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Printing Equipment in the Movies

Started by Jeff Zilles [jeffo], November 28, 2010, 03:26:30 AM

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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Researching early Charles Chaplin movies today I turned up the first one ever that he appeared in for Mack Sennett's Keystone Company.

Released on 2nd February, 1914 and called 'Making a Living' or alternatively 'A Busted Johnny'   there are a number of scenes in it featuring a battery of Linotypes - I counted four.

The print is not as good as could be wished but is quite viewable and a gem considering it is better than ninety-six years old - that I should be worth looking at at that age,

The link which should get you straight to it is --
I've embeded the video on the post below to save you clicking over to the Internet Archive - Admin

I tried it through my oldest browser and it worked for me.

His "Little Tramp' character was not to appear until a film called 'Kids Auto Race at Venice' which was released five days after this one - in this first role he plays a top-hatted dandy con-man.

Anyone want to hazard the model identiies of the nearest two linecasters?

Enjoy anyway   ----   jeffo


Dave Hughes

Thanks for that Jeffo, to save everyone having to head over to the Internet Archive, I've embeded the clip here:

Watch the video all the way through, the linecaster shots get better.

Difficult to guess the model though, without getting a good look at the magazines.
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Dan Williams

Model 1 no doubt. Its the only model with the delivery air cushion cylinder mounted at front right.
Lots here to contemplate; Charlie Chaplin was alive during my time, although certainly not active. Of those few newspaper photos from the 70s, I recall that he seemed overweight, mustachless, white hair and looking very much un-Charlie Chaplin. Disappointing? Well, I was just a kid. And poor old Charlie was probably pushing 90, certainly not up to skittering around or doing backflips.
Another movie with a Linotype is "Park Row" by Samuel Fuller, about 1952. Kinda campy but an interesting flick.

Dave Hughes

I presume the distinguishing feature of the Model 1 that you are referring to is the cylinder that can be seen to the right of the assembly belt on this picture:

By the way Dan, like the new avatar picture, old black and white photos from the family album seem to be becoming de rigueur on this forum!
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Dan Williams

Line drawings of Models 2 and 4 in my 1916 version of "Suggestions to Linotype Machinists"  show no front cylinder. Model 1 ceased production in about 1902 and model 2 ceased in 1906, however both still available on special order as late as 1916. Perhaps that explains absence of cylinder in my 1916 line drawings of models 2 & 4 - just a general progression of design.


I thought Charlie Chaplin dictating his story to the Linotype operator a bit far fetched  until I ran across the following photo.

QuoteWorkers setting up type with Linophones which are a combination of phonograph and linotype machinery.

The position of the line delivery cylinder was the same for all machine prior to the model 4. Check out the photos "Early Machines" this site. Although I think the photos of the model 2 and 3 may have been interchanged and only models 1 and 2 had the cylinder on the front of the machine. See for an overview of Linotypes in general which describes the model 2 as a two magazine machine and the model 3 as single magazine and the forrunner to the model 5.

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

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