1911 Machinist Hand Book
Suggestions, remedies, ideas and much more


This book was obtained from a 1920 era. type shop located on Walnut Street in Milwaukee, Wi.
The owner became ill in 1961. His shop was auctioned by Col. Gronik — 2 Linotypes, 3 presses, 1 broach, 1 Monotype strip caster, One 2 ton re -melt furnace, 1 Flat Casting box, 2 metal saws, 1 round corner paper cutter,  1 folder, paper cutter plus real “stone” makeup tables.

The Col. gave me the “Linotype 1 line specimen book” (Large, Red Bound Book with 100’s of type faces) which I still have.

Type face names you’ll never hear of again.

Along with the above auction items were 150+ fonts of Linotype Matrixes stored on 10 x 12 galley trays. (cost  of matrix – 1930 – $.06 to $.14 cents each.

The Auctioneer, Col. Gronik & Company, had no idea what they were dealing with and showed up at Milwaukee Vocational School,
1019 N. Sixth St., Milwaukee, WI.
Linotype Dept. seeking help.

Emery and Jerry, both students in the Linotype Machinist class, 1962, volunteered to organize this shop for auction. Our linotype class professor would stop by the shop once a day to see how we were doing.

If it hadn’t been for his visits, this whole project would have “been a total disaster!”

According to some of the print shop owners looking to buy certain items . . . they never saw an auction organized like this one. “The auctioneers didn’t know what they were selling, much less, what words to use when describing the items.”

This included casting 150 fonts of matrices. This meant we had to load each font, separately into an empty linotype magazine. Next we assembled all l.c. “e” characters [insert space band]“t” [isb] “a” [isb] “i” [isb] “n”. We then cast a slug and also prevent them from distributing back into the magazine. The matrixes were placed onto a galley tray.

A most time consuming process. We would run the lower case, some upper case, all figures, points, etc. into a magazine and cast them on a 30 pica slug.

At the spaceband transfer position we would stop the machine, lift the second elevator bar that contained the matrices, remove them and place them back onto the type galley.

Galley proofs of the cast slugs were pulled. White business sized cards identified each galley included  font size, triangle number and name of font.

This way the prospective buyers could immediately see if or how badly the matrices were “hairlined.” Term used when the “sidewall” of the character is breaking down on the brass “matrix mold.”

It saved the day for the Col. No questions about how many lower case “e’s” in the font or is the font hairlined?

The shop had one Model 5 and one Model 31 linotype.

Both machines needed adjustments of the assembler to perform correctly. Molds were removed, polished, then replaced.

When we got done, we had lines of type, created by each machine on a galley for samples. One of us was standing by the samples with a micrometer and showing prospective buyers that the slugs were “type high” and “square” at both ends. Each machine sold for twice the price of what other used machines were selling for, in that era.

Project took two of us three weeks to get the shop completely ready for auction.

Col. Gronik, the Auctioneer and one of his organizers stopped by one day for a “show and tell”. They had many questions about everything for sale. After two hours — the Col. and his assistant looked at both Emery and myself and asked “how do the both of you remember all about everything in this shop!

That was easy to answer.
We had the most knowledgeable Linotype Machinist that existed, in North America.

We numbered everything for sale. Typeset a list, pulled five proofs and gave them to Col. for his auction assistants “study hours”. . .

Item #5; Model 5 Linotype; 220 volt a.c. electric; 4 mold disk, one magazine machine, Ser. No . 248163264128; Born date: February 1937; etc. . .

i.e. Galley 25; 9 point Bodoni w/ Bodoni Italic. [NHL] Galley 26, 9 point Bodoni w/ Bodoni Bold. [NHL] = No Hair Line; Lite Hair Line; Heavy Hair Line

Buyers could see how many matrixes were in the font by looking at the “galley proof” we pulled of the cast slug lines on galleys.

One buyer brought his “linen tester”, [very powerful magnifying glass] to check the slugs in galleys.

We were amazed at the amount of $$’s the Col. paid us.

We would have done it for 1/4 the price — the learning process of how to handle an auction, identify items, organize a sale, etc.

We learned about type shops — things that were not part of the school’s curriculum.

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Four years later, I returned to Milwaukee area, and became Head Machinist of Typesetting Automation at Wisconsin Cuneo Press, another Auctioneer contacted me.

He heard how Emery and I “setup” the sale for Walnut Street Type Shop – 1962.

I met this person at the shop, viewed condition of what was there plus answered sum questions about things I saw. . . .

He want’s a total cost I would charge!

All depends how many hours it takes to cast, proof 65 fonts of matrixes, identify items with tags etc.; creat lists for U and assistants to become familiar with. . . etc.

I told him $15.00/hr. or 15% of Gross Sales.

He offered me $200.00. . .

I’d think about it.
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Five weeks later I attended the auction. Saw a few shop owners that were at the Walnut Street Type Shop Sale —1962. They just shook their heads and laughed at what was offered on the information flyer, about contents, condition of Linotype machine, electric power required, etc. of items for sale.

One buyer who purchase the Ludlow, 2 cabinets of type, three composing sticks, plus 400 lbs. of lead got a terrific deal. $425.00 for the lot. None of the auction team knew how to run any machinery.
No buyers volunteered. Auctioneer and assistants didn’t know where/how to turn machine on. Much less “stick” a line of matrixes and cast them.

Typeshop that bought the Ludlow hired me to check it over. They discovered it had “squirts” after 10 minutes of operation.

They called me and I found that one of the controls was not functioning. Got that replaced for them in two days and they were up and running. Happy as a “fly on a pile of ?”.

It was a “hoot” when the Auctioneer was selling matrixes stored on galleys.

•No print proofs! Couldn’t see if font had “hairlines.”

•No character count! Matrixes on galley were “etaoin” “shrdlu” instead of all “es” together, “ts” etc. . . . so buyers could count characters.

•Buyers claimed they picked up matrixes off galley and could see “crushed” side walls on matrixes.

•Auctioneer and assistants had NO idea what these buyers were talking about.

•The shop owner was livid.