The story behind these linotype pendant necklaces is extraordinary.
Each pendant is an authentic antique brass linotype matrix, a piece of history saved from Canada’s oldest Chinese language print shop.
A Linotype machine, called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, revolutionized printing, newspapers, and by extension, literacy and society in the early 1900s. It is a "line casting" machine that produced a line of type from hot metal via a keyboard as opposed to hand setting each character into a composing stick from drawers and drawers of type (letterpress)–a giant leap for newsprint.
The brass matrices (or “mats”) themselves are the molds for the letter forms from which each character in the line of type was cast.
These mats are extremely rare, not only because they feature Chinese characters, but also because they came from Ho Sun Hing Printers, of Vancouver, BC, who were in business for 106 years until they closed in 2014.
As their business closed, they liquidated everything, and these beautiful brass pieces of history were days away from being melted down for scrap metal!
Thanks to you they will live on for many more years.
As I've had them translated, I've learned that the symbols are from a very old dialect that is seldom used today. I've had the brass pendants drilled at the actual "bottom" of the mats, which is why the symbols appear to be "upside down" oriented in the photos - but they are "right side up" to the wearer of the piece! Each solid brass mat is about 1.25" long, and .25" thick - giving them a lovely weight.
Because these are antique pieces that were meant to be workaday objects, each pendant bears subtle marks and nicks from years of use, adding character to these unique pieces.
Each precious pendant is hung on oxidized sterling silver chain and has a clasp. They come in 3 different lengths - common necklace lengths are 18", 24" or 32". However, if you'd like something in between those lengths, just leave me a note upon purhcase I'll make it to your specifications.
Please don't worry if some of the photos in this listing are of different symbols (showing size, etc), you will receive the exact translation as listed in the TITLE of this listing.
Each necklace comes in a gift box with a hand written OAK: One of A Kind tag, along with the story of these intriguing pieces of history.
I have literally hundreds of these amazing symbols, please see the list below for some of the other symbols I have gotten translated.
- to work
- cane (makes me think of bamboo swaying in the breeze)
- an inch/measurement (great for a math nerd!)
- laughing sound
- to cry in a weak voice
- suddenly/for the first time
- Confucianism (like "Confucius says")
- a letter/envelope
- making up for
- Yes/to answer in the affirmative
- Government official
- to stab (baby - cupid's bow stabbed me right in the heart!)
- fall over/lie down (you can get creative with this one)
- multiple times
- old (for your friend's 40th birthday?!)
- next/Asia in Japanese
- short/small in stature
- world generation
- to scythe (ooooOOOooohhh)
- the cry of birds
- human/a person/people
- to usurp
- to offer in worship/offerings
- kitchens (for the chef!)
- lofty peaks
- a book/volume/paper
- to faint
- a hill/mound/
- elder brother
- an accomplished imperial concubine during the Han dynasty (I told you it was an old dialect!)
- a laddle/spoon/arrow/dagger (multiple meanings)