The Ziegler Casting Machines

MSJ/ATF Space & Quad Casters (1892)

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1. Introduction

Several early sources show a style of caster at MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan and later ATF which so far has not been identified in the literature. I will argue that these are Ziegler-patent casters which were used for casting spaces and quads. The basic patent on them was filed in 1892 (and several were shown in operation in 1896). The last of them were scrapped in the 1993 ATF auction.

Although I've started to call these "Ziegler" machines, after their patentee (in the same way we call a Barth after Henry Barth or a Thompson after John Thompson), to the best of my knowledge they were never called by this name while they existed. All I've heard (in conversation with people who were at the 1993 ATF auction) are references to the ATF "space and quad" machines.

Although these machines appear in several photographs published by ATF (apparently by accident), I am unaware of any explicit reference by ATF to these machines.

2. The Ziegler Patents

In 1892, George Henry Ziegler filed the basic patent for an automatic type casting machine. While he did not exclude the possibility of casting ordinary type with it, the patent notes that it was "arranged to cast what are termed quads and spaces" in a closed mold (without a matrix). The basic patent, filed just before the ATF amalgamation, was assigned to MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. The followup patents, filed in 1893, were assigned to the American Type Founders Company.

(Ziegler also received several other patents, all assigned to MSJ or ATF. These included several for improvements on the Barth Type Caster. For more information on these, see the CircuitousRoot Notebook on George H. Ziegler.)

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image link-to-us-0523255-1894-07-17-ziegler-msj-type-caster-sf0.jpg

US Patent 523,255 (1894)

US patent 523,255, "Type-Casting Machine." Filed 1892-06-25 as application serial number 437,946. Issued 1894-07-17 to George H. Ziegler. Assigned to MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan.

A type casting machine designed primarily for the casting of spaces and quads.

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image link-to-us-0523256-1894-07-17-ziegler-atf-type-caster-sf0.jpg

US Patent 523,256 (1894)

US patent 523,256, "Type-Casting Machine." Filed 1893-01-09 as application serial number 457,856. Issued 1894-07-17 to George H. Ziegler. Assigned to American Type Founders Co. Note: The application serial no. 437,946 referenced in this patent was issued as patent 523,255.

Improvements in the space and quad casting machine of Ziegler's US patent 523,255.

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image link-to-us-0523301-1894-07-17-ziegler-atf-type-caster-mold-sf0.jpg

US Patent 523,301 (1894)

US patent 523,301, "Type-Casting Machine." Filed 1893-05-29 as application serial number 475,937. Issued 1894-07-17 to George H. Ziegler. Assigned to American Type Founders Co.

Mold improvements in the space and quad casting machine of Ziegler's US patent 523,255.

3. One Hundred Years (1896)

In 1896, the Philadelphia Branch of the American Type Founders Company, under the romantic illusion that it was still MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan, published a commemmorative volume, One Hundred Years, marking the centennial of the founding of its earliest predecessor. (See the bibliographic notes for {MSJ 1896} for information on online versions.) It contains many historically and technically important illustrations of typefounding, including a view of the Philadelphia Branch / MSJ "automatic" type casting room.

In the foreground and to the left, this view shows Barth type casters installed at some point between 1888 and 1896. But to the right and left it shows nine machines which are not Barths. At least eight (and probably all nine) of these are, I will argue, Ziegler space and quad casting machines.

Here's the overall view of the room:

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image link-to-mackellar-smiths-jordan-1896-1200rgb-0062-centered-partial-automatic-casting-department-sf0.jpg

(From {MSJ 1896}, p. 62. Scanned by DMM from the original. The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide version suitable for general viewing. Here is a JPEG version of the original 1200 dpi scan (66 Megabytes): 1200 dpi version)

Here's a cropped version showing just these machines:

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image link-to-mackellar-smiths-jordan-1896-1200rgb-0062-crop-eight-zieglers-plus-one-sf0.jpg

(From 1200 dpi version)

It is difficult to make out detail in this image, but it is clear that these machines are not pivotal casters (they don't look like pivotals, and they're in the "Automatic" room). They are not Barths because:

The machine in the far back (on the far left in the cropped view) is missing the handwheel, but in frame and layout otherwise appears to be a Ziegler. It is not hooked up to power, so for the present I'll assume that it is a Ziegler machine undergoing service.

