Useful Hotmetal Linecasting Matrix Information – 1966 era.



How to Order

The Mergenthaler Linotype Company carries in stock a full supply of matrices to meet the exacting demands of printers throughout the world. Matrices can be supplied for composition in over 900 different languages and dialects.

With the huge number of characters available, it is important that you give careful attention to accuracy of detail in preparing orders. Orders should be typewritten, preferably, and the name of face, triangle number, point size and quantity of matrices clearly indicated. A copy of each order should be retained for reference.

Matrix Order Forms. Always use Linotype order forms, which are supplied in any quantity on request. This way, you can be assured of the best possible service.

Always use the correct order form. They are supplied for Regular Characters, Special Characters, Accents, Typographic Refinements (including one- and two-letter logotypes, pre react italics, two-letter small caps), Fractions, Border Matrices and Matrix Slides, and for all foreign characters. Use one sheet for each face and individual point size.

It will help us serve you better if you indicate the specific model for which the matrices are intended (and the bridge number, if required), the keyboard layout and the particular style of magazine to be used. This is essential information, since matrices for various models differ.

Full Name of Face. The triangle ∆ number and full name of face.
8 ∆34 Corona No. 1 with Italic and Small Caps
8 ∆232 Corona No. 2 with Bold Face No. 2
8 ∆568 Corona with Bold Face No. 2

We frequently receive orders calling merely for "8 point Corona." As shown above, this face (as well as many others) is made in various combinations; in such cases, it is impossible to fill the order correctly without requesting further information.













Triangle Numbers. The triangle mark on a matrix is the identification of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, and the system of marking matrices is shown on page 4. When uncertain of the correct name of face, you may order matrices according to the numerical marking on the side. The triangle number should always be entered on the matrix order form. Always copy the marking exactly, for example 8∆34. Do not choose a matrix at random or take one from a pi tray to obtain the triangle marking. Select a lower case "n" from the font for which matrices are wanted; if figures are ordered, select a figure 5. The reason for this: reference characters, quads, leaders, special characters and fractions in some fonts bear markings different from the alphabet character.

Accented Characters. The standard accents are shown on page 17 and on our accent order blanks. They are available in a large variety of faces and are priced as indicated on the order blank. Characters not shown can be made to order, at a special price which will be quoted on request. If small cap accents are desired, these should be ordered on the standard accent order blank.

Always check the order blank in the space specified to signify whether low, high or small cap accents are being ordered.

There are two styles of cap accents, low cap and high cap. Low cap are usually supplied to avoid the use of a special mold. In the low cap accent, the character is slightly reduced in height to make room for the diacritical mark; thus, the character with its' accent fits the same space occupied by the normal unaccented cap character.

When low cap accents are not satisfactory, high cap accents can be furnished. The extra space required in adding the accent to a full height cap character makes it necessary to change the aligning point of the mold, so that the accent will cast Hush on the smooth edge of the slug without trimming off. This necessitates casting a given size on a body two points larger than standard up to 14 point, and approximately four points larger than standard on display faces.

High cap accents cannot be cast in display faces larger than 30 point, as a full 36 point body is required for ascending and descending characters. However, where caps only are used-or caps and figures alone-high cap accents may be cast in display faces up to 36 point.

In two-letter display faces, 18 and 24 point, only low cap accents are supplied.

In lining faces, only high cap accents are supplied for the largest 6 and 12 point faces. In all other sizes of lining faces, there is room for the accent above the character without reducing the size of the character.

Fractions. When ordering fractions, always state whether they are to run in the regular channels of the magazine or pi. Unless otherwise specified, they will be furnished to run pi.









Key to Matrix Terms

1. Teeth. Projections on the inside of the triangular opening at the top of the matrix. There are seven of these teeth on either side. The teeth which are left in are called the tooth combination. As the matrix travels along the distributor bar, it is supported by corresponding teeth on the bar. At a predetermined point, the teeth on the bar are cut away. The matrix, being no longer supported, drops through the channel entrance and to its proper place in the magazine. A matrix with all the teeth in is called a "pi" matrix, and passes all the combinations on the distributor bar, falling down the pi chute to the pi stacker.

