Pantographs for Making Working Patterns

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1. Pantographs Known to have been Used

Here is a list of all pantographs for which I am aware of evidence in the literature that they have been used in cutting working patterns (for any working pattern process).

The list here is arranged alphabetically, not chronologically or in order of importance.

Machine Used By
Barr ("pantograph for formers") Linotype & Machinery (UK) [BR]
Benton 1899/1905 Optomechanical Pantograph ATF, but its use for working patterns is unconfirmed
Benton Wax-Plate Pantograph ATF, attested in 1909.
Deckel [Taylor-Hobson System, unknown model] Goudy, pre-1939 [GD] [PT1]
Deckel "2G1" The Dale Guild [PT2]
E&PM Co. Goudy, improvised use 1939-1943
Gorton 3-B, as 2-dimensional machine ATF, 1941-1946/1948 [AD]
Legros & Colebrook's Bicycle-Tube Machine Legros and Colebrook [LC]
Taylor-Hobson, unknown model Rimmer
Unidentified horizontal machine Goudy, post-1939
Unidentified horizontal machine Monotype Corp. (UK), wax-plates, 1950s

I am unaware of any information about the machines used by the following entities for making working patterns. (Yet all of them must have made working patterns, and must have used some machine to do so.) This list is not complete.

2. Requirements for a Pantograph for Engraving Working Patterns


3. Machines Identified

Here are short identifications (illustrated when possible) of each of the machines listed in the table above, along with links to further discussions of them.

3.1. Barr

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A horizontal pantograph by Mark Barr for the Linotype Company in England. [LM] The illustration shown here, from Legros & Grant, would seem to correspond most closely to the machine described in Barr and Lock's GB patent No. 1,996 of 1899. See the chapter on Barr, for Working Patterns in the CircuitousRoot Pantograph Notebooks.

Note: Legros & Grant refer to working patterns as "formers" in their discussion of Barr's machine.

3.2. Benton's 1899/1905 Optomechanical Pantograph

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The identification of this machine as a pantograph for making working patterns raises several issues. Until they are resolved, I would consider it's identification as such highly uncertain.

First, there is the problem of identifying the machine itself. It is described in some detail in Benton's US patent 790,172, "Tracing Apparatus." In that patent, Benton allows the possibility that it might be used for engraving as well as drawing. But the only illustration I am aware of which shows a pantograph derived from this patent is the one in W. J. Kaup's article "Modern Automatic Type Making Methods" in The American Machinist, Vol. 32 (December 16, 1909) : 1042-1046. That machine does not include all of the elements of the machine described in the patent, and is shown in Kaup as a drawing (not engraving) pantograph "Delineating the Characters."

Second, there is the problem that this machine, as shown either in the patent or Kaup's article, is an enlarging pantograph with an optical tracer. Using it "backwards" (replacing the optical tracer with a cutter) would turn it into a quite ordinary pantograph (Benton didn't have lasers, after all). Using it as intended would mean that the finished drawings that it used as its originating pattern for creating a working pattern would have to be very small. The patent doesn't preclude changing the pantograph linkage so that it becomes a reducing pantograph, but there is no indication in the illustration in Kaup that this was done.

The argument that this machine might have been used for cutting working patterns is somewhat convoluted. Rehak, in Practical Typecasting , p. 108, describes an ATF method for mixed pantographic and hand engraving of working patterns on lead and zinc plates used, one can deduce, from 1899 to 1905. He refers to the pantograph used in this process as the "Benton Delineator." In Kaup's 1909 article, both horizontal pantographs illustrated are captioned as "delineating" machines. The second of these, shown "Delineating" (here meaning drag engraving) a wax plate, is a conventional machine used conventionally; nothing marks it as specifically Benton's. The first machine, shown "Delineating" (here meaning drawing) a finished drawing is clearly based on this remarkable 1899/1905 Optomechanical Pantograph patented by Benton. I would assume that if a lost machine from this period was interesting enough to be called, at ATF, the "Benton Delineator," that it would be the more interesting of Benton's machines. This is merely an assumption, of course, and it doesn't quite seem to fit the facts.

