Introducing a history of technology at the FT

There’s already some publicly available information on the FT and its history, which focuses mostly on the personalities and politics, skipping over many of the technologies which have come and gone over the years.

A quick straw poll in the office reveals that we still have a few links in the chain of living memory; people still working in the company or recently retired, who can remember back through several of the most significant changes in technologies used to get the FT out of the journalists’ heads and onto the pink paper in the hands of the readers (and only much more recently onto their computer screens).

Whilst the main thrust of this blog is about all the current (and mostly) IT work going on, and the fast-changing languages and hardware and development approaches, there is a nice synergy with looking back at slower-changing but still fundamental technology shifts over the last 125 years (and counting).

There are many different strands of technology to choose from, including (in no particular order):

  • plate making
  • ink / colour
  • transmission
  • file distribution
  • printing technology
  • proofing
  • Editorial / publishing

Picking one to start with: plate making, follows.