Elrod Strip and Rule Caster

The machine used by smal­ler print­ers to cast new ‘strip material’

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.”