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From: (Don Wilkins)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: What alloy was (is) used for metal type? (as in printer's type)
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 03:06:59 GMT

On Mon, 28 Dec 1998 20:59:03 GMT, Bob Edwards <>

>Picked up a boxful of metal type at a junk store over the holiday for a
>couple bucks.  Anyone know what the common alloys for type metal were /
>are?  It's relatively soft, as I can shave it with my pocket knife, so I
>assume some kind of lead / tin / something else.  I couldn't find a
>reference to it in any of my metalworking and jewelry books, other than
>an entry in an old copy of _Jewelry Workshop Practices_ from the 30's
>(and I quote) "a low-melting alloy used for casting type".  Thanks, very
>Not sure yet what to do with it, maybe make some molds or hammer some
>metal against it for interesting shapes.  Maybe a "fractured letter"
>series of pieces.
>Anyway, thanks in advance for any info on the likely alloy.

75-95% lead, 2.5-18 % antimony, and may have a little tin and/or
copper. It expands on freezing to produce sharp castings.

Another reference gives 82% Pb, 15 % Sb and 3% Sn. No melting point
given but it should be within shooting distance of 300 C.

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