Drop caps on a slug: which machine?

The attached image shows a group of slugs from a 1940s UK newspaper which I *assumed* were Linotype slugs until I saw the drop cap at the start of the papragraph.

The paper concerned possessed Intertype and Ludlow casters as well as Linotype so the field may be open as to which machine cast either the first slug with the drop cap, or possibly all of the slugs.

Can any old hands throw light on which machine/s may have cast the first slug with the drop caps, and the rest of the slugs.

All the slugs have “9A” cast onto them - possibly helpful evidence?

Advice gratefully received!

image: 1940sSlugWithDropCap1.JPG


image: 1940sSlugWithDropCap2.JPG


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Here is an additional image.

image: 1940sSlugwithDropCap3.JPG


It is not Ludlow, one for Monotype Mick

Its linotype, haven’t seen this done in years. You insert the larger mat by hand, then open up the knife block on the linotype (or Intertype) and cast the line, then the next line you indent to allow for the overhanging letter.

This was a very common techinique in grocery ads. Mergenthaler referred to it as two-line advertising figure work.

Platen Printer, Thank you Sir for the little post in my favour, but unfortunately my self proclaimed field of expertise ends with the lase *e* of Monotype, and after meeting an amazing Lady of 86 at the Museum Print Shop, 2 days ago, I consider my self downgraded to *L* plates, by implication, still a long way to go!!! … I have assimilated a little, more or less regarding the Lino/Intertype system in connection with the pros and cons of *Lino versus Monotype* both amazing machines and Horses for Courses …And could give an assessment of the above, because in some respects, I.E. overhanging Ascenders and/or Descenders also came into play with Monotype but became a little more complex with alignment at the Head or the Foot etc etc…The body of the slug is distinctively peculiar with the ribs to exact point size, but would I DARE to imply that DICK was anything other than 100% accurate. . . Dont want a Goats Head on my pillow, one dark night.

Bunch of old hands aren’t there? Old hands, old feet, old everything.

Many thanks folks for confirming the identification. Despite having a preference for Monotype, my respect for Linotype rises another notch on discovering that it could produce drop caps!

Parallel Imp sated that Linotype drop caps were ‘a very common technique in grocery ads’. Many mid C20 UK newspapers employed the technique at the start of each new article so it was perhaps even more commonplace (at least in the UK) in newspaper practice.

Mick - you spoke of ‘ribs to exact point size’ - does this imply that Linotype relied on the ribs for dimensional accuracy rather than the body of the slug?

Linotype slugs have oversize ribs which are trimmed by knives at ejection for exact body size (this is adjustable not an absolute). Same for Intertype slugs which are slightly different in shape; those look like ordinary Linotype ribs above. But when casting an overhang like this the ribs go untrimmed, otherwise the knives would cut off the overhang.
In ad work whole words or phrase would be set on an overhang, combined with smaller text which would stack in between the overhangs. Say, PEACHES in overhanging display size, then two stacked lines saying, PER CAN in smaller text. This is a typographic arrangement you don’t see much today.

I have a lot of mats that were made for advertising, like PER POUND, PER OUNCE and all sorts of things like that, that could be inserted next to a larger mat to make ad work easier. I would imagine linotype did the same but i’m not sure.

Parallel-Imp, thank you for your addition to my humble effort as above, I dont always include in my post all of the finer points, sometimes I ramble too much and vice versa, apologies… . At the time of that effort I was having an in depth chat about the differences and similarities of Casting Machine product in slug form!!! I.E. Strip or Slugs that do not have 100% full out body end to end? Linotype where the ribs give the eventual body size for lock up, (thank you for the correction) and I assume that weight saving and pump pressure capacity is a consideration Plus, easier ejection from the mould wheel? … And a third issue was/is Monotype and Elrod strip product usually based on Pica/12 point body, whereby a horizontal strip is rebated into the product, (rather than raised vertical ribs) to allow for tying up with Page Cord, locked up, still tied up and even stored, without removing the page cord… Might even today, be a boon to new devotees. Linotype (possibly) havent cracked that one yet.??? . . Sorry Dick, you cant win them all!!! … The Free Presse, my apologies also, Mick

Mick, I’ve worked with hot metal all my life, had quite a few squirts but the elrod, who makes a machine that you have to reach across the mold to make adjustments. All my worst burns came from elrods. Thank God I didn’t run elrods all the time, I had one myself for a while, we never got along. The good thing about elrods was they made 18 point spacing you could cut down and mount cuts on, there were a few different heights. Mick, hop in your canoe and come across the pond and we can pretend we are linotype operators.

