Those numbers to the left look like a mess –
but wait, I’ll explain!
Nineteen sixty seven we were pretty well complete at converting 500 +
fonts of matrixes (2 different mixer notches were added to all fonts) so
they could run on either conventional mixers or ACE Elektron mixer
machines, the machines that had ice water running thru their veins –
mold cap and body.
We knew that mats had teeth numbered from 1 thru 7. When certain teeth
were cut (missing) the mat would correspond to a combination in the
distributor combination bar and the mat would fall into the proper channel.
We (machinists) were trying to figure a system to count teeth and determine what channel the mat
would fall in. Messing with 1 thru 7 and doing adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing – nothing
came near the channel number the mat should fall in.
We got the idea that if we used the octal number system from Johnny, the computer programmer and
assigned a value to each tooth. (Wisconsin Cuneo had an IBM 1620 punching 6 level paper tape for
telephone directory and yellow page ads.)
That’s why you see the 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 (fig 1. above) assigned to the teeth on the right side of the
mat. We would add the octal values of remaining teeth in the mat, subtract 2 and voila! It gave the
correct channel number for the mat.
I have searched for many years trying to find out the methodology used by Mergenthaler Linotype over
100 years ago, but so far have not come up with any answers. I adjusted the forward thrust on a 100+
year old high base Model 5 Linotype in October 2006 at the Linotype University, Denmark, Ia. and it
used the same mats as 50 year old machines used in the training environment at the school – so the
algorithm has been in use a long time.
Anyone have more info let me know.
The first three mats in these layouts, figs. 1,
2, and 3 have the 5-7 teeth intact and the other mats in the
layout have 6-7 intact. The other teeth make up the combination
where the mat will fall.
Note the “Double e” channel at left end of
the combination bar.
A fast manual operator setting 20 pica
lines in 8 pt. type could run the 2nd
channel of “e”s dry and have to wait for
distribution to catch up with operator.
The double “e” attachment had a
mechanical arm that caused levers to
change channel selection every other line
, alternating between channel 1 and 2 for lower case “e”s.
In 1950 Comet Linotype machines were
produced for newspapers. They were
operated by automation (6 level paper
tape machines) setting 12 pica lines, it was necessary to operate with two channels of l.c. “e”s.
Producing 12 pica lines @ 9 lines per minute you could break down side walls (due to heat) of lower
case “e”s in a short time. Also change the 30 spacebands at least 2 times in an 8 hr. shift.
Running ACE Elektron machines @ 14 lines per minute, we (Cuneo Press) changed 36 bands every 2
hrs. (apprentice machinists had to have something to keep them busy)