It’s an honor to have 3 fiddleink prints included in “Type Tells Tales” a recent book by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson. Drawing from early twentieth century to the present, this book documents selected work which explores non-conventional ways in which typography can convey a story. From the book’s intro: “A common theme is that type and letters are not passive, but are active participants in an entire composition” and “…our book is about well-meaning heretics who challenged and continue to bust standards.” Indeed. From the futurist letterpress print work of Fortunato Depero and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, to the “analog” experimental offset lithography work of Walasse Ting and Robert Massin, to modern practitioners who meld digital techniques with traditional tools, there’s a lot in this book to be inspired by. I’m happy that my Linotype machine composed prints found a place among the pages. Thanks again to Abigail Steinem (Head Researcher), Steven Heller & Gail Anderson for the opportunity.
Today I cast a couple secret slugs to hide among the Linotype type order that I occasionally fulfill for a trade shop here in town. I’m not sure how they’ll take it: The Linotype operator owes the customer a beer? The customer owes the linotype operator a beer? The linotype operator is buzzed on beer? Hooray for beer? Who knows. I only hope that the press operator checks the slugs before printing. Secret Slug cast in Linotype 10^696 first and second position.
July 3rd! It’s Linotype Machine anniversary day! Today marks 131 years of a distinct kind of music. The sound of solid slug of type sliding onto a steel galley followed by the sound of brass matrices rhythmically chiming as they fall back into place within the Linotype magazine. The persistent “whirl” of the distributor screw and the assembler chute belt, sounding a call for action. It’s a fabulous symphony, even when the machine sounds come to an abrupt halt, and gruff curses from the operator can be heard. It’s all a part of the wonder. Thanks to Steve Cole and the Baltimore Museum of Industry crew for rallying and spreading the word about the anniversary today. And cheers to all who are acting as the custodians of these amazing machines - keeping them happy and running for future generations to experience. Keep the cams rolling and the metal flowing!
We're slowly making some room for the new magazines and racks. I'm standing in the space where a single bank type cabinet once stood. It's about the same foot print as one magazine rack. Need to make room for 5 more. Nice to see the machine from this perspective before the space gets filled up again!
I've been practicing mitering Linotype border using the Hammond glider saw. I almost took out a window here at Stumptown Printers when the miter vise clamp wasn't tight enough and a slug got away from me. Won't make that mistake again.
Looking pretty clean so far. This type form will be used for a limited edition keepsake broadside celebrating 11 years of the Stumptown Printers' Arigato Pak.
This is a great little video of a Russian made (?) line casting machine. Thanks to Bill Spurling for passing on the link. Check out the safety guard that flips into place over the mold and vise before casting.
I noticed a slight little build up of type metal on the pump plunger rod when I started casting this evening, and after a couple hours of casting lines this is what that build up became:
Linomite! It was enough to restrict the plunger from returning to its fullest upward position. Gotta keep an eye on this next time. I'm guessing that this happened because the pot was a bit too cool. I'll test the theory next time we cast. Otherwise, anyone out there have tips on how to prevent this?
This is a set of space bands lovingly tied up by an operator of the Stumptown Printer's model 31 long before we owned the machine. It's an example of marlinspike seamanship by an old Linotype salt. I hadn't had the heart (or need) to disrupt this tidy knot before today, but we needed the bands and so this is the documentation of the touch of a craftsman from years ago. We brought the bands to the C.C. Stern Type Foundry to use with the machine there. I believe that the old salt would approve.
I managed to get a couple lines off of the machine today, but printing, die cutting, hand bindery and prepress took the lion's share of shop time. I don't like to fire up the machine unless we have at least a handful if slugs to cast. Next time...
Got it! The properly justified slug
Resilient Mold Cam Adjustment
Consulting with the teachers
This illustration is a useful reference if you are in the back of the machine and cycling it by hand, and you need to know when to stop cycling(!) By looking at this cam, you can determine when the first elevator is resting on the vise cap, or when the justifications take place, etc. This illustration is scanned from the Intertype Book of Instruction, page 46.
Still trouble shooting - But first! Release the pressure of pot lever spring!
Still Trouble Shooting. Testing proper clearance between the face of the mold and vise jaws
Occasionally while running the machine, I've experienced a "no cast". This happened randomly, or at least it seemed to be random, because after a second attempt to cast the same line often the machine would give in and produce the slug. When it didn't cast a second time, I would switch it up slightly and maybe add a thin space, etc. and I could get it to go. It didn't happen frequently enough for me to explore the issue until recently. The line pictured above is the one that stopped me and got me to look into the problem.
In this case I was setting 10pt on 10pt mold, 18 pica width, first position. I was using standard justification with the hydraquadder off. As you can see, it's a full line, 6 space bands with less than a pica to go. I sent the same line through as it is pictured (but recreated with different matrices) several times. No go. Other lines that seemed to be similar length and spacing did go, so it was a mystery to me why this one would not.
More details to come....