Largest numbering machines

What is the largest number size that someone has run? I have an old “Wetter” machine here that has 1/4” numbers. It seems to malfunctiong as the “0” in a “place holder” position is dropping down. In other words, the number 5009, for instance is printing, 5 09.

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In the UK there used to be a machine called a Halley. This was the size of a Wharfedale, and had a skeleton framed sort of drum of wheels. One bolted onto those wheels true
rotary numbering boxes i.e. with radiused faces, made for that machine by Lethabys (Leda) and the face of the number on those was at least a quarter inch high, at least they were on our machine. Hand fed, to a timed gate, output was pretty good for that sort of thing, maybe 700 sheets an hour
Set up a bindery foreman, (with some bad language) and fed by a bindery lady. The bindery also had hand ‘pull over’ machines with numbers near on half an inch high, for things like foredge tabs on a bound volume. . ,

Eric, the reason the zero is not printing is that in all likely hood the foot under the zero has been crushed or bent from excessive squeeze, quite often this happens when a jam-up is encountered. Maybe could have been running a 3 part form any say 3 sets went through…BAM a smash. The max size that a standard letterpress press can print is limited by the height of the machine .918, this in turn limits the diameter of the numerals engraved on the wheel. I have machines with numerals over 1 1/2” in height….but these machines are about 4 1/5” tall. You need to machine out a pocket in the bed of the press you plan on running them on. If you want your Wetter fixed, send it to me and I will do it for you. Bud

This could also be due to the lip on the shaft that the drop cipher rides on being chipped or dinged, too — or in combination with the damaged drop ciphers; if you can unscrew the shaft and turn it 180 degrees and the ciphers print, it’s the shaft.
Background on this: I’ve been doing this for about sixty years. Our shop has over 800 machines, from midgets to jumbos, in every state from nearly new to hulks. I like 2727printer’s comments on over-type-high machines; I could have had a nearly-new Kluge with a cut-down chase bed and several of these Goliath-sized beasties once upon a time, but I passed on ‘em — my life was complicated enough!

I know about the “Pocket Beds” for the big machines. just wondering about the .918 type high stuff.


Maximum figure size on a type-high machine was 7/32” to clear; the swing, with the ratchet mechanism, was placed on the side below the figures, not underneath them (no room). A ponderous, but workable, piece of typographic equipment. most six-wheel machines measure about 14 picas, four points by eight picas, two points over sideplates. Contrast that to a midget machine!