Linotype serial number reference?

Does anyone have a link to a Linotype serial number reference sheet/Web site/or other? Did a word search here but haven’t found one. Dave Seat told me the “R” after the number on my machine means “rebuilt” but have got doubts that the rebuilding year can be discovered. Seller has no records.

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There are also several lists (by model, by serial number) on

As to the ‘R’ suffix serial numbers, Dave Seat told me that the serial number so suffixed is the serial number assigned at rebuild time. This fits with my limited experience. I have a Model 5, s/n 37969R. The numeric component of this serial number dates the machine to 1925, and this fits with the recollection of the previous owner as to its vintage. However, the machine frame is almost certainly that of a high-base Model 5, which would date it to between 1906 and 1908 (assuming that they stopped making high-base models with the introduction of the low-base Model 5 in 1908 - which is of course just an assumption). I have been unable to determine what the serial number of the original machine was.

David M. MacMillan

parallel_imp : Thanks for the reference. My serial number would indicate a a 1925 model. This is consistent with the business history of the previous owner. Thank you!

David - All of this is very intriguing. Did Linotype have a boneyard of used models? Did Linotype make a practice of removing data plates to install new ones on refurbished units? Or was your machine a one-of-a-kind due to a unique situation?

My Linotype as built in 1925 would be consistent with the construction date of the hotel that bought it. It isn’t unreasonable to consider that the Linotype would have had so much use that it would have been rebuilt at a later date, since the print shop in the hotel stayed busy and farmed out work to Oaklawn racetrack.

Of note, I saw no evidence of tampering with the data plate. On the other hand, I am not skilled enough to detect whether there are any pre-1925 modifications.

Fascinating information, isn’t it?

My Model 14 also has the serial number stamped into the frame, just to the left of the left pot leg, and in the back on the auxiliary magazine frame just under the distributor bar. I thought there was another number on the base somewhere under the main magazine, but can’t find it now.