On Linotypes (yes, and Intertypes) there a variety of mold designs. Shown above is a common 5-14 solid mold, but there are also recessed molds, with less metal between the ribs. In fact recessed molds are all they made in display sizes. Less metal used, lighter forms, easier to maintain pot temperature too.
A Linotype slug goes through two trimming operations. The sprue is trimmed off the foot as the mold wheel rotates toward the ejector. Then the ribs are trimmed at ejection. Unless both knives are set correctly the slug can be off in both type height, including end-for-end, and in body size, including side-to-side.
Still printable if you know where to put the little pieces of paper.

Many thanks everyone for your replies. Its good to confirm that these slugs are indeed Linotype.

I had not previously appreciated that the ribs on Linotype slugs were so dimensionally important. When did the facility for really deep ribs (I recall having seen slugs with 0.25in to 0.5in ribs) begin? Was there a danger of crushing such slugs if formes were over-tightened?

That is indeed Linotype. The line was set on a machine with a number as in 78SM or 48SM, SM which stands for Side Magazines, the side mags had 30 channel magazines which is all you need for caps, there was a second keyboard which operated these magazines, on a Linotype there is a little lever on the trimming knives which you pushed in and it opened the knives right out to about 48pt so the slug was ejected from the mould without touching the knives, then you pulled the lever out again and it set the trimming knives to the 9pt or whatever size you had set the knives to start with. If you look at all the rest of the lines they will be trimmed only the drop character line wont be trimmed. So you could set the first character with the second keyboard then carry on setting the rest of the line with the main keyboard, the distributor sorted out the dissing of the matrix. You would normally have what is called a headliner mould cap which will allow you to set in this way. Have a look at this picture which will give you an idea of what I just typed. http://www.flickr.com/photos/78910935@N02/7575866056/

A message for dickg take a look at this film on flickr, thats me casting 36pt mount on one of my Elrod’s a model F


One can also cast drop caps by hand dropping larger mats, provided they run in the same mold positions as the body type. You can also mix single letter mats with duplex cut mats so long as the mold cap supports the overhanging portion, You must have an overhanging (wide lip) mold caps in order to do this—or suffer a squirt.

There was an amazing amount of versatility built into the Linotype and Intertype. If you have the proper molds and mats, you can do just about anything.

Elrodfk, you are a brave man, enjoyed the video, it almost makes me want another elrod.

As Mikefrommontana says they are very versatile machines there isn’t a lot you can’t do with them as long as you have all the equipment I used to enjoy justifying over 30 ems I always ended up with those job. As Mike said you can hand flog drop chars but it takes a bit longer stopping the machine to take off the drop cap but its only the start of a paragraph so no problem really. I’ve got a C4 and I’ve just converted mine to American depth because of the availability of American mats.

Actually, if you have caps cut to run in the auxillary, and are running a 90 channel machine, the caps will drop down the pi chute. My machine has an auxillary, so the only way to use the drop caps off the keyboard would be to have a spare auxillary magazine (anybody have spares to get rid of?) or to hand drop the mats and keep an empty magazine for them to run through and out at the end of the project.

Drop caps aren’t a horribly common item, so picking them off the elevator works out just fine. However, if I were doing a lot of display/ad work, I’d probably set things to run off the keyboard.

As Mikefrommontana said, but in the real world if you were doing this work all the time you would have the machine set to run like this with a couple of each character on the pi, stopping the machine to take off the drop char harks back to the days of the Model 1 Linotype when the pi shoot was half a coconut on the back of the machine and a pain in the butt going around and picking it out.