Yesterday's Technology . . . Today!

A Kick in the Clutch

The sixth in 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.

WE HAD a comp/Lino operator who mostly did comp work, but occasionally used one of the machines for a correction line or such.

He was quite an interesting individual. He was a guest for an extended period of the state of NJ for bank robberies and a bar room fight killing and also in the state of Maryland where he provided long-time assistance in the construction of the Conowingo hydroelectric dam.

Anyway, one evening he needed a line and sat down at one of the Linos to set it. After the line cast, the machine stalled at ejection. So he began tugging at the clutch handle to get it around. No luck.

"You %$##$^*&(&%%" he yelled, and he sprang from his seat went around and kicked the drive clutch forcefully. Well, there was a "CRAAAK!" as the iron ejector lever broke off.

So the Linofish found a spare in the graveyard of parts and installed it. It was a job, because you had to remove the second elevator arm on the old machines.

The bottom of the ejector lever was too wide to wiggle out of the machine frame. Later, they made it narrower and used a pipe spacer. I later checked it out, and found the liners were loose.

He should have backed the machine up,opened the knife block and tried again, If no luck, release the ejector lever pawl and let the machine cycle. Then remove the slug, liners etc. I asked why he just didn't call me.

He said "I didn't want to bother you" He was really a nice guy! :-) Later on we installed the breakable ejector link pins which would shear before the lever broke.

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