The Nebitype, the Hot Metal Typesetting Machine from Hell.

1967t01The Year was 1968. I was completing my composing apprenticeship with the Griffin Press, Marion Road, Netley.
My foreman was Alf Freeman, a bald Englishman who had come from England to originally work at the Government Printing Office.
Alf had left after a couple of years for the Griffin.
There I met Nick Penn, Colin Rawlings, Rod Baker, Ted Powell, Ken Simpson, Doug Long and Norm Morcombe all who went on to work at the Old Guv from the 1970s onwards.
However, the point of this tale is to get you to look at the above typecating machine, the Nebitype.
It was made by the Nebiolo Company of Italy. The Nebitype was a line casting typesetter that spewed a single lead printing slug around 40 picas in length.
It was vaguely similar to the Ludlow Typesetter.
But there the similarity ended, unlike the Nebitype the Ludlow was a very reliable American typesetting machine.
But there was a problem with the Nebitype duuring its casting cycle and I suspected there was something up when the tradesmen refused to work it.
It was left up to the apprentices, especially the new ones, like me!
The Nebitype had a mind of its own and would often spray molten lead into the air.
Luckily, there was a comp. called Ken Costello (a ballroom dancing champion) who showed me the Nebitype survival plan.
You would place the setting stick in the jaws of the machine and then everyone would scatter.
Ken had a rope tied to the casting handle and the other apprentices would hide behind a typesetting frame for safety.
Meanwhile, Ken would wave a red warning flag to keep people away.
You tugged the rope, uttered a short prayer and the machine would shudder into action. Did it work properly this time? Was the floor covered with molten lead?
It certainly made life interesting in the Griffin Press comp. room.
derwombat
 

5 thoughts on “The Nebitype, the Hot Metal Typesetting Machine from Hell.

  1. Oh, you remember all THOSE people you met at the Griffin – but not little ol’ me! I do remember meeting ‘Boof’ there.
    I worked on making up ads for the Yellow Pages for one week. On the Wednesday – my third day into the job – I received a telegram (remember those?) stating I was accepted as a hand-comp at the Guv in KWR, so I handed in my notice – much to the disgust of Alf the foreman!
    How could you forget little ol’ me – you presented me with a magnum of Cold Duck I won in the Friday raffle – my last day there! Cheers!
    By the way, Alf gave me a lift to and from work for my solitary week there, as he lived out my way – what a nice chap!

    Like

  2. Amend the first para in my last comment to read “…however, I don’t remember the machine” – please, Rodley.

    Like

Please Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s