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Do you remember the old linotype machines?

Posted by gandle 4 NE (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 12, 12 at 12:38

Don't know why I thought of them, oh yes I do. I was remembering the little town where dad's blacksmith shop was and the layout of the town. Just south of the shop was a pool hall and beer joint. Kansas was dry at that time so the beer was only 3.2% but everyone knew the bartender had a quite complete line of all kinds of alcholic drinks under the bar. Next to that was a flight of quite steep dark stairs and if you climbed them at the top and turned right it was Dr. Stevens dental office. His drill was operated by a foot pump while he pumped the foot pedal the drill worked. To the left was Dr. Vansants office, an MD. The worst memories I have of those stairs and his office were when I had to be forced up the stairs to get the rabies shot in my navel. Had to have 5 of them a week apart. It took both grandparents all they could handle to get me up those stairs, those shots hurt terribly. I think I was 5 at the time.

Next door to that was the weekly newspaper office, the linotype was near the front of the building and you could watch the operator working. Those were huge, complicated machines. This one had a kerosene burner under the lead pot to melt the lead. Did you ever get a good look at the keyboard of those machines? They certainly didn't have a qwerty keyboard. If I am remembering correctly, there were three separate parts of the keyboard, each a different color, I have no idea how the operator worked the keyboard but I was always amazed at how his fingers seem to fly over the different parts and then the lead print sections would come sliding down to make up a page.

Wonder if anywhere in this country there is still an operating linotype?

Next door to that was the local cafe, there wasn't any city water at that time so the woman that owned the place always came to the blacksmith shop with a couple of pails. There was and still is an operating water well in the southwest corner of the blacksmith shop. Come to think of it, I believe every business carried pails to the shop and pumped water for their use. There was a pump just outside of the firehall but that was almost a block from the stores. Running on as usual. Enough.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

  • Posted by mwheel East. WV-Z.6 (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 12, 12 at 13:55

Keep on runnin', George, please. We love it!

I have to say that I really don't remember linotype machines. I do remember when phone operators--all women, of course--asked for the number you wanted and put the call through for you. I was told that once I picked up the phone and when the voice said, "Number, please", I said "Mommie!"--and it was! My Grandmother had a hard time getting me to let go of the phone! :>)


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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

I'd never seen one. I had to look it up, but amazing. I read that if a person made one mistake, the whole thing would have to be scraped and done over! And it was melted lead. Whoa. It also mirrored today's job market. Type setters were the highest paid union workers, but then a generation later, gone. Fully replaced by word processors.


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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

Gandle, I remember the one that had a long piece of metal
hanging over a pot of melted lead. It was always spewing hot
lead on your arms and it left blisters everywhere it touched
the skin.
There are Linotype machines in use today due to certain types of printing that can't be done otherwise.
I know this because my ex has been called out of retirement
to operate a Linotype that no one else knows how to operate but him.


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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

I went to hi scool with a kid named Mike Hawkins. I went out to his place one weekend. Sitting in the living room was a type font. Turns out his Dad had been a typesetter till the linotype put him out of work.


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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

We have a couple of type drawers that Missy uses to hold her rubber stamps. When I was a kid our class took a tour of the Des Moines Register and Tribune building and saw the huge printing machines running very fast. Not Linotype but a later generation of printing. Have seen a Linotype in a museum, where I do not remember. Wonder if my ex still has the heavy paper press we found at an antique store used to make individual sheets 2' by 3'.


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RE: Do you remember the old linotype machines?

A cousin was the master typesetter for a newspaper and book publishing company and he showed me around a couple of times. In the good old German tradition he learned from the ground up, apprentice, journeyman and master and went from pouring lead to linotype and computer when he retired at age 72. My husband took typesetting at shop in highschool. It always fascinated me, but that's natural for a bookworm.


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