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Ships Operating Linotypes in 1930

Started by Mechanic, April 02, 2013, 01:43:53 AM

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The following was posted on the Titanic Historical Society's web page by Timothy Trower

From The Linotype News, December 1930

25 Ships Now Operating Linotypes
Twenty U.S. Naval Vessels and Five Big Liners Now Producing Composition Linotype Way

Although travellers have seen Linotypes in action in every country under the sun, comparatively few globe trotters realize that not all Linotypes do their producing ashore -- that some two dozen of them -- twenty-five, to be exact -- are confirmed and experienced globe trotters themselves.

All seven of the seven seas, with several lesser bodies poured in for good measure, have been criss-crossed so many times and in so many places by ships equipped with Linotypes, that a gull's-eye view of those bodies, with the criss-crosses nicely indicated with dotted lines, would appear without benefit of water.

When, November 19, the Mauretania, speed queen of the great Cunard fleet, answered that call for help from the Swedish cargo steamer Ovidia, sinking in mid-Atlantic, and rescued twenty-eight people, a Linotype aboard the Mauretania was in action. Not that the Linotype played any part in the rescue, of course; but it was right there to compose the spot story of the Ovidia disaster for the ship's newspaper and passengers -- and for thousands of others, ashore, to read when the Mauretania docked in the Hudson. That ship's wireless of course, released the first bulletins about the rescue, but its Linotype composed the detailed story.

All of which is a roundabout way of stating that the palatial Mauretania operates a Linotype. The machine produces composition for the ship's paper, for menus, various kinds of programs, passenger lists, and so forth.

The Aquitania and Berengaria, also, sister ships of the Mauretania, operate Linotypes back and forth across the Atlantic and on this and the other side. So does the Belgenland of the Red Star Line, which starts on another cruise round the world December 15, and so does the St. Louis of the Hamburg-American Line.

Uncle Sam, the most experienced and critical buyer in the world, goes in for Linotypes in a big way. In addition to the 171 Linotypes in the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., [twenty U.S. Naval vessels are now producing composition the Linotype Way.]
Quote(This last line is drawn from the headline -- my copy of this story is incomplete at the end of the article.)
All the best,

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


A friend of mine is an expert on the Mauretania (of 1907) and I posted this on the THS forum after first transcribing the article for him. He is aware of a photograph of the Mauretania's print shop but has been unable to procure a copy.

It almost goes without saying that I am highly interested in sea-going print shops should anyone care to discuss the subject further.


Alan Nankivell

I remember reading (many decades ago) of a linotype operating on a cruise ship.

the keyboard operator need to watch the inclinometer during some kinds of weather. I presume that the operation of the casting pump was the reason, and that gravity is an essential part of the  performance of casting a slug.



About the only thing on the Linotype that does not rely on gravity is the casting of the line of type. Metal is pumped by a spring loaded plunger into the casting mold that is held and sealed by the casting pot, also under spring presure, against the line of matrices. The real problem would be the assembly and distribution of the matrices, which rely on gravity and a reasonably level machine.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


I understand that it was normal to run the metal low in the pots.

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