The Elrod is the partner to the Ludlow for producing strip material: that’s rules, leads and bases for mounting plates. The benefits are similar to the Ludlow: one machine to produce a variety of material that can never be exhausted.
Benjamin Elrod took interest in strip material from 1917 while he we still a Linotype operator, the basis of his idea being that his machine would cast a continuous strip of material rather than a single slug at a time. He conducted a number of experiments with the metal pot of a Linotype and extruding material with pliers through a mould. The proceeds from the sale of this material funded further development of the Elrod. Mr Elrod had approached the Ludlow people and agreed to sell his machine to the firm in June 1920. By 1929 electrical heating was being used in Elrods.
Moulds between 12pt and 36pt are ‘cored’, that is to say the material has holes in the middle, reducing weight and also metal used. Lubrication of the mould is achieved by dispersing oil in the molten metal, which comes to the surface as the metal cools, thus lubricating the mould. The ‘pulling mechanism’ drags material out of the machine, which in theory might reach an endless length!
Andy Taylor has provided this excellent clip of his Elrod in operation. He adds: “just for interests sake its my Model F Elrod casting 36pt low leads for 8 gauge plate mount that as you point out is the maximum size it could achieve. I’ve also got a Model K which could cast up to 18pt.”