Wicks rotary typecaster, 1878.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
As the printing industry expanded in the 19th century, the methods used to cast type began to fall behind, and inventors tried to automate the proces. One succesful high-speed machine was the Wicks, which could cast 1000 types a minute. A wheel equipped with moulds for a complete font of type rotated rapidly while molten metal was pumped into the moulds, cooled, and ejected as a stream of finished types. These machines were largely superseded by machines capable of simultaneous typecasting and composition.