LINOTYPE & LINOTIPISTI
l'arte di fondere i pensieri in piombo
RICORDANDO LA LINOTYPE
GIORNALI & LINOTYPE
El Clarín (Argentina)
The Modesto Bee (California)
The Linotype in England
Where Linotypes are made (Factory of Altrincham) (photo 1951)
LINOTYPE AND MACHINERY LIMITED
Linotype House, 21 John Street - London, WC1
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The Model Fifty Super Range
Its main magazine equipment can comprise four extra-wide 72-channel magazines for the accomodation of large display upper-case and lower-case characters up to 36-point. When fewer than four extra-wide magazines are required, the balance of the equipment can be made uo of regular 90-channel magazines. The operator is able to set, at full keyboard speed, large display matter as well as regular text faces. This model can be supplied with or without a side magazine section.
A mixer Linotype—what does
it do—how does it do it when is it needed and where is it best employed?
Very simply a mixer
machine is one which assembles and distributes matrices from any two
adjacent main magazines. It will also mix from the first and second and
the third and fourth magazines of a side section.
This is made possible by the finger-operated oscillating assembler entrance which flicks from one magazine to another in a fraction of a second. This, together with the automatic double distributor, ensures double-choice composition at standard speed.
Mixed composition is being used with increasing frequency: the ability to have roman, bold, italic, and small caps available for catalogues, dictionaries, and similar jobs has proved invaluable to many Linotype users.
Model 50 stands for variety, versatility, and production.
Model 50 S.M. (Side Magazines). This is a "mixer" machine, which means that composition of several type faces (such as roman, italic, and display founts) can be mixed in one line direct from the keyboard. So rapidly are fount changes effected (over seventy a minute) that matrices from the fuour magazines in use can be set at the same high speed as regular straightforward matter. This machine without the side section is known as Model 50.
Model 48 S.M. (Side Magazines - in photograph). It is equipped with four main and four side magazines; but it is also built four main magazines only, when it is known as Model 48 (in photograph). Like all modern Linotypes, it is equipped with quick-change "floating" magazines, swinging keyboards, optic-aid front, etc., planned to assist the operator in maintining a consistently good output of ready-for-use type matter for book, newspaper, periodical, and jobbing work needing frequent face and measure changes.
* * *
A Handbook for the guidance
and instruction of Linotype operators
Price 17s. 6d. post free
Published 1951 by Linotype and Machinery Limited
Linotype House, 21 John Street - London, WC1
* * *
THIS HANDBOOK has been compiled and
illustrated primarily by the guidance of those Linotype Operators who are
planning to migrate from early to modem Linotypes, or are already in
charge of those machines. Up-to-date Linotypes are known as Model 48,
Model 48 S.M., Model 50, and Model 50 S.M. The first two of these are
single-distributor machines; the other two are double-distributor
models—sometimes referred to as “Mixers.”
The double-distributor models are
also made as Super-Range Linotypes, arranged and equipped by the direct
keyboard composition of extra large display faces only, or for the setting
of mixed text and large display type matter.
The newcomer to mechanical composition will also find the handbook of value to him in his studies, for the general principles of the modem Linotype are, broadly speaking, similar to the earlier models, although in detail the mechanism necessarily varies substantially in accordance with the Linotype’s ever-expanding progress to suit modem conditions and broader fields.
New students of the Linotype are
advised to study the contents of this handbook in the order in which it
appears. In that way they will more readily learn how type lines are
produced and the care and adjustment of the various mechanisms
concerned—from keyboard operation, matrix assembling, line casting, and so
on, to the ejection of the completed slug line and the distribution of the
The correct names of the many parts
comprising a Linotype are used throughout this handbook, but when ordering
parts for replacement, etc. the instructions given in the “Catalogue of
Linotype Parts” supplied with the machine should be closely followed.
Particularly is it important to quote not only the name of the part, but
also its reference number; the model number of the machine for which the
part is required, and the serial number of the machine.