4. Wylie and ATF (1902)

In 1902, Donald Wylie wrote an an article, "A Study of Modern Typefounding," which appeared in The American Printer {Wylie 1902}. This article was reprinted as a part of the ATF business promotional booklet American Type Founders Company: Its Business and Resources Illustrated {ATF Illustrated 1902}.

This article shows the Ziegler machine(s) twice, once clearly and once obscurely.

The clear appearance is on p. 358 of the article as it appeared in The American Printer (or p. 20 as it was reprinted in the ATF booklet). (In terms of digital versions, the current scan of the ATF booklet which is online, done by Rich Hopkins, has better quality images than the current scan of the American Printer article, done by Google.) This image is as important for its caption as its illustration. The caption links the ATF "space and quad" machines conclusively with the MSJ Ziegler machines, and suggests quite strongly that the Ziegler machines were used to cast type generally (not just spaces and quads) at MSJ.

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image link-to-atf-1902-book-skyline-hopkins-015-ziegler-sf0.jpg

The Ziegler casters also are in the background in a photograph of the Philadelphia Branch of American Type Founders (that is, the old MSJ plant) in this article. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to make out any detail in this photograph. All I can really tell from it is that there are still casters in that part of the room, and that they aren't Barths. Should you wish to examine this photograph in more detail, the reproduction in, and reprint from, the 1902 ATF book is the better of the two. It's online in the Barth Type Caster Notebooks. Here's a copy, linked from that presentation:

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image ../barth/galleries/from-traditional-printed-sources/link-to-wylie-a-study-of-modern-typefounding-american-printer-vol032-no05-1902-01-hathi-mdp-39015086752956-p361-img433-2624x3582-crop-barths-sf0.jpg

5. ATF Specimen Book (1912)

A relatively clear, though regrettably incomplete, view of a Ziegler caster appears in the 1912 edition of the ATF Specimen Book of Type Styles.

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image link-to-atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-sf0.jpg

(From {ATF Specimen Book 1912}, p. 10. Scanned by DMM from the original. The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide version suitable for general viewing. Here is a JPEG version of the original 1200 dpi scan (31 Megabytes): atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-crop-7184x11040.jpg)

The Ziegler space and quad caster is at the lower right hand corner of the bottom photograph. Here's a cropped version showing just it:

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image link-to-atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-crop-7184x11040-crop-ziegler-caster-sf0.jpg

6. Views of the Central Plant (Circa 1912)

The clearest view of the Ziegler casters that has ever been published in Photographic Views of Central Plant: American Type Founders Company, Jersey City, New Jersey {ATF Views ca. 1912} Two Ziegler casters appear, shown from their front side, in the foreground of the "West Bay Automatic Casting Department" view.

Here's the overall view:

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-sf0.jpg

(The extracts from {ATF Views ca. 1912} appear here through the kind permission of Dave Peat, who sold this booklet for many years.)

Here's a cropped view showing just the Ziegler machines:

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-rot90cw-crop-msj-nonbarths-sf0.jpg

To get down to the halftone dot level, here's a 2400 dpi version of the cropped image above: as a JPG image and as a PDF (possibly easier to scale).

Finally, here's a cropped view showing just the rightmost machine. This may be the best image we'll ever have of a Ziegler patent caster.

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-rot90cw-crop-msj-nonbarths-right-machine-sf0.jpg

Here's the image above as a PDF (which may scale better).

7. Identifying Features

In trying to identify Ziegler casters in old photographs, I've found the following external visual features to be of use:

The profile of the front and back members of the frame.

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-rot90cw-crop-msj-nonbarths-right-machine-frame-sf0.jpg image link-to-mackellar-smiths-jordan-1896-1200rgb-0062-crop-ziegler-frame-sf0.jpg

The large handwheel mounted on the front of the machine, and the floor-level drive on the right of the machine.