2. Bar Point Slot. This is a slot projecting downward toward the bottom of the matrix. The object is to make all matrices of the same thickness at this one point. The slot registers with the projecting blade on the distributor box bar to prevent the lifting of two matrices at one time into the distributing screw.

3. Regular Position. This denotes the character in the regular or normal position of a two-letter matrix. Matrices from 4 to 24 point can be supplied with two characters. Above 24 point only one character can be used.

4. Auxiliary Position. This denotes the character in the auxiliary or raised position. Characters on one-letter display matrices, 16 to 60 point, are also in the auxiliary position.

5. Lugs. These are sometimes called "ears." They are made to a certain thickness according to the magazine channel in which the matrix is to run. The lugs are the guiding points of the matrix throughout its travel. The lower lug (on the character side) determines the horizontal alignment of the character in the matrix, for this lug banks against the aligning groove in the mold body.

6. Font Slot. This is a small slot in the bottom of the matrix for use on single distributor machines. In conjunction with the automatic font distinguisher, it prevents wrong fonts from entering the magazine.

7. Bridge Notch. A slightly larger opening than the font slot. It is used in conjunction with the matrix bridge on multiple distributor Linotypes to permit the matrix to distribute to its proper magazine.

8. Bevel Notch. A notch cut in matrices for Models such as 9, 16 and 17, and used to prevent two matrices from being lifted at one time into the distributor screws.

9. Clearance Cut. This is a feature of Linotype matrices. It protects the side walls of matrices as they are assembled.

10. Triangle Number. The triangle is the trade-mark of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company. The number before the triangle indicates the point size of the matrix. The number after the triangle indicates the name of the matrix face. The entire marking should always be given when ordering matrices.

11. Reference Marking. These are characters punched in the reference side of the matrix to enable the operator to read the line of matrices as they are assembled.

12. Face Lines. These are lines cut in the bottom of two-letter matrices (and on the reference side of display matrices) to identify the font. When matrices of a two-letter font are stacked in a sorts tray, the various lines match up and tell at a glance whether a wrong font matrix is present, With display faces, wrong font mat-matrices can be detected in the sorts tray or the assembling elevator, since the face lines are on the reference side of the matrix.

13. Bevel Cut. An angle cut used on larger matrices to permit proper distribution.



Alignment of Linotype Characters


Linonotype matrix characters are punched on three different alignments as shown in the illustration. These are called regular alignment, auxiliary alignment and high alignment.

The matrices shown in the illustration are from left to right, 4 to 14 point two-letter, 18 to 36 point one-letter, 48 to 60 point one-letter, 18 point two-letter and 24 point two-letter. When casting from the type characters of these matrices, using the appropriate mold, the operator moves the correct alignment flap of the first elevator slide filling piece on the vise cap into position this correctly locates the character with respect to the opening in the mold when the slug is cast.

Note that when casting from the regular position characters, the first elevator slide filling piece (flap) is not used (no flap). When casting from the auxiliary position of 4 to 14 point two-letter matrices and 18 to 36 point one-letter matrices, one flap is used to correctly align the characters with the mold opening. The auxiliary position characters of 4 to 14 point matrices can also be assembled on the duplex rail in the assembling elevator instead of using "one flap", to obtain the correct alignment. When characters in high alignment position are cast (48 to 60 point and auxiliary position characters of 18 and 24 point two-letter matrices), two flaps are used to correctly align the characters.



Relation of Matrices to Molds – Hot Metal Linecasting Machines







The character shown in Diagram No. 3 may be either a regular advertising figure or a character from the regular position of a two-letter display face.

Attention is called to the fact that the distance from the lower lug of the matrix to the constant edge of mold ("A", Diagram 1) represents the regular alignment position. All characters line up at the top of the slug, which is represented in the diagram by the constant edge of the mold ("A").

