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Author Topic: Misinformation regarding where asbestos is found on Linotypes.  (Read 1478 times)

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  • Linotype Mechanic
  • 28/05/2007
Here is a site with a lot of misinformation.

Typists operated Mergenthaler Linotype machines with a keyboard as the automated machine selected character molds, imprinted letters onto paper and returned the molds to their storage area. This process involved the pouring of molten metal. Because the machine contained metal parts and generated a great deal of heat, effectively insulating the Linotype was an important concern for the machine’s manufacturer.

Linotype technicians typically packed a paste made of ground asbestos and water between the metal parts of Mergenthaler Linotypes. The wet asbestos coated the elevator jaws and crucible heaters, and also filled empty spaces between other mechanical parts. When Linotype parts were removed or replaced, new asbestos was sometimes poured into the empty spaces to freshen the insulation.

I was demonstrating a Linotype to some high school children and one asked, "Where do you put the paper?"

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


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  • 03/06/2013
Re: Misinformation regarding where asbestos is found on Linotypes.
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 08:48:08 AM »
No mention of going to the foundry for a bag of half-tone dots or machine room for a 'long wait' then.

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John Cornelisse

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Re: Misinformation regarding where asbestos is found on Linotypes.
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 03:50:31 PM »
In Monotype casters asbestos was also used to insolate the heat in the metal-pots, but
you find also asbestos around the electricity-cables in the tubes around the machine,

whenever you need to maintain those tubes, you need to be very carefull not to inhale
asbestos dust, and to clean the surroundings afterwards.

It might be prudent to change those electricity-cables for modern cables. The
asbestos around the pot... better leave it there.

Another problem is the mercury-switch of the heating-control. Actually it is presently
legaly forbidden to use these mercury-switches.

How this can stay, with historical machines in a museum, is another thing.

Christophe Slychan

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Re: Misinformation regarding where asbestos is found on Linotypes.
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 04:02:08 PM »
These asbestos insulated cables were normally used for the connection between the regulator and heater; other wires (mains to regulator, as well as the motor wiring) were either rubber and cotton (for very old machines) or PVC (post-war). In some cases glass fiber coating was used, but I'm not sure if it was a retrofit or if it was there from the beginning.
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R Kenworthy

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Re: Misinformation regarding where asbestos is found on Linotypes.
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 10:50:27 PM »
Interesting comments on Asbestos.
I have had several Linotype machines from a 1906 model 4 and 48's of various ages
I have found asbestos cables between the elements in the pot (others have china beeds) as well as connecting to the regulator, and asbestos in the throat as packing and asbestos cement.
An asbestos wadge attached to a handle to clean the plunger tube, Also asbestos copper covered wiring to the power sourse (same as used in fire alarm circuits)also in a three phase converter.
Hope this helps