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Press on the Titanic and another ocean liner?

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  • Tom Conlon
    Vaughn Bosma raised the interesting question regarding a printing press on the Titanic. Interesting Question!!! I am certain that there was one, either made in
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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      Vaughn Bosma raised the interesting question regarding a printing press on the
      Titanic.

      Interesting Question!!!

      I am certain that there was one, either made in England or Ireland, but my
      personal experience on ocean liner printing shops is limited to the following.

      Ocean Liners usually have a print shop. I worked on the SS Constitution, a
      25,000 ton, 684ft. luxury liner with two 55,000 HP engine rooms in 1982 & 83
      as the ships machinist. There was an iron door on "D" deck, the lowest deck on
      the ship, with a brass plate that said "Print Shop." It had not been opened
      in many years and was virtually painted shut. The Chief Engineer, a truly
      extraordinary man named John Cooney, was from Savannah Georgia and had 35
      years sea time as a Chief Engineer on ocean liners since W.W.II and had
      survived two torpedoings during W.W.II!! He was one of the most interesting
      men I have ever known. I asked him about the print shop and he informed me
      that every ocean liner has a shop for printing menus, tickets, travel posters
      stating arival and departure dates which were left with agents to post and
      distribute as the ship traveled around the world, stationary and the vast
      array of forms used on an ocean liner with its 2000 passengers and 1800 crew.

      I asked him for permission to inspect the old shop and he gladly complied. He
      pulled a key from a key locker with a brass tag designating it as the print
      shop key. As soon as I was off duty, I went straight to the old shop, but
      became disappointment right from the start. The door had been painted so many
      times without being opened, that the key hole was filled solid with high
      quality ships paint. I got a hand crank drill and a set of number drills and
      began work carefully drilling out the paint in the lock. After a while, much
      of the paint was gone and I squirted some lacquer thinner and oil mixed
      together in the lock and began working the key. Eventually, I broke the lock
      loose and finally got it to unlock.

      Then the next ordeal! The door handle was painted and solidly bound as well.
      It took about an hour to finally work the door latch loose, but to no avail,
      the entire door was sealed tight as a drum with that blasted paint!!!!!!!!!!!
      After putting in the customary 12 hour work day and spending hours working on
      that *&^$%@# door, I gave up in frustration for the day.

      After having some time to think about that door, I wanted to find out what was
      in that old shop more than ever. The next day, I brought a heavy pry bar and
      several feet of chain and some wood blocks & bolts. I bound the pry bar to
      the door handle with the chain and used the pry bar and blocks to force the
      thing open. It came hard and slowly, but with some bouncing on the bar, it
      slowly opened.

      The shop was as dark as the inside of a clam, and I felt around inside the
      hatchway for the costomary knob which when twisted, turned on the lights.
      Switch found and twisted, the dusty lights came on. The shop was larger and
      much better equiped than I had imagined. There were three C&P hand fed
      presses, small, medium & large. a nice composing table, a rack with a lot of
      chases probably at least a dozen per press and a cabnet with about 20 cases of
      foundry type. There was also a 26" C&P paper cutter and a closet filled with
      paper. Most interesting of all, there was a Linotype!!!! A small single
      magazine model. There were about 8 or 10 magazines next to the machine. There
      was an "American Export Isbrantson Lines" ashtray on the composing table that
      still had a cigar quietly resting in it. The shop was somewhat dusty, but I
      have seen working shops much dustier and nowhere near as clean.

      I pulled out some of the chases and found them all full. Menu covers and small
      travel posters, and a varity of forms for ships printing. I noticed that the
      doorway was considerably smaller than much of the machinery. Chief Cooney
      informed me that when ships were built, before a deck was laid, all heavy
      machinery was lowered into place by the shipyard cranes. Then the next deck
      would go down, the walls (sometimes known as "bulkheads") would go up the next
      round of machinery would go in and then the cycle would repeat itself till the
      ship was completed. It is hard for me to imagine a linotype being lifted into
      position, perhaps a hundred ft. or more up in the air dangling from the hook
      of a shipyard crane, but it certainly has happened many times.

      I tried to purchase the equipment in that old unused print shop. It would have
      been my first acquisition of a letterpress shop. The company had no interest
      in selling anything. The limited value was not worth their time and the
      presence of the shop on the ship - in use or abandoned was an asset on the
      books. I'm glad that I didn't have to disassemble those machines to get them
      out. I was to have to wait another 6 months to purchase my first Kluge - with
      a sheet feeder - a press that a good friend of mine ended up using to print
      several hundred thousand dollars worth of counterfit money while I was
      floating around on ocean liners - but thats another story that I'll save for
      later.

      I'm certain that the Titanic had a fine print shop and I'm certain that there
      is a complete inventory of the major equipment that was in it. Perhaps Harland
      & Wolfs web site might have information on how to persue additional inquiry?
      Could it have had a Monotype on board? It is possable.

      The thing that still bugs me is how does a Linotype distribute mats when a
      ship is rocking and rolling at sea???

