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Want to save a Linotype machine (was: Saving Betty)

Keelan

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Location
Canada
A few weeks ago I came across a 93 year old Linotype in Seattle that was headed for the scrap yard, which I've (for some strange reason that eludes me) decided to name Betty:

20130228_085034_resized.jpg


I managed to convince the owner to hang on to it... her... for a little while longer while I tried to find a home for the machine. There were no local volunteers for adoption, so I decided to take the problem into my own hands and try and go get the thing myself. I've just exhausted my own fun-time budget by recently buying and shipping a printing press from Portland to my home, so I don't have the money to save the Linotype myself.

I started an Indiegogo fundraiser (very much like kickstarter) to try and raise enough money to rent a truck an trailer and go get the thing. It is not my intention to add another Linotype to my 'collection', one is more than enough. I want to save it for someone else that might be interested in taking up a new hobby. It is my hope that any funds left over from the fundraising could be used to help relocate the Linotype to its permanent home once it is found.

You can find out more here:

http://www.linotyperescue.org

And the Indiegogo campaign can be found here:

Operation Linotype Rescue | Indiegogo

If you're interested in helping out with a donation, please do so! I've made good progress so far, but there's still a long way to go! If you know of anyone that might be interested in such a cockamamy project, please share these links with them.

- Keelan
 

packardbill

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Location
central Pa., U.S.A.
Offset has been around so long now, most people have no idea what a Linotype machine is, or that a Linotype operator made a decent living. I wonder, how many of those guys had medical issues from lead exposure? Does it have the lead pot and is it operable?
Nice to see someone trying to save a piece of printing history, and a imo engineering feat. These machines were designed by engineers with slide rules, not a computer program with all kinds of formulas built in. Fire that old girl up, press a mat, and make a plate! Good luck.Bill
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I was a photographer for the Michigan Daily in Ann Arbor for five years. The paper at that time had several Linotype machines and they had great appeal for a mechanical engineer. I find them more interesting than most airplanes and automobiles because you can walk right up to them and see the most complex and clever mechanism right out in the open. I loved to watch them at work. It is fifty years since I graduated and last was in the print shop, so I bet the old Linotypes and rotary press are replaced with something more modern.

The Henry Ford (Greenfield Village) had a working Linotype for a while, but it is no longer in the Village print shop. They would cast a slug with your name at one time.

The town of Arrow Rock, MO has a newspaper museum with a Linotype on display.

I bet there are not many machines still around, and very few people who care.

Larry
 

Andy FitzGibbon

Diamond
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Location
Elkins WV
We had to let one go last year- it was free, but wouldn't fit out the door of the building it was in (it was placed with a crane, through the roof).

Andy
 

jkopel

Stainless
Joined
Apr 3, 2010
Location
Seattle, Wa USA
Is that the machine that is down in Centralia?
If so I am very glad you are trying to save it.
My wife and I (she is a letterpress printer) looked at it when we were buying some other stuff from that shop.
Either way I think it is a great project.
Going to go donate a little bit now!

Thanks for caring about these amazing machines.
Josh
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
You might want to talk to Jeronimo at the Living Museum of Letterpress-
Living Museum of Letterpress Printing I Anacortes, WA
He wont want it- he used to have a couple of running ones, but I think he may have gotten rid of them when he downsized. But he knows a lot about them, and about whats worth keeping and whats not, how to keep one running, and in general, knows a ton about older printing methods. He was one of the last guys trained on one, and worked professionally on one in the 60's.
He still does commercial letterpress, and owns an unbelievable amount of equipment, type, and supplies, and knows his stuff.

He probably knows this particular machine. He worked in Seattle for decades.
 

excello

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Location
Iowa, USA
Ditto B. Herzogs post above - they have an excellent collection of linotypes and old presses at Midwest Old threshers. It's fun to watch them in action - fascinating for those of us that like complicated mechanical stuff. LOL

Also - If there is extra linotype metal with "Betty", I would be interested in buying it.

Thanks,

excello
 

Rollerman

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Location
Waltham, MA
Keelan, I will help you save the machine. I saved two model 31 Linotype machines in Boston, MA. They are a big attraction when we operate the machines at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, MA. The Linotype machines, the museum and my self are featured in the documentary "Linotype in search of the eight wonder of the world" In the event that you can not save the machine I would be interested in obtaining any magazines of the matrixes that mold the lines. Unfortunately many of the matrixes and all the nonsort matrixes also called "dingbats" were surreptitiously removed and scrapped before I got everything else.
 

gwilson

Diamond
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Location
williamsburg va
My favorite old time machinist(long dead now) was a machinist for a newspaper in Norfolk. He was an extremely talented old guy. He had to work on the complex machinery found in major newspapers in the 30's,40's and 50's. 60's,too. I had a girlfriend whose father was a linotype operator. They had a nice house in Washington,D.C.,so it must have paid pretty well.
 

