L. Verle Heljeson
by Hazel and Harold Segal
THE ANNOUNCEMENT of the sudden death of L. Verle Heljeson jolted the Natural Bridge convention and left it stunned. In the National Amateur Press Association, inured by life in its nearly one hundred up-and-down years, deaths are accepted – but not without reluctance. However, it is not often that an active luminary is snatched from us. Many of the famed amateurs of the past had retired from participation in the hobby when they passed on to the greater world of letters. Verle, on June 6, 1972, was just as active and interested in the NAPA, AAPA and the Fossils as he had been when he served each of these groups as president, editor, judge, director and in other sundry capacities.
Acting in the given role of Centennial Coordinator, sifting various suggestions for the twelve-month 1975-76 celebration of the NAPA’s 100th year, Verle’s report was being read and discussed by the convention when the sad news came. Worried friends had been unable to reach him by telephone. His unexplained absence had forced the association to discuss what some friends believed to be a preliminary report. Comment from ex-presidents and life members on projects, research and financing were neatly typed and arranged and covered a sheaf of pages. It was the feeling of those close to Verle that he intended a more concise presentation, eliminating ideas of questionable worth or expensive fantasy.
Gentle by nature, unimposing, Verle was a writer and critic we admired. His official reports were factually complete and encompassing. His critiques were incisive – but not unduly – and an especial joy to re-read and pick up a missed nuance. Occasionally unspoken remarks were forceful by their omission. He knew the words, the seldom-used and the exact words for the sentiment he wished to express. He knew how to put them together.
Our initial meeting with Verle in Grand Rapids in 1936 was brief and uncommunicative. He was new and unacquainted. It was not until 1949 when he resumed activity (shifted to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico by the U.S. Forest Service Fiscal Department) that the hobby really got to know him. “He seemed,” wrote Thomas B. Whitbread of a 1949 meeting in Verle’s apartment, “a rare and original compound of ruby Mandarin, British civil servant, and slowly but surely melting iceberg… his long, almost dour, past-complexioned face, beneath a high flat forehead and swept-back, thinning hair… above a tasteful necktie with which his fingers never ceased to fiddle.”
In his unassuming way, he was a zesty participant as well as a cheering spectator. Aside from the editing of an excellent volume of The National Amateur, Verle’s publishing activity was of short duration, but he was a contributor to any journal that asked for material. He wrote seven times for Campane, with intriguing titles as “White Fire and Black Ice,” “The Agony of Agenda” and “Up the Executive Suite.” He also wrote the lead article for the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Book. His articles and critiques in the official organs were many.
Verle was an avid convention attendee and he enjoyed maneuvering within the restrictive confines of Robert’s Rules of Order, but he was not beyond investigative questioning. He served on policy-determining boards, on auditing committees, and instituted the NAPA’s annual budgeting process.
His death is a great loss to all amateur journalism. We will miss him.
UNBOUND pages of an extremely limited edition of a small book (published in 1964), L-V-H… a Profile, by Thomas B. Whitbread, are available, while they last, from the editors of Campane. They are the reprints of a three-article series that appeared during 1960-64: “L for Lucius?” “V for Various?” and “Thin Line of Blue Hills.” The lot consists of five eight-page signatures of 23 numbered pages, title page, half-title, colophon, etc.
We will distribute these on a first-come, first-served bases. We hope recipients might like to make a donation to the L. V. Heljeson Memorial Centennial Fund through NAPA Secretary-Treasurer Louise Lincoln, at Tuscon, Arizona 85710.
Copyfitting is Easy
by David M. Norton
How much space will a given manuscript require in your publication? Or, if you have a hole in a page, how much will you have to write to fill it? The answer to either question is easy to calculate if you can copyfit correctly.
There are several copyfitting methods based on word count – words per line, words per page, words per square inch, etc. But they aren’t very accurate because we use words of different lengths when writing for different audiences or about different topics. For extreme examples, imagine a story for first grade students and an article on miracle drugs written for doctors.
Another, easier system is based on character count – the number of characters in a given body of copy. Any copy written in the American language will contain a known percentage of a, b, c, d, etc., within narrow limits. From this we can derive an accurate copyfitting method that will work regardless of word length.
The professional estimator will have charts, tables or slide rules to help him, but we can accomplish the same thing with a pencil and a little simple arithmetic. First we’ll need two definitions. A character is a letter (cap or lowercase), punctuation mark, figure or space between words. An average line is one without paragraph indentation, many capitals, wide word spacing, quadding at the end of a paragraph, or other abnormalities.
