A HOBBY Magazine Published By Tim Thrift and “Freezette” Thrift at Winchester, Massachusetts.
A house is jest an empty shell
Until you’ve lived in it a spell;
Until it’s peopled with events, and things
That jest yer daily livin’ brings,
‘Til after while yer get ter feel
Its lovin’ arms, come woe or weal.
Home, Sweet Home
YEARS AGO, when we were in our ambitious twenties, we built a house. It was such a house as we had dreamed of some day building – a white Colonial, with green shutters, set in a big yard.
(Some time, when we’re in the mood, we may tell you the story of that house. For, as we look back on it now, we know that it was a unique real estate venture, financed on faith and a shoestring and liquidated with imagination and a typewriter.)
And we devoted ourselves – my wife and I – to that house until it became a real home and the grounds blossomed into a thing of beauty. Somewhat as Riley has said: “… a cozy little cot hid in a nest of roses, with a fairy garden-spot…” – except that it wasn’t so little.
Then, in the course of events, we had to give it up and what we had planned to be the home of a lifetime became only our abode for a few short years.
So roots that were embedded in a community for more than two decades were ruthlessly torn out and transplanted in a strange environment.
Then, six years later, the Great Depression made transplanting again necessary and we returned, hopefully, to the old scenes, only to find many changes and disillusionments – as must be expected in the kaleidoscope of life.
The house we had so lovingly planned and built was in hands that had not taken care of it, and it seemed to gaze at us reproachfully whenever we hurried by.
Again the day came when once more we were on the move. This time it was to New England – only a story-book land to us.
Almost eight years have passed since this last pilgrimage. But it would seem that finally we have come to our journey’s end, else we would not have bought and outfitted a house – pleasured once more in the thrill of home building.
The new house is a Garrison Colonial, just right for the two of us, we think, and we are getting again, in a quieter way, the same “kick” as of old in shaping it into a home.
Books that have been in storage for many years at last are unpacked and on the shelves of the “den” where this Lucky Dog is being printed. And in the basement is a shop, such as we have had in mind for years – now realized in new power tools and equipment.
The “yard” is well on its way. Only the years will bring it to perfection, but the plan is there and plantings of flowers and shrubs and trees already beautify it. Some day the rambler roses, in a riot of color, will make its fence a bower; and bees, on lazy summer afternoons, will drowsily drone from flower to flower in its old-fashioned garden. Some day….
What a relief it is to feel again the satisfaction that comes with ownership. To realize that the house in which you live is yours. That you’ve a bit of land that belongs to you. That again you can do things freely about a place – big and little things that you have hesitated to do in the property of others because there was no permanence in them for you.
Some folks are content to live in hotels or apartments; to go South in the winter and to the shore or the mountains in the summer. To have, as they express it, “none of the responsibilities of keeping up a house.” That’s their privilege, and if they find happiness and contentment in such a life, all joy to them.
But we’re of the old-fashioned, soil-loving sort, I guess. For to us a home of our own, fashioned and shaped as we please to have it, seems about the greatest thing in life, and we get wonderful comfort and satisfaction out of living in it.
The years stretch ahead of us, in our new retreat, with pleasant anticipations of the many things we can do that we’ve long wanted to do and had to put off because of our uncertainty of location.
And there are so many things to do that seem worthwhile.
In the early years we hurried along to accumulate. But since circumstances and political economy have combined to make accumulation out-of-date, we can try our hand at new achievements and feel more confident, with the experience and background of the years to sustain us, of developing what we set out to accomplish.
We’ve a lot of things we want to do in the fifties, and in the sixties, and in the seventies; and yes, in the eighties – and God willing, we’ll get some of them done.
And there are so many other things to look forward to, too.
There’ll be Christmases in the new home; something like the Christmases when the “son-daughter” was a child, for her progeny, Peter and Gary, are coming on, and the activity of children will be in the house, even though it be only the “old folks’ home.”
And there’ll be the visits from friends – those who pleasured with us in the old home and will share our happiness in the new.
And there’ll be some heartaches, too, for those once near and dear who never can be with us again. In twilight hours our thoughts will go to them.
All of which is very personal, we’ll grant, and probably will bring an indulgent smile to readers who long have been established in their present environment. Only those who are home-lovers forced to roam, will get the real enthusiasm and satisfaction that lie between these lines, and so sympathize with us in this new adventure.
