The Ludlow Typograph is a type founding machine, which means it can create new type by setting ‘hot metal’ in brass moulds.
You simply collect a brass mould for each character needed in a word or sentence and assemble them in the correct order in a ‘stick’. This stick and moulds are inserted into the Ludlow (as it’s more commonly known), which injects hot metal into the moulds. A line of type, known as a slug, is cast and dispensed from the machine. The stick then needs broken down and the moulds returned to their relevant cases by hand.
Other type founding machines include the Linotype, which assembles the moulds with the operator instructing it through a built-in keyboard, and the Monotype where the keyboard creates punch paper tape which instructs the machine.
A benefit of the Ludlow is that it can cast between 6pt and 228pt type on slugs without changes to the machine, unlike the other machines that need to be adjusted for each size.
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Hot metal typesetting
Watch the Ludlow Typograph in action.
Filmed at The Print Project.