The author of this new handbook,
Mr. R. H. Scott (Head of
Linotype’s Research and Technical Improvements Department), has planned
the volume in a way that should facilitate the studies of every machine
compositor who wishes to extend his knowledge of the Linotype beyond
keyboard operating. He was further inspired by the thought that some of
the information contained in this book would be helpful to those
installation mechanics who, owing to circumstances beyond their control,
have been unable to take refresher courses on the latest developments in
W. M. B.
* * *
Mechanism and operation
of modern Linotypes
OF THE LINOTYPE composing machine
has justly been called the second greatest event in the history of
printing. The first event was the invention of movable types about 1450;
the second event was in 1886.
The need for some way of
setting type by mechanical means had exercised the inventive minds of the
nineteenth century, and although the Linotype of 1886 was commercially
practicable, it did not meet all the demands of the printer nor satisfy
the inventors, despite the fact they had already suffered ten years of
disheartening failure. This original machine contained many mechanisms
which are still part of the modem Linotype.
It is not commonly known
that the initial effort which in due course led up to the invention of the
Linotype as we know it to-day was an inspiration which occurred to five
shorthand writers in 1876, as a result of a conversation between them in
the intervals of their verbatim reporting. At that time, however, they had
no idea of producing a type-composing machine, but the production of a
machine operated by a keyboard to indent steel characters on papier-mâche,
which papier-mâche in strip form was crimped so as to readjust the words
for line spacing. These strips in due course were pasted into column form
and ultimately into page form, and from this complete paste-up stereotypes
were cast. This method failed, as did many other developments which
followed it. In due course a stage was reached where strip brass matrices,
each bearing a number of characters, were arranged side by side, from
which slugs were cast. Ultimately the matrix characters were separated and
stored in a magazine, and thereafter the machine gradually assumed shape
more or less as we now know it.
Although this particular
portion of the story of the Linotype is so briefly told, it occupied many
clever men a considerable number of years, backed by a vast amount of
capital, to reach that stage where the machine could be looked upon as a
practical tool for printers. That story, interesting though it may be, is
far too long to detail here.
The Linotype is not a type-setting machine in the usual sense of the word; it does not compose or arrange types, but produces lines of metal, known as slugs, which can be used for direct printing, or, as in newspaper work, for making papier-mâche matrices from which stereotype plates are produced.
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1 Matrices leaving the magazine in the order determined by the operator, ha ving been released by the depression of key buttons.
2 Matrice and spacebands in process of assembling in line formation.
3 Completely assembled matrices being transferred to the first elevator, after being release from the assembler by the operator (who now proceeds to set the line to follow).
4 Matrix line in front of the mould for justification and casting.
5 The matrix line after casting being carried upward for its transfer to the second elevator.
6 The matrix line is transferred to the second elevator ready for rising to the distributor mechanism. At this point the spacebands are separated from the matrix line and transferred to the spaceband box ready for use again.
7 The matrix line (now free from spacebands) being lifted to the level of the distributor bar suspended over the magazine.
8 Matrices being separated into single units again so as to be engaged by rotating screws, which propel them along the distributor bar.
9 Matrices passing along the distributor bar until released by their combination of teeth, which causes them to fall into their original channels ready fro re-assembling into new matrix lines.
* * *
Each of these lines of
metal or slugs is the length and width of a line of type (Fig. 6), and has
on its upper edge the necessary type characters to print an entire line.
Several lines of slugs produce the same appearance as lines of type which
are composed of single types and serve exactly the same purpose. After
use, these slugs are melted down and used for recasting into other slugs.
The practice of returning every single type character and space to its
particular box, as with hand-set types, is thus entirely eliminated.
The dominant feature of the Linotype is the individual freely circulating matrix. A matrix (Fig. 2) consists of a flat plate which has on its vertical edge a die or dies of a character, and has in its upper portion a series of teeth which are used for selecting and carrying it to its proper place in the magazine or container. This container has a series of grooves or channels along which the matrices slide on their edges and from its lower end they drop one by one when released by the depression of a key button.
