September 29 - October 6, 2013

 Dean: Larry J. Raid, Denmark, Iowa

Dates and Times Prerequisites Manuals and Supplies
Location Projects to Be Undertaken Student Housing & Dining
Big Toys Equipment To Be Used Class Subjects
Tuition and Expenses Application Process  

Welcome to the wonderful world of line casting! If you are visiting this site, it is likely that you have a secret (or not-so-secret) yearning to learn to operate that most marvelous of giant, clanking, squirting beauty known as a Linotype machine. For much of a century, this exquisite invention of Ottmar Mergenthaler served as the mainstay of the newspaper and job printing industries. While the coming of photographic and digital typesetting doomed these classic machines to economic obsolescence, there lives on a hearty cadre of letterpress printers and typesetters who would give up their lives before they'd lose their Linos.  If you would like to take the first steps toward joining this elite fraternity, you have come to the right place. There are many good instruction books on the line casting process, and with much dedication, time and effort it certainly is possible to teach yourself. When you do it on your own, however, it may often seem that you are not making any progress, which will cause you to get discouraged and abandon your quest. The best way to learn the line casting process, therefore, is to apprentice at the feet of an old timer who knows these machines inside and out. Unfortunately, these old timers are getting increasingly scarce, so  we have done the next best thing and pulled several of them together to teach at this second line casting class: Linotype University XI.

Dates and Times
Linotype University XI will be held September 29 through October 6, 2012. in Denmark, Iowa. Classed begin at 4:00 PM on Sunday the 29th and will run until noon on Sunday, October 6th. This is an intensive program in farm country, so classes will start at 8:00 AM each day and continue (with an hour break for lunch) until 6:00 pm. Optional evening sessions will deal with interesting Linotype sidelines and curiosities. Thursday evening the entire class will dine out at a major eating place and will visit a model 32 in action at a regional Show Grounds.


Linotype University XI will be held at the Working Linotype Museum, at 333 Park Avenue, on the campus of Pry Plastics, Inc. Denmark is in the very southeast corner of the state of Iowa, eight miles from the Mississippi River and about 30 miles from Missouri. Registration and the student welcome session will be held at the Raid home at 503 Second Street on the south side of Iowa Highway 16.



Equipment to be Used
Linotype University XI has a lot of equipment. Many models of line casters are available, but at LU XI, the Linotype Model 31 will be the primary teaching machine. There are several of them on campus, and each student will have ample time to work on their own machine. During the course, students will be able to be cast from models 5, 18, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, APL (All-Purpose Linotype), G 4 Intertype and a Linotype Elektron. There will also be a proof press to print copies of the work the students cast. Other machines on the property are model 8, 14, 15, 16, 31 with a 42 pica mold wheel, G 4 + 4, F 4 + triangle four, B 2 Intertypes, a model K and a model L Linotype and more Linotype Elektrons.


Big Toys for Big Boys
One of the exclusive perks of attending LU XI is the chance to play with the world's biggest train set: life size scale! The Sun Dance and Southern Railroad is on the Linotype University campus, and includes an ex-Rock Island Railroad #348 diesel, mechanical, switcher locomotive and a century old, cupola end, wooden red caboose. The train is on live rail that runs through the campus and to The Working Linotype Museum. During LU XI students will have a chance to serve as the engineer or conductor on the train and see what operating really big iron is all about! (By the way, track work is like collecting letterpress printing equipment: one never wants to get it done.)


To enroll in Linotype University XI, prospective students must be able to read and write English. They also must desire to own a line casting machine, or must work for a company where they will be able to operate a caster, or work with a curator at a printing museum.


Student Projects
Students must have several pages of a sample text that they want to set and cast from the machines while they are here. A copy of 250 words should be sent with the application. It can be a preface to a book, a short story, a chapter of a book, a poem or a story for a newspaper or magazine, etc.


Class Subjects
This week-long course will be a comprehensive introduction to the Linotype. The sorts of questions and topics that will be answered include: I want a machine, but it is too big to get it out and too wide to get it into my place. What can I do? * Now, I have a machine, what can I do with it? * How to hook it up. * Now that it is hooked up, what next? * Keyboarding for speed, for your work, accuracy and different ways to keyboard correctly. * Changing the many different parts of a caster. * Oiling, cleaning and maintaining your machine, mats and magazines. * Removing sections from the machine to allow better cleaning of parts. * Mat problems and what to do to keep mats running forever. * Mat identification and care. * Moving machines, where to pick them up from and how to chain them down to move them. (A model 5 Linotype will be dismantled as far as the students want to go with it, moved, re-assembled and make to cast again.) * Hooking a computer up to a Linotype directly, through the use of an Autosetter or by a TTS system. * Metal preparation and pig pouring with the stereo casting melter.


Manuals and Supplies
Students will be able to order, at their own cost, a wide array of fonts, books, manuals, parts and other items from the instructors, who will bring them when they come to the class.


Student Housing and Dining
Sleeping arrangements will be at a motel in Ft. Madison. Breakfast will be eaten each day at the lodging. Lunch will be bring-your-own-bag, to be eaten at noon in the caboose. Dinner each evening will be at a different restaurant in the area, Dutch treat. The Thursday evening banquet, also at each person's own expense, will include all students, faculty and spouses, and will take place at a classic hotel with a huge buffet.


Tuition and Expenses
The tuition for Linotype University XI is FREE for those students lucky (and early!) enough to be accepted into the program. The Dean and Instructors are conducting this program as a labor of love, to help indoctrinate another generation in the pleasures and challenges of line casting. Students will be responsible, however, for all of their own expenses during the program, including transportation to Denmark, Iowa and housing and food costs while on campus, as well as for any mats, parts, books and manuals, etc. that they purchase form the instructors during the program.


Application to Linotype University XI
The sixteen members of the Linotype University XI class will be chosen based upon the quality of their applications. Interested students should send an e-mail to Dean Larry Raid containing the following information:
  • Student's name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Home, work and mobile phone numbers
  • A one page statement on why the student should be considered for Linotype University XI, including information on current or future access to line casters, personal or professional interest in line casting, and the student's prior experience (if any) in casting or letterpress printing.
  • A text of approximately 250 words that the student would like to set and cast while at Linotype University XI.

Notification letters will be sent out to all applicants no later than May 1, 2013. In the [likely] event that Linotype University XI is oversubscribed, a waiting list will be maintained for future sessions.

Additional Classes
Other classes may include Ludlow University V, Heidelberg Windmill University III, and Vandercook University III for four color letterpress printing. Contact Dean Larry Raid for additional information.


This course description is copyright © 2003 - 2013 by Larry J. Raid. As all information in it is subject to change, it may not be redistributed electronically. Instead, please use a link to where the current information will always reside. For print reproduction permission, please e-mail:

Revised: Sept 11, 2013

The COST of our Teaching, Learning and Working Museums, the Library, the Letterpress Printers Hall of Fame, the Railroad Hall of Fame, Web Site is provided by: volunteers, grants and "FREE-WILL" donations from visitors, guests and readers like YOU. If you would like to support what we are doing by making a donation to our project, IT WILL BE APPRECIATED! Send All Donations by check, money order, (Do Not Send Cash) to: The Quaint Train Co. Support Donation, P.O. Box #170, Denmark, Iowa 52624-0170. Donations can be made by Credit Card thru Pay Pal System