What to know to move a Linotype?

Some questions are coming up before moving a Linotype. Looks like an earlier post about moving a Windmill has relevant instructions applicable to a Linotype. Still, other questions have arisen:

For loading purposes, should a modern tow truck driver (with movable platform) be preferred over rolling the machine to and drawing up a ramp with a mechanical pull hoist on a dual-axle trailer?

Before transport, how much of the Linotype should be torn down before moving, to avoid loss of parts in shipment?

What are good tie-down points for a Linotype? What kind of rigging material should be preferred? Does anyone have preference for cribbing in particular places?

Thanks in advance.

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j archibald, remove the magazines, this is a 2 man job.
The catwalk on the back of the machine just lifts off. If it is a gas pot be sure to dope and cap the supply line. The lino
type looks top heavy but it’s not. I jack up the machine and
lag bolt on 4x4s to the feet. Once its on the 4x4s use pipes or machine casters to get it to your move vehicle. I rent a
single axle tilt bed equipment trailer about $40-60 per day
some places let you have it afternoon on friday for the whole weekend at a single day rate. Then you come along the machine up the trailer with a single 1” pipe and as it goes up the trailer the trailer levels out on its own, take the pipe out. I often have 2 comealongs working together in case one fails or slips. Make sure the lino is over the axle. There is an openinig on the base of the machine to attach chain cinches also you can use come alongs to tie down as well.I have a motto when I move heavy things Go slow,be methodical, don’t hurt yourself or others.best james

UPDATE: We’ve come to terms on the Linotype. Added bonus: it includes a 12x18 C&P and a 14x22.5 C&P, both motorized but without motors.

Now the question is: should we attempt to move the Lino and C&P’s on one trailer or two? I have access to two double-axle trailers, each with a load limit of 11K #.

My thinking is about safety. I’m considering it may be more safe to move two presses on one trailer and the Lino on the other. However, I anticipate having time to tear down the Lino before moving so the load weight may be lessened and handling on the trailer increased.

(Many thanks to Bill Spurling’s Linotype.org to make Linotype Machine Principles-Chapter 31 available for reading.)

Models vary, but lock the keyboard if it can be done, remove the plunger pin also, and everything loose like spacebands. In removing the magazines first make sure they are locked. Stripping down for weight strikes me as an unneccesary complication unless you are quite familiar with the machine. Tie down through main frame and feet, avoiding other parts as much as possible.

A Lino Model 31 will be about 3200 lbs, the 12 x 18 C&P about 1500 lbs and the 14 x 22 probably 2000 lbs. Sounds like it should all fit on a trailer. Use at least two chains and binders per item and yes you can run chains through the frame of the Linotype, it just takes some real reaching to get them through those real grungy spaces. Keep your tie downs low on the load and make sure any skids or blocking are secured to the equipment when moving (lag bolts).

Good luck and let us know how it went.

FYI, a 12x18 C&P is at least 2100 lbs. The 14x22 C&P is at least 2700 lbs.
Best wishes for a safe move.

UPDATE: There is new information. This past Friday, we cleared debris away from the C&P presses for an up close look at the machines. The Linotype appears to be in good condition. The C&P sizes are 10x15 and 12x18, both new style. Please disregard the earlier report which was based on my straddling myself over a mound of debris in poor lighting.

We found about 15 type cases. However, someone discarded the cabinet and type contents “a year ago.” Ugh. We also were allowed to search the premises for any motors but talked with the right people and found out the motors don’t exist any more.

Thank you for the comments above. There has been much discussion about the safest way to move three machines at once. At present, I have two pickups each towing a flatbed trailer with double axles, respectively, ready to receive the machines. The seller has a diesel powered forklift on site. We will have a location at the other end with a forklift to remove the Linotype and presses. They will be kept in a safe place until such time as I may work on them and get them back to running condition.