A keyboard is used for assembling these various matrices in the order required for making words. When the operator depresses a key, it releases a matrix from the container or magazine above. The matrix falls down on to a constantly revolving belt into a box, which represents the stick of the hand compositor. After each word, a spaceband (Fig. 3) is inserted by depressing a key. When the matrices and spacebands have been assembled to fill a line, the operator raises the whole line by depressing a handle on the right. Thereafter the entire operation of casting the line and returning the matrices to their original places is effected mechanically, and the operator can therefore begin to assemble the next line.
The line is transferred to the front of the mould, which is slotted from the front to the rear and is of a size determined by the body and length of slug to be cast. While the line of matrices and spacebands is in front of the mould, the spacebands, which are double wedge-shaped, are spread upwards until the line is spaced out to the required measure (Fig. 4).
At this moment the slot in the mould and the dies of the row of matrices are filled with molten metal to produce a slug. The metal is contained in the pot behind the mould wheel, and is kept in a molten state by a bunsen gas flame or by electrically heated elements. The molten metal is forced into the mould and matrices by a plunger, which pumps the metal up the delivery throat into the mould where it solidifies and forms a slug (Fig. 5).
After casting, the mould
wheel containing the slug revolves and brings the slug into a vertical
position, where it is pushed by an ejector through two parallel trimming
knives into a tray or galley. At the back of the mould wheel is a knife
which trims the bottom of the slug.
While the slug is being trimmed and ejected, the matrices and spacebands, having finished their work, are returned to their original places ready for use again. The matrices are first lifted vertically to an intermediate channel, thence they move laterally to the right until their teeth engage in the ribs of the bar which has descended to receive them. This bar then rises and lifts the whole line of matrices to the distributor mechanism at the top of the magazine. In the meantime the spacebands, which have remained behind (because they have no teeth to engage in the bar), are transferred by a grabber to their original position in a box for use again.
The method by which each matrix is returned to its proper channel in the magazine is as follows: Each matrix has a number of teeth in the V formed by its top portion. These teeth are not the same in every matrix, but are arranged in a particular order or combination, according to the characters they bear. Every character differs in its combination from other matrices bearing different characters, and the teeth play an important part in effecting the return of the matrices to their respective places. A rigid notched bar is fixed in position above the open ends of the magazine mouth, and is made so as to engage the teeth and hold them in suspension. The ribs of the bar vary in number and continuance along its length. The matrices are pushed on the bar at one end and carried along it over the mouths of the channels. Each matrix is engaged by its teeth on the bar until it arrives over its proper channel, where the combinations of teeth allow the matrix to disengage so that it falls into its own channel. The matrices are carried along the bar by means of longitudinal screws, which lie below the bar in such a position as to engage the edges or lugs of the matrices and carry them along the bar (Fig. 7).
is this system of the circulation of the matrices (Fig. 1) and the fact
that the operations of assembling them in one line, casting them in
another, and carrying them back to the magazine are concurrently effected
without interference, that enables the machine to be operated at a speed
far beyond that hitherto attainable in type composition. Here are a few
general principles used in the Linotype machine that should be mentioned
in this introductory chapter. The Linotype is an automatic power-driven
machine. With the exception of the depression of the keys on the keyboard
and the starting of the assembled line to the casting mechanism, all the
functions of the machine are performed automatically. The various motions
in proper sequence required for the justification of the line of matrices,
the casting of the slug, and the distribution of the matrices to the
magazines are effected by the action of cams. Most of these cams are
mounted on a single main cam shaft, and all the functions above mentioned
are performed in one revolution of this cam shaft.
In the second place, with
the exception of the keyboard cams and a few others, all the cams on the
machine are large, and the motions of the machine are made as slow as
possible. The regular casting speed of the Linotype is between six and
seven lines per minute; but some machines are geared to run at eight or
more lines per minute, as, for example, those equipped with Teletypesetter
This comparatively slow
speed of the main working parts is very important in avoiding undue wear
on the machine. Many Linotypes have been in constant use for over forty
years, and some of these machines are still in use.
The third principle is the
use of springs to cause the positive motion of the parts, the cams
returning the moving parts to their original position. This principle
makes it possible to use what are called “automatics,” which are devices
arranged so that if anything should go wrong the machine will stop or the
spring will expand without breaking any of the parts to which it is
attached. This principle is used throughout the machine wherever possible.
