummeter). Likewise in the bibliographical world the Hinman was not displaced by the Lindstrand or one of the other stereoscopic collators. Here, too, each device has proven useful, with some bibliographers preferring one over the others.


The source of the “rusty Erector set,” incidentally, was Giles Dawson's young son (Bond, Letter).


In the early 1980s, Paul R. Sternberg and John M. Brayer returned to the idea of “color differentiation.” They used digital technology to create composite images of pages from the same edition. Instead of distinguishing the differences between the pages by blinking or creating a 3-D effect, their method revealed variations by the use of color, either blue or red depending upon which of the images contained the difference. Though the method had its advantages (one being that since the images were stored in a computer they could be replayed at a later date and another that the technique could “equalize” the images if they were scanned or reproduced at different sizes), their approach was only feasible for the “close examination of a few particular images” and not for large-scale collation projects (Sternberg and Brayer 444). However, a far more serious problem, which is apparent from the illustrations provided with the article, was that the process communicated too much information. In addition to highlighting differences in printing, composite imaging highlighted all the differences—smudges, foxing, flyspecks, stray pen or pencil-marks, imperfections in the paper, etc. The Sternberg and Brayer method emphasized everything equally, and thus typographical differences could very easily be lost in a sea of blue and red. Neither Wyllie nor Hinman mentions this effect in their correspondence, but it is difficult to imagine that they did not also face the same challenge.

Sternberg and Brayer have continued their efforts to use digital technology for textual collation, and their most recent efforts are viewable on Sternberg's website (Sternberg). Displayed there are three different approaches to the problem, all of them developed using “off-the-shelf freeware.” One example uses color differentiation, another relies on the stereoscopic or 3-D effect, and yet another tries to recreate on the computer screen the same effect one observes when looking through the viewer of the Hinman. According to Sternberg and Brayer, the “mathematics” underlying each of the programs is still too cumbersome to make any of them practical, and they are now attempting to develop applications based on software of their own design (Sternberg). This technique, along with other descendants of and alternatives to mechanical collation, will be discussed at greater length in a future portion of this study.


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As I hope I have shown, the development of mechanical collation did not occur in isolation. Charlton Hinman rightly deserves credit for the device that bears his name, but as with most inventions its story is one of confluence and collaboration. He drew inspiration and information from many different sources during the research and development phase of his work. The history of the manufacture, promotion, and distribution of the Hinman Collator follows much the same theme. Like characters in the Renaissance plays the machine was invented to study, several different people, organizations, and influences walk on and off the stage, some playing bit parts and others assuming more substantial roles. All of them contribute something to this drama, and thus it seems appropriate as well as illuminating to recognize as many of them as we can before the curtains of history close on them altogether.

Hinman credited the Navy, the Veterans' Administration, the Bureau of Standards, the Folger bindery, and Giles Dawson's young son for contributing to the construction of his first machine (“Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report” 101). Though Hinman's first experimental collations at the Folger in the summer of 1946 with what he called his “gadget” were encouraging, they also highlighted the machine's shortcomings (Hinman, Letter to John Cook Wylie, 5 Jan. 1947). The main problem was that it worked only with photographic reproductions, which were expensive as well as less reliable than the original documents. A machine that could utilize originals, however, would cost more than the prototype to develop and, technically speaking, would also be considerably more difficult to build. Hinman won a grant from the Old Dominion Foundation to help ease the financial burden (Hinman, “Variant Readings” 280). He met the other challenge by soliciting help from a variety of technical experts, among them Howard Head, aviation engineer and founder of the Head Ski company, and engineers at Johns Hopkins University, where Hinman had taught on the English faculty in the years immediately following the war. Robert P. Rich of the Institute for Cooperative Research at Johns Hopkins worked out the basic design of the optical system (Rich), and Head supervised the overall construction (Hinman, Letter to P. Stewart Macaulay, 9 Jan. 1953). A returning, though less technically expert, contributor was Giles Dawson, who in addition to lending moral support as well as continued access to the Folger's unparalleled collection of First Folios carried on “development” work when Hinman was called away for the Korean war. What exactly Hinman meant by “development” is unclear, though it appears that Dawson's son's toys were spared this time around (“Variant Readings” 280).

Ironically, the person most responsible, even more than Hinman himself, for the manufacturing and distribution of Hinman Collators was neither a bibliographer nor a formally trained engineer. Interest in the invention had grown as reports of its progress trickled out from the Folger through the late 1940s. Soon after Hinman's return from his second stint of military service in


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1952 it became apparent that there was a demand for his device beyond his own needs. Rather than putting his invention into production, he first considered, again with help from the Old Dominion Foundation, making mechanical drawings available to anyone who needed a machine for non-commercial purposes, the idea being that anyone with access to a “standard machine shop” could build his or her own collator (“Variant Readings” 281). Enter Arthur M. Johnson, a retired naval engineer, who was hired to produce the first set of mechanical drawings [plate 6]. He had offered advice, or, in his own words, “lip service,” at an earlier date, but this was his first hands-on involvement (Johnson, Letter to William P. Barlow, 21 Nov. 1973). Exactly how Johnson and Hinman met is not known, though it seems likely their paths first crossed in the Navy. Johnson went to work for the War Production Board in 1941. Shortly thereafter he was given a commission, serving as a senior engineering officer and technical adviser to the inspector general's office and later as the director of industrial engineering with the Bureau of Ships (“Arthur M. Johnson: Navy Officer, Inventor”). But wherever and however they met is less important than the fact that within a year of producing the first set of drawings, Johnson had begun building collators in partnership with Hinman.

A resourceful craftsman and inveterate tinkerer, Johnson was an old-school engineer who got his training on the job rather than in a classroom. His formal education ended with the eighth grade (Alexander Juniewicz, Telephone, 2 Oct. 2000). The shop floors of various tool and machine plants were his high school and his university. The collator was more or less Charlton Hinman's brainchild, but Arthur Johnson provided the manufacturing know-how behind the device. Their first customer was James Ford Bell, book collector and founder of the General Mills Company. The Houghton Library and Lessing J. Rosenwald purchased the next two machines (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 23 Feb. 1957). When Hinman published an article on the Houghton machine in the Harvard Library Bulletin, more orders came in, the British Museum and the University of Virginia being the next customers to queue up (“Mechanized Collation at the Houghton Library” 132).