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-rot90cw-crop-msj-nonbarths-right-machine-handwheel-sf0.jpg image link-to-atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-crop-7184x11040-crop-ziegler-caster-handwheel-sf0.jpg

This handwheel is shown only from above in the patent drawings:

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The distinctive "offset" Pump Lever (called the "Operating Lever" in patent 523,255, and shown below left) and the apparatus on the right of the machine for controlling the Reciprocating Bar (below right). (Note: Both are shown below from the back of the machine.)

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image link-to-atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-crop-7184x11040-crop-ziegler-caster-pump-lever-sf0.jpg image link-to-atf-1912-american-specimen-book-1200rgb-0000-10-crop-7184x11040-crop-ziegler-caster-reciprocating-bar-control-sf0.jpg

Here they are from the front of the machine:

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image link-to-atf-central-plant-ca1912-2002reprint-0011-2400rgb-automatic-casting-department-west-bay-rot90cw-crop-msj-nonbarths-right-machine-pump-lever-and-reciprocating-bar-sf0.jpg

Here are the Pump Lever and Reciprocating Bar (control) as shown in Ziegler's patent 523,255.

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image link-to-us-0523255-1894-07-17-ziegler-msj-type-caster-03-sf0.jpg

8. Scrapped at Auction (1993)

I am not aware of any Ziegler patent / ATF space and quad machines other than those which were used by MSJ and ATF and either retained by ATF until 1993 or (possibly) scrapped by ATF prior to 1993. I have no information on the total production of these machines, or on the number which may have been scrapped by ATF prior to 1993. (But it should be noted that ATF was the single most aggressive scrapper of type casting machinery in American history; the efforts of the scrap dealers at the 1993 auction pale by comparison.)

Eight ATF space and quad casting machines (all presumably Ziegler machines) survived until the 1993 auction of the ATF plant. These, as listed in the auction results, were:

Serial No. Auction Lot No. Body (Point) Size
106 123 24 pt
110 186 36 pt
203 126 24 pt
223 129 18 pt
224 127 6 pt
332 159 6 pt
376 132 12 pt
453 133 10 pt

All eight were purchased by buyer no. 54, a scrap dealer.

The results of the 1993 auction of the ATF plant are online at: ../ The Barth Type Caster -> History -> A Census of Barth Type Casters -> Documents.

9. Bibliography

{ATF Illustrated 1902} American Type Founders Company. American Type Founders Company: Its Business and Resources Illustrated. [no location, but the ATF General Offices were in New York City at this point]: American Type Founders Company, 1902.

This has been scanned by Richard L. Hopkins from the Skyline Type Foundry copy and is online in the CircuitousRoot Notebook on American Type Founders

{ATF Specimen Book 1912} American Type Founders Company. Specimen Book of Type Stypes. Jersey City, NJ: American Type Founders Company, 1912.

This specimen has been reprinted twice online (from the University of California copy and the Brigham Young University copy) and is available online via The Internet Archive. See the CircuitousRoot Notebook on American Type Founders.

{ATF Views ca. 1912} Rehak, Theo, Dave Peat, Rich Hopkins, eds. Photographic Views of Central Plant: American Type Founders Company, Jersey City, New Jersey . American Typecasting Fellowship, 2002.

This is a facsimile of a booklet published by ATF, the original of which Theo Rehak "discovered ... carelessly discarded". This edition was prepared with additional material by Rich Hopkins and Theo Rehak and published in 2002 as a joint keepsake for the 2002 American Typecasitng Fellowship conference (Provo, UT) and the September 2002 meeting of The Typophiles.

{MSJ 1896} MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. One Hundred Years. Philadelphia, PA: MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan, 1896.

The sections on typefounding have been reprinted by CircuitousRoot. A complete, but low-resolution, scan has been done by Google and is available via The Hathi Trust (Hathi ID: pst.000015538079). A local copy assembled from the Hathi images is online in the CircuitousRoot Notebook on ATF.

{Wylie 1902} Wylie, Donald. "A Study of Modern Typefounding." The American Printer. Vol. 32, No. 5 (January, 1902): 353-364.

Scanned by Google from the University of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust (Hathi ID: mdp.39015086752956). A local copy is online in the CircuitousRoot Notebook of General Literature on Making Printing Matrices and Types.