But perhaps you of the indulgent smiles will recall, if you mellow a bit, when that home of yours was young and there was all the thrill and excitement of a new house and beginnings in the business of life. Those are far-removed days now and you’ll not live them again, even in semblance, until you, too, adventure as we have through the pioneering of another home.
“It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,” says Eddie Guest. “A heap o’ sun and shadder, an’ you sometimes have t’ roam afore you really ‘preciate the things yer lef’ behind an’ hunger fer ‘em somehow, with ‘em allus on yer mind…. It ain’t home t’ yer, though it be the palace of a king, until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.”
And we pray that we’ll be given the chance to do that “heap o’ livin’” as new New England homesteaders.
Playing the Hobbyhorses
A HOBBY has been a life-saver for many a man – particularly when perforce or per choice he has reached that period in life when his business activity has slowed down and he has more free time for personal pursuits.
This is particularly true of the man who has made his business both a vocation and an avocation. When it is taken away, he of the single interest has nothing to fall back upon. Unless he then gets a hobbyhorse to ride, rust and boredom will get him.
Hobbies always have been a part of my life, from the day when in the teens a stamp collection was sacrificed to get a little Kelsey printing press, to the present time when I find relaxation both in a woodworking shop and in a private printery.
Possibly a brief sketch of the intimate part that hobbies have played in my life may be of some interest.
With that first printing press I traveled to journalism; from journalism to publishing; from publishing to advertising. As I look back, it was a natural progression. And it was a hobby that gave me the start in whatever success I may have attained in life’s business of making a livelihood.
The woodworking came later. More than twenty years ago, as the season drew near, my wife asked me what I wanted for a Christmas present. I said, “A tool chest.” It was just a passing idea, I think, for at the time I scarcely could drive a nail true or saw a board straight.
The chest arrived on Christmas day and it was a dandy. I was intrigued with its glittering tools and unknown gadgets.
About that time we decided to build, and, like most enterprises of the kind, by the time the house was completed we had no money left to furnish it. So after we had moved in our meager belongings from a much smaller place, I set up a workshop in the basement and began to build furniture.
It took more than two years to complete the job. But it is interesting to note that in the two decades which have past most of this furniture still survives; and, believe it or not, is in good style today. You see it had to be simple in design, for I was not a skilled cabinet maker, and simplicity always is in good taste.
In those days there were few books on woodworking as a hobby and practically no power tools for home workshops. Today, supplying the demands of those who make woodworking a hobby is a big business; many books on all phases of the work are available, and several magazines are devoted to this field.
For six years I was so situated that my tool chest had to go in storage, but the need of a hobby – of some relaxation from my daily work – persisted. So, in the limited space available, I took up radio construction and reveled in it until the progress of the industry made the work too complicated and expensive. But to this day I have not forgotten the thrill I received when from my first crude assembly of bus bar and parts, music came out of the air. Here something I had made had become endowed with life!
Of recent years I have been so placed that the tools could come out of storage and the woodworking be taken up again. And, more than this, another press and outfit has been installed, so that when I tire of furniture building I can go back to my first love. (As here I am.)
Both hobbies are creative, and it seems to me that to get the most out of a hobby this must be the case. Collecting things is a hobby indulged in by many persons. They find real pleasure in it, whether antiques, first editions, or trivia. But, to me, the real “kick” in a hobby is to be able to take raw materials and fabricate them into something useful and beautiful. To see in your mind’s eye a chest or a table, for instance, and then with tools, fine woods and craftsmanship, bring it into being. Or to take a press and type and paper and ink and with these tools produce an outstanding bit of printing. Such things are part of yourself, and although they may be far from perfect, they give a sense of personal satisfaction that I find it difficult to conceive could come to the collector of another’s work.
LAST YEAR, when we published our “Reminiscence Issue” of The Lucky Dog, we had no intention of reviving this hobby magazine of our youth. The “Reminiscence Issue” was a gesture to the past, prompted by sentiment and personal contact again, after many years, with active amateur journalists.
Now we find ourselves writing and printing another issue, and we ask ourselves “why?”. The answer seems to be a compound one.
First, we derived so much pleasure from planning and executing the “Reminiscence Issue” that we are persuaded, if only as a relief from the depressing events of the days, to attempt another.
Second, we have a notion that the surprise appearance of The Lucky Dog, after thirty years had made it only a name to many, may have had something to do with the revival about that time in the N. A. P. A. of a greater interest in amateur printing. And that perhaps another issue might give further impetus to this phase of amateur journalism.
