Engraving and Linotype metal

Has anyone ever tried melting/cast plates of Linotype metal for engraving purposes?

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I don’t know about hand engraving, but the late Jim Rimmer cast plates of typemetal to use for the intermediate patterns in his matrix engraving process. These were engraved using a Taylor-Hobson pantograph engraver (with a rotary pyramid-shaped cutter); the American Gorton P1-2 is a similar (derivative) machine.

Rimmer cast these using a small stereotype casting box. This process is shown in one of the “extras” on the DVD of the film about him, “Making Faces.” I wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to improvise an alternative casting arrangement if one lacked a casting box, at least for the size plates he was using.

See for example the trailer for “Making Faces” at:


or its home page at P22:


The difference between this and what you probably wish to accomplish, of course, is that Rimmer used only the sides of what he cut into these patterns, while I presume you’d wish to use the surface.

David M.

The Mexican artist Posada did relief engravings in lead, and though I have seen and printed from his original blocks, I am not sure what exact metal they were. Typemetal, stereotype, straight lead. Of the lead blocks I proofed the largest was by another Mexican artist, and the metal was relatively brittle and had many cracks in it. I would think typemetal would stress that way in such a large block. This might be a good use for old stereotypes, which metal should not be used for typecasting.