Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Notes to self: inventory mats before running

Tonight I tried running new-to-me mats. I have a better idea of how many mats fit in a half magazine, because I discovered that I had way too many. I bet there is a lower case "e" count that would allow one to quickly determine if there are too many mats to fit. So, self, check it out. Also, please inventory mats before taking the time to load them into a magazine. After what appeared to be a full font, I discovered I only have one "." This is a problem. Anyway. Always learning. But never seem to learn that you can never have enough patience for this machine.

Linotype Pie

Linotype Pie by Stumptown Printers
Linotype Pie, a photo by Stumptown Printers on Flickr.
Minutes before our open house for Portland Design Week 2012, we had a little issue with a magazine. Yup. Wasn't pretty. But, we managed to clear the pi(e) and demonstrate the linotype machine using another font. No matrices were damaged during this demonstration. I hope.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Identifying Linotype Spacebands

The spacebands that I have here at the shop are 4 lines. I assumed that the number of identifying lines marked in the side of the spaceband correspond with the thickness of the space. Nope. I was wrong. The breakdown is below. Info from "Linotype Keyboard Operation" book.

One Line: Thick
Minimum .0375
Maximum .1035
For Normal spacing of medium size faces where close spacing is not required.

Two Lines: Extra Thin
Minimum .028
Maximum .0943
For close spacing. Recommended for offices doing good book and job work and those using small faces.

Three Lines: Extra Thick
Minimum .046
Maximum .146
Used only for large display faces where wide spacing is required.

Four Lines: Special Taper
Minimum .0369
Maximum .1219
Similar to the wide range (see below) but a little thicker at both minimum and maximum points.

Five Lines: Wide Range
Minimum .0345
Maximum .1194
Gives extreme flexibility of spacing. Thin enough for close spacing, with ample range of expansion for wide spacing.

Trust the spacebands....

Below is a scan of a proof of some lines cast this past weekend for a friend. 8pt Linotype Paragon set on 23 pica line, regular justification. I let the space bands do their work, and wanted to learn their tolerances and get used to how a line would space out according to how many spaces bands were used vs. word size, etc. I figured this face could handle some "gappy" word spaces, but I was surprised at how this composition appears fairly consistent. Even though there are some lines with ambitious word spacing, none of them stand out as being too obnoxious with noticeable "holes" or "rivers" in the composition.

What I learned: generally speaking, space bands have a "spread" of 3 pts, so if you have at least 5 space bands in a line, they will easily take up a pica worth of space.  I'll add a separate post which will describe the markings and different thickness of Linotype spacebands.

Another thing I was reminded of after setting these lines are the rules for indentation. For commercial work, the rule of thumb is to indent paragraphs by an em for lines set up to 20 picas. 1.5 ems for lines up to 25 picas, and 2 ems for lines above 25 picas. Of course depending on type size, leading, etc. there are exceptions. But after looking at the paragraphs I set below, I think my 2 em indentations are a bit too aggressive.  I referenced the book "Linotype Keyboard Operation" for the refresher.

Oh, after clicking on this photo to take a closer look, I noticed something else. See the lower case "i" with a problem? I'll have to run the mats out and have a look at them. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Speaking of the American Typecasting Fellowship Conference, here's a conference event that is open to the public. Should be a fun time, and a good way to keep cool tomorrow.

Portland, Oregon Premier of:
Linotype: The Film 

When: Thursday, August 16th
Time: 6pm doors, Meet & Greet | 7:00pm Screening followed by Q&A 
Where: McMenamins Kennedy School Theater | 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. 
Admission cost: $10 (Free to conference attendees)
(advance tickets available at Stumptown Printers or online)

Film Screening, Meet & Greet with Linotype operators and master craft printers from around the country and here at home. Also Q&A with “Linotype: The Film” filmmaker

Plus! After the film, Kyle Durrie will have her "Moveable Type Truck" on site, and will invite folks aboard to print a commemorative Linotype keepsake.

