Terry Foster's story brought back some Elrod Memories for Dan Williams.

The Elrod Model K

Thanks largely to John Nicholson of Hamilton, NZ, the Model K Elrod which had been in storage at the Taranaki Aviation Transport And Technology Museum (TATATM), New Plymouth, is now operational.

To the writer's knowledge, the Model K had been in the lean-to store of the museum, on a heavy wooden plank base since its arrival at the museum and never used since de-commissioning at the donor's premises (Taranaki Newspapers Ltd., New Plymouth) around 1985.

The machine was brought out of storage a few months ago and the writer, Chris Rickards, Robin Cavanagh, Trevor Creagh and Mike Trigg have all played some part in getting the machine to the stage that enabled John to check, adjust and then cast a galley of 12-point strips of lead spacing material.

Thanks also to Bill Nairn of Bedplate Museum of Wellington, NZ for supplying some of the special oils needed for the machine.

There was a incident at the time we were moving the machine out of storage when the machine was being inched off the wooden base and it slipped off the running boards and flipped on its front, breaking several switches, the pot pump handle and bending the metal flow valve rod and a few other bits.

Worse still was the fact that it had landed half on and half off the tractor tray intended to carry it around the building and into the front of the print bay.

Worse again was the fact the tractor was half in and half out of the doorway. So essentially the team moving it (which comprised of some of the above plus others) had no choice but to keep a level head and make the best out of a bad situation by skewing the Elrod onto the tractor tray and carrying it strapped down with a few bits of rope almost as it had landed.

The old Fergie 24 didn't like that too much so the rise coming out behind the lean-too was climbed with the tray down and virtually ploughing a line as we climbed the hill, with one of our members, Pete, straddled over the bonnet of the tractor looking like some incredibly weird hood ornament.

Mind you, lucky not too many saw me driving the tractor as I nearly wiped the Elrod off entirely by just catching the far end of the machine on a dirt bank on the way around to the front of the building it was going in to.

Once we had arrived at the double doors to the Print bay, there was a huge amount of head scratching as to how we were going to get this top-heavy piece of cast-iron equipment off its side and onto its legs but by using a 4x4 about 3 metres long and applying leverage, plus a small winch and blocking it up as we went, we achieved what I thought for a time was going to be impossible.

Getting it into the print bay once upright took about 15 minutes, compared to the previous 4 hours involved from the time it had "flipped."

As can be seen in the video clip, under John's hand, the machine worked perfectly, a testament to the men and women who built such machines to last a bit longer than your average PC.

I do hope the short clip turns out for you to enjoy and that you are able to see a small slice of Printer's history on film.

Thank you again to all concerned, Terry Foster, Printing Section, Taranaki Aviation Transport And Technology Museum (Inc.).


Copyright © Dave Hughes 2000-2015. All rights reserved.