item in Saturday's History Tidbits, "March 16 1922: Nanty Glo Journal
gets Linotype machine," inspired a little reflection about my lifelong fascination
with publishing technologies and my exposure to some of them. When I read that
item, my first take was, "what did they do before that? Set the type by hand?"
I'm sure they did, but for a few minutes I couldn't believe that the way Johann
Gutenberg himself (c. 1397-1468, inventor of "movable type") had been
setting type was still being used in 1922 for the fledgling Nanty Glo Journal.
The item didn't specify that the Journal wasn't yet a year old when the
Linotype machine was acquired, the paper having been launched on May 5, 1921.
a technology, the Linotype was a veritable "factory" in a single machine,
which at a keystroke found a zinc "master" of any letter or other character
or space, dropped it into the right place in a line of type, and then poured molten
lead over the master line, and as the lead cooled, pushed the "slug"
outside the machine and added it to the "column" (more correctly, the
"galley") of lines of lead type growing at the machine operator's side.
The machine was introduced in the late 1880s.
I read in his
obituary that Herman Sedloff, the Russia-born founder of the Journal and
its publisher until the late 1960's, first came to Cambria County as a typesetter
for a newspaper (no doubt a weekly) in Cresson. It is likely that it was then
that he learned about the boom town of Nanty Glo and the fact that it had no newspaper
of its own. As I recall, he returned to New York briefly (I'm guessing to look
for backing) and returned to Nanty Glo, where he either took over a fledgling
shopper-paper someone had started or through competitive advantage put it out
of business, and published the first edition of the Journal.
known he came to the area as a typesetter, and knowing him not only as my boss
but still the main typesetter for the Journal and other Mainline Newspapers
when I joined the Journal fulltime in 1962, I assumed until I saw the "tidbit"
on Saturday that his having been a typesetter in Cresson meant he had been a Linotype
operator already then. And I'm still guessing, as a bright aggessive Jewish lad
in New York that he had learned to operate a Linotype there and was leaning on
that knowledge as the main technology on which to launch his career in newspaper
publishing. But it's possible that he knew only hand typesetting at that time
and that he first met a Linotype when he acquired his own machine in 1922.
guessing that such a machine at that time, even if used ones were available, would
have cost as much as 10 miners' annual salaries. But such a machine would have
made him highly competitive in the county, and his skill at operating it was no
doubt his main asset to his fledgling enterprise, or at least the one second only
to his business acumen and drive.
I didn't expect that this
topic would be worth a series, but it's apparent that this postcard is already
full with lots of related observations remaining to be shared, so I'll continue
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005
Murphy, O'Brien & Casey were sitting in a bar dicussing the words they would like
to hear spoken over their coffins at their wakes. Casey says, "I would like them
to say 'He was a wonderful family man- he always supported his wife and kids,
and they never wanted for anything'". O' Brien says, "That's lovely Casey. But
I would like to hear them say, 'He was a great man in the community - he undertook
a lot of projects to make his community a better place.'" Murphy says, "Thats's
very nice, O'Brien. But I would like to hear them say, 'Look! He's moving!'"
by Trudy Myers