Yesterday's Technology . . . Today!

Taking Care of Business

The first of a series of stories sent in by Greg Fischer (aka Linofish).

Says Greg: "All the incidents happened at the Trenton NJ Trentonian, between 1958 and 1965. This was at the old Front Street building. In 1965, we moved to a brand new plant with a new Hoe Colormatic letterpress. Much improved from the old building which was said to be used at one time by the Mercer Automoble Company.

Greg has previously supplied Metal Type with a large selection of Letterpress Limericks.

THIS one goes back decades to when the Linofish was just starting out. The head machinist was pretty old and nearing retirement. He also was president of the Moose Lodge.

Anyway, it was decided that the budding apprentice should get some serious hands-on experience and the project planned was to completely remove the mould disc, slide, all of the ejector mechanism, disassemble completely, wash in solvent, re oil and reinstall. We had about 10 machines at the time.

There was no Sunday paper, so most of the ad work and non-news features had all been put to bed Saturday. The place was empty. So the Linofish arrived bright and early Sunday morning (on overtime) and we went through the procedure which takes quite a bit of time.

As we were working on the third machine (third Sunday), me sloshing ejector blades and links around in Varsol, the machinist came over and said he had some business to take care of at the Moose Lodge (he had a key), which was just up the street. "You jus' keep goin' he said. I'll be back and check in an hour or so."

Well, the business at the Moose consisted of enthusiastically lowering the level in the Old Overholtz bottle at their bar, as the old guy tended to become "Powerful thirsty."

He never returned that day. Here I was left bordering on panic with a bucketfull of parts to put back together, mould disk and slide on the floor and the night shift arriving at 5 pm. Somehow I muddled through and with a few prayers to Ottmar, got the Lino together and running. You learn fast when you are young.

"Good job" he said next day. "I got tied up. Yer gotta sink or swim sometimes, heh, heh!" After that, every Sunday afternoon until all the machines were done, "business" had to be attended to at the Moose around 1pm. I never said anything to anyone, I really liked the old guy, and I think the super knew what was going on.

He had the most wretched set of tools I have ever seen. So I took $200 out of the bank and went across the street to Sears and bought a slew of new ones and a couple of Kennedy tool box units to keep 'em in. That was a lot of money in those days, but it bought a LOT of tools! I still got 'em. Job was tough enough without having to put up with junk tools.

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