Linotype / Intertype mats interchangeable?

Are mats for a Linotype usable in an Intertype C4 (made in 1956)?

I’m new to hot metal. We are getting ready to install an Intertype and currently have no experience with it. We are hoping to get into producing some small, limited edition books.

If you’d like to see what it looks like and a list of the typefaces that comes with it I posted the information on our blog.

Anyone reading this and knows something about Intertype close to Newark, Delaware?

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The matrices are interchangeable, but the magazine that holds them is not interchangeable on the other company’s machine.
The two companies made different magazines and you need the mags made for your particular machine.
Finally, these machines can ‘Squirt” a shot of molten lead into the air and injure you and cause a fire. Get instructions before you proceed and do so at all times with your personal safety in mind!

What a nice set of faces to have. You have some absolutely great book faces. Better than the run-of-the-jobshop stuff you normally see.

Good luck and enjoy the experience of getting the machine going in your own shop. I’m sure you’ll get someone closeby who will be willing to get you started and provide moral and knowledge support to you.

Linotype and Intertype mats are pretty much interchangeable, and if those mats were used with the machine, if they are alredy in Intertype magazines, then everything will be fine. In larger sizes the two systems treated the lugs on the cap W differently, but each company made mats for either machine as required. A friend got Intertype mats made for a Linotype shop and the W will not run in his Intertype W magazine channel. (If that’s the case, you could file off the teeth and run them as pi mats.)
Linecasting has a steep learning curve. By all means read and understand the Intertype manuals and Abel & Straw among others, and learn the terminology. And visit some shops that are casting; the texts don’t begin to make sense until you see the machine in action. Note that online linecasting help is directly proportionate to self-education; if you ask questions about whatsits, you won’t get much of a response, but an informed question may get quality advice in return.

I appreciate all of the comments. We had 3-phase installed two days ago which will power the Intertype and our Heidelberg Windmill. Yesterday we saw the Windmill operate for the first time. Nice. Ink should be coming.

In order to use the c-4 with quadder you will have a learning curve that should be followed carefully. First the maintenance of the spacebands, vice jaws and molds are very important. If you operate the machine with knowing this maintenance your efforts at casting will at first seem satisfactory, yet you will be causing severe problems to the sidewalls of the matrix in a short time. The tendancy is to learn to set type and find out later about the damage.
I have over 45 years experience repairing and running printing equipment. This includes the heide wind-mill. I am located in California, and a maintenance schedule should be set for both the intertype and the press. Opinions vary from operator to operator and shop to shop. It is my opinion that a slow careful approace to maintenance and care of the matrix and the machines will prove in the long run to be the best course. My telephone is 562-944-9184, I may set up E-mail for your convience if you are interested.
Any matrix ruined likely will be irreplaceable, as well as liners, Pi mats,spacebands, molds and vice jaws. Also hot lead will adhere instantly to skin and is a bitch to remove.
Check all sources before accepting advice on how to maintain the above. There is much to learn as you will have to be machinist, operator and trouble shooter all rolled into one. This is a task not for the faint of heart. Yet if taken a step at a time the machine will do your bidding and you will be able to produce many fine jobs and learn how to be part of the solution always.

thanks for reading … james l. reck

Firstly: Congratulations on purchasing one of the finest machines produced for mechanical setting of straight matter. The matrices span a wide range of practical use as well.
I do hope you’ve access to an Intertype manual. Mr. Beck is spot on in his recommendation for the establishment of a closely followed plan of maintenence. You will, indeed, do much damage to the machine should you ignore such sage advice. Cleanliness, proper oiling, and maintenence of parts will ensure unfailing production.
With the extra parts and pieces obtained, was there, by chance, a flatish box - say an inch in height, some 12 inches square - having a pine board surrounded by graphite powder, included? This would be the apparatus used to clean the space bands. Although simple in appearance, its use is vital in keeping matrices pristine, and the bands, in smooth, working condition. Each shop establishes its own routine of course, but if you propose book production I would suggest a daily cleaning of the bands be done. It will add years to matrix life; not to mention ease of space band operation. Those bands should also be gathered according to mark. Few things are more disconcerting, when proofreading your output, than to discover an assortment of band widths have produced ‘rivers’ in your text. Of course oiling is paramount too. Again, a closely followed schedule will considerably reduce wear of the machine’s precision surfaces.
You’ve a great machine. Go slow, seek advice when needed, and you will have a tireless workhorse with which to fullfill your dreams. Happy slugging.