That this second break in the inactivity of thirty years presages a return to regular publication of The Lucky Dog is improbable. We may, or may not, write and print a 1942 issue. Time, and events, and inclination, will decide.
We sent out our “Reminiscence Issue” with liberality. It was mailed to a list of more than 300 names (furnished by Edward Cole) of active and inactive amateur journalists.
We received about 50 acknowledgments, or approximately 17 per cent. Under the circumstances this indicates several things that readers may figure out for themselves.
This issue – of 250 copies only – will be sent to every publisher in the N. A. P. A. (so far as we know of them as such), and to be certain others whose names will be selected from the membership list. As a bystander rather than an active participant in amateur affairs, this seems about as much as we have the inclination or the interest to do.
SOME FACTS about this issue of The Lucky Dog may be of interest to the printing-minded members of the association.
The text pages are hand-set in 11 pt. Janson cast on 12 pt. body, leaded 1 pt. Janson is a Monotype face, adapted by Sol Hess from the original Dutch face cut by Anton Janson about 1670. It is a versatile letter with a fine traditional background.
This face is designed, perhaps, to be set more compactly than we have used it, but we have some fixed ideas about readability which make us dislike the solid, block-effect pages, without paragraphs or open spaces, that seem to be popular today with some typographers.
The headings are set in 24 pt. Grayda, designed by Frank Riley. This is a new A.T.F. script on the new angle body that eliminates overhangs.
The “dogs” are small reproductions of the original design used on the cover of The Lucky Dog from 1900 to 1904. We still have the original zinc etching – made 41 years ago – and the cuts used here were made from a print of it.
The story of where this “dog” came from is rather interesting. At the time – in our teens – when we planned to get out a little magazine, we did not have a name for it. At the printery where we were “deviling” after school, the suggestion was made that we call our publication The Lucky Dog. This was prompted by a poster at the “Opera House” that advertised Hoyt’s comedy, A Lucky Dog, and which had on it a large black and yellow illustration of the “dog” in question.
Just the other day an artist told us that he suspected this “dog” was the work of “Zim” (Zimmerman), a well-known cartoonist in the heydays of Puck and Judge. We wish that we had suspected this when “Zim,” several years ago, before he passed away, made the perfect cartoon of us which appears at the beginning of these rambling remarks.
The text pages are Hurlbut Deckle Edge Greeting and the cover is Hurlbut Mould Made Cover. Both are all-rag papers and we think offer pretty good proof of the claim that “paper is part of the picture.”
OF THE present-day amateur printers who show a real love for the craft, we are perhaps most sympathetic with the work of Burton Crane. In him we find a successful newspaper man who not only has a flair for printing, but who really has given it thought and study. He truly comprehends that type and paper and ink are only tools, and that to them must be added craftsmanship if the result is to be more than just another piece of printed matter.
While Burton Crane’s interest in printing started back in 1911, when he received a toy printing press as a birthday present, his notable work did not come until 30 years later. All of it today shows careful planning and close attention to details, and indicates that he has that sense of balance and proportion which is so essential to good typography.
The May, 1941, issue of Masaka probably is Crane’s best to date. The best local authority on printing we know made this comment when we showed it to him: “A nice piece of work, except for color. I think it could have been improved by graying the ink so that it would not have made such a black page, and using a darker dead blue so that the display lines in color would not jump out of the page at you. It needs more blending; not so much contrast.”
We pass this along because we are sure that Burton will appreciate the suggestion, and because our printer readers may find this comment food for thought when using color. We know that many times we have been guilty of just such contrasts in color values.
One reason why we are so sympathetic with the efforts made by Burton Crane to improve his work is because he is a true amateur printer. That is, printing is not his business; he never learned it as a trade or took any technical course. With him, it is a hobby indulged in for the fun of it, but he thinks enough of it to take the time and trouble to try to do his best. We suspect that this is a trait he exhibits in whatever he undertakes. It marks any “stand-out” performance, whether in a vocation or an avocation. The “good enoughs” in life deserve, and get, scant notice.
Of Ralph Babcock as an amateur printer, it should be remembered that he is not an amateur. Ralph has had the advantage of a full course in printing at Carnegie Tech., and we understand regards printing as his career.
With his training, Ralph Babcock should lead the present-day printers in amateur journalism. That he has the artistic sense, in addition to his technical knowledge, only makes his position as leader more secure. We admire his work for its good craftsmanship, and would have given more recognition to it in our comments on present-day amateur printing in our “Reminiscence Issue” if we had known more about it at the time. It has been only recently that we have secured a complete file of Ralph’s Scarlet Cockerel.
