“From the early 1960s on, Mr. Rondthaler was known publicly for his energetic campaign to respell English, a cause that over the centuries has been the quixotic mission of an impassioned few. To spell the language as it sounds, he argued, would vanquish orthographic hobgoblins, promote literacy and make accessible to foreign readers English classics like Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” — or, more properly, “Oed to a Nietingael” — whose opening lines appear on this page.
Long before that, Mr. Rondthaler had already established a national reputation by helping usher in the age of photographic typesetting. Phototypesetting was for decades a vital bridge between the hot-metal days of old and the digital typography of today.
A man of strong constitution and ardent enthusiasms, Mr. Rondthaler died on Aug. 19. He was 104 and attributed his longevity to having taken cold showers daily since 1918.
… Mr. Rondthaler first became known more than 70 years ago for his seminal work in photographic typesetting. In the mid-1930s, he and a colleague, Harold Horman, perfected a phototypesetting device that helped streamline the traditional art of setting type. Known as the Rutherford photo-lettering machine, it was one of the first such devices in wide commercial use.
Armed with their new machine, the two men founded Photo-Lettering Inc., a highly respected New York typographic house whose clients included many of the country’s best-known magazines and advertising agencies.”
MARGALIT FOX, NEW YORK TIMES – August 29, 2009
Found this story a few days ago and felt like it was worth a revival. Read the whole thing here.
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting a 102-year-old with such spunk.
Cold showers; noted.