Linotype conversion from gas to electric possible?

There may be an opportunity to acquire a Linotype Model 8 with gas pot in my area. My preference is for an electric (saves having to dig up the back yard and install a gas line). Any thoughts on the degree of difficulty to convert a gas Linotype to an electric pot machine? Thanks in advance.

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If you can find a electric pot that will fit your machine along with the appropriate controls, you can. However, it might be simpler to just buy the machine you would be getting the electric pot and controls off of (unless you find a wreck/parts machine).

Depending on your gas pot controls, you may be able to run your Linotype on propane. No, it’s not as elegant and it stinks a little at start up—BUT you will have working machine (and my conversion work may not be perfect either).

I have an Intertype with a gas pot and no gas to my shop, so I do run it off of propane bottles, until I can get gas plumbed to the building (then I’ll convert it back to gas). Happily there are only two orifices to fiddle with on the Intertype, there might be three on a Linotype. Still it would be far more reasonable to set up a gas machine to propane than finding the parts to convert to electric.

If you must go with electric, scrounge up the following: electric pot with heat controls and control panel, including wiring back to the electric service (the pot is a completely different circuit from the drive). Get a copy of Linotype Machine Principles and study what you need to know. Avoid the old style “clapper” pot controls and look at finding a later Microthern control (Dave Seat might be able to point you to a parts source).

If you can find the parts, I think the biggest challenge will be fitting the new pot to your machine and aligning the pot/mouthpiece on it. In any instance, go for it, there really aren’t that many machines out there any more (though I am sure more will show up to prove me wrong). Keep us appraised on your progress.

There is a lot less to go wrong with a gas pot. I think you get a better slug with gas. Nothing like uniform heating, pot, throat, mouthpiece. Changeover would be impractical, I believe. If you must go electric, look for another machine.

Mikefrommontana: Yes, I’m encouraged even more after your description to go for the machine. Thanks for the encouragement to run the machine on propane. How big of a tank do you use on your Intertype? How much operating time do you get from that size of tank?

James: Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

My machine runs on 20 lb bottles. If you’re going to be doing this for the long haul, get an outside tank or shelter so you can have two or three 20 lb tanks on a manifold—you can get by with less, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

My machine consumes about a pound an hour, so I get about 16 to 18 hours per tank. You might want to check the condition of the refractory above the burners, as if it’s coming apart, your pot will heat up slower (mine takes about 1 hour 15 minutes—a little under an hour is closer to the ideal. Always a good idea to keep a spare tank around, in case you run out on a Sunday afternoon or in the middle of the night.