Hinman held the patent and took the lead in drumming up customers for the first few collators. In 1954 he mailed an “Inquiry to Prospective Subscribers for a Collation Machine” to forty-five libraries and twelve art museums. This was his first and last direct solicitation for business, and his intention was to bring the cost of manufacturing down by building several devices on subscription at the same time, with Johnson as his manufacturer. Johnson had just retired from the Navy and owned Pentagon Products, a specialty tool- and machine-making company in Washington, D.C. In fairly short order, however, Hinman completely turned over the business of making and selling collators to Johnson.[11] Hinman, after all, had more than enough


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work to do just collating the First Folio, and, after having his research interrupted by two tours of military service, he undoubtedly felt pressure to get on with the work for which he built the collator in the first place. He was in his mid-forties at this point, with an impressive reputation, a project with great promise, and relatively few publications to show for all his effort. The need to fulfill the potential coupled with the passage of time were probably also incentives to clear the decks of all but his main work. There was also a problem with the very first customer that may have discouraged him. James Ford Bell was not pleased with his machine's ability to superimpose images. Apparently no more than three or four lines could be brought into accurate registration at once. Johnson would later argue that none of the early machines was built with the expectation of being able to register an “entire page or area of the capacity of the machine.” Instead, the operator was supposed to “scan an area and move to another area and make minor adjustments” along the way. Harvard and Rosenwald were satisfied with their products, the latter even kicking in a bonus on top of the $1500 sale price. But Bell caused “considerable trouble and delayed payment for some time” (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 23 Feb. 1957). On his side of the argument, however, he may have had higher expectations than Harvard or Rosenwald because in addition to bookish pursuits he also intended to use the machine in his business, perhaps for the comparison of blueprints at General Mills (Parker). In addition to this and all the other headaches of running a small business, the onset of middle age, and a growing sense of urgency to produce the substantial piece of scholarship the bibliographical world had been waiting for since just after the war, the fact that the first six machines were built at a loss of “several thousand dollars” probably also did not encourage Hinman to stay involved (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 23 Feb. 1957).

But whatever Hinman's reasons for falling back, Johnson was more than happy to march forward. From the early-1950s to the mid-1970s, he built over fifty machines, making many important modifications and improvements along the way. The change from black to bluish-gray flecked metal sides, the installation of a cabinet to conceal the motor, and the addition of chrome trim were all efforts on Johnson's part to improve the physical appearance of the collator. He made changes to improve its performance as well—for example, replacing the sealed beam headlights with 150-watt flood lamps, adding adjustable casters to compensate for uneven floors, upgrading the


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quality of the mirrors, and eventually replacing the noisy “motor driven cam device that actuated a micro-switch to cause the lights to alternately blink” with a silent electronic circuit board (Johnson, Letter to William P. Barlow).[12] Johnson also had a habit of abandoning a change or improvement at a later date. The University of Kansas collator, for example, was the first and one of only a few to carry three viewing lenses instead of two. The Kansas collator was also the first to have a bluish-gray panel exterior and chrome ornamentation, and while the color stayed nearly the same on subsequent machines, the decoration did not. To help break up the “monotony on the large flat surface above the telescope,” Johnson added two chrome circles with two flat metal strips between them (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 9 June 1958) [plate 6]. By the time he built the Iowa collator six or seven years later, this rather stylized design was replaced with two simple chrome strips [plate 7]. By the late sixties he had given up on ornamentation altogether, returning to the spare, or monotonous, style of the earliest machines [plate 8]. (No Hinmans, incidentally, ever sported tail fins!) In the beginning Johnson never expected to build more than one collator, and up until the late 1950s he seems to have expected each order to have been the last. But even after he realized a steady demand would continue, the market was not such that it justified mass production and the uniformity that follows therefrom. The first machines were built on order, one at a time, and in later years Johnson usually constructed them in batches of six or so (Michel, Telephone, 28 Sept. 2000). But whether one at a time or in batches, Johnson often took the opportunity to revise his earlier work. Thus like the First Folio itself, no two specimens of the Hinman Collator were ever constructed exactly alike.

In addition to manufacturing and improving the apparatus, Johnson also acted as deliveryman and chief promoter. Many people remember Johnson and his wife, Moni, delivering the latest machine on a U-Haul trailer attached to the back of their Cadillac and then making a vacation of the event by touring the area for a few days before heading home. The arrival of a new collator, especially in the early years, was a highly anticipated event and often greeted with fanfare. The Charlottesville Daily Progress and the Richmond Times-Dispatch covered the purchase of the University of Virginia Hinman, and a special demonstration was offered for members of the Bibliographical Society (Vander Meulen 23-25). Ohio State's purchase of a machine made the front page of the student newspaper (Hecht). Reporters from radio, television, and the newspaper covered the arrival of the Texas collator in Austin (Johnson, Letter to Jack Herring, 20 Mar. 1974). And even as late as 1974, when Texas A&M purchased one of the last Hinmans to be manu-


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factured, library staffers “fell out en masse ” to witness demonstrations of the new “wonder machine” (Chapman).

There has always been a mystique about the Hinman Collator, even among individuals who know nothing of and care not one whit about bibliography and textual criticism. A sense of this appeal is apparent in the Richmond Times- Dispatch article mentioned above:

There it stood in front of the fireplace in the McGregor Room of the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia—a bulky, box-like metal monster about six feet tall with a row of toggle switches, flashing lights and a generally sinister appearance. Its creator, Charlton Hinman, stood by as if to protect the coven of the Bibliographical Society, gathered in solemn Sabbath, from any hostile gesture on the part of the machine. Here, surely, was Frankenstein Redivivus and a new creature.


Other reporters also colorfully described the machine and along the way frequently misinterpreted or exaggerated its capabilities. Charlton Hinman once cited a reporter who described the invention as “an electronic machine in which an electric eye reads lines of type and flashes red lights when it comes upon any variation” (Hinman, Six 3). New technology frequently inspires a sense of awe mixed with a healthy dose of heightened expectation. These feelings were perhaps compounded in the Hinman bcause in addition to being new it also represented a unique application of technology to the humanities.

Another factor in the Hinman's appeal, and one that is also evident in the Times-Dispatch example, is its sheer impressiveness as a physical object. The Hinman stands just under six feet tall, five feet wide, and in its final form weighed 450 pounds. Its switches, binocular optics, flashing lights, chrome trim, and metal sides gives it an appearance more appropriate to a Buck Rogers movie than a library alcove. Hinman himself called his creation “at once awesome and a little ludicrous” and invoked the name Rube Goldberg in comparison (Hinman, “Mechanized Collation at the Houghton Library” 132). This is a sentiment shared by nearly everyone who has laid eyes on the Hinman, and whether we are awed, amused, or both by the machine, it retains a remarkable ability to fascinate. The design of the Hinman constitutes a wonderful example of late-1940s and 1950s futurism. Its hulking, metal exterior reminds us that it was invented in a great age of rocket ships, robots, and other types of imaginative technology—so much so that one would not be surprised to find it featured on the cover of Astounding Science Fiction or some other futuristic fantasy rag. Nor would it also be completely out of place in the appliance section of a mail order catalog. In the 1950s it looked like a piece of progressive technology ought to look, and Arthur Johnson's improvements both played upon and reinforced this appearance. In our own day the collator so embodies the stereotypical, mid-century machine that many people react to it with a kind of nostalgic amusement, much as they also do to toasters, blenders, and other gadgets of the same vintage.