The mechanism of the
Linotype machine may be divided into three general divisions. First is the
assembling of the matrices and spacebands, which is started by the
operator’s manipulation of the keyboard. Beginning with the depression of
a key button, the action of the keyboard cam moves the keyboard rod
connected with the escapement in the magazine, and a matrix is released
and falls by gravity upon a constantly running belt which delivers the
matrix into the assembler.
The second great division
of the Linotype machine is the casting mechanism (see Fig. 5). This
part of the Linotype mechanism includes means for justifying the line of
matrices by means of double wedges called spacebands; for bringing the
mould against the justified line; bringing a crucible, or pot, of molten
metal, having a suitable mouthpiece, against the mould; pressing the
mouthpiece against the mould and the mould firmly against the line of
matrices in order to make a tight joint; a pumping mechanism for
delivering the molten metal into the mould and against the matrices; a
mechanism for returning the crucible to its original position, and for
withdrawing the mould from the line of matrices, revolving the mould,
during which action a knife trims the bottom of the slug and finally
brings it opposite a pair of knives; means for ejecting the slug from the
mould, passing it through the knives by which the body of the slug is
trimmed, and depositing the slug on a galley.
The third division of the
Linotype mechanism comprises means for unlocking the line of matrices and
spacebands, passing the line to an intermediate channel in which the line
of matrices is separated from the spacebands, depositing the spacebands
into their box, transferring the line of matrices to the upper part of the
machine, and passing the line of matrices along a mechanism called the
distributor bar (see Fig. 7), which distinguishes the different characters
and allows them to fall by gravity at their proper places into the upper
end of the magazine; from the lower end of which the matrices are released
by the escapement.
As is well known, the
original Linotype machine has been steadily developed since it was first
introduced, and a large number of changes and additions have been made to
it, to meet the demands of the printer which economic conditions
constantly bring about. There are, basically, but two models of the
Linotype, the single distributor and the multiple distributor machine
(known to-day as Models 48 and 50), each adapted to specific requirements
of the printing business. In the figures and explanations given in the
following sections of this book, all the different styles of mechanism
used are illustrated and explained.
reader will find a number of repetitions throughout these pages. That is
intentional. Some of the parts in the Linotype machine perform more than
one function, and it is often necessary in describing one of these
functions to repeat the description with reference to another. There are
also certain directions and warnings to the operator so important that
they cannot be repeated too often.
In order that the reader
may not have to refer, so far as this book is concerned, to the
Illustrated Catalogue of Parts and Supplies (which accompanies the machine
as part of its equipment), part reference numbers are omitted. The various
parts are described by their regular names, so as to make this book
complete in itself.
It is important, however,
that the recognised part numbers as given in the catalogue above mentioned
should always be quoted when ordering spares and replacements. Besides
specifying the “K” or section number, the style or model and the serial
number of the machine for which it is required should be given.
When ordering matrices, the regular printed matrix order forms (which are supplied free) should be used. Thereon should be given the fount and reference symbol (see Fig. 2) of the face required. If odd sorts only are ordered, the form should clearly set out if such sorts are to run into the magazine, into the front pie bowl, or into the sorts stacker. When in doubt as to the face in use, a lower-case “p” should be sent with the order for additional sorts matrices.
L&M NEWS 1961
vol. 24 no. 4
The whole of this journal is set on the Linotype and printed from the slugs on letterpress machines manufactured by Linotype & Machinery Limited, by whom it is printed and published at Linotype House, 21 John Street, London WC1 (by L&M NEWS, vol. 24 no. 4, September-October 1961)
End of the Road
Almost the last job that Mr Jack Wilson did before leaving the "West London Observer" was to set these display headings for the new "Show Pistorial". War, rain, house-moving and even a broken leg had not been able to stop him coming in to work but, after 50 years of it, Mr Wilson decided it was time for him to retire. He had been with the "Observer" since 1912 after training as a Linotype operator in his native Wakefield and was for some time in charge of the paper's extensive Linotype battery. As material proof of the firm's appreciation for his years of service, Mr Eric Carter, Editor and Managing Director, presented him a wallet of Premium Bonds. He himself asked that his thanks to both his firm and L&M should go on record for all the encouragement that they had given him in his work.
