Is this Lead for Linotype?

I was going through some stuff in my shop.
There was an old fruitcake tin that had not been opened by me in a number of years. My Grandfather had some soldering supplies in there and odds and ends. The picture is of one of the “odds”. My best guess is lead to be melted down for
a Linotype machine or fishing sinkers. Any input or recognition of the numbers(888 ??
I feel I should know this but it is not coming to the surface.

image: Lead.jpg


Log in to reply   9 replies so far

that doesn’t look like linotype metal to me. I’ve got tons of the stuff, and it’s all in much larger ingots.

That looks like a stick of solder. Dutchboy used to make an 888 soldering alloy that was rather popular with Hotrodders for body filling. That’s what I’d guess it is.

No, this is not typemetal of any kind. As Winking Cat suggested, it is plumber’s solder manufactured by the National Lead Company under their “Dutch Boy” brand. They graded these in a proprietary system from 111 to 888. The numbers don’t correspond to any particular alloy. Grade 111 was 50/50 lead/tin and was their best grade. Grade 888 was of unspecified higher-lead alloy and was their roughest grade.

See “Lead Products” (St. Louis, MO: National Lead Co. 1939), p. M-4 (image 55 of the digitization), which is online at The Internet Archive at:

David M.

Thanks for info
With hindsight I realize I should have included a tape/
ruler for scale in pic.
Also, that size would not be practical for melt down
And most pertinent, since object was found with soldering supplies, why did I just assume it had some other unrelated function? Guess that type solder is just a hair before my time; can’t ever recall seeing it in that form.
Interesting information.

Leading this back to printing, wasn’t National Lead Company also the maker of Blatchford honeycomb plate base?

Mike H. Sir as the first 2 replies suggest, almost certainly plumbers material, but as you imply in your last post not such a misconception or wrong assessment as you (possibly) think!!!
Here in the U.K. and I suspect, within the same time frame in the U.S.A., in the last few years of Hot Metal, in its commercial form, we had one main supplier of raw materials for the Print Trade, I.E. Monotype, Linotype, Ludlow/Elrod, & News print Stereos, the Company was Fry,s Metal Foundries, in Surrey, U.K.
It was standard practice for a representative sample of the lead in use in the Printing Works to be sent back to Fry,s, it was assayed and REVIVER, ingots?? supplied for inclusion in every re melt in the house smelter, normally 3 Cwt,… 5 Cwt, occasionally 10 Cwt. for News Print Houses, and in some cases OPEN TROUGH, water cooled Moulds???
Mike, your incorrect asessment is, (possibly) not that far off the mark, BECAUSE (they) the Re Processors Supplied tiny ingots with exactly the right amounts of raw Tin/Antimony to bring the house material up to scratch, They were identified in 2 ways, the word *fromo* was cast in and part of the mould, and the actual ratio was stamped in with number punches, especially relevant, if the house (print) was running in different units, Monotype, Linotype or News Stereos.???
I am in no way suggesting that your *ingot(s) is anything other than, Plumbers material, BUT in the case of our re processors, they covered Every, aspect of lead and lead related materials, I.E. Hot Metal printing supplies, Plumber,s Solder, Lead Seam Lining, (as above) Toy soldier materials, Bullitt Makers, raw materials, and much much more!!!
The reviver Ingots for Hot Metal were about 8-9 inches long, 1 and 1/4 inches wide and about, 1/4 of an inch thick, how does that compare to yours???
Our plumbers solder was, *A* normally as sticks about 9-12 inches long on triangular section, with no identifying marks other than being triangular, or *B* as flat bars 9-12 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1/4 of an inch thick, usually for old fashioned plumbers to *wipe* large lead joints with??
How does that compare to yours??

Perhaps one excuse (albeit poor one) for not including
a tape measure in pic for scale was that thing was broken up and although I did try to get the pieces re-assembled
in an attempt to get idea of size of a complete “ingot”
couldn’t accomplish that
They are about 11/16” wide and 3/8” hgt

Mike, Thank you for your response, unless you have half an imperial ton, hidden away, you probably will not end up rich, but it is nice to get to the bottom of niggling little queries, at the end of the day it hopefully helps the new devotees!!!
Just for interest take one more little look? as you imply BROKEN? it still might just be a REVIVER ingot, if it were plumbers lead that is almost impossible to break, Unless YURI GELLER has been at it!!
Plumbers lead in normal use, either with Blow torch or Soldering iron, would normally end up with a taper point,
where as a reviver ingot would break to expose a very crystalline appearance, how looks yours?
Apologies Buddy, for more ramblings, & Happy New Year, Mick

No dice on the crystalline appearance;
I’m going with the plumber’s solder answer

Mike, Thanks, look forward to swapping some constructive banter during the coming year, Have a good one.!! Mick.