Johnson, like any good salesman, was not above taking advantage of this mystique or of stoking some of the appeal. Showmanship came naturally to


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him. Two vignettes from Johnson family lore underscore this point. When he delivered one of the machines to England by ocean liner, he often passed the afternoon shooting skeet off the rear deck. His marksmanship abilities were so impressive that he regularly drew throngs of onlookers, and he even worked up a couple of trick shots for their entertainment (Arthur Juniewicz, Telephone). He is also said to have promoted a device he invented to train hunting dogs (about which more in a moment) by occasionally offering impromptu public demonstrations, sometimes in busy urban areas. The device fired a sock in the air by means of a.22 caliber blank. The demonstration always attracted a crowd, and sometimes the attention of a policeman or two, though he was never arrested. His motivation was to cause enough of a stir to get coverage in the local paper, thereby garnering a little free publicity (Michel, Telephone, 28 Sept. 2000). Johnson used these same skills to promote the Hinman. When he sold a collator to Kansas, he suggested holding a reception for the express purpose of pulling a “publicity stunt” (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 24 June 1958). Six years later, when officials at the University of Texas invited him to give demonstrations of their new machine, he assured them he would be happy to do so for as long as they could supply an “interested audience,” even if that audience consisted of only “one person” (Johnson, Letter to Dorothy Lawrence). Johnson had a standard lecture he offered as part of his delivery package. This “20 to 30 minute” talk explained in “layman's language” the “history of the Hinman Collator, how it came into being... and the success it had with the Works of Shakespeare” as well as “what makes it do what it does.” Moni also lent a hand with these events, helping set up and run a post-lecture “coffee hour and buffet” that the Johnsons offered at their own expense (Johnson, Letter to Jack Herring, 20 Mar. 1974; and Letter to Robert Vosper).

The institutions that purchased collators were also not shy about attempting their own “publicity stunts.” For many colleges and libraries, the Hinman provided a means of demonstrating the usefulness and seriousness of the work that went on within their walls, and some of them were quite ambitious in taking advantage of this opportunity. Ohio State may have produced a short promotional film in which the Hinman played the leading role. Entitled “Literary `Detectives' Produce New Hawthorne Edition,” the surviving script sets the film in the Center for Textual Studies and contrasts the old-fashioned means of collation (by “human hand and eye”) with the modern, machineaided method. The last line of narration sums up the work done on the collator as “an important contribution to American literature from the Ohio State campus” (Boyce).[13] The staff of the Newberry Library, home to the


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Melville edition, did not make a film, but they did place their machine in a location that gave it prominent billing. Located in a glass-fronted room near the main entrance, the Hinman was one of the first things visitors saw on entering the Library. The spectacle of the machine in operation was frequently made all the more interesting by one of the editorial assistants who used it—a nun in full habit (Farren; Krummel).

Like any good businessman, Johnson also aggressively attempted to broaden the market by finding new applications for his product. In advertising circulars he proposed uses in fields ranging from photographic analysis to map-making to ballistics. In the mid-1950s he built a tabletop version to help drum up interest in these and other non-book applications. He demonstrated the mini-Hinman to the Air Force and even loaned it out for test runs to their Aeronautical Chart and Information Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He also showed the machine to a group of Wall Street bankers who were looking for a better way to compare signatures on checks and other documents. Neither the Air Force nor the bankers ended up purchasing a Hinman, large or small size. The bankers were “intrigued” and “amazed,” but they also thought the machine would be slower than their current system and require more staff (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 26 Dec. 1957). Likewise the Air Force enjoyed the show, but in the end determined they needed a device that could compare photographs of objects that varied by as much as 50% in size (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 9 June 1958). Johnson was undaunted by these rejections, however, and eventually did achieve some success in finding non-book applications. He sold about nine machines to pharmaceutical companies where they were used to proofread labels (Johnson, Letter to Jack Herring, 23 Nov. 1973). The CIA purchased a machine, presumably to detect forgeries.[14] The Royal Canadian Mounted


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Police borrowed the collator at the University of New Brunswick for the same purpose (Gair). And to this day a graphic design company in Syracuse, New York, uses a Hinman on a weekly basis as a proofreading aid (Brockway).

In his promotion efforts, however, Johnson sometimes made claims that, at best, stretched the Hinman's capabilities. At worst, they suggest that he may not have fully understood the original application of the machine he did so much to improve and distribute. One wonders, for instance, how the collator could have, as Johnson claimed in early promotional material, been used to compare bullets “to determine if a certain gun was used” (“Blink Collator Specifications”). One also wonders why he thought the machine would be suitable for the comparison of handwritten signatures, which, though similar, are not identical enough from occurrence to occurrence to make their examination on the Hinman effective. These examples could be chalked up to over-optimism on the part of an eager salesman. His garbled understanding of Hinman's use of the machine is another matter, however. He stated in his advertising brochure: “The development herein described was first applied at the Shakespearean Library in Washington, D.C. for proofreading all of the printings of the works of Shakespeare back to the first folios or originals to detect the many typesetting errors that have taken place through the many years of printing. It was estimated that this job would require forty man years and would necessitate personnel with the ability to read accurately Old English print and thoroughly understand Elizabethan English” (Johnson, Hinman Collator [1972?] 4). Johnson, of course, knew the collator was made to compare identical or nearly identical objects, but he does not seem to have fully comprehended its exact bibliographical purpose. His statement that Hinman invented the device to study “all of the printings” of Shakespeare back to the “first folios” implies that the machine is capable of cross-edition collation. A few institutions purchased the machine with this expectation in mind. They were disappointed. Some of the misunderstanding that accompanies the mystique can be attributed to the fact that the Hinman represented a new and exotic technological application. A good deal of it no doubt also derives from the simple fact that the field of bibliography and textual criticism itself is not well understood. But Johnson must also bear some of the blame, for his efforts to promote the Hinman sometimes only promoted confusion about it.