Mr Carter presents Mr Wilson with a £500 cheque
* * *
Sequence of Machine Actions
(by "Mechanism and operation of modern Linotypes". Published by Linotype and Machinery Limited, Linotype House, 21 John Street, London, WC1)
It will be helpful at this
point to summarize, in their correct sequence, all the automatic actions
imparted by the main cams after the line of matrices and spacebands has
been delivered to the first elevator carriage. While the actions of the
individual cams have already been outlined it is now necessary to
correlate the actions of all the cams in order to present a composite
picture of the machine’s operation during one complete revolution of the
Preceding the automatic
cam actions numbered below, the starting point in the operation of the
machine is the assembling of the line of matrices and spacebands by the
operator. As the operator depresses the key buttons of the keyboard the
required matrices are released from the magazine and are carried in their
correct order to the assembler elevator. When the length of the assembled
line is correct the operator raises the assembly elevator to the delivery
slide. The slide carries the line through the delivery channel to the
first elevator carriage and then returns to its normal position ready to
receive the next assembled line. In the meantime the operator has started
to set the next line while the line just delivered to the first elevator
carriage is handled automatically from this point on, as described below.
1.—The first elevator
long slide descends with the line of matrices and spacebands in the first
elevator carriage. The line is lowered between the vice jaws and comes to
rest in a position directly in front of the mould.
2.—While the first
elevator long slide is descending with the line the mould wheel is turned
one-quarter of a revolution, bringing the mould in use to a horizontal
position in front of the matrix line.
3.—The mould slide moves
the mould wheel forward until the face of the mould is within .010” of the
4.—The vice closing lever
rises, closing the left-hand vice jaw to the correct length of line.
5.—The justification lever
rises, lifting the justification head in an inclined position. The
spacebands are pushed upwards by the justification head, spreading the
line of matrices out against both vice jaws. This action is referred to as
the first justification.
6.—The justification lever
descends, relieving the upward pressure of the justification head from the
7.—The vice closing lever
descends, permitting the left-hand vice jaw to withdraw slightly from the
8.—The first elevator
slide rises, lifting the lower lugs of the matrices against the aligning
grooves in the mould, and thereby aligning the matrices vertically with
respect to the mould.
9.—The metal pot advances
and moves the mould against the matrices, pressing the matrices against
the first elevator carriage hardened plate. This action aligns the
matrices face-wise in relation to the mould.
10.—The metal pot
withdraws from the mould to provide freedom for the second justification.
11.—The vice closing lever
rises, closing the left-hand vice jaw to the correct length of line being
12.—The vice closing lever continues to move upwards, causing the justification head to be raised to a horizontal position; then the justification lever and the vice closing lever rise together, lifting the justification head on a horizontal plane, and pushing the spacebands upward until the line of matrices is spread out tightly between the vice jaws. This final justification is referred to as the second justification.
13.—The metal pot advances
and locks tightly against the back of the mould, pressing the face of the
mould against the previously aligned and justified line of matrices and
spacebands. This action is normally referred to as the “lock-up.”
14.—The metal pot plunger
descends in the well of the pot crucible, forcing a stream of molten type
metal upward through the throat of the crucible, through the mouthpiece
holes, into the mould, against the characters punched in the matrices. The
molten type metal solidifies instantly in the mould, forming the slug with
a line of raised type characters reproduced from the punched characters of
15.—The pot pump lever is
lifted in preparation for the withdrawal of the metal pot.
i 6.—The upward pressure
with which the first elevator slide aligned the matrices vertically is now
released, as the first elevator justification tube spring is permitted to
open slightly. This action relieves the upward pressure of the matrix lugs
from the aligning grooves in the mould.
lever and the vice closing lever descend, lowering the justification head
and relieving the upward pressure on the spacebands.