Dig out an old issue of your publication and count the number of characters in ten average lines. Divide this total character count by ten. The answer is the number of characters per average line of your body type set to the line length you use.
To change line length, divide the number of characters per average line by the line length in picas to get the number of characters per average line of the new length. For example: Campane has 55 characters per average line of 20 picas, or 2.75 characters per pica. If the same type is set in 25-pica lines, there will be 69 characters per line.
If you have a story and want to know how much space it will take when set in type, find the number of characters in the manuscript. Draw a straight line down the right side of the page in such a position that, at the ends of the typewritten lines, you will have as many characters short of your line as there are hanging over it. Your line will indicate the length of an average line. One way is to count ‘em, or you can measure the line length in inches and multiply by ten if you have a pica typewriter or twelve if yours is an elite model. If your math is as poor as ours is, use an elite typewriter, measure the average line in picas, and multiply by two to get the characters per line. Foreign typewriters are sometimes made to the metric system. Count the characters in one inch. If the inch mark comes in the middle of a character make your own line length scale. Type a period, four spaces, period, four spaces, period, four spaces, period, etc., across the edge of a sheet. Mark the periods 0, 5, 10, 15, etc., and you have a scale for measuring the characters in a line.
Now you need the number of lines of manuscript. You can again count or measure. A line of double-spaced copy, pica, elite or foreign, takes two picas. Measure the length of your manuscript in picas, divide by two, and you have the number of lines. Put the two-pica mark on your gauge at the bottom of the first line on each page and read at the bottom of the last line.
At this point you can ignore the short lines at the beginning and end of each paragraph. They appear in the manuscript and will appear in the type and, hopefully, will average out. With bad luck here your copyfitting should be off not more than one line per type page.
Multiply the number of characters per average line of manuscript by the number of lines, and you have the total number of characters.
Divide the total number of characters in the manuscript by the average number of characters per line of type, and you find the number of lines of type. Remember, this is based on average, so the result may be off by a line or two but it is accurate enough for almost all situations.
If you are writing the copy you can eliminate most of the arithmetic and do a more accurate job of copyfitting. Set your margin stops so you will type a line containing the same number of characters as your average line of type. For 51 characters per average line, for example, set the margin stops at 10 and 61. Now type the manuscript, using four characters paragraph indention and two spaces between sentences. You’ll be typing line for line.
Type a paragraph or two and set a few lines in type to check your line length. If type lines are consistently short, the most common error, you’re finishing the typed lines to soon. Compensate by adding two or three letters to every line – for 51 characters per line set the margin stops at 10 and 65, for example. This will correct for your habit of ending the line after the bell rings but before you hit the margin lock. If type lines are a bit long, decrease the right margin stop setting by a letter or two. Once you’ve arrived at an accurate margin setting it will work for anything you set in that particular type at the same line length, and most people have a constant personal error so, once determined, you can automatically add or subtract a character or two when setting the margin stops to type a particular line length.
Each line of manuscript will yield one line of type. There may be some variation from line to line due to fat and thin letters in type so real cowards try to end every paragraph with about half a line of copy. This gives room for an error of plus or minus half a line per paragraph without affecting the total number of lines in the story. Measure the number of lines of type it will make, and in a lot less time than it takes to read about it.
This copywriting system permits the author to plan his copy to give a predetermined appearance to the printed page if he wants to play a bit. For example, brother Segal should have a minimum of trouble setting this copy without hyphens and should still be able to follow the copy without rewriting here and there to make the lines fit. Perhaps he’ll add a note and tell us how it worked.
The first line of the first article in Campane is set flush left while the first lines of other articles are indented ten or twelve picas. We’ll guess that this one won’t be the lead article and type our copy to the second format. There are 21 lines of type on the first page of Campane articles and 30 on other pages, so we’ll type our copy that way. As the copy is typed we can see if there are widow lines at the tops of pages and, if so, rewrite to move them to a different position. (So this page starts with the beginning of a paragraph – a widow is a short line at the end of a paragraph.)
We like nicely finished workmanship and usually write material for our own publications so the last line of each article is a full line to square off the bottom of the story. Shall we try it now?
Here’s a five page article and all the counting we’ve done is the number of characters in ten average lines of Campane type. And there are four blank lines at the end of page five for the publisher to squeeze in his comment.
Editor’s note: What a pleasure to hand-set such copy! For the greater part it worked out well, but copy outran the type in lines containing many short words. Only difficulty: Norton missed a recently acquired idiosyncrasy. We avoid successive lines that begin or end with the same word (see goof in No. 68).