When Johnson took up the cause of mechanical collation he was fifty years old and on the verge of semi-retirement. He left the Navy in 1953 and around 1955 sold Pentagon Products, having built the first six machines under that name. When he received inquiries from the University of Kansas in 1957 to build the seventh machine, he considered sub-contracting the job to the Polytronic Company, the firm to whom he had sold his business. By the time the order came through, however, he decided to hire his old shop foreman, Fred W. Buser, and build the machine himself (Johnson, Letter to Joseph Rubinstein, 23 Feb. 1957). Another worker to join the team about this time was Robert Michel, whose father had worked for Johnson at the


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Bureau of Ships (Michel, Telephone, 28 Sept. 2000). Arthur M. Johnson, Inc., the company name under which most Hinmans would be built, was born, and Johnson would spend the rest of his life in the business of making and selling mechanical collators.

The Hinman was not Johnson's only product, however. Nor was it by a long shot his most profitable. In 1961 he patented the “Target Projecting Device Utilizing a Can and a Blank Cartridge.” Under the less cumbersome name of the “Targeteer,” Johnson developed and marketed this device as a poor man's skeet shooter, which instead of clay pigeons launched empty beer cans. Johnson was an expert marksman and avid hunter. The idea for the launcher occurred to him while taking pot shots at beer cans tossed from the front porch of his cabin on an otherwise uneventful hunting trip. Johnson reportedly sold over two hundred thousand Targeteers, Abercrombie & Fitch being his biggest customer (Michel, Telephone, 28 Sept. 2000; Alexander Juniewicz, Telephone, 2 Oct. 2000). Always one to make the most of a good idea, he later developed the Targeteer into the device for training hunting dogs mentioned earlier. The “Retriev-R-Trainer” fired a sock in the air in simulation of a duck or quail shot out of the sky. The launching device, a .22 caliber blank, also served to accustom the dogs to the sound of gunfire. The Hinman Collator never did for Johnson's bank account what the Targeteer and the Trainer did. On the other hand, though Johnson said he lost money on the first five or six, he seems to have at least broken even from the late 1950s on. The collators certainly subsidized trips throughout the United States and Europe. Nevertheless, one cannot help but wonder to what extent the Hinman, and in turn the wider world of bibliography and textual criticism, was underwritten by dog training devices and beer can launchers.

In 1973, Johnson wrote that he had poured his “life's blood into the development and building” of collators “for more than twenty years” (Johnson, Letter to William P. Barlow). At that time he was seventy-one. A year earlier he had “partially retired” again, which seems to mean only that he entered into an agreement with a small firm, MICO Engineering, owned by his longtime employee, Robert Michel, that relieved Johnson of the burden of production though he still retained responsibility for “quality... correspondence, delivery, etc.” (Johnson, Letter to E. F. Newland). He retained these responsibilities until the end of his life. In August 1977, he sent a dunning notice from MICO to the Herzog August Bibliothek (Johnson, Letter to Herzog August Bibliothek). In July they had taken delivery of a machine and were moving a little slower than he liked in paying the bill. Johnson died from a heart attack three months later. Ironically, Charlton Hinman had also passed away that year, just seven months earlier in March (Andrews, “Remembering”; Bowers, “Charlton Joseph Kadio Hinman”). A few more machines were sold after Johnson's death, the last one to Penn State in 1979. Around 1980, Bausch and Lomb stopped making the binocular viewers and Michel was unable to find another supplier. There was not enough demand to warrant the expense of tooling up to make the optics himself or to justify


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the trouble of trying to convince another company to go into production. In 1986 Michel retired and closed his business (Michel, Telephone, 15 July 2000).

Though Johnson's role in the spread of mechanical collation was singular, it was not solitary. Other people and organizations also played important parts. Hinman himself, despite having withdrawn from the business, did not cease to influence demand for his invention. His masterpiece of analytical bibliography, The Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare (1963), underscored the value of machine collation. The publication of the Norton facsimile of the First Folio five years later did the same. The results of his research had been anxiously awaited for many years. On the appearance of Printing and Proof-reading, nearly every reviewer mentioned the importance of the collator to the project. Though the number and nature of the variants in the First Folio were less spectacular than Hinman had anticipated, the conclusions that he reached based on them seemed all the more remarkable for that very paucity. Frank Kermode spoke for nearly everyone who had an interest in the matter when he described Hinman's study as “a brilliant and protracted piece of laboratory work” (Kermode). This attention did not go unobserved by Johnson, who had also been anxiously awaiting the day when Hinman's research would see light. A year before the publication of Printing and Proof-reading, Johnson was citing its impending appearance as proof of the “value” of his product (Johnson, Letter to William B. Todd, 13 Sept. 1962). From about 1952 to 1962, twelve collators were built and sold. From 1963 to 1968, the five years bordered by the publication of Hinman's two books, over twenty were produced.

All through the 1950's, Hinman had been publishing partial and preliminary accounts of his research in Studies in Bibliography and the Shakespeare Quarterly. Clearly these as well as his books gave a boost, albeit indirectly, to the business of which he was no longer a part. During this period other scholars were also setting an example for the bibliographical world. William H. Bond was the first person after Hinman to publish research based on the collator. He was also the first to use the machine on a post- Renaissance text and to analyze non-verbal matter. In 1956, his examination of the illustrations in the 1865 and 1866 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland appeared in the Harvard Library Bulletin. The next year, Matthew J. Bruccoli's investigation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise demonstrated the applicability of machine collation to twentieth-century books. His study was also the first to use the Hinman on an American book. Bruccoli, then still a graduate student at the University of Virginia, used that school's machine to compare a copy of the Scribner's first edition with a 1954 Scribner's reprint from the same plates. He was encouraged in this project by John Cook Wyllie. In 1958, again with Wyllie's encouragement, Bruccoli published a similar account of Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt. Fredson Bowers used the same machine for the Centenary edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (Ohio State University, 1962). Under his direction, eight copies of the first edition (1850) were collated as well as multiple copies of the second and third editions


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(Bowers, “Old Wine” 10). These, however, were all preludes to the symphony. None of them was as influential, or as anticipated, as Hinman's two books.

In addition to Arthur Johnson, Charlton Hinman, and others, the collator also had an important institutional advocate. The same year that Printing and Proof- reading appeared, the Center for Editions of American Authors (CEAA) was founded by the Modern Language Association. The Center's initial purpose was simply to coordinate and initiate projects and to encourage responsible editorial practices. Its degree of influence and range of activities greatly increased when the program received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1965. Thereafter, in addition to dispensing significant research funds, the Center also issued a manual of procedures, published a semi-regular newsletter, sponsored exhibitions, and, perhaps most memorably, awarded a seal of approval for display in qualified volumes. In what can be regarded as the Center's founding document, William M. Gibson and Edwin H. Cady singled out the use of the Hinman on the centenary Hawthorne as an indication of high editorial standards. They also optimistically speculated that the machine would soon become more widely available (Gibson and Cady 2-3). A preliminary mimeographed version (1966), the first formal edition (1967), and the “Revised Edition” (1972) described machine collation as nothing less than an editorial “obligation” 11, 6, and 2, respectively).

