For years I printed mostly for my own use and did an
occasional small job for a friend. When I retired from the bomber plant
closed my last TV repair shop, I started printing on a large scale. I
state of the art rubber stamp machine that made stamps from a negative
started making rubber stamps. A new hot stamping machine enabled me to
napkins and other novelties. I did computer art work and made camera positives for T-shirts and cap screen
printing shops. After twenty years of
full time printing I retired again and pursued other
Timer first got interested in printing when he was an inquisitive kid.
I got a
little kit with rubber type and a type holder about the size of a big
stamp. The rubber type was set up in the grooves of the holder from
left. Then it was applied to a rubber
stamp pad and slapped on the surface to be printed.
I printed about everything I knew with this
little device and developed a real interest in printing. But I wasn=t completely
satisfied with the quality. The letters
were too dim and looked like a rubber stamp instead of printing.
After considerable thought and a
lot of analysis, I
concluded that it must be the kind of ink I was using. This prompted me
to the newspaper office and printing shop of a newspaper in the closest
The editor was an ambitious young fellow named Jack Scott and he had a
called Phil who did the actual printing in the back. They were glad to
The small type setting in the
newspaper and in
advertising jobs was done on a big machine called a Linotype. It had a
similar to a typewriter and when the keys were depressed, small molds
dropped into a receptacle at the front of the machine. When the line
complete, spaces were inserted by hand and a lever allowed melted lead
from a heated pot on the side of the machine into the receptacle. When
opened, there was a flat slug of lead with the reversed letters from
spread across it. This was a line in the newspaper or print job and
combined with other lines and placed in a printing press produced a
Phil showed me some large flat
pans that he called
galleys and some large iron frames that he called chases. One of them
in the pan and was full of the little slugs with the type facing up. He
that they had a problem with type lice and before the chases could be
the big press, the lice had to be removed. I listened attentively. He
hand wrench of some sort and loosed some wedges at the side of the
told me these were called quoins and they were used to hold the type
the chase. That sounded reasonable! Then he said that we would pour
in the chase and drive the lice out of the type. He got a glass of
poured it in the chase. He told me to get real close and look hard and
see the lice get out. I did as instructed and he turned
quoins on two sides of the chase. When he did
this the water squirted viciously out and into my face!
He thought that was funny. I=m still trying
to see the humor.
Then they gave me a generous dab
of red, black and
blue printing inks. These were not a liquid, but were a thick paste.
me that I would need a real flat surface, like a pane of glass, to roll
on and then I could ink my stamp on the glass and print it wherever I
He even gave me a little roller that they called a brayer. The process
like a dream and I did some nice labeling with my little press. For the
several years I visited my printing friends every time we went to town.
Bedtime Stories@ and Jack
printed one every week for over two years.
The magazines all had
advertisements featuring a
little printing press with a pull down handle and an assortment of
type styles. They said you could make money printing. I wanted one of
but found that they wanted over a hundred dollars for the kit. I had to
this deal because of financing problems.
My big break came years later when I opened a
repair shop in the small town of White Settlement. I had learned that
handbills, known as dodgers or flyers, brought business to my shop. I
print my own and was just waiting for the opportunity. The moment came
saw an ad in the Fort Worth Shopper - AKelsey
hand operated printing press for sale $25.@
That was the baby that had been advertised
all these years that I couldn=t afford. I
made a quick call and a quick trip and
came home with a Kelsey printing press with all accessories and the
book! At last I was a printer. I also found out that there were several
in Fort Worth that would do machine type setting for printers at a
price. I printed my first flyers on that little press. Soon I was
and doing cards and stationery and an occasional wedding invitation.
Then someone told me that the man
who owned the
Village Theater on Cherry Lane had a big printing press for sale. He
to part with it for $75. He had a lot of type and a numbering machine
with it. This was my first real printing press, complete with an
motor. This really speeded up printing flyers. I could print two on a
paper and then cut them. I made a clamp and used a sharp knife for a
But again the weekly shopper came to my aid and I bought a real paper
that would cut 1000 sheets at one time just by pulling down a big
printed and distributed 125,000 flyers for the radio and TV shop that
year. This brought me most of the repair business in the area.
You would think that I would have
been satisfied. But I had dreams of an
press that could print pictures and paste up copy without any
shopper again found an old offset Multilith stored in a chicken house
$300. I learned to use it from a book and enjoyed its high speed. I
6000 copies in an hour. I built a copying camera for making negatives
needed for the printing plates from an old view camera that I found in
store. I later bought a larger one that would make a negative 12x18
diameter. I finally had my own printing shop!
moral of this story is this: when you want to do something, go ahead
and do it
, even if it takes you ten or twelve years to get started! And be sure
FUN doing it.