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Re: Need historical information - Answered

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  • Eric
    ... Actually, news ink was also non-drying by today s expectations, just as much as proofing ink. It was in a mineral oil vehicle, rather than linseed oil
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 1, 2010
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      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "author50401" <JohnH@...> wrote:
      >
      > One job which has not been discussed in any detail here, is that of the proofreader. I imagine that the proofreader (alas, no longer a part of the newspaper industry) would get the printed galleys striaght from the press, and the proofing presses were inked with very oilyt, non-drying ink so that they did not need frequent cleaning and could be left inked for day on end.

      Actually, news ink was also non-drying by today's expectations, just as much as proofing ink. It was in a mineral oil vehicle, rather than linseed oil varnish, and dried entirely by absorption into the stock (or the fingers or the clothes). When I was working with the stuff on a handfed cylinder, we only cleaned the press once year, before vacation.
      Women certainly had other positions than proofreader, but this is something that could have varied from region to region and would have been affected by unionization. Women were accepted into the Typographical Union well before other trade unions, but women were also used as low-wage workers (and occasionally strikebreakers) where unions were being resisted, and press feeder was just such a low-wage position. This was a divisive issue, especially in the 1870s when there was disagreement in the union over the existance of the Women's Typographical Union No. 1, a local union chartered from 1869 to 1878, alongside the existing local 6 in New York. (See "History of Typographical Union No. 6," 1912.)
      --Eric Holub, SF
    • David Goodrich
      Intrigued by the discussion, I looked over old issues of Printing History and found in Volume 1 Number 1 a review of a book titled Notes on Woman Printers in
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 1, 2010
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        Intrigued by the discussion, I looked over old issues of Printing History
        and found in Volume 1 Number 1 a review of a book titled "Notes on Woman
        Printers in colonial America and the United States 1639-1975" by Marjorie
        Dana Barlow (Charlottesville (Virginia), 1976). According to the review,
        the book is organized by state and identifies 228 woman printers of whom 150
        were in the 20th century. The review also refers to an earlier book, "Women
        as Printers" by Lois Rather (1970). You could check these books for more
        information.

        Perhaps more to the point would be an article in Printing History 35 (Volume
        XVIII, Number 1) titled "Strategies of Shopfloor Inclusion: The Gender
        Politics of Augusta Lewis and Women's Typographical Union No. 1, 1868-1872."
        Lewis was working as a typesetter at the New York World in 1868. Apparently
        women working in newspaper printing was common enough for them to form a
        union. The World began hiring women typesetters in 1865 and by 1868 had
        hired 100.

        There doesn't seem to be any reason your heroine could not have found
        employment in a newspaper print shop in 1879.

        You should also know that cleaning type was performed in a large tray where
        the type was washed down with a solution called "ley" which is actually
        mainly lie.

        David Goodrich


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      • bielerpr
        Hi David I think the recent spelling is lye. And still the best solution for making that metal type shine like new. A bit nasty though, eats flesh, and not
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 1, 2010
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          Hi David

          I think the recent spelling is lye. And still the best solution for making that metal type shine like new. A bit nasty though, eats flesh, and not aluminum friendly either (literally explosive in an aluminum pan). Those color crystals in Drano are aluminum (mixed with lye); the bubbling reaction is to make the consumer think the stuff is actually working. Household Lye (without the aluminum mini-bombs) is available in many grocery stores. It is also useful for ridding type of oxidation (but, unfortunately, not the corrosive effects of).

          Gerald


          >
          > You should also know that cleaning type was performed in a large tray where
          > the type was washed down with a solution called "ley" which is actually
          > mainly lie.
          >
          > David Goodrich
          >
        • David Goodrich
          Gerald, I agree that lye is the modern name but ley is the historic term that would have been used in 1879. See MacKellar s The American Printer , pgs
          Message 4 of 17 , Feb 2, 2010
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            Gerald,
            I agree that lye is the modern name but "ley" is the historic term that
            would have been used in 1879. See MacKellar's "The American Printer", pgs
            264-5. According to this, the pressman was responsible for washing the form
            after printing so our heroine would not have had a special position for this
            duty. But distributing the type afterwards sounds like a perfect job for a
            novice.
            David


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