The publications of the Center would continue to extol the virtues of mechanical collation, and scholars who followed this encouragement soon found a new purpose for the machine. The editors of many critical editions learned by hard experience that the volumes they were producing were subject to the same foibles of printing as the works they were studying. James B. Meriwether reported that the printer for the William Gilmore Simms project had a habit of resetting lines where “there had been no error” without being asked and, worse yet, without telling anyone. Such “uncalled for resetting” was particularly worrisome when it occurred after the very last set of proofs had been read (Meriwether 17)! Uncovering variants is part of a textual editor's job; introducing a new one is his or her bane. To combat this problem, Meriwether, David Nordloh, and others began to collate the succesive versions of their proof pages on the Hinman. This extra step, at first seen as little more than a bit of “preventive medicine,” proved so effective in catching last-minute errors that the CEAA eventually made it standard practice for all approved editions (Nordloh 18; and Statement of Editorial Principles and Procedures 13).

By 1973, seventy volumes of critical editions from works by a dozen American authors had been published under the guidelines of the CEAA and another thirty were in press (Bruccoli, “Note” 28). In varying degrees, all of these projects made use of mechanical collation. Funding from the CEAA also helped establish textual centers at universities throughout the United States, most of which acquired Hinmans. The University of South


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Carolina, home to the Simms edition and headquarters for the CEAA after 1969, eventually purchased two. The study of Renaissance texts, and specifically the First Folio of William Shakespeare, had inspired the building of the first collator. However, thanks to the CEAA, many more works by American authors of the nineteenth century were subjected to scrutiny under the Hinman's “electric eye” than were works from any other nation or period.

The personalities behind the Hinman should also not be overlooked in accounting for its early and lasting prominence. The two principal figures, Charlton Hinman and Arthur M. Johnson, each played different but important and crucially complementary roles. Charlton Hinman, the urbane and eminently learned Rhodes Scholar and Reserve Naval Commander, lent academic and moral credibility to the machine. His credentials were impeccable and his reputation beyond reproach. His devotion to scholarship was amply demonstrated by his taking the time to invent the machine in the first place and then reinforced by his spending the better part of a decade (more or less all of the 1950s) analyzing what it revealed. For most of that time he supported himself on grants, sequestered in the Folger Library like some bibliographical version of a Trappist monk, isolating himself from many of the normal demands (e.g. teaching and students) and pleasures (e.g. teaching and students) of academic life. A sense of Hinman's standing in the scholarly world is shown in the fact that even while he was still working out the kinks and well before the collator would really be proven useful, Richard Altick described it as “the most ingenious gadget yet devised for the aid of literary scholarship” in the first edition of his popular Scholar Adventurers (Altick 186). And then there was Art Johnson, the self-taught engineer with a huckster's gift for showmanship. In many ways he was the man behind the curtain, for over the long term he was the one pulling the strings, manning the bellows, and sounding the whistles. Their efforts were neither coordinated nor premeditated, but all the same they made a potent combination in promoting the spread and use of the machine.

Arthur Johnson provided the manufacturing know-how. His promotional efforts also helped enlarge the market for the machine, and the research done using it by Charlton Hinman as well as Bond, Bruccoli, and Bowers inspired others to go and do likewise. The CEAA provided the funding to underwrite projects and set up centers in which the machine was employed. It also made mechanical collation an essential step in the editorial process. One cannot discount the innate appeal of the machine as a physical object in accounting for some of the fascination with it. All of these factors are important in helping us understand how and why the machine was used, but none of them (collectively or individually) completely explains the demand for it. The single most important factor is simply that the collator filled a need, namely, to make relatively fast and efficient comparisons of multiple copies of texts from the same edition or printing. No one would have used or bought one if it could not do this, and in serving this function the machine also created further demand by encouraging a kind of work that was not possible before


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its invention. As the authors of the CEAA's 1966 Statement noted, the development of the collator contributed to the “drive among contemporary scholars to produce full, highly accurate texts of the writings of major American writers” (3). Just as the types of physical structures we build are often determined by the tools we own, so are the kinds of scholarly projects we engage in affected by the scholarly tools at our disposal. Moreover, the kind of information the machine detected, typographical as well as other printed variations, has proven exceptionally useful for the purposes of analytical bibliography, where the emphasis has always been on printed matter. Additional clues, such as those derived from bindings, watermarks, and other features of the book, have been put to good use, but none to better and more regular application than the discovery of typographical variants. Thus, Charlton Hinman, the numerous scholars who followed him, the CEAA, and Arthur M. Johnson, Inc., owe as much to the Hinman as the Hinman owes to them. Again, collation in itself was not a new idea, but relatively fast and accurate collation on a large scale was. The invention of the Hinman opened up a path of inquiry that could not have been pursued without its aid. This factor more than any other accounts for the demand that fueled the building and distribution of machines.

The theory that encouraged the machine's invention in the first place and provided much of the underpinning for its use would eventually be questioned, and these questions led to changes in attitudes and practice that would dampen enthusiasm for mechanical collation. Furthermore, starting in the mid-1960s, smaller and less expensive devices for collating texts were introduced to the field, and one of these, the Lindstrand Comparator, would eventually compete with the Hinman, albeit in a contracted market. However, from the early 1950s, when the machine was first commercially manufactured, well into the 1960s, the Hinman stood unrivaled and largely unquestioned.


Current Locations of Surviving Hinman Collators

I am currently compiling a chronological census of Hinman Collators. It will attempt to account for every machine constructed and to incorporate details such as sale price, date of acquisition, the projects associated with a particular machine, previous locations for those few machines that have had multiple owners or have been used at different institutions, and other matters of interest. Though the full census is not ready for publication, I believe I have established the whereabouts of all surviving machines. Since it might be helpful for scholars engaged in editorial projects or bibliographical investigations to know these locations, and since the completion of the entire census would mean delaying the availability of this information for some time, it seems useful to make a list of current sites available now. I should


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caution that not all of the machines listed below are necessarily available for use. Anyone having need of a Hinman is encouraged to make inquiries well in advance of traveling to one. Not mentioned here are locations in three previously published lists by Arthur Johnson that are no longer relevant, either because the machines at those sites have been lost or deaccessioned, or because they were misattributed in the first place.[15]