See the chapter on ATF Pantographs for Design (Benton's 1899/1905 Optomechanical Pantograph) for a further discussion of this machine. (The section on it in the general CircuitousRoot Benton pantograph Notebooks just links back to the chapter cited above.)

3.3. Benton's Wax-Plate Pantograph

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(Photograph from Kaup. "Modern Automatic Type-Making Methods".)

This is a straightforward horizontal pantograph. It reduces a large-scale finished drawing to working pattern size and drag engraves that pattern's outline through wax deposited on a typemetal substrate. The wax plate (not shown) is held upside-down in the frame shown above the tracer, D, in the photograph above.

We know that it was used by ATF for this work by at least 1909, when it was illustrated in W. J. Kaup's article "Modern Automatic Type Making Methods" in The American Machinist, Vol. 32 (December 16, 1909) : 1042-1046. It may well have been the original machine used by ATF for wax-plate work, as this is not long after Benton's chapter "The Making of Type" in Frederick H. Hitchcock's The Building of a Book. (NY: The Grafton Press, 1906) , which is the first published description of this process. (Rehak cites 1905 as its date of introduction, in Practical Typecasting, p. 108.)

See the chapter on ATF's Wax-Plate Pantograph for a further discussion of this machine.

3.4. Deckel (Goudy, pre-1939)

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(Photograph from Lewis' Behind the Type .)

See the chapter on Goudy's pre-1939 Deckel pantograph for a further discussion of this machine.

3.5. Deckel (Dale Guild)

Writing in 1993 Rehak, in Practical Typecasting , p. 108, says that the Dale Guild uses a Deckel model "2G1" pantograph for reproducing existing ATF solid brass working patterns which had been made by the ATF's solid brass plate method. It isn't clear whether they (Dale Guild) were using this machine to create new working patterns from drawings. I have been unable to find any further information on a Deckel model "2G1," but as Rehak says that this machine is the same as the one Goudy used, it may be presumed to be a Deckel built after the Taylor-Hobson system. See The Dale Guild's Deckel Engraving [although at this time it has no more content than what is here].

More recently, The Dale has been using photopolymer plates (a non-pantographic method) for working patterns.

3.6. E&PM Co. (Goudy, Improvising 1939-1943)

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(Photograph from "Type: Frederic W. Goudy Here Demonstrates the Design of One of Advertising's Oldest Devices, a Type Face." Advertising and Selling. Vol. 32, No. 6 (May, 1939): 38-39. This photograph shows Goudy at a pre-1939 E&PM Co. pantograph engaged in engraving a matrix. There is a published photograph of him in the 1939-1943 time period at a similar machine engraving a working pattern (in Boone, Andrew R. "Type by Goudy." Popular Science. Vol. 140, No. 4 (April 1942): 114-119) , but it is in copyright and I cannot reproduce it here.)

From 1939, after the fire destroyed his workshop, to 1943, when he acquired a replacement industrial pantograph for cutting working patterns, Goudy was obliged to use his replacement Engravers' and Printers' Machinery Company vertical pantograph for cutting working patterns. He found this to be possible, but slow and inconvenient.

I do not yet know the model of this machine. It might have been their Model D. It was not their Model C, which was a drag engraving machine.

See the chapters on Goudy's Working Pattern Engraving Techniques and Goudy's E&PM Co. Pantograph for a further discussion of this machine.

See the CircuitousRoot Notebook on Eaton and Related Pantographs for more information on the history of this machine.

3.7. Gorton 3-B as 2-Dimensional Machine (ATF, 1941-1948)

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(This is a photograph of a Gorton 3-B with its complete 3-dimensional apparatus (removed in ATF's application) from Gorton's Pantograph Instruction Book and Parts Catalog: For All Pantograph Engraving Machines (Racine, WI: George Gorton Machine Co., 1950) This is also Gorton Form 1385-E.