      A final note: 5 months ago, the SS Constitution was 700 miles north by
      northeast of Kauai, Hawaii when she sank. She was being towed to the scrap
      yards at kaoshung, Taiwan. She is now, with her print shop, sleeping in deep
      water.

      Sincerely, Tom Conlon
    • Tom Conlon
      Vaughn Bosma raised the interesting question regarding a printing press on the Titanic. Interesting Question!!! I am certain that there was one, either made in
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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        Vaughn Bosma raised the interesting question regarding a printing press on the
        Titanic.

        Interesting Question!!!

        I am certain that there was one, either made in England or Ireland, but my
        personal experience on ocean liner printing shops is limited to the following.

        Ocean Liners usually have a print shop. I worked on the SS Constitution, a
        25,000 ton, 684ft. luxury liner with two 55,000 HP engine rooms in 1982 & 83
        as the ships machinist. There was an iron door on "D" deck, the lowest deck
        on the ship, with a brass plate that said "Print Shop." It had not been
        opened in many years and was virtually painted shut. The Chief Engineer, a
        truly extraordinary man named John Cooney, was from Savannah Georgia and had
        35 years sea time as a Chief Engineer on ocean liners since W.W.II and had
        survived two torpedoings during W.W.II!! He was one of the most interesting
        men I have ever known. I asked him about the print shop and he informed me
        that every ocean liner has a shop for printing menus, tickets, travel posters
        stating arrival and departure dates which were left with agents to post and
        distribute as the ship traveled around the world, stationary and the vast
        array of forms used on an ocean liner with its 2000 passengers and 1800 crew.

        I asked him for permission to inspect the old shop and he gladly complied. He
        pulled a key from a key locker with a brass tag designating it as the print
        shop key. As soon as I was off duty, I went straight to the old shop, but
        became disappointment right from the start. The door had been painted so many
        times without being opened, that the key hole was filled solid with high
        quality ships paint. I got a hand crank drill and a set of number drills and
        began work carefully drilling out the paint in the lock. After a while, much
        of the paint was gone and I squirted some lacquer thinner and oil mixed
        together in the lock and began working the key. Eventually, I broke the lock
        loose and finally got it to unlock.

        Then the next ordeal! The door handle was painted and solidly bound as well.
        It took about an hour to finally work the door latch loose, but to no avail,
        the entire door was sealed tight as a drum with that blasted paint!!!!!!!!!!!
        After putting in the customary 12 hour work day and spending hours working on
        that *&^$%@# door, I gave up in frustration for the day.

        After having some time to think about that door, I wanted to find out what was
        in that old shop more than ever. The next day, I brought a heavy pry bar and
        several feet of chain and some wood blocks & bolts. I bound the pry bar to
        the door handle with the chain and used the pry bar and blocks to force the
        thing open. It came hard and slowly, but with some bouncing on the bar, it
        slowly opened.

        The shop was as dark as the inside of a clam, and I felt around inside the
        hatchway for the customary knob which when twisted, turned on the lights.
        Switch found and twisted, the dusty lights came on. The shop was larger and
        much better equipped than I had imagined. There were three C&P hand fed
        presses, small, medium & large, a nice composing table, a rack with a lot of
        chases probably at least a dozen per press and a cabinet with about 20 cases
        of foundry type. There was also a 26" C&P paper cutter and a closet filled
        with paper. Most interesting of all, there was a Linotype!!!! A small single
        magazine model. There were about 8 or 10 magazines next to the machine.
        There was an "American Export Isbrantson Lines" ashtray on the composing table
        that still had a cigar quietly resting in it. The shop was somewhat dusty,
        but I have seen working shops much dustier and nowhere near as clean.

        I pulled out some of the chases and found them all full. Menu covers and
        small travel posters, and a variety of forms for ships printing. I noticed
        that the doorway was considerably smaller than much of the machinery. Chief
        Cooney informed me that when ships were built, before a deck was laid, all
        heavy machinery was lowered into place by the shipyard cranes. Then the next
        deck would go down, the walls (sometimes known as "bulkheads") would go up the
        next round of machinery would go in and then the cycle would repeat itself
        till the ship was completed. It is hard for me to imagine a Linotype being
        lifted into position, perhaps one hundred ft. or more up in the air dangling
        from the hook of a shipyard crane, but it certainly has happened many times.

        I tried to purchase the equipment in that old unused print shop. It would
        have been my first acquisition of a letterpress shop. The company had no
        interest in selling anything. The limited value was not worth their time and
        the presence of the shop on the ship -- in use or abandoned was an asset on
        the books. I'm glad that I didn't have to disassemble those machines to get
        them out. I was to have to wait another 6 months to purchase my first Kluge -
        with a sheet feeder -- a press that a good friend of mine ended up using to
        print several hundred thousand dollars worth of counterfeit money while I was
        floating around on ocean liners -- but that's another story that I'll save for
        later.

        I'm certain that the Titanic had a fine print shop and I'm certain that there
        is a complete inventory of the major equipment that was in it. Perhaps Harlan
        & Wolfs web site might have information on how to pursue additional inquiry?
        Could it have had a Monotype on board? It is posable.

