I just had the chance to save a large amount of metal type, a type cabinet, slug cutter and “Linotype” mats from being smashed and sold for scrap. I put that in quotes, as the machine that used the mats generally looks like a Linotype, but it has a sign that says “Made in Russia” and looks a bit different from a proper Linotype (it doesn’t look like an Intertype either, from what I can tell). The press also had two Adast Grafopress GPE letterpresses (these are east bloc copies of the Heidelberg Platen, one had a broken main axle).

Does anyone know of these “Russian Linotypes” and wether the mats are useable in Linotypes?

They look like Linotype mats, there are some that are for small letters (about 8 pt). The machine they were used on looks busted, and some parts of it are missing (and I doubt it would be parts compatible with a Linotype) I can post pictures.

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My first linotype job was in a small typesetting company, they had a font of russian mats and a russian keyboard. You could remove the regular keyboard and put the russian keyboard on. I don’t know if Russian linotypes are different from machines made in America. Dick G.

Here it is, I made a better picture of it. And of the keyboard too.

image: _KNA9523_kicsi.jpg


image: Ruszki_Linotype_kicsi_500k.jpg


It seems odd that the keyboard is not marked with Cyrillic characters.

J Henry

The Russian keyboard we had was different letters, this keyboard is like a standard keyboard except some letters are in different places. Dick G.

The machine is in Hungary, and it was used to set Hungarian text. It was made in the USSR, in 1974, there is a sign on it in Cyrillic characters that identifies it as a “poligrafi chesska machin” made in St. Petersburg (the Soviet name was Leningrad)

I’m looking into this, I’ve found one interesting article on this: http://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13758362 (this machine also has a seal of quality)

Mystery solved:

This is an N-124 Linotype machine made in the USSR in 1974, at the LenPoligrafMash plant in Leningrad (St. Petersburg’s Soviet era name). And the matrices seem compatible with other linotypes (at least the shape does, don’t know about the type height.)

The keyboard is customized for Hungarian language input, and includes the hungarumlaut characters “ő” and “ű”.

I’ve attached a scan of one of the matrices (it’s a “pi” matrix, as it has all of the teeth, it is added by hand to the line when required. This particular one is of a plus sign “+”)

image: N-124 Linotype Matrix

N-124 Linotype Matrix

In an earlier part of our design career, we did some advertising that used Cyrillic type on a Macintosh. To type in the translation it was strangely normal. My wife was reading to me to type it in, “backwards K, television set, pi,….”

For instance the translation for the word RISK was type RISK on the computer keyboard. That actually happened a lot.

It isn’t just a matter of type height, but also the depth of drive of the mats. So although American and English Linotype mats both cast to .918”, they are driven to different depths, and you need to cast the mats on a matching mold.

parallel_imp: this is the first time i heard of different drive depth english/US matrices, except for a special system which was used with triangular brass rule on top of the blank parts of the slugs. I remember seeing a pic of Russian machine, vaguely that it had a hood which moved over first elevator during casting;maybe later models did not have this safety device. Alan.

“backwards K, television set”

Now I am confused. What letters are those?

These “linotypes” were quite widespread in Eastern Europe - I just saw recently two such units, one that was near complete (except for the matrices that were stolen). Unfortunately, didn’t have the funds to save them, so they would probably go to scrap…

to Oprion and others

Cryillic text looks strange to our eyes, because it is a little like English characters, with extras.

Twice in my lifetime, I saw photoset [Australian English] characters which were a little like Russian, there was a slippage in synchronisation, and the machine substituted characters for what was intended; we called it “rushing” language.

At one site where I worked, we did a trial run of producing a newspaper in another language, with which we were not familiar; I think we could have done it, but it did take up too many hours of the week (we produced 3 weeklies, of varying sizes); I am not sure of how proofreading was done in the “other” language, but I had done a somewhat similar language at high school, and managed to set OK on an normal Intertype.

Years later, I managed to typeset some Danish [Danske] on a photosetter, but only a few words, having to rake out some characters from the “sorts box” and form others from two characters with readjustments of the positions of the characters to form combined shapes. Much too much labour. It took me about 4 hours to typeset about 30 words.