From 1941 to 1948, ATF employed a method of making working patterns by direct pantographic rotary engraving of solid brass plates. For this they used a George Gorton Co. model 3-B 3-dimensional pantograph rotary engraving machine stripped of much of its 3-dimensional apparatus and used as a 2-dimensional machine.

See ATF's Gorton 3-B for a further discussion of this machine. ATF's Solid Brass Plate Working Patterns for a further discussion of this method. See the CircuitousRoot Notebooks on Gorton Pantographs for more information, and links to much more external information, on Gorton machines in general.

N.B., Rehak cites this machine as a Gorton 3-U; it is not.

3.8. Legros' & Colebrook's Bicycle-Tube Machine

In Legros' 1908 paper "Typecasting and Composing Machinery" (1908) , p. 1068, he says "The author with Mr. Colebrook designed a pantograph which has given very satisfactory results. The frame was made of bicycle tubing with steel single and double joints brazed in, the centres being all made adjustable double cones like lathe centers."

"Mr. Colebrook" is not further identified. In Typographica Printing Surfaces, however, two persons with the surname Colebrook are thanked in the Acknowledgments section: C. Colebrook, "The late, of the Wicks Rotary Typecasting Co., Ltd., London." and Eric Colebrook of Watford. Legros was associated with the Wicks machine, so it is reasonable to conclude that this "bicycle tube pantograph" might have been used for working pattern making in conjunction with that caster (a nontrivial machine said to have been capable of automatically casting 60,000 types per hour).

I am unaware of any further information concerning this machine.

3.9. Taylor-Hobson, Unknown Model (Rimmer)

In Richard Kegler's film Making Faces about the work of the late Jim Rimmer, Rimmer is shown using a World War I vintage Taylor-Hobson pantograph, of unspecified model, for engraving the working patterns for the typeface Stern

I have been told by Rimmer's friend Alex Widen (Alden Press) that Rimmer found that there was sufficient play in the cutting spindle of this machine to preclude its operation for cutting matrices, but that it was fine for the slightly less demanding work of cutting working patterns.

See Rimmer's Method for Stern for a further discussion of his methods. See the CircuitousRoot Notebooks on Taylor-Hobson Pantographs for more information on the Taylor-Hobson machines in general.

4. Notes

[AD] Rehak, in Practical Typecasting , says that the ATF machine used in the 1940s for working patterns was a "customized Gorton #3-U" It is also shown in the 1948 ATF film Type Speaks! However, the machine illustrated by Rehak (p. 132) and shown in Type Speaks! is not a Gorton 3-U. Rather, it is a Gorton 3-B 3-dimensional pantograph engraver stripped of its "ratiobar" 3-D attachment and used for 2-D work. It is quite different from the Gorton 3-U, which was a 2-D only machine derived from the Taylor-Hobson. The 3-U (and later P1-2) have the separation of spindle and pantograph characteristic of the Taylor-Hobson; the 3-B carries the spindle directly on the pantograph.

[BR] Legros & Grant. Typographical Printing Surfaces. (1916) : p. 209 and Fig. 164 on Plate X.

[GD] See Goudy's Deckel Pantograph for further identification and discussion.

[LC] Legros, "Typecasting and Composing Machinery" (1908) , p. 1068.

[LM] The Linotype Company in England was a firm separate from the Mergenthaler Linotype Company in the US. It became became "The Linotype & Machinery Co., Ltd. in 1903 when it amalgamated with The Machinery Trust Ltd. (Source: "The Linotype & Machinery Co., Ltd." (Manchester, UK: Museum of Science & Industry (Mancheter), 2001.) PDF available at: ) None of Barr's patents (that I've discovered) date from the Linotype & Machinery period; by 1909 he was involved in designing calculating machinery elsewhere.

[PT1] Rehak, in Practical Typecasting , mentions Goudy's Deckel on pp. 102 and 135. He says that this machine was a Deckel "2G1", but I have been unable to find any other reference to such a Deckel model.

[PT2] Rehak, in Practical Typecasting , mentions The Dale Guild's Deckel on p. 135. He says that this machine is a Deckel "2G1", but I have been unable to find any other reference to such a Deckel model.

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