Keelan

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Location
Canada
I re-read my post, and I see that I only weakly alluded to the fact that I already own a Linotype. In my garage I have a Model 31 linotype, the more modern version of the Model 8.

The machine in question has a mostly functional pot. An electric linotype (there were gas, and gasoline heated versions as well) typically has four separate heaters. Two are submerged in the type metal, two heat the throat that leads to the point of injection. One of the throat heaters are burned out, or otherwise non-functional. If the electrical is in the same condition as my machine, anything is possible. Replacements can be located, though.

There are still machines kicking around, but they are slowly disappearing. I know of three that have been scrapped in the last 12 months.

Iowa is a bit of a hot bed when it comes to Linotypes. Some of the most well regarded publications on the operation and maintenance of Linotypes were published in Iowa. A man named Larry Raid puts on an annual week-long Linotype University course in Denmark, Iowa, and has a collection of (if I understand correctly) 90 linotypes.

Sadly, the machine in Centralia was scrapped. I had been in contact with the seller, and hoped to load it on a trailer along with a printing press I bought our of Portland. The seller was very difficult to get a hold of, and my trailer plans changed. By the time I was finished with dealing with my printing press, I found out that the Linotype was gone. That is part of what is driving me to do what I can to save this machine.

A Linotype friend helped re-home some of the machines from the Living Museum of Letterpress. I didn't even know that the museum existed up until very recently.
 

Keelan

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Location
Canada
Keelan, I will help you save the machine. I saved two model 31 Linotype machines in Boston, MA. They are a big attraction when we operate the machines at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, MA. The Linotype machines, the museum and my self are featured in the documentary "Linotype in search of the eight wonder of the world" In the event that you can not save the machine I would be interested in obtaining any magazines of the matrixes that mold the lines. Unfortunately many of the matrixes and all the nonsort matrixes also called "dingbats" were surreptitiously removed and scrapped before I got everything else.

Rollerman,

Thank you for your support! I've lowered the goal a bit on my fundraiser to exclude the cost of paying scrap value for the Linotype. If I don't earn enough, the current owner has volunteered to eat that cost. I'm now one third towards my goal with 16 days to go.

I've watched the film, I know who you are! I was very happy to see that you saved those two machines. I don't think the film made it very clear how much those machines ended up costing you :)

Sadly, the mats are almost always the first thing to go, being solid brass, and easy to move around, they are easy targets for scrap. Are you familiar with Don Black Linecasting in Ontario? I've been quoted around $250 for a font of mats in good condition. If you're looking for a debate, bring up the Linotype vs. Intertype debate with Don!
 

Rollerman

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Location
Waltham, MA
Rollerman,

Thank you for your support! I've lowered the goal a bit on my fundraiser to exclude the cost of paying scrap value for the Linotype. If I don't earn enough, the current owner has volunteered to eat that cost. I'm now one third towards my goal with 16 days to go.

I've watched the film, I know who you are! I was very happy to see that you saved those two machines. I don't think the film made it very clear how much those machines ended up costing you :)

Sadly, the mats are almost always the first thing to go, being solid brass, and easy to move around, they are easy targets for scrap. Are you familiar with Don Black Linecasting in Ontario? I've been quoted around $250 for a font of mats in good condition. If you're looking for a debate, bring up the Linotype vs. Intertype debate with Don!

I have heard about Don Black, I may get to see him if I get to Canada this summer. I do not know much regarding the differences between Linotype and Intertype machines.
The two machines I got cost me $10.00 each + a !5% buyer surcharge. So each machine cost me $11.50. I can not turn down a bargan! There were no other bidders for those machines. Rigging costs were considerably more money.
I only expected to purchase one machine. The museum was expecting only one machine. When two Linotype machines were seen by the museum director there was some.....
Oh well life goes on, even though there was some discussion of throwing a machine and me in the river. Some folks just do not appreciate machinery or my effort to save it
 

Jim Christie

Titanium
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Location
L'Orignal, Ontario Canada
Keelan ,
Nice of you to make the effort to save the Linotype.
I remember going to a small printing shop in Hawkesbury Ontario in the early 1970 s with my father and the owner let us come in and see the Linotype and other printing machinery at work there .
I was in my early teens so I was a bit young to take it all in and since it was a while ago I have forgotten a lot of what I saw.
It has been closed for a long time now .
There are a number of manuals and videos about Linotype on archive.org that you may have seen before .
Internet Archive Search: Linotype
Maybe you or someone else following this thread will find something useful there.
Regards,
Jim
 








 
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