looking for info on Line-O-Scribe show card writer

I recently aquired a Line-O-Scribe show card writer. I’m not sure if it’s complete, or exactly how it operates….Anyone have any info?

Log in to reply   33 replies so far

I think that you are referring to a Line-O-Scribe show card press. The term “writer” does not make sense to me, but there were a plethora of Line-O-Scribe proof presses in different sizzes and configurations manufactured well into the 1960’s and possibly later. I did have a catalog for these at home and searched for it last night to no avail. I then realized that I had given it, along with a Line-O-Scribe press to a historical museum. If it is indeed any one of a number of Line-O-Scribe presses, they are basically very simple machines and it should not be too hard to determine if it is complete. They did generally come with a plate that could be inserted into the bed if type is set-up and locked directly into the press. This plate could be removed it the type to be printed was already in a galley. The plate compensated for the thickness of the bottom of a galley.

Thanks for the info. The tag on it says”…writer”, but it is basicly a table top proof press. There is no plate. I goggled it and found very little, except that some may or may not use magnets in some way to lock the type(?)

Reuben, I have a Line-O-Scribe cataloge with instructions for care of the Line-O-Scribe machine model B. I would be happy to copy the info and mail it to you. Most of the cataloge is type fonts, but the instruction part is very clear.

That would be great, Thank you. I’ll e-mail my adress.

hi reuben, i started out printing on a signpress similar to the line-o-scribe. you can use magnets to lock up polymer or magnesium plates, or woodcuts or linoleum cuts. if you have ever printed on a larger cylinder press (like a vandercook) i have also had a lot of success locking up forms in the bed of the signpress the same way i would on a cylinder press, using quoins and wooden furniture. you should have some kind of dial on the press where you can adjust the height of the rollers, and you ink whatever you’re printing with a brayer. hope that helps a little.

Hi, I am a teacher at a high school and teach newspaper and journalism. Someone just gave me a line-o-scribe sign machine made by the morgan company of Chicago, and we would like to learn how to use it , but we do not have a clue how it works! I believe it was made in the 50’s and it would be a good experience for my students to understand how the older generation did things before computers. Please if someone could help with some instructions from a manual it would be greatly appreciated. The kids might actually listen to learn something from the older generation. I read the other discussion about a plate and magnets, but still do not get it.


It’s been years since I used a Morgan Line-O-Scribe sign press, but I just brought home a Line-O-Scribe Show Card Writer and it’s not quite the same thing. Although pretty obviously an ancestor of the Morgan sign machine, my Show Card Writer isn’t as heavily built, nor will it take standard type high type or cuts. It came with large rubber type and a couple rubber “cuts” only about 1/4” thick. The nameplate says “Line-O-Scribe Show Card Writer Line-O-Scribe Inc. Adrian Michigan.” Anybody have any further info?


Dave, What you have is a Line-O-Scribe model R. They made two models. The model R used a rubber type that you descried. The model B uses normal metal or wood type. I hope this helps. Howard

Howard, thanks for the info. I never thought of two models with different bed heights - do you know if otherwise they were basically the same? It makes me wonder why they went to the trouble of making (or having made) the rubber type & cuts, which I’m guessing were unique to their press, when standard type and cuts were so widely available. I suppose they could sell the rubber type for less than wood type, and also increase their own sales?



I recently aquired a Line-O-Scribe “Sign Matic”. Use seems to be pretty self-evident to me, so maybe the ones people are asking about here are different. I am attaching a picture of the critical part - an adjustment wheel sort of thing. If you press on the two small spring-loaded silver things sticking out from the wheel, you can then rotate the wheel, which raises or lowers the roller in the thing that rolls over the bed, thus changing the pressure. It’s got a fair amount of variability, so combined with sheets of 1/4” or 1/2” plywood, you can print anything from 1/8” thick through 1”

image: Proofing-Press-Dial_2082.jpg


I, (well my Father, who lives in Sumter, South Carolina) has picked up a little letter press at an antique store he frequents, which happens to be next door to the defunct print-shop that the press came from. He has been threatening to send the manual to me..but so, far that hasen’t happened. I spoke to him this past weekend and got some information from it. It is a Morgan Line-O-Scribe, model #1422 (14x22 bed), I believe it had a few trays of type, manual, and a stand. I am heading back the end of October to bring it will back up with me. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it on my woodblock prints and such.

