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History of Linotype Development in England

Started by Mechanic, June 19, 2008, 11:50:01 PM

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I am in the process of refurbishing an English model 78 Linotype at the Caboolture Historical Village in Queensland. Not being familiar with the English machines I borrowed a Linotype manual produced by Linotype and Machinery Ltd, London, published in 1964. The following extract from that publication gives the evolution of the Linotype in England. It is interesting that the English went off in their own direction early in the twentieth century only to return with the introduction of the Elektron in 1964.

Although the history states that the model 2 was the last machine to have escapement pawls independent of the magazine the 78 I'm working on has the American style magazine and escapement. Linotype and Machinery did not completly close the door to competing with established American markets.

Important dates in the


1884 Mergenthaler's first machine demonstrated.

1885 Justification by pairs of wedges (spacebands).

Two important inventions which made the Linotype possible. One was the automatic spacing of the line by opposing wedges. The other was a punch-cutting machine by Linn Boyd Benton. This machine produced cheaper and better punches than those cut by hand.

1886 The 'Blower' Linotype. Independent (one-character) matrices. It was so called because the matrices, as they fell from the magazine (which was vertical), were carried into the assembler by a blast of air. It had only one elevator which carried the matrix line down to the casting position, and then moved vertically direct to the distributing position. This model was put into production. First used by the 'New York Tribune'. Made only in the U.S.A.

1890 The first 'Blower' Linotype in England was installed in the 'Leeds Mercury' office.

Linotype's factory founded at Manchester.

1892 The first square base machines (20 in all) made in Manchester were installed in the Newcastle Daily Chronicle' office. This model is known as
the Square Base Linotype in order to distinguish it from subsequent models which are star-based. The magazine was set at an angle which necessitated a
second elevator to carry the matrices to the improved distributor. The matrices were assembled by means of an inclined belt and a star wheel.

Square-based Model 1 Linotype built in Manchester in 1892

1895 Model 1 (not so-called until the production of the Model 2). Maga­zine could be substituted; moulds were at first made to definite measure and body
size; the minimum size was small pica. First star-base model. Later a Pica Machine was introduced to set up to a measure of forty-two ems.

1897/9 Double-letter matrix introduced; universal mould- adjustable as to length and body.

1906 Model 2 (first front magazine change). The only Linotype machine to have escapement pawls independent of magazine until 1962 (the advent of the Elektron). First quadder: one way only -type ranged left.

1907 Model 3 (the first mixer model) It had two superimposed magazines, entrances to which were on the same level as were the two distributors which were positioned opposite to each other. Matrices rejected by the first distributor box fell into a shallow recess in a large pulley where they were retained by a web belt until carried round to the second distributor box.

1908 Model 4 (three magazines, counterbalanced for ease of movement). The four-pocket mould wheel, the recess and display moulds, display matrices up
to 36-pt. and the universal ejector all arrived before 1914.

1913 Model 65 (mixer model). Four magazines. Matrices from magazines 1 and 2 or 3 and 4 could be mixed. Distributor improved, one distributor above the other, matrices fell through a chute into the lower distributor.

1916 Model 6 (mixer model). Its four magazines could be used in three pairs instead of only two; two upper, two centre and two lower. Magazines wider
than hitherto to accommodate larger matrix faces.

1923 Model 4 SM. One keyboard: the side section controlled from main keyboard. Three main magazines and two side magazines. The latter had a double distributor which allowed matrices in that section to be mixed together with any of those from a main magazine.

1929 Model 6 SM (two keyboards). First eight-magazine machine.

1933 Three-way quadder introduced.

1935 Models 48 and 48 SM (first models had up to three main and three side magazines). It was later possible to have up to four main and four side

1936 Models 50 and 50 SM (mixers). Main magazines wider than normal. A further development of these models was the Super Range which can accommodate large display matrices in extra wide main magazines; they have only 72 channels, instead of 90.

1953 Model 53 (one magazine and two-pocket mould wheel).

1954 Model 54 (high-speed machine for TTS operation).

1959 Seventy Series Linotypes introduced. The models they replace are given in parentheses Models 70* (50), 72* (Super Range), 73* (53), 78* (48). 79* (54).

1962 Elektron Linotypes introduced-the first machines to dispense with the assembler elevator.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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