Davis, Special Collections, University Library, University of California

Los Angeles, Clark Library, University of California

Oakland, privately owned by William P. Barlow


Boulder, Special Collections, University Library, University of Colorado


Folger Shakespeare Library


Gainesville, Rare Books and Special Collections, Smathers Library East, University of Florida


Athens, privately owned by David Gants


Carbondale, Special Collections, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University

Chicago, Newberry Library

DeKalb, Special Collections, University Library, Northern Illinois University

Urbana, Rare Book and Special Collections Library, University Library, University of Illinois


Bloomington, English Department, Indiana University


Iowa City, Special Collections, Main Library, University of Iowa


Lawrence, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas


Lexington, Special Collections and Archives, Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky


Cambridge, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Worcester, American Antiquarian Society


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Lincoln, Department of English, University of Nebraska


Ithaca, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University

Syracuse, Liberty Business Development Group


Chapel Hill, Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina


Columbus, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Ohio State University Libraries, Ohio State University

Kent, Institute for Bibliography and Editing, College of Arts and Sciences, Kent State University


Columbia, Department of Special Collections, Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina


Austin, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas

College Station, Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University

Houston, Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Houston

Lubbock, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Waco, Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University


Charlottesville, Department of Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia

Charlottesville, privately owned by David Vander Meulen

Lynchburg, privately owned by R. Carter Hailey


Madison, Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Shakespeare Research Collection, Golda Meir Library, University of Wisconsin


Ottawa, Rare Book Division, National Library of Canada


Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge University

Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Library, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Oxford, Johnson Reading Room, Department of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford University

Stirling, University Library, University of Stirling, Scotland


Münster, Institutum Erasmianum, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität

Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek


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Abbott, David, ed. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists: Astronomers. London: Blond Educational, 1984.

Alston, Robin. E-mail to the author. 16 Jan. 2000.

Altick, Richard. Scholar Adventures. New York: Macmillan, 1950.

Andrews, John F. “Remembering Charlton Hinman.” Shakespeare Quarterly 28 (1977): 275-276.

“Arthur M. Johnson: Navy Officer, Inventor Was Advisor to U.S.” Washington Post 22 Oct. 1977: B3.

Ball, Lewis F. Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11 Mar. 1956. Quoted in: David Vander Meulen. The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia: The First Fifty Years. Charlottesville: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1998. 24.

“Bibliographical Mirrors [the Carter Hailey Collator].” Special Collections Flyer: Lehigh University Information Resources Apr. 1999: I-2.

Blayney, Peter W. M. The First Folio of Shakespeare. Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1991.

Bogeng, G. A. E. Einführung in die Bibliophilie. Leipzig, Germany: Hiersemann, 1931; rpt. Hildesheim, Germany: George Olms, 1968.

Bond, William H. Letter to the author. 13 Sept. 1999.

—. “The Publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.Harvard Library Bulletin 10 (1956): 306- 324.

—. Telephone interview. 30 Mar. 2001.

—. Telephone interview. 20 July 2001.

Bowers, Fredson. “Charlton Joseph Kadio Hinman.” Book Collector 26 (1977): 389-391.

—. “Old Wine in New Bottles: Problems of Machine Printing.” Editing Nineteenth Century Texts, ed. John M. Robson. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1967. 9-36.

Boyce, Robert and William J. Rounds. “Literary `Detectives' Produce New Hawthorne Edition.” Script for news film, Ohio State University News and Information Service. 1 Apr. 1964. Rare and Special Collections, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Brewer, Anita. “Naval Officer's Idea: Photo Detector Helps UT Library.” Austin Statesman 15 Jan. 1965: 15.

Brockway, Michele. Telephone interview. 21 Aug. 2000.

Bruccoli, Matthew. “A Collation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise.Studies in Bibliography 9 (1957): 263-265.

—. “Note on Center for Editions of American Authors.” An Exhibition of American Literature. Bloomington, Indiana: Lilly Library, Indiana University, 1973.28.

—“Textual Variants in Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt.Studies in Bibliography 10 (1958): 263-268.

Carter, John and Graham Pollard. An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets. London: Constable, 1934.

Chapman, David. Personal interview. 23 May 1998.

Cloud, Random [i.e. Randall McLeod]. “from [sic] Tranceformations in the Text of “Orlando Furioso.'” Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin 20 (1990): 60-85.

Dearing, Vinton A. Methods of Textual Editing. Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1962.

—. “The Poor Man's Mark IV or Ersatz Hinman Collator.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 60 (1966): 149-158.

Drouin, F. The Stereoscope and Stereoscopic Photography. London: Percy Lund, 1894; rpt. Culver City, California: Reel 3-D Enterprises, 1995.


Page 158

Drummeter, Louis F. “Notes on the blink Comparator.” Rittenhouse: The Journal of American Scientific Enterprise 6 (1991): 11- 19.

Farren, Donald. Personal interview. 29 June 2000.

Forbes, George. History of Astronomy. New York: Putnam, 1909.

Gair, Reavley. Letter to the author. 28 Apr. 1999.

Gerritsen, Johann. “A Portable Collator Comes Cheaper.” Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 11 (1968): 29-30.

Gibson, William M. and Edwin H. Cady. “Editions of Writers, 1963: A Preliminary Survey.” PMLA 4 (1963): 1-8.

Guffey, George. “Standardization of Photographic Reproductions for Mechanical Collation.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 62 (1968): 237-240.

Gwinn, Alison. “Man, Machine Seek Shakespeare,” University Daily Kansan 8 July 1977: 3.

Haselden, R. B. Scientific Aids for the Study of Manuscripts. Oxford: The Bibliographical Society, 1935.

Hecht, Edward. “University Buys Collator.” Ohio State Lantern 10 Aug. 1961: 1.

Hinman, Barbara. E-mail to the author. 30 May 2000.

Hinman, Charlton. “Alternate Projection Collating Device.” Official Gazette, United States Patent Office. 1 Feb. 1949: 126.

—. Autograph note. Charlton Hinman file, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

—. “Drawings for a Hinman Collating Machine,” Z1001.H54 1954, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia.

—. The First Folio of Shakespeare. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968.

—. “Inquiry to Prospective Subscribers for a Collation Machine.” March 1954. Located with “Drawings for a Hinman Collating Machine.”

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. 28 Feb. 1946. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. 21 Mar. 1946. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. 14 Sept. 1946. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. 5 Jan. 1947. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. 19 Apr. 1954. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to John Cook Wyllie. [Mar. 1955]. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to P. Stewart Macaulay. 9 Jan. 1953. Charlton Hinman File, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

—. “Mark III: New Light on the Proof-Reading for the First Folio of Shakespeare.” Studies in Bibliography 3 (1950-51): 147-153.

