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Museum 7

Linotype Machine

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Stage 3


Referring to the main photo at top of previous page, having the string of mini moulds or line of letters completed at station one, often termed elevator 1, the clutch lever ( 6 ) is pulled which activates the machine to move the line of letters to the 2nd elevator position, and then to the 3rd elevator position, and then drops the line of letters down into the vice ( 4 ).

Stage 4


The pot of molten metal ( 5 ) is activated by the plunger squirting molten metal into the metal mould, of which the line of letters now form the front wall. The molten metal solidifies around the letter moulds forming a line of type, or slang, "linotype".

The ejector bar then pushes out the newly formed metal line of type onto the type tray at the front of the machine ( 7 ).


Stage 5


At the same time a pick up bar comes down and picks up the line of letters or mini moulds, and takes them to the "dispersion bar", which then carries them along the back of the storage area, and drops them into their exact alphabetical storage location, ready for use again.


In the photo above left you can see the liquid metal in the melting pot (1 ). The metal is melted by a burner which is fed by petrol from a large cylinder.

In the photo on the right you can see a round bar with a grooved thread, ( 1 ), which when turning moves the individual letters to the left. There are 15 letters being refilled, they are hanging on bar 1 and are between the two number 3s.

When the letter is exactly over the correct collection chute, ( 2 ), the letter is released from the bar and falls into the storage area, and is ready to be used again.


In the photo above you can see the pickup bar ( 1 ) has come down and picked up the line of letters ( 2 ) and is taking them up to the dispersion bar ( 3 ) from which they slot into the groove and are taken across the back of the storage area, ( 4 ) where they are dropped off into their exact alphabetical location in the storage unit.


Usage of the Line of Types

Continued Next Page



Other Museum Items


Above you can see century old cases of "type". Each drawer is a different type or font. These are metal shapes made up for each letter of the alphabet.

Before the linotype machine, each page of a newspaper had to be set up letter by letter. A page of editorial may have up to 8000 letters which needed to be spaced and set into the page format. No wonder the early newspapers were weekly and not daily.


Have you noticed the slang term for reporters. They are termed "the Press". Obviously the term came from the method the printers ( old newspapers ) used for pressing the paper onto the inked page format or chase. In reality very few reporters probably ever helped to produce the paper. Today, the reporters or Press would probably not even know where the printing machine was located.


Also at the museum are hand carved Wooden Type ( fonts ). These wooden letters were used for large headings and especially for posters. The wooden type was used a lot in the late 1800's, and could vary in size from .75 of an inch to 8 inches high. ( From 2 to 19 centimetres in height ).

They were hand carved and had to be exactly "type high" so that they would fit on the page layout and have the same "inking and pressing height" as any other font.

The large wooden fonts were mainly used for posters, a very common form of advertising in the 1800's and in the early 1900's.

The posters were used to promote boxing matches, shows, circuses, picture shows and elections.


The term "Posters" comes from the use of these large sheets of printed paper which were stuck onto Street Lamp Posts, hence posters.

In current terminology the paper would have been stuck onto light poles or electricity poles. Would we have termed them "Polars" ?



Above is a photo of shelves full of Stereotype Plates, which is what we may call a "Logo" or " Icon" today. These stereotype plates were used to get "pictures or drawings" into the newspapers.

There were several ways of making these stereos, but one common way was to have an artist carve the impression of the subject, for example on the back page of the current Federal Standard is a drawing of a grape vine for the Grapevine Hotel, and a picture of cows for the Chiltern Butchery.

Once the artist had carved the impression in wood or clay, it was pressed onto a damp, soft, thickish cardboard. The damp cardboard was known as a flong. It is spelt both flong or flonge. Being damp and thick, an impression of the drawing was imprinted in the flong. Then liquid metal was poured onto the flong, the metal then cooled and solidified, creating a stereotype plate.

This thin metal plate was backed with wood to make it "type high" so that it would print.

It is worth a visit to the museum to see the stereotype plates of early motor vehicles, and early 1900 advertising logos, obviously in a mirror image or backwards, the same as the letters and wording, so that the final print would be readable.

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