I just got a Line o Scribe as well. I’ve tried it out on linoleum blocks (great!), type (not as good as my trusty Sigwalt Ideal-but bigger print area) and polymer plate with boxcar base (worked fine). All seemed to have different height settings… I think it wants to hit the front edge of the printing area too forcefully. Maybe that means I have too much pressure? I also noticed when I locked up my form against the side rails and front and back stop there is a tendency for the type to sort of arc/lift up. I guess I could just use a spare chase and use furniture to lock that in place but it seems a bit too complicated. Maybe I should be using larger furniture for the larger blank areas? Maybe using lots of smaller pieces encourages flexibility? I would love to see instructions to learn if I’m missing something. I really like the paper holder device.

stop by my flickr page to see how I use a similar press.
This link shows me inking the plate. The consecutive pictures show the process I use to print.

Thanks, Boundstaff! I really enjoyed looking at your pictures. Love “Stripes”! I also have a Sigwalt 6” x 9” and a mystery press similar to the Sigwalt. I like the directness of the proof press. So exactly what do your magnets do and how big are they? I’ve bought some magnets but when I tried them out (largish bars) I found that the linoleum block can still shift as the roller goes over it. Do your magnets go all the way across? I saw what is probably a show card line-o-scribe for sale and it seemed to have a roller carriage thing. I’m thinking that would be a great modification to my press. I miss the even ink application of the rollers on the Sigwalt. There are photos of my line-o-scribe at my blog:

This past weekend my family and I made the trip to South Carolina to visit my father and upon leaving, loaded up the Line ‘O Scribe press and the cabinet w/ 3 drawers of type - both metal and wood. Today, I decided to give it a try but noticed the tension knob was missing 1 of it’s “stays”…great…So, I went to cleaning out the cabinet and ran across the missing “stay”..but not the tension spring for it. Would anyone know where to get another spring to replace the missing one? Without it the roller doesn’t remain tensioned to the correct height.

I too have a Line-O-Scribe show card press. The patent date is 1935 and I believe that to be about the time my father would have purchased it. I would like to know its value so I can determine what I want to do with it. I have used it in years past but really have no use for it now. It does have some historical value for my immediate locale and maybe could be a possible museum acquisiton.

There are lots of Line-O-Scribe presses out there. The first thing anyone would need to know before offering any kind of valuation is what size (dimensions) is your paritcular press and what condition is it in, etc. A picture would go a long way towards helping to determine a value

Thank you, Foolproof. I will try to get a good picture and post it along with the dimensions and a list of the accessories I have.

No one?
:…but not the tension spring for it. Would anyone know where to get another spring to replace the missing one? Without it the roller doesn’t remain tensioned to the correct height.”
I can get a spring custom manufactured for $190.00 per (1ea.) - but obviously would like to find one a little cheaper.

Since you have one spring, how about posting a photo of it so we can see just what you need. While somebody out there probably has an extra Line-O-Scribe spring or a parts press to salvage one from, finding it may be difficult. But if the spring is what I’m thinking of, and memory serves, it’s a fairly small, lightweight spring and I’d think you could find something similar that could be modified to work.


Here it is. It’s a “U” shaped torsion spring, that I thought I found something to work yesterday- but no luck..

image: 1104081700.jpg


image: 1104081701.JPG


image: 1104081700a.JPG


Well, I finally found a spring that I was able to manipulate to make it work. I went to a Musicians repair shop (very old-school) that has been in business for years, and they were able to dig for a spring. I am ready to rock on the printing now. In a few weeks I am heading back to my fathers place in S.C. and we are going to check out another place which he said another press is located.

I have several boxes of type for the showcard machines.

