Multigraph Typesetter No 59

Hi, I’m new to the site and appreciate this greatly. I recently purchased a Multigraph Typesetter No 59. I have a great love for printing and it was the only things I’ve been able to get my hands on……… yet. Does anyone have any information regarding? Right now it’s a cute paperweight, but I would love to get it going. It is clean and I have the type to go with it. I’m not able to find much on line. Thanks for whatever you can tell me. It appears to have a ribbon of sorts? It may have had a roller that you could attach to the top as an alternate source. No for sure.

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It sounds like what you’re asking about is actually a Multigraph printer, not a No. 59 Typesetter (although you may have one of those too). The impressively-named “Multigraph Typesetter No. 59” is just the little sheet-metal box holding three angled racks full of type which is gravity-fed to be picked off the lower edge with a “composing fork.” Although simple, the No. 59 (and its cast-iron predecessor, the “Flexo-Typesetter No. 39”) actually do work quite well for setting certain varieties of Multigraph type.

The different models of Multigraph letterpress “printers” vary quite a bit but all can indeed print or proof through a wide ribbon, and almost all can print with regular ink (if the ink rollers are there). If you could post a picture of what you have, or find a model number on a decal, I’ll be happy to help with info specific to your model. And be assured that, although seemingly far different than a conventional platen press, the Multigraph is actually a pretty decent and capable 8x12” tabletop letterpress.

Thanks Dave , you are correct. I have both the typesetter and the printer I believe. The printer is a #60. I just see that now. Attached are pictures. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated!

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Nice cat.

(Sorry that I had nothing else to add)

Nice Multigraph press, too, looks very clean. The model 60 was introduced in early 1922 as “A new Multigraph at a new price” ($150 for the basic machine, ink rollers and typesetter extra). It was a successor to the earlier No. 40 “Multigraph Junior”, they sold lots of No. 60’s and they seem indestructible, a very solid machine.

As you probably figured, you’re missing the sheet metal paper feed table, but that can be jury-rigged (and I’m thinking about having some made since they seem to always go astray!). As for ink rollers, the good news is yours had the optional rollers so you have the drive gear for the form roller; unfortunately you’re missing not only the rubber roller (replaceable) but the eccentric shaft for the form roller, and the upper large metal oscillating roller.

Do you have any of the accessories, like a composing fork? Do you need instructions on using the press? You can use it pretty much as is to print through the ribbon (assuming the ribbon still has some life left in it), but printing with ink gives much better quality — so how much do you want to put into this to make it do its best work?

These Multigraphs are always missing something, usually the inking roller and feed / delivery tables. If you own one of the early Gammeter models with the ink fountain you’d go broke having all the rollers recovered. I have found that there is virtually no interest in them other than Dave himself and he, I guess, has the market cornered. I sent three to the junkyard this year after stripping them for lathe stock and melted down 10 pounds of the gawd-awful type.

I find this interesting, I went in to my shop and dug around and found the same machine A GAMMETER NO 3 with practically all the accessories. This one has a factory table designed for an accessory electric motor with a three speed pully. The round leather belt is with it but no motor. The table has a switch and a plug in for power. The feed table is complete as well as the delivery table.The only missing component is the small reciprocating ink delivery roller. There are spare ink blankets and about 200 type holders and a composing stick, some of the type holders are round and some are square and lots of pied type. There are some lino carved cuts on brass sheet curved to fit the cylinder, there is also a spare cylinder. I bought it about 30 years ago and have never touched it, although I did feed some paper through it once. Thanks for the reminder Dave

Yeah, what ever happened to all the oscillating rollers for these machines? I’ve never seen one.

And Dave, FYI, before you go deep into fabricating tables, I saved a set of feed and delivery tables from a 60. Advertised them twice. Zero interest.

Tomorrow I’m driving down to L.A. for Saturday’s Printers Fair, so I’ve been pretty busy stuffing ink into tubes and printing labels & boxes (on my Multigraph, of course!) and I’ll have time to comment more on the above posts when I get back — but John, many (most?) presses (at least platen presses) from the early 1900s tend to be missing things, frequently feed/delivery tables and almost always rollers, so I think Multigraphs are fairly normal in that respect. Unfortunately the oscillating roller (which is the Multigraph equivalent of a rotating ink disk) is quite a bit more complex than a typical simple ink roller, and wasn’t held in by anything other than gravity (but I do have several oscillating rollers, just not as many as I have Multigraphs!). Dave, your Gammeter No. 3 is interesting, and happens to be a Multigraph model that I don’t have. What do you mean by “ink blankets”?

Dave R.

Dave, any ability to post a video or email one of the press in action . Still interested in restoring mine. Would welcome a quote on what parts I need that you could supply.

I think missing oscillating rollers on Multigraphs are a little bit like missing treadles on platen presses — it does make you wonder where they all went, it’s hard to make the press work without them, and they’re somewhat of a problem to jury-rig or replace (in the case of Multigraph oscillators, I’d guess one from a Multilith offset press could be cut down to use). And I suppose that’s one of the reasons I cringe whenever I hear of anything letterpress being sent to scrap or melted down, seems like somebody might need it, but of course I do realize most of us simply don’t have space to save everything. As far as that “gawd-awful” Multigraph type, if it was damaged or typewriter face, melting it was maybe the thing to do, but if it was regular “printer’s” typefaces it was most likely ATF type, as American Type Founders supplied their standard faces (cast on short T-base body) to Multigraph for many years (although there were also third-party alternatives).