Presented by the C. C. Stern Type Foundry in conjunction with the American Typecasting Fellowship Conference, and is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type composing machine. Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.

C.C. Stern Type Foundry Located in Portland, Oregon, The C.C. Stern Type Foundry is a working museum dedicated to preserving the art and industry of the cast letterform, letterpress type. With one of the largest collections of Monotype casting matrices in the United States, the C.C. Stern Type Foundry honors the memory of C. Christopher Stern, who built and operated the foundry at Stern & Faye, Printers of Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

2012 American Typecasting Fellowship Conference Since 1978, The American Typecasting Fellowship Conference is a biennial meeting of enthusiasts, amateur and professional, interested in all aspects of the making of metal type used for letterpress printing. This group is central to what is becoming a renaissance of typefounding in America.

Poster Composition cast on the Stumptown Printers' Linotype Model 31

Portland! The American Type Casting Fellowship Conference is upon us. The C.C. Stern Foundry crew have been working hard to put it together. Here's the latest from the from the conference website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mold 10-18 F7660

Couple stupid things I did while casting this evening:

1. Fired up the machine after a long day of regular job printing. (Not the best idea to attempt to cast while not quite on the ball.)

2. Attempted to cast the second position of a 14 pt (regular 2 letter) matrices using a 10-18 F7660 mold.

3. Tried it again.

4. Wondered why the machine was squirting.

Lesson (note to self): Don't do that. First position is no problem but second will not work. Check positioning of mat on mold before attempting to cast. And, do a little research on this particular mold: Mold 10-18 F7660.

Linotype Border Matrices

Whoa. Pretty amazing. Also makes my brain hurt a bit. This is a scan from a 1911 Linotype Border Catalogue. It would be fun to try something like this. Click on the image for a closer look.

Proofing linotype composition

Proofing linotype composition by Stumptown Printers
Proofing linotype composition, a photo by Stumptown Printers on Flickr.

This is a proof from The Two Man Gentlemen Band release "Two at a Time," their 7th full-length release, which was recorded, designed, and packaged entirely without digital technology. Most of the type was composed on our Model 31. Additional photos of the process can be viewed here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Congratulations to Doug Wilson and the Linotype (the film) crew!

It's a big night for these guys, the world premiere of the film happens tonight at the SVA Theatre in New York City. The newest trailer of the film is even better than the first, it adds clips of our Linotype heros Carl Schlesinger, Dave Seat and others. Congratulations and have fun at the premiere, guys. We're looking forward to seeing the film!

Additional thoughts on delivery and elevator transfer cam damage.

Thinking more on Keelan’s damaged delivery and elevator transfer cam. Bill Spurling pointed out this repair that had been made on his Model 14

I know brazing cast iron can be tricky business, and it seems to be difficult to find folks who are willing to do it these days, but it can be done and in this case it is a clean effective repair. This solution seems to be a heck of a lot simpler than pulling the main cams and shaft apart. Still, the mystery is: how did this thing break? As far as I can see, this part of the cam is used to assist in retracting the ejector lever after the slug is ejected, but it seems that the mold cam lever does most of this work. I can't really imagine what would have caused this much force to crack the cam.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Linotype Machine Cycle View from Back

This is a post for Keelan Lightfoot who recently acquired a Linotype Model 31 with a damaged delivery and elevator transfer cam. His machine is not under power at this point, so he was hoping to see if he could determine if the damage to his machine is detrimental to its operation. Keelan, the 3rd perspective shows a line of white-out that I applied to the cam in order to determine where the follower hits it at this point. I thought it was a good idea, but it didn't really reveal much. The white-out wasn't quite dry when the cam rotated and it appeared to be un-touched after the cycle. Maybe this is good news, but I'm suspicious. I didn't really get a chance to dig around back there. But there you have it. Anyway, this perspective is not one that I see very often. It's quite a graceful motion, isn't it?