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Flying Model 31

Started by Pi, March 04, 2008, 08:33:56 AM

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Hi Dave and fellow hot metal nuts,

Yesterday, myself and a small team of members, installed the very last Linotype, a 1955  Model 31, from a local Newspaper office, Taranaki Newspapers Ltd, New Plymouth, NZ, into our museum, the Taranki Aviation Transport And Technology Museum, New Plymouth.

Generously donated by the recent new owners of the company, Fairfax Ltd, the machine seems to have been stored in their old Lino/Comp room (now a plate-making area) for about the last 15 years, having been used infrequently some few years before in the commercial print.

I recalled using this machine occasionally when I was an apprentice Commercial Machine Typographer to Taranaki Newspapers, in their Commercial Printing Division, in the 1970's, then later, after the succession of senior tradesmen had left, the machine was "mine".  I moved on in the mid-70's and thought I'd seen the last of it, until a contact at TNL asked me if our museum wanted it. Well the answer was of course, a resounding "yes".

The weird thing about getting this machine, is that it is now sitting beside another Model 31. As if that isn't strange enough, both machines used to sit side-by-side in the Commercial Pinting Division, all those years back, when I was an apprentice and later a tradesman. Out of the 20-plus machines they had, these two are the only survivors now.

Here's a picture for you of the 31 "flying", about to descend onto a temporary ramp, prior to getting it into the museum. The machine will require some electrical work, but mechanically, looks sound and all the "bits" are there. Only having a few hours available to work on the machine each week, I hope to have it running, with some assistance from our museum sparkies, in less than six months. If the electrics are safe, could be sooner.

We were donated a few other items . . . but that is another story.


Is that a flat bed truck I see? Looks like an interesting way to move a Linotype. Tell us more!  :)
Robert Griffith
Burleson, Texas


We used a very heavy-duty Hiab truck. The lifting unit is obscured in the photo. However, you can see the lifting strops, by the metal feeder. We used two shorter, thinner ones, linked together, simply because the longer ones we had, were wider and could not go through the central column. The strop was threaded through the top section of the central column, "north-south", thickest part of the casting. The magazine rack assembly was cranked to the lowest position and the tension taken off the drums, prior to the lift. Also, the magazine separating lever on the left, was brought forward and temporarily tied, so that it did not fowl the strops. I have lifted several machines with this method, with a variation in the north-south, to east-west with the lifting stop, with machines such as the Model 8's, where the casting is thicker in that area and allows for the strop to be positioned in that manner. The machines always tilt over, to about the angle in the photo. I guess you could get all scientific and put a half-dozen pigs on the left-side of the machine to level it up.

I have to admit my heart is always in my mouth when I've been involved with lifts such as these, but to date, having shifted probably only four or five machines in this way, nothing untoward has happened. I think the key to it is, having good strong strops, properly rated for the tonnage and having a crane operator that is skilled. The guy that shifted this machine, Phil, the Maori chap to the right in the photo, was a virtuoso. One thing I do, as the machine is about to touch the ground, is put a bit of weight on the legs of the pot-side, so that the machine lands somewhat evenly. If the machine descends too fast, then as you know, it's all over ands there's none too many Linotype bases on ebay to replace them.

Unfortunately for our museum, we have no lifting or heavy carrying gear, so, once the machine was on the steel plates I'd set up earlier in the day, I stuck a length of pipe through the bottom (north-south), under the 1st elevator lever and by looping another strop on each end, I winched it into the print bay, using just a heavy duty ratchet truck tie-down , anchored inside the building and with a few burly volunteers using long levers under the base of the main casting to assist on each "heave" command. Once it was inside the Print bay and on flat concrete, we used the two-pipe, rock and roll method. The Hiab crane driver could not get the machine into the Print bay any further than he had, because of the lintel height of the doorway, which in fact, had zero clearance when the machine was on the steel.

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