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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, March 18 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Brushes with technology-3

A few leftovers on this week's topic, written under duress from the worst head cold I've had in a while.

Typesetting, Herman Sedloff's new technology that I speculated was his ticket to success in boom town newspapering of the early 20th century, was the most expensive component of the production of any kind of publication that depended on the Linotype, and hand typesetting which preceeded and overlapped Linotype for years must have been even much more expensive.

When I joined the Sedloff Publications as editor of the Journal, they were still doing some hand typesetting. The larger headlines, and the large-type display advertisements, were "composed" by hand, each letter being set in place and then locked into the page frame. My mentor, Andy Rogalski, prided himself on his page layout skills, and vocally encouraged me to keep that pursuit alive. Most weekly papers, he pointed out, were very poorly laid out, with lots of "tombstones," "widows," and "orphans." I won't define each of these terms but collectively they refer to no-nos in the construction of publications page layouts.

Andy gave me several short lessons in "wrap-around" layout that always avoided tombstoning and leaving columns with widows or orphans, and they were lessons I've carried with me to this day. But I digress: the point is that Linotype was a revolutionary breakthrough for the newspaper industry and publishing in general, being much less expensive in the long run for intensive text production, and many times faster than setting the type by hand.

Just as his facility with type was Mr. Sedloff's most valuable asset, I followed his example years later when I started a series of community magazines while at Stanford University's Kuyper Institute. Typing on my first portable Underwood had come easy for me, so I knew typesetting would also be a skill I could master, and still at that time there were always ads for typesetters in the metropolitan newspaper classified sections. The skill was almost as a sure bet as accounting. By the last half of the 1970's, the Linotype had gone the way of the flatbed presses as relics of an earlier era in publishing. By now, everything was phototypeset. I went in debt to buy a typesetting machine that used a film negative of various type fonts and sizes to flash images on photographic rolls of paper, which in turn became columns of type which, instead of being locked into a page frame, were pasted onto master layout pages.

My investment, though not as lucrative for me as Mr. Sedloff's first Linotype had been for him (his company had put a million dollars into moving up to state-of-the-art 1960's printing equipment during my tenure with the Journal), despite my less stellar success, it did make possible the pursuit of many longterm goals and dreams. It paid for itself, and by doing jobs for paying customers in the machine's and my own "down time," paid for other basic expenses of living in the '70s and early '80s.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Irish jokes

Barty and Dunny met in a pub and discussed the illness of a friend, Hogan. "Poor Michael Hogan! Faith, I'm afraid he's goin' to die." "Shure, an' why would he be dyin'?" asked the other. "Ah, he's gotten so thin. You're thin enough, and I'm thin—but by my soul, Micheal Hogan is thinner than both of us put together."

Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

Christian one-liners:
We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

Sent by Carl Essex   

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