Yesterday's Technology . . . Today!

Three's A Crowd

The fifth 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.

WHEN the old head machinist who was my first boss retired, the company promoted one of the operators to day machinist because he was night M.O. and had been to Intertype school many years before. He was good, and taught me a lot. But was kind of weak in the electrical end of things.

One day as I was comfortably in the arms of Morpheus (I worked the night shift) the phone rang and wifey dutifily awakened me. "Its Maurio," she said. "He has a problem." "Mglxpg" I mumbled, reaching for the phone.

"Gregorio" a harassed sounding voice said. "The motor went on number four, and I have a problem with the spare. There are three wires coming out of the motor and only two from the switch!" he lamented.

It seems not all the machines were completely wired for three-phase motors, which the spare was. I told him to hook up two and put a wire nut on the extra motor lead. And to give it a push to start it. He didn't ask for explanations.

That night, I simply ran the extra wire from the new panel that was installed on all the machines when we moved. Panel to switch to motor and all was fixed. We then added the necessary wiring to the other machines as required so any type motor could be used on any machine.

In another incident, we got an ancient Miller saw (I still have it) for the ad row and it needed rewiring and a switch. So I mounted a toggle in a box near the table and ran a piece of metal hose down to the motor for the wiring. It was getting near quitting time, and just on a whim, I got some scraps of different colored wires and stuck them in so they hung out of the switchbox and at the motor end. There were about eight different colored pieces at each end. I left a note. "Maurio, please finish hooking up the Miller if you get a chance."

The next evening, all was as it was before, but the note now also said "Had many problems, could not get to Miller." He did not elaborate. :-) He had a saying he would quote with a laugh, "Wires three, let them be!"

And yet another thing I have to be thankful for are the great memories from working with those wonderful people over the years! "Those men are the salt of the earth!" I heard the publisher once say.

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