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Model 33 Linotype

September 2015

My camera phone filled up with sawdust over the course of the summer, so these images have a terrible disposable camera quality to them. Sorry 'bout that.

Ahhh, just what I needed! After searching the world for the first two Linotypes in my garage, what should appear only 20 minutes drive north of me? Another linotype. A friend pointed this one out to me on the local classifieds site, I had somehow missed it.

This is a Model 33 linotype, the 'Range Master', equipped with wide magazines for display work. It had been sitting in a field for some time, soakin' up the sun. A reasonable price was negotiated, and then I picked the machine up. Two months later.

My buddy Nick volunteered a truck and trailer for the move. He was also the one that found the machine in the first place. Maybe he felt a little responsibility for filling my garage with even more stuff. Fortunately I don't have any photos of the magic that took place to transfer the Linotype to the trailer. We ended lifting it from above with a fork lift and lifting straps, but some shenaniganry had to be applied to balance it properly while the trailer was backed under. My buddy's trailer (a camper experiencing its second life) is perhaps in need of a new deck, but we were luckily able to acquire a sheet of plywood on-site to help keep the linotype from falling through the deck. My initial plan was to put skids under the Linotype while loading it, but that wasn't possible.

Beefchicken Industries SOP was followed; 4 straps to keep the thing upright, and transport chains to maintain front-to-back and sidewards registration in the event of a catastrophe.

In addition to the Linotype, I also purchased some dirt. Also visible is the metal plate that killed my plans to put skids under the machine before loading, but that plate probably helped to keep the machine from falling through the deck during the move. My plans to remove the Linotype from the trailer meant that I needed skids under the Linotype. When we loaded it, we plunked it on the trailer a bit crookedly, but with some fiddling about with a come-along and pry bar, I was able to rectify that situation. With it straightened out, it was time to start lifting it up.

This lift was done with a pry bar, wedges, plywood shims, and the help of my dad. Most of the work was done in the dark. Always prone to over-thinking things, I realized that I could stick some 3/4" bolts through the holes in the end of the legs as jack bolts to make the lift easier. My dad headed back home at this point, and working the prybar and wedges solo is a little hairy. The jack bolt solution worked quite nicely, and I finished the lift with plywood shims and repeated applications of jack bolts.

Levitation complete, and skids installed. A bit of a deviation from Beefchicken Industries SOP here, I normally insist on using carriage bolts to attach the skids, but given the order of operations, I couldn't do that here.

Now the fun begins! With the wheels chocked with suitable pieces of firewood, and the ass-end of the trailer blocked up (muy importante, especially when you live at the top of a hill!), I could begin to drag the linotype to the end of the trailer. I needed it there to clear the fenders; why will become clear in a second. I applied more shenaniganry (see that blue winch strap?) to help move the Linotype in the endwards direction, while avoiding having to stand in the potential path of a falling linotype, should the trailer have decided to fold under the load.

I ran out of trailer, but luckily I had some 6x6 fence posts laying around that I could temporarily press in to service!

This bit made me a bit nervous. To go down, I had to go up. That meant lifting the whole mess 6" higher, a lift which was done with the pallet jack and bottle jacks, and copious application of blocking to check my lifts every 3/4" or so.

And the excitement continues! I checked the numbers, and the two beams were more than adequate for what I was about to do, but non-engineered wooden beams can also fail catastrophically, so I added a third beam to be safe. These photos make it look easy, but it took far too many evenings of contemplating, shuffling bottle jacks and re-stacking blocking to pull this off. At this point, I was ready to call in a fork lift, but I couldn't. I didn't have any room to make that happen.

It's Free! Finally! In this photo, the Linotype is about 1 inch off of the trailer in this photo, but it's off. To actually get the trailer out from under it, I had to let most of the air out of the tires, because the downward slope of my driveway gobbled up my 1" of clearance quick like.

Well, I'm missing the photos of the fun process of slowly dropping the linotype back to the ground, but it was done by working around the machine with bottle jacks. I'd jack a corner until the blocking was clear, pull out 3/4" of blocking, and drop that corner back down. The ol' three legged bar stool rule applied, so there were many times where I would find the Linotype gently refusing to put any weight on a corner after removing the shim. What is visible in this photo is the Linotype Lifter that I created to help with removing the skids and putting the plate back under the machine. What?! Well, with the Linotype on skids, it won't fit under my door, so to get it inside my garage, the skids need to be temporarily removed.

Alas, I ran out of warm weather. See the snow on the skids? The last photo was taken in -15 C weather, and since then I've had to tarp up the Linotype, and it is now covered in snow. Work will have to resume in the spring!


While 2016 was a very busy year for me, it was also a good year to store a Linotype in my driveway. I did manage to do some work the prepare the Linotype to be dragged into my garage. I cleaned up the steel plate that I had previously pulled out from under the machine; a good cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, new tapped Linotype attachment holes, and most importantly, the dragging fixture. The dragging fixture is visible in the festive shot below: a couple pieces of angle iron attached to the steel base plat with 6 fine thread 3/8" bolts. To this was attached a hook, which could be employed in the dragging operation. The point of this was to have a very low centre of gravity for the pull, so that the Linotype would float above the gravel of my driveway, rather than be pitched into it, as would happen with a higher 'tow' pint.

With the plate prepared, it was time to swap out the skids for the plate. I managed to score a smokin' deal on a hydraulic ram kit, so the Linotype Lifter was cast to the wayside. The process in brief: I put the plate under the skids, then removed the skids. It sounds so easy when I write it like that. In reality there was a lot of cursing as I bludgeoned the heavy steel plate through the gravel strata of my driveway with a big sledgehammer.

With the plate re-installed, work stopped for the rest of the year.

I did manage to pull the tarp off one more time for this lovely photo.

March 2017

Having stored the Linotype in my driveway for over a year, I finally decided it was time to put it away properly. A number of factors prompted this decision: I needed to build a gate where it sat, it was starting to sink into the ground and was developing an amusing lean, and most importantly: it was long overdue.

A while back I sunk a number of concrete anchors into my garage floor. These came in handy as anchor points for the pulling operation. I used a hydraulic puller, mostly because it meant that I didn't have to work as hard. As I started to pull, I had a little trouble with the leading edge of the steel plate digging in to the gravel, but that was alleviated with the help of some hardwood 'skis'.

The photo above gives a somewhat clearer picture of how low I attached the chain. It was slow going, the hydraulic puller I used had about 6 inches of stroke, but it felt like I wasted 3 inches of that just trying to line up with the next link in the chain.

And the reason for going through all of the trouble of removing the skids: Less than 1 inch of clearance between the top of the Linotype and my garage door.

Once I had the Linotype safely in my garage, I needed to lift it again. This time I left the steel plate on, and installed 5 inch square blocks under each leg of the star base. With this arrangement, I can get at the machine from the side with a pallet jack to move it side-to-side if needed. With the steel plate flat on the floor, I had to use a pry bar to get under the edge of it. I used wedges and blocks to lift it up until I had just enough room to slide in a 2" puck style hydraulic jack.

Once I had the machine high enough to fit the pallet jack underneath, I was off to the races!

Broken Parts

This is here so I don't lose track of what I need to fix on this machine...

Part No. Description Problem
BB-629 or BB-631 Vise closing lever Fork is broken off
E-147 Starting and stopping lever Handle is broken off