Successful Linotype & Presses Move

I want my friends in the Hot Metal section of this excellent Web site to know that I have successfully saved a Linotype and two printing presses, from a hotel in Hot Springs, Ark., to my city 30 miles away.

The Linotype is a Model 8, gas, and the presses are a C&P 10x15 and 12x18. We also retrieved a dozen empty type cases and an electric lead cutter.

… . .

I’ve had several discussions today (10/16/10) with people involved in the move. I deleted an earlier post because I felt it made the process sound too simple and easy. It isn’t. People who have never moved more than their personal belongings to a new home aren’t qualified to do this work. However, this Web site is a valuable clearing house for information and since there are very few Linotype moves happening, I am going to take the liberty to record for posterity the advance planning that went into this move.

First, thanks are in order to …

james bourland, for your description of how to move your Linotype. The skid method is by far the best.

parallel imp, for the advice to tie down through the main frame and feet.

mikefrommontana, for the rigging suggestion to have two chains and binders per machine. We did that and had at least one web belt tie-down per machine, too, and my memory is some machines had two.

skiyou, for the info on the weight of the machines and bolt holes and sizes at their feet when this data was most needed. We also followed your prevailing logic to use carriage rather than lag bolts. Lag bolts at the feet invite disaster.

David M McMillan, for what became my checklist of items to remove before transport. I found not fewer than 31 mats in the Linotype. Also, thank you for the reference to the manual for assembling a Linotype. My memorization of the diagram showing the inches between Linotype feet proved invaluable to the forklift operator at the hotel, when he was setting fork distances.

… and last but not least to John Horn, my mentor. You have proven to be an invaluable source of information and guidance. I value your frankness in printing matters.

Other factors that made a difference in this move:

* Both drivers of the trucks that towed the trailers had worked with me in different capacities over the years. We knew each other’s strengths and how to communicate effectively. One of the drivers and I have had several experiences in moving heavy equipment and pioneering. Further, the manager of the destination warehouse moves houses as a hobby.

* We had access to large forklifts at the points of departure and arrival.

* We had an experienced crew at the point of departure that had placed all of the equipment a few years ago in the warehouse from which we removed them. Unfortunately, an unknown forklift driver had turned the Linotype 180 degress from its original placement, a matter that lodged it too close to a wall.

* We had a designated person to handle onlookers. We had several people investigate the warehouse for the original motors. They are believed lost.

* We met with the hotel security and staff a week prior and reviewed our plan with them. They, in turn, notified their people about what would happen and when. I kept in contact with key people in the week before the move.

* We requested police assistance. The two Hot Springs Police officers on the beat that included the hotel were extremely courteous and effective at handling traffic. It helped that I knew one of them personally and that the same officer was the father-in-law of one of my drivers.

* We had wider-than-usual and longer-than-usual decks on our double-axle trailers. We knew their capacities, their modifications, their lengths, their widths and their rigging points. We spread out our machines across two trailers to reduce risk in transport, the presses on one trailer and the Lino on the other.

* We did a verbal run-through of the day’s events on the day before the move, to cross out potential errors or make last-minute tool acquisitions. We kept an online list of everything we would need on the day of the move. We updated it frequently.

* All told we have a minimum of 10 to 12 skilled people involved in the loading stage. Everyone had instructions that if the Linotype started to slip and fall, to let it fall.

* This list isn’t complete. I haven’t shared with you the initial look on the forklift operator’s face when I explained how we would need him to temporarily lift the skids to know where to drill the bolt holes … remember, the Linotype had been turned 180 degrees from where he previously parked it and he wasn’t thrilled with lifting it in its present position. … I haven’t shared the incredible difficulty that exists in trying to lift Linotype feet to mark holes for skids AND avoid the overhead HVAC ductwork, fire system pipes and hanging lights. … I haven’t shared the several other aspects of the loading process nor the constant awareness of all involved at all times of the placement of people, machines, trucks and trailers.

The time from prep to final load was six hours without any kind of break. The loading of the first press happened four hours after the prep work began. It was intense, strenuous and focused work. Also, we worked on a Friday afternoon inside our state’s largest hotel on a side street that accessed the main entrance to the most popular scenic drive in Hot Springs National Park.

Although we all thought the move happened smoothly, there were many moments where the entire process could have stopped. The unloading process had several difficulties that probably would have frightened lesser hands. At one point, we risked smashing one of the new style C&P skipper wheels against the forklift.

I now have the knowledge of how little it takes to lift a Linotype machine to the tipping point (sans magazines). It is a sight I will never forget. Thank God a Linotype has so much steel in its base that it cannot be rocked by human arms.

In closing, I am now of the opinion that we all have an obligation on this Web site. We have an obligation to ask people how they plan to move the floor-mounted equipment they want and what are their experiences in moving heavy objects?

Every post about someone looking for a heavy object, not just Linotypes, should include someone asking that information.

We should insist that people who lack experience in moving heavy objects get someone else to do it for them.

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Esp. if you have photo documentation, details of a linotype move would be much appreciated. Don’t think we have a document of a move in its entirety on the forum here.