I used a showcard machine when I ran a sign shop for Sears 1974-1977. I later opened my own sign shop and had 2 showcard machines, one 14” x 22” and one large 28” x 44”. Several years before ebay and the internet I got rid of the machines by selling them for salvage scrap. I kept a workbench that was actually from the morgan sign company. I was actually quite good at producing showcards and knew my machines inside and out. Did a lot of research and experimentation.

My husband is insisting I get the last of the sign stuff out of his garage so if anyone is interested…I will entertain any serious offer. I have about 16 drawers full of wooden type.

Has anyone ran across a Line O Scribe like this? The overall dimensions are 8’L x 39”W x 31”H.

image: large line o scribe2.jpg

large line o scribe2.jpg

In responce to Jackie Talbert or to any one who has some TYPE for this show card press. please reply. The model I have uses both wood and metal type. It has a magnetic bed that helps hold the type in place. It also uses both wooden and metal spacers. I have some type, but want to set some more wordy stuff. thanks

I have acquired a Line-O-Scribe Sign Machine model number 1422 serial no. m11435. I am new to this whole printing thing. I am interested in knowing what is included in a complete set of “type set” blocks. (probably wrong verbage). I have both wooden and metal blocks. If anyone has any info on this machine or even instructions for operation it would be appreciated. I have three different sizes of letter blocks. Also, what do I use to properly clean the ink plate? And, what year was this press made?

skanderson09, a complete set of type is a “font” . you can use regular type on your sign press, check out type founderys in the yellow pages on this site. to clean ink from the plate or type keroscene or coleman fuel will work fine. good luck Dick G.

Does anyone know approximately when this Line-O-Scribe Sign Machine Model 1422 was made? If I were interested in selling it where would I go? What does a machine like this sell for?

I just acquired a Line-O-Scribe Machine Model 1422 S/N M 3370. I have been running some prints through it. I am not getting a consistent inking. I think the roller may be worn out. Does anybody know if the rollers were able to be replaced?

i have one to but i do not know the price.it is in good shape and if some one make me a offer i mite take it and i have a 1920,monarch pin-on 70

I am researching a line-o-scribe - model 1411. serial #2M1230. My retail clothing business purchased it new many moons ago. Trying to assertain the date of manufacture, value, and owners manual on how to operate. The machine is NOT for sale. I want to display the machine along with other artifacts as we celebrate our 80th anniversary. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have a small table top business card size press. The marking on the cast iron base is “JUNIOR PRESS CO MERIDEN CONN”. On the other side of the cast base is simply marked “PAT. APPL’D FOR”. The only other markings on the press are the numbers “404” which is hand stamped (with 1/4” numerals) on top of the operating lever near the platen, “405” stamped on the bottom of the ink table and “408” stamped on the roller support casting. These may just be part numbers of the press assembly. I also have a copy of the “Printer’s Guide Book” published by The Kelsey Press Company, Meriden, Conn. and a sack of more than 300 type characters and spacers of various thickness (made of lead I think). The closest press model that I see in the Briar Press Museum is the Junior Excelsior Model R, but it does not look exactly the same, nor is it marked as “Excelsior” or “Model R”. This press seems to be in reasonably good condition with no apparent sign of missing parts or hardware. It does need a good cleaning and some lubrication. The roller looks pretty good and the chase blocking is present. There is some light rust on the ink table and the platen. I’d like to learn as much about this press as possible. I’m wondering if the “PAT. APPL’D FOR” marking is an indication of this being either a prototype or pre-production version of the Excelsior. Also, I’m wondering what the approximate year of manufacture would be for this press. Any ideas about the estimated value of this press would also be appreciated. Thanks!

image: KLP-09.jpg


image: KLP-06.jpg


image: KLP-05.jpg


image: KLP-04.jpg


image: KLP-03.jpg


image: KLP-02.jpg


image: KLP-01.jpg


Come on Alan wake up and respond. Alan at Excelsior Press has forgotten more than i will ever know about the Kelsey Company and these presses. Dick G.