The Boxwooder Method
by Jacob L. Warner
Makeready could be considered the very crux of printing where one exhibits (invisibly, if you follow me) his superior skill, but I must confess that I am not fond of it even though when it works there is some sense of satisfaction.
Amateur printers seem inclined to disavow that they do much makeready. Dwight Cross prints a letter-size page of small type on an 8×12 press and says he uses “a little underlay.” Alan Wheeler, a high-quality printer, told me he does “very little.” J. Ed Newman, who prints as well as anybody, says he does “very little makeready.” J. Ed calls Warren’s Olde Style “the paper with the built-in makeready.” Is this a conspiracy of one-upmanship? Are they trying to make me eat my heart out? Am I the only printer who has to spend innumerable hours on makeready?
When touring the Government Printing Office, a printer operating a platen job press said, “See, no makeready.”
With some heat I said, “Well, hell, even I could print a corner card using rubber type and a rubber impression blanket with no makeready.”
It has been my sad experience that whenever the form fills an appreciable fraction of the chase, makeready is necessary. Nothing will take its place, not ink, not pressure. On a 10×15 press I can print a postcard size with little makeready, but the two-page form for my journal requires tedious and exasperating makeready. Two factors which may well increase makeready are that I use monotype-cast type which I believe to be more variable than foundry type and my platen may be a little warped from welding back a broken-off corner. However, when I used foundry type and before the platen was broken makeready was required.
The textbook method for makeready is this: One makes a print on supercalendered paper and by examining the back of the super, one is able to outline areas of low pressure on which one pastes pieces of manifold paper. I have seen people do this, but it doesn’t seem to work at all for me. I have an entirely different method which I shall describe in some detail. I don’t say it’s better; it’s just the only way I can do it.
To be perfectly specific I shall describe the makeready for a form containing two pages of my journal.
With very little ink on the press I position the gauge pins for the actual run and add packing until some area or areas print exactly right. (Typically, these areas will be small sections of two corners of the form.) At this point my packing will consist of two press boards and one or two sheets of 50-lb book paper. I now put a sheet of 8×10 book paper in the gauge pins and make a print on it. I shall call this the master sheet. While the master sheet is still in the press I mark ink lines on the tympan paper along the bottom left and top right sides of the master sheet. I then remove the master sheet and print on a sheet of manifold paper. I remove this and make a print on the journal stock.
I now have three prints: a trial print on the journal paper, a master sheet and a manifold. Using the journal paper as a guide I outline in ink on the manifold the whole area which is printing too lightly. With a very sharp knife I cut the manifold along the inked outline and with a very little printer’s paste I stick the cutout on the master sheet. Positioning is easy because both have been printed. I now remove the pressboards and packing and slide the master sheet onto the platen positioning it under the translucent tympan paper by the guide lines inked on the tympan paper.
The master sheet is then held at one point at its top middle by tape. The pressboards and packing are replaced on top of the master and a new trial print is made on journal stock. A new print is made on manifold, cut out as before and pasted on the master sheet. It is easy to remove and replace the master sheet since it is held only by a piece of tape. For a form consisting of two journal pages, the minimum number of paste-ups is three or four.
Finally, specific words or letters may require an additional thickness of manifold. If during this more even distribution of pressure, the area which originally printed correctly has become too light, I add an additional sheet or two to packing. When I’ve reached the end of my patience, I declare the print satisfactory, add ink, and run.
The mechanics of the above are very easy to perform and normally require a minimum of one hour; there is no maximum. There are some exasperating difficulties. It is not so easy to decide exactly where to outline for the weak areas – their boundaries are indefinite since the printing shades continuously from blank to correct and you may find an attempt resulting in a heavy or light pressure area at your assumed boundary.
Also I have found that when makeready does not proceed smoothly there comes a time when additional manifold cut-outs make the whole print look worse. If this happens the only solution is to start over with a new master sheet. I have found, inexplicably, that there are evenings when I can not do makeready, and the only solution is put everything in the waste-can, sustain myself with the reminder that I am not printing for a living, and try again another day.
Makeready for a form containing a lot of small type and a halftone is even more difficult. I have done it, but I don’t want to talk about it.
It wouldn’t be quite so discouraging if people would quit telling me that they do “very little” makeready. I am so cowed by this that I’m afraid to ask what they mean by “very little.” I’m afraid they’ll tell me how easy it is to print on a soda cracker.
CAMPANE is published in the interest of organized amateur journalism and the National Amateur Press Association by co-editors Hazel and Harold Segal, Margo Gardens, Bristol, Pa. 19007.