Linotype mats

Will Linotype mats work in an Intertype caster?

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Yes. The machines are compatible at the matrix level.

David M.

Thanks, but just to let others know. Intertype mats do not work in Linotypes.

I have some Linotype mats if you are interested Colophon.
Message me if you want me to send over what I have, I have no need for them at all.

> Intertype mats do not work in Linotypes.

Could you be a bit more specific? What difficulties have you encountered?

While I seem to recall hearing that a very few Intertype faces in large point sizes had issues running in 90-channel Linotype magazines (especially with ‘W’), in general Intertype mats run just fine in Mergenthaler Linotype machines.

To quote from the Intertype Faces specimen book, “Intertype Wide Tooth Matrices Wear Long, Drop Straight, Cost No More and Run on Other Line Composing Machines.”

Of course, neither Intertype nor Linotype mats will run in Linographs, but Linographs are pretty scarce.

David M.

I have many Intertype mats that run in my Linotype. Mergenthaler sold mats to Intertype users, and Intertype sold mats to Linotype users. They were not mutually exclusive, but certain mats were modified to distribute properly.
As David points out, there are specific problems when you try to run mats whose ears (centered or aligned on side) were cut for the other system and a large cap W is a good example. You may have to make it a pi mat.

re lino and intertype matrices

I do not claim to know all kinds of matrices for lino and intertype; I presume Rogers tabular rule system was available for both machines. One of my fellow workers told me that when he went to a certain print shop, he was told: DON’T take mats from THAT machine and put them in THIS machine. [Because they were Rogers system.] Rogers system mats are punched slightly deeper, from memory equal to 3 points deeper. The mould is also changed, to give typehigh. I wonder if they are available for other standards of typehigh, it would need only a mould change, not any difference to the two ranges of mats.

At one place I worked, a new linotype was installed, and when the mats were run in, the engineer found that some of the [duplex display 18pt?] mats from a previous machine would not run, because (to make space for the mats in the 90 channel magazine) the channels were spaced unevenly so that the lugs had to be offset on some mats; only some of the mats were different. If I remember correctly, the magazines were wider, too.

When we went to cold type, the operator of the two typesetters fed a tape in, the machine stopped, so he fed the same tape into the other; it also stopped. Later we found that the machines’ programs did not like a spaceband [equivalent] followed by a quad left code. This was New Year’s Eve, and fortunately a rep from an opposition company was in town, dropped in to wish us season’s greetings, knew what to do to re-start the machines. Later we got a patch to the program to fix that glitch.

We often encountered problems to fix; a bolt which went through a cam latch of some function on a linotype, bolt specially shaped with a shoulder, loosened and snapped; I said, there’s no chance we have one of those on hand, but the operator looked through the motley collection of many bolts and small pieces, found the correct bolt.


P.S.: Just because I haven’t seen it, I can’t claim any particular thing does not exist. — A.

Those of us operating linecasters today are generally far removed from the original purchaser. That first purchaser gave Linotype or Intertype the specifications of their machine and got mats customized to shop needs. There were many variations in tooth combination and ear size and position for different magazines: 72-channel, various auxiliaries, wide mains, etc. Mats were made specifically for each, and you shouldn’t always expect cross-compatibility.
Today we are acquiring used mats with no history. So David’s work to understand tooth combinations should be appreciated by other users, because it helps us understand what we have and how it is used.

Further thoughts on Linotype and Intertype matrices.

Is the question a bit like asking if Goodyear and Dunlop tyres [tires] are interchangeable? The answer may be yes, if built for the same service.

However, I have been turning over my memory of what was, going back to prior to 37 years ago. My memory is that the 90 channel magazines on Intertype and Linotype accepted the same matrices up to about 14 point, BUT I have the picture in mind that Intertype had uneven spacing of the channels, whereas Linotype had even spacing. The obvious reason is likely to be that Intertype channel-spacing would allow a wider set-width of mats, therefore a larger fount [font] size.

There were special mats for special purposes. We never seemed to have any problems, but we did not try to cast (say) 24 point duplex display mats on a machine which was not equipped for that purpose. [The 24 point duplex display mats ran in an Intertype 90 channel magazine of normal design for Intertype machines. The typeface designs may have been slightly condensed.] I think we ran some Linotype mats in with Intertype in a magazine of 7 point for text setting in the newspaper, the Linotype face was Ionic No. 5, dunno what Intertype called theirs, but no one could see any difference except the brand on the mats.

Talking about differences, no one noticed that when we got some extra mats for the lower case < a > channel in 10 point Metrolite and Metrobold [Mergenthaler] that the new mats were of the style which looks nearly like an < o > while the old ones were like the < a > used in this text. Not till we came to the word Saab; the proofreader was quite upset, having started work circa year 1936 as copyholder. [His accuracy was legendary.] None of the people who read the newspaper ever complained, not like the corporate customer who wanted two strokes in the $ sign in a balance sheet.

When we went to cold type and photosetting, we had some problems, such as the name Burns when set in a sans-serif face, which we could have fixed because we could increase the space between characters in steps of one-eighteenth of an em, but nobody complained, and we had enough other problems to deal with.

I detect some errors of history, so I try to give my memories, but, as Maggie Thatcher was reported to have said once, nobody’s infallible; but that was a joke report, not actually true report.


[Hope my proofreading of this text is OK.] — A.

Can anyone out there lend me some intertype mats of 12pt or 14pt so I can test out a machine that is for sale?
I will pay shipping cost both ways. Just want to set a few lines to see if everything works before I invest in a complete set of mats for it. Maybe 40-50 assorted letters. Owner has sold off all his brass for $.

Thanks, CH