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Odd-Ball Elektron

Started by one stop print, May 05, 2009, 11:13:18 PM

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one stop print

I have in my factory a Elektron 2 Linotype. Unlike the other 2 known elektrons in New Zealand mine is a little differant.  It was made in the UK serial no 20331. For some odd reason L&M decided to make it with a differant magazine change. I did see a photo in L& M magazine 4 1964 of one on  show at a Spanish print show.

The magazines are lifted up like most early linotypes by pulling done a arm on the left hand side and a plate lifts the magazine clear of the fixed Escapement this appears to be a weak point and at present I am down to using 3 magazines only as a broken part makes number one unuseable.
SO far I have been unable to locate spares any where and will have to make it. If anyone can show some light on this model and lead me to a possible supply of spares.

One advantage I have found is that I can use most makes of Magazine on this machine (like Polytype) which the US type Elektron cannot.

one stop print

Some time back I wrote about my oddball Elektron. The problem has now been fixed with the help from a Mechanic and a little bit of hacksaw vandalism.  We cut away a part of the magazine frame and installed a part from a Model 31 linotype.

However  I would like to know why L&M made a new model Linotype but used a old style magazine change?


How about posting a photo of the Elektron so we can have a look at it.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dan Williams

Yes, post a photo of that contraption.
I never had any exposure to Elektrons. Too high dollar for us poor folks.
I did get a close view of one in about 1980. I pulled off the side panel, and was very intrigued by the cam timing system that operated the line delivery and other systems. Also the hydraulic drive system was notable. I hesitate to say- high tech? Okay, high tech as far as relays and vacuum tubes. But what would Mergenthaler have said?
I had seen Elektrons before at the local newspapers, but I can assure you that I wasnt able to get as close as i would have liked.

Dave Hughes

Colin has sent in some pictures of his Elektron:

Says Colin:

I have attached some photos the machine plus the pre repared magazine lift and the new one modified to take a US model 31 magazine lift.

Also my machine has a factory fitted saw which even my mechanic has never seen before
most Elektrons in New Zealand are of American Manufacture (2 left)  the one I have which was made by L&M in the UK.

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Dan Williams

Nice Elektron: envy  :-[ Those Mohr saws were very common in the U.S. and as a matter of fact, the Mohr line adjustment  appears to have been adopted on alot of machines that did not have the Mohr saw. There was a trick to using those saws; something about the line length which was set a half or quarter em longer or shorter than the sawed length to accomodate the cut. I dont remember exactly. The saw had to be oiled regularly and the blade periodically replaced. It was generally a pain, but saved time versus replacing liners. Great system but I was not keen on them. Mohr saws seemed to be particularly common on U.S. headletter machines.


Colin, from what I can see your Elektron is exactly the same as all other Elektron straight matter machines on which I have worked, both in Canada and the USA. I do not know about other newspapers or print shops but the Elektrons at The Sydney Morning Herald which were manufactured in England could all exchange magazines with all 90 channel magazine machines manufactured either in England or the USA. I know from looking at parts manuals for the English model 48 and 78 Linotypes that the machines came with the option of having the escapement as part of the magazine or as separate unit screwed to the magazine frame as in your photo. The SMH purchased an Elektron II from a commercial printer who was going out of business and that machine was the same as the machine you have pictured.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


Colin emailed me direct and has pointed out some relevant facts about Elektron that had obviously escaped my memory. I have not actually worked on an Elektron since about 1965 when I moved on to Mergenthaler's various Linofilm machines. I have watched the Elektrons working at the Sydney Morning Herald up until they, with all the other hotmetal machines, were made redundant in 1984. Colin points out that the escapement on the American Elektron is hinged to the frame so that it drops away from the magazine. This sounds similar to the escapement on the model 8 and 14, but for the life of me I have no clear memory of exactly how they were attached.
So it would appear that Colin's Elektron is an odd-ball in this part of the world.

QuoteColin's email is below

Thanks for the reply. The two other elektrons in New Zealand  are of US manufacture and the escapements after you have locked the magazine and fanned  drop away from the magazine and you ca then remove the magazine from the machine and replace the ecapement is then put back in place it has a safety so than it will not allow you to lock the escapment to the magazine if a mat is not sitting right in the magazine thus stopping that problem (which we have all done) of mats all over the place.

I first saw my machine about 1985 in a print shop in Auckland it was sold to a label company and I obtained it in 2000 when it was to be scrapped and stored it untill I came down to Hawera in 04 and brought my present business and setup a rubber stamp business plus doing a little bit of trade setting on my C4 and Ludlow.

I have recieved a lot of help from a Mechanic in Hamilton we have been working on this machine since 06 and to date we have it running a 90% the only problem remaining is that at present  we have to use the manual send line as the electric key board one will not work  Power is on to all switches but only at very low voltage. Also I have found that it does not
like cold winters.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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