Matching Matrix Teeth to Channel

Those numbers to the left look like a mess
but wait, Ill 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.)

Thats 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.

Matrix at left is lower case m.

Doing the math, octal 16 2 = channel 14 which is correct.


Channel for the 1/2 fraction is #48, normally occupied by the asterisk *.


28 and 34 Channel Auxiliary Magazines

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.


Close-up View of Combination Bar

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 es 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 es.

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. es.

Producing 12 pica lines @ 9 lines per minute you could break down side walls (due to heat) of lower case es 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)