The Scotsman at 200: Centuries of innovation

The wire room in Fleet Street - used for transmission of pictures and text, as well as a private telephone service between Edinburgh and London. Picture: TSPL

The wire room in Fleet Street - used for transmission of pictures and text, as well as a private telephone service between Edinburgh and London. Picture: TSPL

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The Scotsman has led the way, using the latest techniques in production and distribution – and even at its birth in 1817 pushed the boundaries when it openly challenged the Establishment by championing free speech

Throughout its 200-year history, The Scotsman has been at the forefront of modernisation and innovation, embracing new technology and constantly striving to improve the quality of the daily offering to the reader.

The Scotsman's high-speed morning train which transported copies from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Picture: TSPL

The Scotsman's high-speed morning train which transported copies from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Picture: TSPL

Here we highlight a selection of the many achievements that have contributed significantly to the newspaper’s regular development over its lifetime.

• In 1865, The Scotsman became the first publication to distribute direct to readers through retail newsagents, and in 1868 it was the first newspaper published outside London to open an office in Fleet Street.

• By 1872, the paper had also pioneered running a high-speed morning newspaper train which transported copies from Edinburgh to Glasgow and the west at a cost of £1,000 a year. The Times soon followed suit on seeing the benefits of a newspaper running its own parcel delivery train, which had its own sidings at Waverley Station in Edinburgh.

• In 1926, The Scotsman began printing the latest news without stopping presses and, two years later, became the first paper to own and operate its own picture telegraph system and telegraph pictures from the Continent.

The Scotsman reporters' room, 1948. Picture: TSPL

The Scotsman reporters' room, 1948. Picture: TSPL

• In 1947, it led the way with a mobile telegraph van with picture telegraph and teletype equipment, and in 1961 it became the first newspaper in Britain to use the Monarch, which at the time was the world’s fastest hot-metal line-casting machine.

• By producing a special edition of the paper for International Women’s Day in 1995 – The Scotswoman, which was written and edited by female staff – the newspaper led the way in celebrating and promoting gender parity. The rebranded edition followed on from the dedicated The Scotswoman pull-out which was a regular weekly feature during the 1970s.

• The scotsman.com online portal was launched in 1998 in early recognition of the digital future which lay ahead.

• The paper symbolically re-branded again in 2016, publishing a further edition of The Scotswoman on 8 March.

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