Unfortunately the demand for Multigraph equipment, parts, type, etc. is indeed pretty limited. I’ve tried to save and preserve what Multigraph items I could, partly because it seems nobody else is doing just that. John, thanks for saving those feed & delivery tables, if Rumeryinic isn’t interested I would be. I’m guessing you advertised them only here on Briar Press, and I admit I don’t read the BP Classifieds very often. I think I did see your ad once but checking back to respond a couple days later could not locate it again.

A video of a Multigraph working is an idea. I do have to admit that Multigraphs “in action” aren’t nearly as interesting to watch as platen presses, though. As the crank goes around, the drum (with type) rotates, and a sheet of blank paper goes in one side, then comes out printed on the other end, that’s about it. Depending on the model, most or all the other “action” happens inside the machine, and much of it is just small gears (and related) rotating. But I’ll see what I can find or do.

Here’s my Tickopres which seems to be a UK-made version. It seems to work OK. The ink roller moves from side to side and the paper moves through cleanly.

I’m really keen to get hold of type for it as it only came with a small business card set in it. You kindly emailed me earlier Dave and said you could help me…

Also, is it possible to adapt these to mount either lino or polymeric plates?

image: This is all the type that came with it.

This is all the type that came with it.

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image: Large oscillating roller

Large oscillating roller

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Rainer Gerstenberg in Darmstadt still casts type for these machines, in German they’re called: Kurztypen.

[email protected]

On the photo you see him casting them.

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What did people print on these machines?

My daughter cats, only help me with emails, if your cat can print, I’ll trade.

I have the “Multigraph Multilith Instruction Manual: Parts Catalog and Complete Instructions For Operating and Using Multigraph and Multilith Equipment” manual that I could scan. It says it is for models 57, 59, and 66. I’m not sure if my manual has all the pages in it anymore or not, but let me know if you’d like me to send what’s there.

Also have a manual for the model 230 and 240.

I have some metal type for multigraph & roneo machines - youngs accuratype
14pt times roman caps
10pt times roman l/case

Free to a good home, just pay the carriage if you are not in the UK

Hi there. I just bought the exact same machine and I can’t quite figure out how it works. i thought it would be simple since I teach offset printing in college :) there is a stop pin that I can’t quite figure out. Any help on operating this machine would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!

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Need help and if about a Multigraph printer and typesetter. I have no idea how its supposed to work, if all the parts are there. What kind of ink do I use and where would I find spare parts if they are needed. Thank you in advance. I can post pictures if needed

I can post pictures of my mutigraph if anyone is will to tell me if its missing anything or can give more information on the machine

I, too, have a Multigraph, a No. 36 I think. The number is kind of worn off. I have no idea where to put the ink, which way you crank it, where the paper goes, etc., but I have some guesses. I fear I’m missing a roller, as the oscillating one at the top back does not touch the type. If anyone has a manual or verbal instructions, I’d greatly appreciate it. I would love to use this thing for some artwork including type that I have in mind. Anybody?

Someone above asked about what these presses were used for. My original acquisition was from a minister whose father, also a minister, had acquired the equipment in the 1930s and did the Sunday church programs on it. Additional type and equipment from some now unremembered source appeared to be from some membership group (can’t remember what but agricultural I believe) and had dozens of pre-set addresses. It looked to have been used to send out letters to members, each one personalized with the name and address.
Everything I collected was transferred several years ago to Dave Robison (see above) probably the leading collector and expert on the use of the machines. He prints with them which is further than I ever got!
I might add that Paul Aken has a large collection of Multigraph equipment but I don’t think he ever uses any of it.

Thanks so much for the information, I was starting to worry no one would respond. Mine looks like it was used for flyers for a grocery store or possibly a butcher, it has different cuts of meat and prices per lb. How could we get more information from this Dave fellow? He sounds like he would have the info we need if he’s actually able to print with them.

Dave is also the Ink-in-Tubes guy. But at times, like orchid season, he is not at all a ready responder.

Ahhh, gotcha. So we wait. Thanks!

Did anyone ever find out more info on the multigraphs?

Probably during and certainly post WW2 the UK Army Ordnance Depots used UK made Tickopress machines
with the special type. for ammunition box labels. The one at I Batallion R.A.O.C. at Blackdown in Hampshire in 1955 had two sizes of type about 14 and 24, and both were definitely Gill Sans. The Christmas menu for the men (with the officers serving) was printed with it by myself. This machine had a spare grooved cylinder which I still have. T he ends of the centred lines were held with tiny spring clips which were tricky to handle.

Probably during and certainly post WW2 the UK Army Ordnance Depots used UK made Tickopress machines
with the special type. for ammunition box labels. The one at I Batallion R.A.O.C. at Blackdown in Hampshire in 1955 had two sizes of type about 14 and 24, and both were definitely Gill Sans. The Christmas menu for the men (with the officers serving) was printed with it by myself. This machine had a spare grooved cylinder which I still have. T he ends of the centred lines were held with tiny spring clips which were tricky to handle.

And, just in case that you want to invest in new type for your machine, Rainer Gerstenberg inDarmstadt, Germany still casts the stuff:
It’s called ‘Kurz Typen’ (short type).