Unidentified Third-Party Stick

For the Ludlow Typograph

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1. Description

This is a third-party stick compatible with the Ludlow Typograph Machine. Nothing is known at present about its designer or maker. It is marked "PAT PEND", but as yet I have not discovered any patent issued for it. Two collections of matrices for sticks such as this one are known to have survived, but at the present time the stick illustrated here is the only stick known to have survived.

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The stick has the standard external configuration of a one-slug Ludlow stick. Its matrix holding and retaining system, however, is greatly simplified.

It takes matrices of two styles: a simple rectangular slide, and a rectangular slide with a lip milled into two of its edges. These are retained by a simple slide and three set screws. In the set of matrices I have, the matrix material would appear to be something like aluminum - but it is very hard (it feels almost like a ceramic to handle).

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The simpler style of matrix, when placed in the stick, is recessed from the surface of the stick and mold. It casts a T-shaped slug with a shoulder-level platform as large as the matrix itself. The measured type height of this slug (on a slug acquired with the set) is 0.935. (This particular slug is quite poorly cast, however, with especially bad bottom trim. This value may be over the designed height.) The height to shoulder is 0.835, giving a depth-of-drive of 0.100. The height (thickness) of the horizontal section of the T is 0.066. Combining these numbers gives a mold height of 0.769. Standard Ludlow blank slug height is 0.765, so (given the poor quality of this slug), it is likely that this particular slug was cast on a standard height mold. The depth-of-drive (0.100) is extremely deep. Standard Ludlow depth-of-drive is usually quoted as 0.153, but this value includes the thickness of the 'T' section. The 0.100 depth-of-drive here is exclusive of the 'T' section.

Here is such a matrix, shown with a slug cast from it which happened to come with this set.

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The thicker style of matrix (with the lip on each of the long sides) is flush with the casting-side of the stick when inserted; it must therefore also be flush against the mold. Here's a photograph of one in the stick. (I haven't yet cast it, and don't have an example slug with the set.) This style of matrix must cast directly on the slug body (without a 'T' section). It is interesting that in this and other matrices of this type in the set the design is offset to one side of the slug body.

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2. Disassembly Photographs

The four set screws along the top center of the stick are 5/16" - 18 tpi U.N.C., 5/16" long. They take a 5/32 hex key. The leftmost screw in the photograph below secures what I'm going to call the "End Plate." Once set in place, neither the End Plate nor the End Plate Set Screw are moved when the stick is in use. The middle two screws secure what I'm going to call the "Backing Plate." These can be used to push the Backing Plate firmly against a matrix. The rightmost screw is used to secure what I'm going to call the "Retaining Slide" (it also functions as a handle). It would be used extensively in operation (and in this particular stick does indeed show more wear than the other screws).

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The function of the "button" (or equivalent) on a conventional Ludlow stick which engages the Locking Slide Safety Pawl Bumper (Ludlow p/n 540C) is performed by a rectangular block secured to the body of the stick by a short flat countersunk socket-head cap screw It is a No. 10 - 32 tpi U.N.F. screw, 3/8" overall length and 1/4" threaded length. It takes a 1/8" hex key. Since the Ludlow manual calls this a "button," I'll call it a "Button" here even though it's a rectangular block.

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Below is a photograph of the stick from the bottom. The "Button" on the top of the stick (invisible in this photo) is in place, but otherwise the stick is completely disassembled. The part at the lower left is what I'm calling the "End Plate." The long thin part in the middle of the photo is what I'm calling the "Backing Plate." The "Retaining Slide" is the part at the lower right.

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A view of the end of the stick with the End Plate in place shows its profile (which is identical to the profile of the slot milled along the entire bottom of the stick.

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I believe that the part I'm calling the "Backing Plate" simply serves to protect the matrix and the Retaining Slide from the set screws. It transfers the pressure of three of the set screws to the matrix and the Retaining Slide, locking them in place. Below is a photograph of it shown almost entirely in place. It occupies the entire bottom of the slot milled in the bottom of the stick, from the End Plate to the user-end of the stick. Assembled, it would press flush against the End Plate

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Here are two photos of a matrix of the thinner style slid into the stick, but not yet secured by the Retaining Slide. As can be seen in the second photograph, it is secured on its long sides by sliding into two slots.

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Finally, here are two views (copied from earlier in this page) of the stick fully assembled with a matrix in place. The first shows the thinner style of matrix, the second shows the thicker style which has a "lip" on its long sides.

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3. Measured Drawings

[NOT DONE YET]


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