Acquired some Linotype items recently, and in the collection are these two pictured items - one batch looks like “thins” for spacing with no sorting teeth. What would they have been used for and how? Also, some heavier blocks about the shape of the matrices but perhaps used as weights to hold up a line of matrices in a tray? I can’t see how they could be used in the machine. Any ideas?

image: LinotypeBlocks.jpg


image: Linothins.jpg


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those thins were used to letter space, they were inserted in the line of type in the assembler then after casting they would drop in the tray when the line transferred after casting. You got it right about the weights.

I have what I guess is aluminum, brass, and copper letter spacing and I believe that is from thinnest to thickest.

Also a pic of the weights.

image: Weights.JPG


image: Spacing.JPG


The thins are called hair space. The different material denotes a different weight. They come in 1/4 point, 1/2 point, 1 point, etc.

They are used mainly in fine book work, where hyphenated words are to be kept to a minimum.

You would be surprised how much of a line can be justified with one of these between every character.