|Melbourne Museum of Printing||
Stereotype Blocks and Matrices
The matrix is usually made from a kind of multi-layered paper (like cardboard) called flong. In earlier days, this was pasted together by the stereotyper as the matrix was `built', starting with very fine tissue paper which was `beaten' into the type with a large, flat brush. In later years ready-made flongs were used which were moulded in a heated hydraulic press.
If required, the matrix could be curved and a curved plate cast from it. These curved plates, semi-cylindrical, were for attachment to the printing drums of rotary presses for newspapers and magazines.
Electrotypes are similar but are made using electrolytic deposition instead of casting in typemetal.
The Museum holds many thousands of stereo matrices and stereotype blocks as well as electrotypes. It is still possible to mould a block from an old matrix.
Like so much of our collection, a lot of work is needed to bring it to a useful and stable state.