Rusty Type


I find myself in possession of some type which appears to have rust on the bottom portion of the pieces (not on the actual typeface).

Can these be salvaged? What would be the best way to clean the pieces?


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Never seen rust on lead type. Is the type steel for stamping?

The rust is most likely from a steel galley upon which the type was standing. Unless there is a heavy accumulation, it is more a matter of cosmetics than a real concern. If there is an accumulation, it will raise the height of the type and cause a problem.
A brass bristle brush from the hardware store applied to each piece of type one at a time will remove the problem. Do not try to polish the type bright as you can remove metal with the brass brush. You just want to get off any accumulation. Leave the discoloration.

I had this on some type that was given to me. I used a soft toothbrush and cleaned everything off, including dirt and rust. Scrapped the trays and everything has been fine!

Thanks for the suggestions! And yes, it was a bunch of type that had been sitting on a galley tray.

I’m glad to know that it’s an easy elbow grease remedy.