Diagrams 2, 4 and 5 show the auxiliary position character as it contacts the mold. These may be characters in the auxiliary position of 4 to 14 point two -letter matrices, one-letter display matrices, or special advertising figures. The correct molds, of course, must be used. Note that the auxiliary position character of - display matrices cannot be cast on this type of mold.

The distance between the regular aligning rail ("D", Diagram 1) and the auxiliary aligning rail ("B", Diagram 1 ) is .21875, and this is the thickness of the regular first elevator slide filling piece when one flap is used. When this flap is in position, the lugs of the matrices are pulled up against the auxiliary aligning rail "B" and the character is correctly positioned on the slug.




Referring to Diagram No. 6, notice that the body section of the mold marked "C" is not as wide as the same section on all other molds and is the same as the 45 point mold. Since the auxiliary character of two-letter display faces is located closer to the lug of the matrix to provide room for a full size 24 point character without distortion, it will not cast on any mold except the two -letter mold. Although the auxiliary character of a two -letter display face is in the same relative position on the matrix as a 48, 54 or 60 point character, it cannot be cast on a 45 point mold, as metal would flow into both regular and auxiliary characters.

It should be noted that while the regular and auxiliary position characters of 4 to 14 point two-letter matrices can be mixed in the same line, the regular and auxiliary (high alignment) position characters of 18 and 24 point two-letter display matrices cannot be mixed in the same line and each face must be cast separately.

As the high alignment position of the auxiliary character of the two-letter display matrix is the same as that of 48, 54 and 60 point faces, the same first elevator slide filling piece (two flaps) is used for both conditions. When the auxiliary position of 4-14 point two-letter and 18-42 point one-letter faces is to be cast, one flap is used. When casting from the auxiliary (high alignment) position of 18 and 24 point two-letter and 48-60 point one-letter faces, two flaps are used.







Prior to about 1886, each type founder was a law unto himself in the matter of type standards. Brevier, for example, made by one foundry would not justify with Brevier from another foundry. The pica "em" in use up to that time had been obtained by dividing an inch into six parts, equaling, decimally, .166". When the present point system of the American Type Founders' Association was decided upon in 1886, the fraction was eliminated and standard "pica" em adopted, measuring .166. This standard of measurement is used by the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, and one-twelfth of the pica, .166, equals one point, .01383. One- quarter of a point is the unit used in the manufacture of our matrices on the point-set system.

Didot System. The Didot point measures .01483 of an inch.

The Didot unit is the Cicero, which equals 12 corps, or .178 of _ an inch. The American (Linotype) unit is the pica em, measuring 12 point, or .166 of an inch. The Didot system of measurement is used in France and in most of the countries of continental Europe, and is commonly known as the French system.

Mediaan System. The Mediaan point measures .01374 of an inch, and the Mediaan em or Cicero .1649 of an inch . This point system is used in Belgium. Mediaan height to paper is .934.




Bridge Notching

Linotype Mixer Machines with Fixed Bridge
On these machines, the upper distributor box is fitted with a fixed bridge which can be changed when necessary. The matrix is lifted into the distributor screws and rides on the distributor box rails to the bridge. If the matrix is notched to correspond to the bridge projections, it will drop over the bridge projections so that the matrix teeth will not engage the distributor bar teeth. Then, after crossing the bridge, it falls through a chute to the lower distributor box which feeds the upper magazine.

If the matrix is supported by any bridge projections, it will maintain its alignment with the teeth of the upper distributor bar and be carried to the lower magazine. Thus any font whose bridge notches do not match the bridge projections, also any unnotched matrices, will run in the lower magazine.

On Linotype mixer Models 29, 30, 35 and 36 using the fixed type of bridge, the standard bridge cutting of matrices consists of one notch between notches 2 to 7 inclusive. However, notches of double width, such as 3-4 or 4-5, etc., will be supplied if specifically ordered. For Models 25 and 26, matrices usually carry three notches to match bridges. However, matrices for Models 25 and 26 can also be supplied with one or two notches to match a bridge having one or two projections.

