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This is somewhere inbetween nostalgia and an answer. If you look at many papers and pre-prints from the University of Chicago into the late 70's, they usually thank Fred Flowers for typing the manuscript. There was a very expensive special purpose IBM machine for mathematical typing in the department. It was Fred's full time job to type mathematics on it. ...


First, there are two macro packages that have still some user base: amstex (The original plain TeX based format used by the American Mathematical Society) texinfo A very specialised and different TeX format to typeset info pages from the GNU project. Then, there are a few macro packages of mainly historical interest amslatex before the creation of the ...


In Germany, immediately before the arrival of LaTeX, a WYSIWYG program called SIGNUM (by Application System Heidelberg) on the Atari was quite popular for writing math and sciences. The program only died out when the supply of Atari computers ended---it had its fans despite being inferior to TeX in almost any aspect.


actually, there was setting of math with computers before tex. very specialized, and usually quite expensive. in what follows, "symbol" is used to mean either a letter of some alphabet, a digit, or some other shape. there are several phases in the history of math composition: hand-set type -- anything before the late 1800s. monotype -- several patents ...


You can buy a secondhand hardcover copy of the classic The printing of mathematics;: Aids for authors and editors and rules for compositors and readers at the University Press, Oxford at http://www.amazon.com/The-printing-mathematics-compositors-University/dp/B0007JHCTQ Here's the only Amazon review, from 2005. For a long time, this was the most ...


They were printed on linotype or monotype machines, which literally casted type. I had a close escape from the IBM golfball for my thesis: As PhD students at the time we had to type our work on an IBM typewriter. This meant that when you got to equations you had to change the typewriter head, that looked like a golf ball, so don't complain about font ...


Many old books were typeset using typewriter with some symbols written by hand. For example, Milnor's book Lectures on the h-cobordism theorem from 1965. Here is a preview of some part: Also, changing the font they could type Greek letters.


the use of "e", "eir", "em" was in the first draft of joy, pre-publication. (i did much of the production work on the book, including helping to create the code for formatting the index, so i don't even have to look.)

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