—. “Mechanized Collation: A Preliminary Report.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Virginia 41 (1947): 99-106.

—. “Mechanized Collation at the Houghton Library.” Harvard Library Bulletin 9 (1955): 132-134.

—. The Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963.

—. “The Printing of the First Quarto of Othello.” Diss. U Virginia, 1941.


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—. Six Variant Readings in the First Folio of Shakespeare. Lawrence: University of Kansas Libraries, 1961.

—. “Variant Readings in the First Folio of Shakespeare.” Shakespeare Quarterly 4 (1953): 279-288.

—. “Why 79 First Folios?” Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. 6 June 1947.

Horden, John. “The Institute of Bibliography and Textual Criticism.” The Library, 5th ser. 27 (1972): 293-301.

Hoskin, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Hunter, Dard. Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947.

Johnson, Arthur M. “Blink Collator Specifications.” [1957?]. Uncataloged Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Hinman Collator. Silver Spring, Maryland: Arthur M. Johnson, Inc., [1959?].

—. Hinman Collator. Silver Spring, Maryland: Arthur M. Johnson, Inc., [1972?].

—. [Hinman Collators in current use]. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 47 (1963): 460-461.

—. “Hinman Collators: Present Locations.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 63 (1969): 119-120, with corrections two issues later—(1969): 328.

—. Letter to Alderman Library. 28 Dec. 1954. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to Charlton Hinman. 19 Feb. 1970. Courtesy of Alexander Juniewicz.

—. Letter to Charlton Hinman. 21 Apr. 1972. Courtesy of Alexander Juniewicz.

—. Letter to Dorothy Lawrence. 5 Oct. 1964. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.

—. Letter to E. F. Newland. 20 Dec. 1973. Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

—. Letter to Herzog August Bibliothek. 18 Aug. 1977. Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany.

—. Letter to Jack Herring. 23 Nov. 1973. Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

—. Letter to Jack Herring, 20 Mar. 1974. Armstrong-Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 23 Feb. 1957. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 26 Dec. 1957. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 27 Jan. 1958. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 10 Mar. 1958. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 9 June 1958. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to Joseph Rubinstein. 24 June 1958. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to P. G. Peacock. 21 October 1974. University Library, Stirling University, Stirling, Scotland.

—. Letter to Robert Vosper. 28 Apr. 1966. University Archives, University of California, Los Angeles, California.

—. Letter to Ross J. Foster. 10 Mar. 1958. Uncataloged Hinman Papers. Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

—. Letter to William P. Barlow. 21 Nov. 1973. Courtesy of William P. Barlow.


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—. Letter to William B. Todd. 13 Sept. 1962. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.

—. Letter to William B. Todd. 18 Oct. 1963. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.

—. “Locations of Hinman Collators.” Editorial Quarterly 1 (1975): 12.

—. “Target Projecting Device Utilizing a Can and a Blank Cartridge.” Official Gazette, United States Patent Office 17 Oct. 1961: 655.

—. Typescript agreement between Johnson and Charlton Hinman. 11 Sept. 1968. Courtesy of Alexander Juniewicz.

Johnson, Samuel. Preface. The Plays of William Shakespeare. Vol. 1. London: J. and R. Tonson, 1765.

Juniewicz, Alexander. Notes taken by Alexander Juniewicz in conversation with Robert Michel. 17 May 1978. Courtesy of Alexander Juniewicz.

—. Telephone interview. 2 Oct. 2000.

Juniewicz, Arthur. Telephone interview. 29 Sept. 2000.

Kermode, Frank. “Corrupting Shakespeare.” New Statesman 21 June 1963: 944.

Krummel, D. W. Personal interview. 30 June 2000.

Levin, Richard. “A Poor Man's Collating Machine.” Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 9 (1966): 25-26.

Lindstrand, Gordon. “Mechanized Textual Collation and Recent Designs.” Studies in Bibliography 24 (1971): 204-214.

Maguire, Laurie E. Shakespearean Suspect Texts: The “Bad” Quartos and Their Contexts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Martin, Roger. “Machine Unravels Bard's Intent.” Lawrence Journal-World 3 Feb. 1988: 2D.

Mason, Alexandra. E-mail to the author. 8 Mar. 1999.

—. E-mail to the author. 28 Dec. 2000.

—. Personal interview. 10 Jan. 2000.

Masten, Jeffrey, Peter Stallybrass, and Nancy Vickers, eds. Language Machines: Technologies of Literary and Cultural Production. New York: Routledge, 1997.

McLeod, Randall. McLeod Portable Collator. Toronto: Randall McLeod, Aug. 1990.

—. “A New Technique of Headline Analysis, with Application to Shakespeares Sonnets, 1609.” Studies in Bibliography 32 (1979): 197-210.

“Mechanized Collation.” Times Literary Supplement 9 Mar. 1956: 156.

Meriwether, James B. “Some Proofreading Precautions.” CEAA Newsletter 2 (July 1969): 17.

Michel, Robert. Telephone interview. 15 July 2000.

—. Telephone interview. 28 Sept. 2000.

Modern Language Association of America. Center for Editions of American Authors. Statement of Editorial Principles and Procedures: A Working Manual for Editing Nineteenth-Century American Texts. New York: Modern Language Association, 1966 (preliminary mimeograph), 1967, 1972 (“Revised Edition”)

Moore, Patrick, ed. International Encyclopedia of Astronomy. New York: Orion Books, 1987.

Neidig, William J. “The Shakespeare Quartos of 1619.” Modern Philology 8 (1910): 145-163.

Nordloh, David. “The Ultimate Check.” CEAA Newsletter 2 (July 1969): 18.

Oakman, Robert L. “The Present State of Computer Collation: A Review Article.” Proof 2 (1972): 333-348.

Parker, John. Letter to the author. 19 Apr. 1999.

Parrish, Thomas. The Ultra Americans: The U.S. Role in Breaking the Nazi Codes. New York: Stein and Day, 1986.

Rich, Robert P. Letter to L. V. Foster. 5 Aug. 1948. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

Rothman, Irving N. “The Houston Editing Desk and Editing Frame.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 72 (1978): 130-136.


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Rubinstein, Joseph. Letter to Johnson. 2 Mar. 1957. Uncataloged Hinman Papers, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

Shillingsburg, Miriam. “Computer Assistance to Scholarly Editing.” Bulletin of Research in the Humanities 81 (1978): 448-463.

Smith, Gerald A. “Collating Machine, Poor Man's, Mark VII.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 61 (1967): 110-113.

Stanley, Roy M. World War II Photo Intelligence. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981.

“Stereoscope.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 11th ed., 1911.

Sternberg, Paul R. “Imaging of Printed Variations.” 1998. Quarto Books 21 Feb. 2001 <∼quarto/presvar.htm>.