When matrices are bridge notched for Linotype mixer machines having a fixed  bridge, only the matrices running in the upper main magazine of Models 25 and 26 (with two distributor boxes), and the first and third main magazines of Models 29, 30, 35 and 36 need be notched. Matrices for the lower magazine of a pair do not require bridge notches.

Author Note: From experience with ACE Elektron Mixers it is best NOT to use the #1 mixer notch. You want to keep as much “brass” next to the reference side tow of the matrix. If mat is damaged, you need that material to bend or swedge the toe back into position.

Matrices for the upper auxiliary magazine of Model 26 (with two distributor boxes), and No. 1 and No. 3 auxiliary magazines of Models 30 and 36 are cut with notches 2 to 7 inclusive to drop on any bridge which might be used. Matrices for lower auxiliary magazines of a pair do not require bridge notches.

Models Having a Movable Bridge
The separation of matrices in such Models is controlled by a single bridge projection which is positioned by an indicator dial. Since only two adjacent magazines can be in operating position at one time, it is merely necessary to position the single bridge projection to correspond to a notch in the matrices in the upper position, which does not appear in the matrices in the lower position. The matrices from the upper magazine will then drop on the bridge and pass to the upper magazine while the matrices from the lower magazine will ride across the bridge and pass to the lower .magazine.

The location and size of the bridge notches for matrices to run in these models, is the same as for those used on Models having the fixed bridge. Only one notch is used for separation.

Matrix Bridges
 When ordering the fixed type of matrix bridge, specify the model and serial number of the Linotype mixer machine and give the number of the projection required; i.e., matrix bridge for Model 25 No. -- with bridge projections 2-4-5, or matrix bridge for Model 35 No. -- with bridge notch projection 3.

Matrices used on a Model 9 mixer Linotype must have a bevel notch in addition to bridge notches for separating ,fonts for the various magazines. The bridge notches are in a different location than those in matrices for Models 25,26,29,30,35 and 36 .. When ordering bridges for the Model 9, be sure to mention the model in addition to specifying the bridge projections desired.

Bridge Notch and Font Slot Locations
The facsimile diagrams shown may be used as gauges to identify the bridge notch or font slot in matrices which are to run in the Models 25, 26, 29, 30, 35 and 36. Please note that bridge notches 1 and 8 are only to take care of outstanding matrices with such notches. The standard bridge notching for Models 25,26, .29, .30, 35 and '36 comprise notches between 2 and 7 inclusive.




The font slot numbers for various point sizes are as follows:

Font Slot Number

Point Sizes

1 .. 5, 11, 22, 34

2 .. 6 1/2, 10, 13, 20, 26, 30, 38, 60

3 .. 4, 7 1/2, 7 3/4, 8, 8 1/2, 16, 27, 32

4 .. 4 3/4, 6 3/4, 7, 11 1/2, 14, 21, 28, 42

5 .. 6, 10 1/2, 12, 24, 48

6 .. 5 1/2, 9, 18, 36, 54



Tooth Combination Chart for 90 Channel Magazine —
Fortunately both Linotype and Intertype agreed upon this scheme!

Intertype Corporation was started about 15 years after the Linotype was up and running. All Intertype resources were expended in creating a better linecasting machine and therefore chose to use the same magazine channels for their magazines that held the matrixes. By that time Linotype Company had a large library of cut matrixes

The font identification was on the side of the matrix.

see above - item #10
Key to Matrix Terms

The Linotype Company used a triangle between the font size and number that denoted the different fonts.

The Intertype Company used 3 dots between the font size and font number. The three dots were displayed in a format of a triangle. Just didn’t have the triangle lines because Mergenthaler Linotype had a patent on the triangle.

The most popular page in the book when Cuneo Press got ACE Elektron Mixing Machines.

Note smudges of  thumb and finger print marks on the page at left.

We got the camera department to create a 12” x 16” picture of this page which we framed and hung on the wall by the combination cutting, ear and toe trimming machine.

