The Barth Type Caster

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The Barth type casting machine was developed in the late 1880s by Ernst Leitze and Henry Barth of the Cincinnati Type Foundry, based on earlier European machines by Foucher. After the amalgamation of American Type Founders in 1892, it spread to the various constituent foundries of the firm, and after the consolidation of the foundries into a single location in New Jersey it became the best known of the three kinds of type casting machines used at ATF (various pivotal type casters, the Ziegler-patent casters for spaces and quads, and the Barths).

In 2014, I was lucky enough to be able to acquire a Barth type caster: a No. 3 1/2 machine, equipped with a 60 point mold. My thanks to Gregory Jackson Walters, without whom this would have been impossible. This machine has not operated since before its sale in the 1993 ATF auction. It is my goal to bring it back into operating condition, to learn its use, and (most importantly) to document the machine and its operation thoroughly so that this knowledge is not lost. Clearly this is an ambitous project, and not one which will be accomplished overnight. My intention, though, is to develop this Barth Notebook to a point where someone with experience typecasting on some other machine could take this information and bring other Barths back into operation.

To this end, I'll start this Notebook with an informal Journal of experiences, and follow this with several more formal sections of research and results. This Barth project is also a case study in my general attempts at the Reverse Engineering of Big Old Machines. For a more philosophical discussion of why, see the essay on Makers' History.

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A Barth Journal

Acquiring the only surviving 60pt Barth type caster and bringing it back into service.

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Galleries of Images

From the literature. From photographs. Links to photographs and videos online.

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History

[The Foucher Type Caster.] [The Barth Type Caster Before ATF.] ATF and Early Barth. A Census of Barth Type Casters.

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Other Casters at ATF

ATF would have liked you to believe that all of their type was cast on Barths. This was never so.

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Literature

Published literature on the caster, including patents.

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Principles of Operation

[NOT DONE]

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Installation and Setup

[NOT DONE] Rigging and moving (incl. rigging drawing). Placement and services (incl. floor plan). Auxiliary equipment and tools.

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Preliminary Warnings for the Unwary

[NOT DONE] It is perhaps a natural instinct when approaching an unfamiliar but interesting machine to mess about with anything on it that moves. Do not do this. It is possible to injure yourself and damage the machine. This Notebook addresses simple issues of when it is and is not safe (for you and/or the machine) to cycle it and to swing the pot back. It also points out parts of the machine which are spring-loaded and which can move even when the machine is not under power.

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Operator's Manual

[NOT DONE] [Naming the parts of the machine.] [Lubrication.] Paperwork (Matrix Font Form, [Casting Logs]).

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Maintenance Manual

[NOT DONE] With an emphasis on the Size No. 3 1/2 60 point machine.

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Parts Lists

With an emphasis on the Size No. 3 1/2 60 point machine.

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Technical Drawings & CAD Models

With an emphasis on the Size No. 3 1/2 60 point machine, but including drawings for any size machine.

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Data and Tables

ATF constituent foundry designations. Mold identification. Type height.

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Notes and Photographs

All of my photographs and un-edited notes (scrawls) from my work on the 60pt Barth.

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Bibliography