THE August bundle, in which Strictly Personal made its debut, was our first. I sat up quite late to read thru the contents, and enjoyed every one of the papers, from the Segals’ beautifully executed Campane to Richard Coram’s refreshing eight-page Crescent with its “Junior” supplement.
Meyer Perlgut obviously spent a lot of time printing Just for the Ride. Having had a similar experience, I readily understand his reference to the lugging and hauling he had to do in order to assemble his equipment before a single piece of type could be set.
This amateur, incidentally, was much encouraged to find that he isn’t the only one to be bothered with typographical errors. I generally discover my mistakes when the press run is almost finished or I am assembling for binding.
Mention, I see, is made of the respective merits of printing and mimeographing. I’ve done both, and I am utterly impartial. In fact, I began on a lower level, with a shallow tin tray holding a temperamental concoction of glue, glycerine, and water. Having no typewriter (a little later Dad bought me a Fay Sholes in-visible for $7.50) I had to letter by hand a master copy in purple ink. The other children could tell by the color of my hands when a number of my newspaper was due off the press. And after I had worked for hours on the lettering, the mixture in the pan might soften and stick to the master copy.
This called for a session with the oven of our kitchen stove to level the surface by melting the compound. Heat never failed to produce bubbles, which had to be brushed aside ever so painstakingly with a piece of cardboard. Despite all this bother and my most careful management I succeeded in getting only 35 to 50 legible copies from one original.
In high school I learned of a much superior method. One had merely to typewrite, without using the typewriter ribbon, on a specially-backed blue paper which had to be moistened frequently with a disagreeable fluid that fouled up one’s typewriter in no time at all. Then one went into a huddle with a machine that had an ink-filled drum turned with a crank and adjusted mysteriously by means of knobs and levers scattered all over the device.
The “Black and Gold” is Founded
Untried possibilities beckoned three of us to make use of this contraption to start a school newspaper. The other pupils could readily foretell our publication dates by the ink on our hands, in our hair, and on our faces and shirts.
Despite our generous consumption of ink we did not achieve a satisfactory degree of legibility, and we were even accused of being in the pay of a group of optometrists and optical manufacturers to promote the sale of glasses by ruining the pupils’ eyesight.
The faculty disposed of the problem by placing our newspaper in the hands of some older students and sent it out to be printed. The high cost of printing kept the business manager on the run to make ends meet, and after one semester of financial skullduggery it was only too apparent that we all would have to get jobs to support our printer in the style to which he was accustomed.
We Learn to Print With Type
At this juncture the principal decided a school print shop was the answer, so a room was set aside and a 10×15 C&P was installed with a prodigious quantity of 10-point Century Oldstyle which we were supposed to set by hand in our spare time. All of us, including the girl reporters, pitched in to learn the art of typesetting. We did splendidly, but it was such slow work we had to cut all our classes to get the paper printed.
The faculty ended this state of affairs in a hurry by sending our “copy” out to be linotyped thereafter, and we settled down to our studies.
It’s Nice to be Rich…
If I could afford the cost of machine composition for this publication ($15 to $50 an issue depending on the number of pages) you would find me doing something more useful than standing over a dusty type case in a stuffy basement!
Just Wishful Thinking, Perhaps?
I salute the day of electronic reproduction, when a magic-eye machine at NAPA headquarters will toss off 325 copies of your manuscript in nothing flat for 50c. a page plus the cost of the paper.
Fly over in your jet plane and have tea with me that afternoon. We’ll discuss a 35% increase in taxes to pay unemployment compensation to printers made jobless by such an invention.
Published at irregular intervals by Emerson Duerr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.