Yes. The mats are interchangeable but the magazines that hold them are not. Heed the general advice about preventive maintenance of machines, molds, spacebands. I would add only that if you use the machine for a full day make sure you clean the spacebands at least twice.

By the way, I am selling some mats that I have in full and short fonts that are brand new and over 20 years old. If I am not being too inquisitive could you tell me how much you paid for a font of mats on today’s market?

Sammy G.

We’ve been slowly grinding away at understanding our new Intertype. Dave Seat came by, looked it over, gave it a good cleaning and oiling, gave us a couple of hours of how it works, and just about enough information to get into trouble and not nearly enough to get out of it.

My son who works with us is incredibly great at understanding how machines work. Without him there is no way I think I was ever going to get into this very deep. With him involved we’ve had almost a daily mystery but seem to find our way out of it. We have all of the manuals associated with the machine and are starting to grasp how to use the manual to figure out the problems. At first it just seemed to explain things without how to fix them. We’ve had our fair number of squirts to start. Cleaning that up really gets you into the machine and makes you appreciate how incredible this invention was.

Thanks to everyone that offered advice. We are trying to do it right. We use the instruction book a lot to try and make sure we keep the wear, tear and damage to a minimum. We just finished our first job for a friend who is printing a small book of 10 poems. I’ve been a little surprised at how fast you can use up 25 pounds of type metal.

Feel free to take a look at our blog ( ) where we’ll try to keep our work up to date.

I need HELP!!

Can someone please go to their Mergenthaler Typeface book and tell me the names of the following fonts with these font numbers?
Thanking you in advance.

Sammy G.

Please give complete numbers including body size. Can’t tell otherwise, except for 696, Helvetica w. bold, and 698, Helvetica w. italic.

I don’t know how this will help identify the typefaces but here goes.

Thanks for your help.

Sammy G.

Sammy G writes:
>I don’t know how this will help identify the >typefaces but …

It is my understanding that the number after the triangle does not identify the typeface, but rather that the entire code (“pointsize triangle number”) taken together identifies the font of mats (which of course often carries two different typefaces). Thus “504” could be (at least):

6 TRI 504: Times Roman with It. & Small Caps
8 TRI 504: Erbar Light Cond. with Bold Cond.
10 TRI 504: Electra with Bold
12 TRI 504: Caledonia with It. & Small Caps

Conversely, a single typeface might appear on mats with very different triangle numbers. Linotype’s book _Useful Matrix Information_ has a good example of this.

One resource online for figuring out triangle numbers is the listing of fonts for sale at Don Black’s:
This is of course a commercial listing of his stock (disclaimer: I have no connection with him), but it is extensive. It is also useful because it includes later mats which are not listed in the more common Face books and Useful Matrix Information editions. Many of the triangle numbers you cite are in this category.

David M. MacMillan


Thank you for the info on the typefaces.

The Don Black source is just what I needed.

Sammy G

Welcome to the wonderous world of hot metal. As for your Intertype, looks from the blog to be a nice machine with some good faces. I would certainly recommend that you contact Dave Seat at Hot Metal Services to make sure that the machine is well set up—i.e., all the essential settings made. Dave knows his stuff!

I operate 2 model Cs. A couple of other suggestions to remember, this from a 40+ year operator:

if the machine stops—respect it. Don’t force it—ever!

keep your keyboard clean—put all the mats back all the time

do the basics—keep the spacebands clean, the machine well oiled, the plunger and pot clean, and the mouthpiece wiped off.

finally—I see from the blog that the machine has an Intertype quadder. Make sure you know how to take this apart for cleaning. Never use oil or WD40 on it—graphite only and that sparingly. I happen to be a big fan of the Star quadder.

Best of luck and remember about Dave Seat!