18.—The metal pot
withdraws from the mould; then the mould slide moves the mould back from
the matrix line, withdrawing the face of the slug out of the punched
characters of the matrices.
19.—The mould slide stops
when the mould wheel locking studs are clear of the mould wheel locking
stud blocks, and the pot continues to move back until it reaches its
20.—The mould wheel is
turned three-quarters of a revolution, carrying the slug in the mould to a
vertical position in front of the left- and right-hand slug knives, ready
for ejection. While the mould is being turned to the ejecting position the
base of the slug is trimmed by the back knife.
21 .—During the preceding
action the first elevator long slide raises the line of matrices and
spacebands to the transfer position, while the second elevator lever
descends and seats the second elevator bar correctly in the spaceband
22.—The long and short
spaceband levers move together to transfer the line. The short spaceband
lever moves the line of matrices and spacebands out of the first elevator
carriage into the spaceband intermediate channel. The teeth of the
matrices engage with the teeth of the second elevator bar, and the
spaceband tops enter the groove in the spaceband intermediate channel
23.—The long and short
spaceband levers move away from one another, and the second elevator bar
lifts the matrices out of the spaceband intermediate channel. The
matrices are supported by their teeth on the second elevator bar while
being lifted to the distributor. As soon as the matrices are clear of the
spaceband intermediate channel the long and short spaceband levers move
together again. The elevator transfer slide finger pushes the spacebands
under the spaceband grabber, and when the levers return to their normal
position the spaceband grabber draws the spacebands to the right, through
the spaceband intermediate channel, to the spaceband box, where they slide
down into position for use in subsequent lines. It should be noted that
this last action relating to the return of spacebands occurs during and
after the ejection of the slug.
24.—During the preceding
action the mould slide moves the mould wheel forward until the mould wheel
locking studs enter the locking stud blocks on the vice casting. This
action locates the slug in the mould in its correct position with respect
to the left- and right-hand slug knives. The ejector cam piece moves the
ejector lever forward, causing the ejector blade to push the slug out of
the mould and between the two slug knives. The slug is trimmed to its
correct body size, and is moved forward by the ejector blade, through the
galley chute, and it slides down on to the galley in correct sequence with
the slugs ejected previously.
25.—While the slug is
being ejected and trimmed, the first elevator long slide and the second
elevator lever are returned to their normal positions. The first elevator
long slide descends from the spaceband intermediate channel and comes to
rest when the first elevator carriage is in alignment with the delivery
channel. The second elevator lever continues to raise the lime of matrices
to the distributor. As the second elevator approaches its normal position
at the distributor the distributor shifter moves out of the distributor
box until it is clear of the second elevator bar. As soon as the bar is
correctly seated the distributor shifter moves over to the right and
pushes the matrices into the distributor box.
26.—While the matrices
are being moved into the distributor box the ejecting mechanism is
returned to its normal position by the ejector lever, and the mould slide
withdraws the mould wheel also to its normal position.
27.—The final automatic
process of the machine—the distribution of matrices lo their respective
magazine channels—is now carried out by the matrix lift and distributor
mechanism. Each matrix is lifted into the distributor screws and engages
the teeth of the distributor bar. The matrices are moved along the bar,
supported by their teeth, until they reach the points on the bar directly
above their respective channels in the magazine channel entrance. As each
matrix reaches its releasing point there is a gap in the teeth of the
distributor bar opposite each of the supporting teeth of the matrix. The
matrix is thereby released and drops off the distributor bar into the
magazine channel entrance, from which point the matrix is guided into its
channel in the magazine.
The foregoing outline represents the complete sequence of actions imparted by the cams during one complete revolution of the assembled cam shaft. It should be noted that if a lime of matrices and spacebands is raised to the delivery slide before the cams have completed their revolution, the delivery cam will hold the lime in the delivery channel until the cams reach the normal position. The lime, commonly referred to as a “waiting” lime, will then be delivered to the first elevator carriage and will be cast and distributed exactly as outlined in the list of machine actions.
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This is where your paper begins. Operators at work on what Thomas Edison referred to as the "Eighth wonder of the world-Linotypes."