We cut special combinations on new matrices that were ordered as “pi” characters. (All 7 teeth on the matrix)

Linotype Midwest Supply depot, 531 Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois - Earl Porter was in charge of the matrix dept. When we got the ACE Mixer Elektron machines he suggested that we look into the purchase of the below described machine. It made the process of getting the right matrices to run into the right channels a smooth transition. The Linotype Company had never seen special magazine layouts as complex as what we designed at Wisconsin Cuneo. They felt their company created a monster that might haunt them for the rest of their existence.

Cuneo comment: “we were using capabilities of the machine designed and sold to Cuneo.

Mergenthaler’s Chicago Office wasn’t equipped to cut the amount of matrices that Wis. Cuneo Press ordered. We took Earl’s advise in the purchase of a matrix cutting machine. We test cut one “mat”. Ears, toes, combination. If it fell in correct channel – voila. link to matrix cutting machine.

We eliminated possibility of combinations, ear and toe alignment cutting errors. We actually align (place) the ear and toe to a specific position on edge or center of matrices. Some larger mats were very close together when resting in their respective magazine channels. At this time, 1967-68 era. a pi character would cost Wis. Cuneo anywhere from $.50 cents to $1.35. The pi magazine contained 6 matrices in each channel.. A magazine with pi characters cost between $400.00 to $500.00 - not including the cost of the magazine. At the time, Helvetica, was most popular typeface.

Note: Did anyone in the business have a machine that cut ears, toes and teeth combinations? I believe it was made in Switzerland and sold for about $375.00 in the U.S. The base, about 1 foot square, contained it’s own drive motor. Any pictures or info? Let me know. It was like a key cutting machine. Clamp a matrix (that had a cut combination) in one side and matrix to be cut to run in a channel (pi combination present) in the other clamp. Don’t remember the name of Company. It was painted blue. jer.

Second Note . . . . . . . . September 26, 2006 — Attended the Linotype University IV, Denmark, Ia. Found one in the Working VanderCook Museum on  campus. Click link: Linotype University - Denmark, Ia.


Pock Marks on NEW Helvetica Matrices - 1966 — Ever hear of it? — Read on.

Wisconsin Cuneo Press purchased many combinations of Helvetica type and magazines that year. About the third day using some of these new type faces the machinist department was hearing rumbles from the other end of the building. (3 blocks long - from the repro dept.)

“You guys over there are sending us cold (pitted) type faces. Something wrong with the heat on those machines?”(That was usually the cause of a “cold type face.”)

Three of us machinists started tracking this down. ( When I was hired in 1964 we instituted using galley slugs that denoted what Model 29 - TTS machine # the type was from and what manual machine # corrected galleys)

Didn’t seem to have any problems with telephone directory type that came from the TTS machines. We’d run that stuff 3 hours every afternoon from 5 - 8 p.m. for daily phone directory addenda updates throughout the state of Wisconsin. (Green Bay, Appleton, Milwaukee and Madison) Bell Gothic which was a sans-seriff face. No problem with the face on those slugs.

A day later we’re now zeroing in on Helvetica type faces.

The pock marks didn’t show up on galley proofs for the proof room reading. However when the type got to the re-pro press dept. it showed up.

Herb Ramstack, 2nd shift foreman, got the idea of taking a linen tester, (reticle used for checking screen dots) and started looking down into the punched character face of the mat. Guess what he found?

After the mat was factory punched it was sent to the milling dept. to complete the cutting of teeth, ears, toes and any notching. It was discovered back in Brooklyn N.Y. that some of the little shavings or chips of brass, while still hot, had fallen into the punched character and sorta welded themselves into the face of the character.

Mergenthaler claimed it was caused by a plugged vacuum hose on one of their milling machines. They replaced all 14 fonts Wis. Cuneo had purchased. And also paid 3 of us machinists to come in on Saturday and Sunday to contrast the new matrices before they were put in-service.

You could take a sewing pin needle and flick them off, however, it still left a little mark on the face of the character.

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