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Linotype Europa

Started by Dave Hughes, August 15, 2008, 10:12:14 AM

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Dan Williams

Language and culture seem to be profound boundaries to understanding this topic.
I have no doubt that the Germans were using this equipment. What is unclear here is exactly how they were doing it.
The four magazine mixer is a real trick, but not impractical. I remember reading a magazine article about model 9 mixers being used in Midwest type shops as late as the nineteen sixties. I am sure that if the Germans improved on this kind of machinery, they would probably do a good job of it. But, we do not have German speakers here to tell us of it.

Dave Hughes

Many thanks to Gregory Walters for getting in touch with the following information on these machines:

QuoteI noticed your article about the Linotype Europa. There are three of these late model machines in the Haus für Industrie/Kultur in Darmstadt, Germany. A group of printer/typecasters did a tour of German printing museums in 1997, and I wrote an article about it. Here is what I wrote about these Linotypes:

The modern German Linotypes were entirely independent of the American designs. The Elektron was the ultimate American machine. The museum had three of the ultimate German machines, but I do not know if there was a name for them. I call them "SuperElektrons." One of the SuperElektrons was a high-speed straight matter machine running from tape, and it was FAST! Another SuperElektron was capable of 4-magazine mixing, sort of a Model 9 Elektron. The third SuperElektron was truly amazing. It had a six-mold disk, but it was a large disk and looked like it could handle 30-pica lines. It also had six split magazines! It was a head-letter machine, but the magazines were 90-channel (or the German equivalent). Thus the magazines were extraordinarily wide. Furthermore, it was a four-magazine mixer machine. The operator could mix from the top four magazines, the middle four magazines, or the bottom four magazines. And the operator had a mold set up to match every magazine.

After the article was published, someone from England wrote to say that the German machines were in no way related to the American Elektrons. He gave the name of the machines, but I can't locate that item at the moment. But I believe the first two machines I described would be the Europa model, and the third machine described would be the Continenta. They demonstrated the machines, and I have a slug cast on the Continenta. I have photos, but it would probably take me a month to find them. But if I do run across them, I'll scan them for you.

I have seen at least one Europa-class Linotype for sale on Ebay in the last year or so.

Gregory Walters
Piqua, Ohio USA
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Dave Hughes

A further scouring of the very useful Flickr website, produced the following picture of a Linotype keyboard, taken at a German museum. Could it be the Europa keyboard?

The central white button was a bit of a giveaway!

Here's a close-up of the keyboard on the original illustration.

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Dan Williams

Yeah, but fooey, they still used hydraquadders, courtesy Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
Be interesting to experiment with one. Unfortunate given the distance, the different slug and drive depths and that darned keyboard configuration.

charles sweitzer

If my memory serves me right. I was at Fairchild TTS School in 1965, One afternoon we went to merg plant and they showed the new German Made Europa. The machine was running off of a LOU (Linotype Operating Unit)

The Picture of the keyboard the box below the copy board:
3 buttons on left for Hydraquadder
next 6 buttons for mold selection
The last 6 for magazine selection.
I checked the German to English translation about the labels
Hope this will help
Charles Sweitzer


Hello all,
this Linotype is display at Gutenberg museum Mainz/Germany

Dave Hughes

Welcome to the Metal Type Forum Finn.

I would say that the pic is definitely a Europa - mystery solved - and many thanks!
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Bruce Anderton

The Europa was one of six new models brought out by Mergenthaler Linotype GmbH in the mid-1960s named Delta, Quadriga, Europa, Europa G, Continenta and Universa. Some were most impressive, being designed for tape-controlled high-speed casting at speeds up to 15 newspaper lines per minute. The Europa was able to mix from all its four magazines and had five sets of distributor screws.
The group from the American Typecasting Fellowship which saw these machines at the Haus für Industriekultur in Darmstadt during their tour in 1997 thought that they were versions of the Elektron, but this was not the case, as I pointed out in an article I wrote for their Newsletter in November 1999, explaining how the machines had come into existence and exactly what their mechanical features were.
The most impressive version was the Universa, which was a six-magazine mixer able to accommodate both 72- and 90-channel magazines in a variety of combinations and which could mix mats from four magazines simultaneously, and impressive though this beast was, it wasn't an Elektron, nor were any of the other models, for which German typesetters must have been most grateful.
However, in Germany as well as in the UK the respective Linotype companies were advised by the US parent organisation to offer the Elektron in preference to their own designs and this resulted in 500 Elektrons being ordered from Linotype & Machinery at Altrincham for use in Germany, whilst L&M's new 794 model was held back from being sold and was not released to the trade until 1970, which was rather late in the day for new hot metal machinery.
The Germans did eventually build their "New Line" machines until 1977, and they did sell reasonably well and were of course more reliable than the Elektron.
When I was in Berlin in 2019 I visited the Berlin Technik Museum and saw there a Europa linecaster which was being used to demonstrate the basics of Linotype operation.

Dave Hughes

Interesting stuff Bruce, don't suppose you have any photos of these advanced German Linotypes that could be put on the site.
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Bruce Anderton

I photographed the Europa in the Berlin museum but it wasn't well-placed.

I did at one time have a series of promotional leaflets produced in four-colour letterpress for the German Linotype organisation which gave details of the various "New Line" models, and the retouched photo which kicked-off this post was used (in colour) in the Europa brochure.

Sad to say I loaned this material to Mike Phillips, editor of "The Printer", when he and his wife visited my typesetting empire, and he never returned the stuff, despite many requests to do so.

The motto of this story is "Neither a borrower or a lender be" (wise words from Polonius).

Bruce Anderton

I would repeat that the best collection of German linecasting machinery is to be found in the Haus für Industriekultur in Darmstadt, where I believe they have on show (and operational) most if not all of the "New Line" models, along with a great many other machines such as Neotypes, Intertypes, Linographs and some even rarer examples.

Dave Hughes

A quick Google search using the museum's name, came up with this machine, which I would guess is another of the six 1960s German machines.

There may be the full set of six in this photo:

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Bruce Anderton

The machine in your main illustration is the Universa, which is a six-magazine mixer able to mix from any four adjacent magazines. As can be seen, it could accommodate 72- and 90-channel magazines which could be mixed in any combination. It has a six-pocket mould wheel able to cast from 6pt to 42pt. Five sets of distributor screws. Quite a machine!

In the group photo, I think the second machine from the left is the Quadriga, the German equivalent of the English Model 79 or the American Comet, with magazines set at 54-degree angle and able to cast 15 newspaper-width lines per minute when running on tape.

The angle of this shot makes further identification difficult, but I would hope that all six of the New Line models are represented in the museum, seeing as they were the last Linotypes produced by the German company and thus all deserve to be on view from a historical perspective. As can be seen from this view, the line-up is most impressive, in contrast to the fate of the Whittaker collection here in the UK which is now stored and inaccessible in Manchester.

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