Another true lover of “type and press” is Edward Cole. You have only to visit him at his “Lower Regions Press” to realize how thoroughly he pleasures in the work he does on his Olympian and Interlude. He has made great strides in printing since the days of his early activity and we predict that you will see more and more ambitious efforts from him as time goes on. The Babcock association was helpful.
Will Bates Grant is another of today’s amateur printers whose work impresses us. His Friendly Quill, “A Hobby Magazine Issued Quarterly for a Few Choice Friends,” was started in 1935 and since that time 24 numbers have been issued. We suspect that his publication may not be very well known among amateur journalists, however, for sometimes as few as 45 copies are printed, and 75 seems to be the limit.
Other amateurs who show most commendable printing activity are Robert Holman with his Cubicle; Robert Telschow with his Reverie, and Charley Parker with his Ravarage. “Bill” Groveman is an enthusiastic youngster coming on, but he would do well to cease his “thumbnails” and print a real magazine.
Warren J. Brodie’s Parallelepipedon (bless us, what a name!) brings back memories of the old Troglodyte days. The text is in the Commodore’s best vein and makes us wish (futilely, we fear) that we might have regular doses of his witty and salty comments.
I ENTERED amateur journalism by falling off a log. This is how it happened. I spent the summers in Northern Michigan, and while on a picnic in the woods I got lost for a few hours and learned how easy it is to fall off a log, and how painful. The incident so impressed me that I just has to write it out.
My brother had Golden Days or Golden Hours – I forget which – in the house, and I secretly sent the account of my experience to the editor of the “Young People’s Page.” The whole family was amazed when the article appeared and a check came along. So, you see, I was a professional before I was an amateur.
Following the publication of the article, letters and papers came, telling me about the N. A. P. A. (They really recruited in those days.) I cannot recall who was responsible for my membership – Sam Steinberg, perhaps.
Soon after joining and having a credential printed, I received many letters and personal calls – from E. St. Elmo Lewis, Linden Dey, Walter Chiles, Ross Clarke, Sam Steinberg, and others. So I was soon in the local club, all ears and eyes, and very much thrilled.
Just the other day the Mailing Bureau envelope came. In looking over its contents, my thoughts went back to my active days. Now it seems that about half of the papers are mimeographed. We never used mimeographing, although the process existed in our day. Printing was an important part in being an amateur in those days. Those of us who did not have printing presses had papers printed for us, but it seems to me that the worst of them was a better job than some of them now.
We could have saved money and had our publications mimeographed, but I do not think the idea ever occurred to us. A magazine, to us, meant of course a printed paper, and not something gotten out in typewriter type.
The reason for mimeographing a paper is undoubtedly to save money; but I believe we had slimmer resources in our day than present day amateurs. However, we did not have the distractions of today to compete for our time and money. We saved and invested in amateur journalism because it was a serious hobby with us, and because many of us hoped it would be a stepping stone to professional writing. Some of us got there, too. Even I knew the thrill of seeing my nom de plume in big letters in advertisements of a monthly magazine.
Our papers, primarily, were more personal than they appear to be now, and I think we tried harder to produce good work. I am sure that present-day amateurs are quite as capable, but the distractions of the times and so many counter amusements are responsible, I believe, for a far different amateur journalism than we knew.
We made many lasting and beautiful friendships in the old days and I am sure the same thing holds true today. In fact, just the friends made are sufficient reward for all the interest anyone may take in our comparatively little known hobby.
This 1941 Issue of THE LUCKY DOG was completely produced (except offset lithographed center insert) by TIM THRIFT for the sheer pleasure and satisfaction in doing it. It was printed, two pages at a time, on a 7 x 11 foot-power press.
Through the friendly interest of the artist, we are greatly honored by having for our 1941 issue a cover designed by D. T. Carlisle.
Mr. Carlisle’s new book, “The Ordeal of Oliver Airedale or To the Dogs and Back,” published in October by Charles Scribner’s Sons, was recently extensively reviewed in “Life” as an exceptional satire.
This is Mr. Carlisle’s third book. In 1935 he had published his famous “Belvedere Hounds,” and in 1939 he drew the history of “Pierpont the Foxhound” to M. F. Hanson’s text. His first professional work as an artist was done as a cub cartoonist on the “Tribune” in Chicago. His ability to “humanize” dogs is unrivaled.