Some questions have arisen and I’ll share them here:

1. What are the hole sizes in the feet of the C&P presses, respectively?

2. What are the hole sizes in the feet of a Linotype?

Folks, you’ve been very helpful on this project. I’ll share more when I know it.


>2. What are the hole sizes in the feet of a Linotype?

On my Model 29 (which is very similar in its basic framework to a Model 31), I used 5/8 inch bolts (the holes are slightly larger than that, but I can’t find my notes right now). I use carriage bolts through-bolted from below (lag screws from above can pull out). My own preference is to use Grade 5 hardware.

There is a floor plan for a Model 31 which you might find useful in the “Erection Procedure for the Model 31 Blue Streak Linotype.” Presently this is at:


(that’s all one long URL without spaces) but I hope to move a higher-resolution copy to archive.org in the near future.

Note that the hole locations are NOT in-line front-to-back! I drill the skids on-site to fit the machine.

David M. MacMillan

Just checked, and the holes are about 7/8” on the feet of my Model 14, 1934. 3/4” bolts would work; like DMM, I’d use carriage bolts rather than lag bolts which can be dislodged.

>Before transport, how much of the Linotype should be torn down before moving, to avoid loss of parts in shipment?

In terms of small bits that fall off…

Over the back of the keyboard (sometimes also behind the keyboard) are simple sheetmetal covers that just sit there. Remove them.

There is probably a matrix tray for pi mats near the pi stacker (to the right of the keyboard); remove it.

The Channel Entrance (near the top in back, where the mats go from the Distributor down into the top of the Magazines) may flop open if the machine bounces. It’s best to strap it closed.

It wouldn’t hurt to remove the Distributor Box (the shiny unit up where the mats go into the Distributor). It can shake loose. To remove it, loosen the handle BEHIND it - which acts like a left-handed thread. Then wiggle it free and remove it downward. If you don’t remove it, you should secure it (e.g., wrap around it with stretch-wrap a few times).

Make sure that the bolt-handle which secures the keyboard from below is firmly snugged up. I nearly lost one that wasn’t.

You probably want to remove the step from the back of the machine. It just lifts off (or at most loosen two bolts and it lifts off). It can bounce off by itself.

In general, go all over the machine and examine it for anything that looks like it might rattle off in transit. Remove and/or secure these bits as appropriate. If you’re removing something, take a quick digital picture of it first, or of you holding it right next to where it goes.

It also doesn’t hurt to “mummify” the machine in stretch-wrap AFTER it’s secured. Stretch-wrap is cheap (e.g., from Uline).

If there are still Linotype-related tools with the machine (magazine brushes, pot tools, etc.) then be sure to get them all. It’s also nice to have the original operator’s cabinet and chair, if they still exist.

It is quite likely that there are mats in all sorts of places inside the machine. Whether you want to try to remove them prior to transit or just leave them is up to you. They probably won’t be to any font of mats that you have, but in a curious way they document the history of the machine. I was surprised at first when I removed a couple dozen before moving a machine and then found a couple dozen more afterward - but a friend just moved a Model 31 and found over 90 mats in the machine after he’d moved it in an open trailer.

David M. MacMillan

The _Erection Procedure for the Model 31 Blue Streak Linotype_ scan (which has a useful floor plan even if one isn’t assembling a machine) is now in a permanent home at higher resolution at The Internet Archive:


David M. MacMillan

The Linotype is a Model 8, gas. I’m preparing a binder of sheets to take with me as instructions for some of the easier items to remove from the Model 8. I talked with the forklift operator who moved the Linotype into the warehouse in 2006. He said the machine was so heavy, he couldn’t angle it backward on the forks. We also have a police officer to help with traffic.

We move everything Friday morning (tomorrow). I’ll let you know how it goes.


If anyone out there knows where a Model L or a Model 5 in working condition might be available, please let me know. I have—-for sale or trade—-a Model 14 that was running until five years ago, and needs a little loving attention.

Asheville NC
[email protected]