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MMD > Archives > December 1997 > 1997.12.07 > 17Prev  Next

Linotype Composing Machine
By Jack M. Conway

I am surprised by the number of responses that I got by inserting
that one word "Linotype".

A minor correction: the spelling is "etaoin shrudlu". It is obtained by
running your finger down the first two vertical rows of keys next to the
spaceband key. If you want all caps, by running your finger down the
first two rows on the capital side of the keyboard. There is no shift
key on a Linotype. The keyboard has 90 keys, a separate key for each
lower case and each capital letter.

The standard news and book composition Linotype like my Model 31 will
set type from 5 1/2 pt. up to 14 pt. (begrudgingly). Special fonts of
larger sizes were made to run in alternating channels of the magazine
and the operator was provided with an alternate keyboard layout.

Linotype made auxiliary side magazines designed to handle point
sizes of 18 pt. up to I believe 36 pt. Larger sizes were usually set a
machine called the Ludlow.

Most roll labels were imprinted by letterpress printing. Often the label
border and unchanging information were produced by lithography and then
the roll information printed on the pre-printed blanks.

I also received this letter from Peter Neilson:

> Ever have some visitor stick his finger into the lead-pot to see if it
> was *really* hot, molten metal? Ever hear of the fellow who tried to
> dip a piece of iron into the pot to plate it with lead?
> (Wasn't -you-, was it?)
> Please answer Robbie's "what on earth" question out in public on MMD.
> Normal people think anyone who would own player pianos (and trundle
> them about as I do) to be slightly mad.  Now we know who us player-
> types consider mad: Lino owners!
> The folks in western Massachusetts who run the Yiddish book library
> and are looking for a player and Yiddish piano rolls also have "dus
> letztes yiddishes Linotype in Amerika", (or actually, "akirema ni
> epytonil sehsiddiy setztel sud", but in Hebrew characters) as the story
> in the Wall Street Journal called it, in a headline presumably set on
> the library's Yiddish Linotype.  They got it from the Jewish Daily
> Forward maybe five or eight years ago.
> Lemme see, you also must have a collection of foundry type and maybe
> some old wooden billboard type, and a press.  A friend has a 13-inch
> Chandler in her mom's garage, but no Linotype, although I once tried
> to find her one.  Where do you keep your stuff?  In your basement, or
> on a specially reinforced portion of your bedroom?  Have you found a
> way to fit in a flatbed press without its travel taking out your
> player piano?
> Peter Neilson
> Sanford, NC

In answer to Peter's questions:

No, I have never had anyone try to stick their finger in the pot. The pot
operates at 635 degrees F and send waves of heat a great distance.  You
would never find me sticking iron in the pot to plate it as I value
my skin too much.  I have heard of some mentally impaired fellows having
contests of spitting in the pot and trying to jump back before the
explosion of molten lead hits them.

Yes, I have some foundry type and some wood type.  You have it a little
backwards: the Seeburg K is in my bedroom, the Linotype is in the
garage.  Miehle invented the Miehle Vertical Press which turned the
flatbed press 90 degrees.  My Miehle Vertical sits next to the Linotype
in the garage. There are no pianos in the garage.  Just everywhere else!

Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA

(Message sent Sun 7 Dec 1997, 17:58:10 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Composing, Linotype, Machine

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