Sternberg, Paul R. and John M. Brayer. “Composite Imaging: A New Technique in Bibliographic Research.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 77 (1983): 431-445.

Tanselle, G. Thomas. The Life and Work of Fredson Bowers. Charlottesville: The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1993.

—. “Bibliography and Science,” Studies in Bibliography 27 (1974): 55-89.

Vander Meulen, David. The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia: The First Fifty Years. Charlottesville: The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1998.

Virtual Museum of Measuring Engines. 1998. Dept. of Astronomy, Leander McCormick Observatory, University of Virginia. 20 Feb. 2001 < ∼afs5z/blink.html>.

Williams, William P. and Craig S. Abbott. An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies. New York: Modern Language Association, 1999.

Willoughby, Edwin Eliott. The Printing of the First Folio of Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Bibliographical Society, 1932.

—. The Uses of Bibliography to the Students of Literature and History. Hamden, Conn.: Shoe String Press, 1957.

Wyllie, John Cook. Letter to Charlton Hinman. 1 Mar. 1946. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman, Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to Charlton Hinman. 18 Apr. 1946. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

—. Letter to Charlton Hinman. 9 Jan. 1947. Rare Books, Retired Files, Box 3, Hinman Charlton, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Zalewski, Daniel. “Through the Looking Glass [the McLeod Collator].” Lingua Franca June-July 1997: 14-15.


In 1963, Johnson told William B. Todd that Hinman had transferred the patent for the collator to him (Johnson, Letter to William B. Todd, 18 Oct. 1963). I have been unable to confirm this in the patent records. In 1968, Johnson paid Hinman $1000.00 to “release Arthur M. Johnson personally, Corporation [sic], or any other person, persons, or manufacturing firm of any further obligation in the way of royalties, patents, or commissions on all future sales of the Hinman Collator” (Johnson, Typescript). Despite this agreement, however, for some years thereafter Johnson voluntarily paid Hinman a $100.00 commission on each collator sold for “rare book use” (Johnson, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 21 Apr. 1972). These payments were made in recognition of Hinman's “fair and liberal treatment” in the early days of their relationship and to acknowledge the many inquiries that Hinman had passed on to Johnson over the years. Johnson lost money early on, and thus Hinman waived any royalty or payment on the first few machines (Johnson, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 19 Feb. 1970).


Johnson states in this letter that the “silent” electronic circuit board had been in place for about nine years. This would indicate that the first “non-clicking” machine was produced around 1964. Since I have not been able to examine each collator personally, I cannot say which was the first machine to feature this improvement. Whether a Hinman “clicked” in operation, however, was an important distinction for many who used the machine. The non-clicking models were considered more up-to-date, and thus preferable to the earlier machines.


John Manning provided invaluable assistance in tracking down the details on this matter. A script for the film survives in the Department of Special Collections at Ohio State University (Boyce). In the 1960s, OSU maintained an ambitious film program for promotional purposes. The Department of News and Information Services produced scripts highlighting various campus programs and offered them for production to local news stations. Sometimes the scripts were picked up and made into short films and sometimes not. This seems to have been the impetus for the Hinman script, which indicates a running time of less than three minutes. Robert Boyce was one of its authors. He does not remember whether the film was ever made. I have been unable to locate a copy in the OSU archives or at any of the local news stations. John Manning, again, did all of the on the ground searching for me at OSU. I am very grateful to him for his efforts. It now seems unlikely that the film was produced. No one that we have located remembers it. However, whether or not the film was made, the fact that OSU went as far as to write and circulate a script shows that institutions were interested in making the most of the Hinman for promotional purposes.


Despite numerous attempts, I have been unable to extract any information from the CIA about their use of this machine. No doubt such information is classified. Robert Michel, who worked for Johnson building collators and later took over their manufacture under the company name MICO Engineering, told me an interesting story about this machine. Apparently the CIA instructed Johnson to deliver its order to an inconspicuous loading dock, where an anonymous individual paid him in cash and, instead of having Johnson unload the collator, instructed him to merely detach and leave the U-haul trailer with the machine still on it. Though Johnson had rented the trailer himself, he was never asked to return it or settle the bill; apparently these details were resolved for him (Michel, 15 July 2000). According to Johnson's relatives, a few years later he heard from the CIA again. As Johnson told the story, they were inquiring about the purchase of a new machine because the first one had been stored in a location so secret that even the CIA could not find it (Arthur Juniewicz, 29 Sept. 2000).


[Hinman Collators in current use]; “Hinman Collators: Present Locations”; “Locations of Hinman Collators.”


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I would like to thank Jim Harner, Maura Ives, John Manning, Larry Mitchell, David Vander Meulen, William P. Williams, and the readers for Studies in Bibliography for their help in bringing this essay to fruition. Their careful and thorough comments on the various manuscript versions of this essay have greatly improved the finished product. I especially appreciate John Manning, who in addition to reading and commenting on the manuscript provided invaluable help in clarifying some of the history of the Hinman at Ohio State University. Many other people have also offered assistance and insight, as the footnotes and the list of works cited amply attest. I thank them. Mistakes, of course, should be attributed only to me.


The number fifty-nine is based on my research for a complete census of Hinman Collators. The census is not yet ready for publication. However, I provide a list of current locations of surviving machines as an appendix to this essay.


The descendants and alternatives will be discussed at length in a future portion of this study. The most important are referred to or described in the following publications: Vinton A. Dearing, Methods of Textual Editing; Vinton A. Dearing, “The Poor Man's Mark IV or Ersatz Hinman Collator”; Richard Levin, “A Poor Man's Collating Machine”; Gerald A. Smith, “Collating Machine, Poor Man's, Mark VII”; Johann Gerristen, “A Portable Collator Comes Cheaper”; Gordon Lindstrand, “Mechanized Textual Collation and Recent Designs”; John Horden, “The Institute of Bibliography and Textual Criticism”; Miriam Shillingsburg, “Computer Assistance to Scholarly Editing”; Irving N. Rothman, “The Houston Editing Desk and Editing Frame”; Randall McLeod, “A New Technique of Headline Analysis, with Application to Shakespeares Sonnets, 1609”; Paul R. Sternberg and John M. Brayer, “Composite Imaging: A New Technique in Bibliographic Research”; Random Cloud [i.e. Randall McLeod], “from [sic] Tranceformations in the Text of `Orlando Furioso'”; Daniel Zalewski, “Through the Looking Glass [the McLeod Collator]”; “Bibliographical Mirrors [the Carter Hailey Collator].” (Full publication details for these items appear in the list of Works Cited, below.)