Melbourne Museum of Printing
Ludlow Mats in Our Collection
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Ludlow Matrices

Ludlow Matrices

and Nebitype Matrices. With special adaptors, there is a degree of interchangeability between matrices made for the Ludlow and those made for the Nebitype.

We have around a thousand founts [sets] of Ludlow or Nebi matrices in our collection. Many are duplicates.

[In the Ludlow and Nebitype system, matrices (each carrying the cavity to cast one letter) are assembled by hand into a composing stick which is then placed into the machine to produce a single-piece line (or slug) of type, quite similar to that produced by the Linotype. The mats then are distributed back to their storage drawer (usually called a matrix case).]

Despite the sheer volume of mats, there are very definite `holes' in our collection. We have only a few decorative faces, and not much variety in the larger headline sizes (48 to 96 pt). We have plenty of Tempo and its varieties, but little large type in Bodoni, Century, Times and the like, or Record Gothic.

Our Ludlow collection has no non-Latin faces, and no European accents. We do have a good set of `rule-form' mats and a lot of ornaments.

You may wish to consult our List of Ludlow mats, but at the time of writing it is only an outline.

Information Sought

As with every aspect of printing, we would always be glad to receive information about any aspect of Ludlow matrices.

In particular, we have no information on the specific processes used in the manufacture of mats. How do they start off? How many steps, and what are those steps?

How many factories ever made Ludlow mats? How many still do so?

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