        The thing that still bugs me is how does a Linotype distribute mats when a
        ship is rocking and rolling at sea???

        A final note: 5 months ago, the SS Constitution was 700 miles north by
        northeast of Kauai, Hawaii when she sank. She was being towed to the scrap
        yards at kaoshung, Taiwan. She is now, with her print shop, sleeping in deep
        water.

        Sincerely, Tom Conlon
      • Stephen O. Saxe
        Truly fascinating, Tom! And great to get some first-hand facts by someone knowledgeable about printing.....and now - how about the story of the counterfeiting
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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          Truly fascinating, Tom! And great to get some first-hand facts by
          someone knowledgeable about printing.....and now - how about the story
          of the counterfeiting done on your Kluge?
          --Steve


          Tom Conlon wrote:
          >
          > Vaughn Bosma raised the interesting question regarding a printing press on the
          > Titanic.
          >
          > Interesting Question!!!
          >
          > I am certain that there was one, either made in England or Ireland, but my
          > personal experience on ocean liner printing shops is limited to the following.
          >
          > Ocean Liners usually have a print shop. I worked on the SS Constitution, a
          > 25,000 ton, 684ft. luxury liner with two 55,000 HP engine rooms in 1982 & 83
          > as the ships machinist. There was an iron door on "D" deck, the lowest deck on
          > the ship, with a brass plate that said "Print Shop." It had not been opened
          > in many years and was virtually painted shut. The Chief Engineer, a truly
          > extraordinary man named John Cooney, was from Savannah Georgia and had 35
          > years sea time as a Chief Engineer on ocean liners since W.W.II and had
          > survived two torpedoings during W.W.II!! He was one of the most interesting
          > men I have ever known. I asked him about the print shop and he informed me
          > that every ocean liner has a shop for printing menus, tickets, travel posters
          > stating arival and departure dates which were left with agents to post and
          > distribute as the ship traveled around the world, stationary and the vast
          > array of forms used on an ocean liner with its 2000 passengers and 1800 crew.
          >
          > I asked him for permission to inspect the old shop and he gladly complied. He
          > pulled a key from a key locker with a brass tag designating it as the print
          > shop key. As soon as I was off duty, I went straight to the old shop, but
          > became disappointment right from the start. The door had been painted so many
          > times without being opened, that the key hole was filled solid with high
          > quality ships paint. I got a hand crank drill and a set of number drills and
          > began work carefully drilling out the paint in the lock. After a while, much
          > of the paint was gone and I squirted some lacquer thinner and oil mixed
          > together in the lock and began working the key. Eventually, I broke the lock
          > loose and finally got it to unlock.
          >
          > Then the next ordeal! The door handle was painted and solidly bound as well.
          > It took about an hour to finally work the door latch loose, but to no avail,
          > the entire door was sealed tight as a drum with that blasted paint!!!!!!!!!!!
          > After putting in the customary 12 hour work day and spending hours working on
          > that *&^$%@# door, I gave up in frustration for the day.
          >
          > After having some time to think about that door, I wanted to find out what was
          > in that old shop more than ever. The next day, I brought a heavy pry bar and
          > several feet of chain and some wood blocks & bolts. I bound the pry bar to
          > the door handle with the chain and used the pry bar and blocks to force the
          > thing open. It came hard and slowly, but with some bouncing on the bar, it
          > slowly opened.
          >
          > The shop was as dark as the inside of a clam, and I felt around inside the
          > hatchway for the costomary knob which when twisted, turned on the lights.
          > Switch found and twisted, the dusty lights came on. The shop was larger and
          > much better equiped than I had imagined. There were three C&P hand fed
          > presses, small, medium & large. a nice composing table, a rack with a lot of
          > chases probably at least a dozen per press and a cabnet with about 20 cases of
          > foundry type. There was also a 26" C&P paper cutter and a closet filled with
          > paper. Most interesting of all, there was a Linotype!!!! A small single
          > magazine model. There were about 8 or 10 magazines next to the machine. There
          > was an "American Export Isbrantson Lines" ashtray on the composing table that
          > still had a cigar quietly resting in it. The shop was somewhat dusty, but I
          > have seen working shops much dustier and nowhere near as clean.
          >
          > I pulled out some of the chases and found them all full. Menu covers and small
          > travel posters, and a varity of forms for ships printing. I noticed that the
          > doorway was considerably smaller than much of the machinery. Chief Cooney
          > informed me that when ships were built, before a deck was laid, all heavy
          > machinery was lowered into place by the shipyard cranes. Then the next deck
          > would go down, the walls (sometimes known as "bulkheads") would go up the next
          > round of machinery would go in and then the cycle would repeat itself till the
          > ship was completed. It is hard for me to imagine a linotype being lifted into
          > position, perhaps a hundred ft. or more up in the air dangling from the hook
          > of a shipyard crane, but it certainly has happened many times.
          >
          > I tried to purchase the equipment in that old unused print shop. It would have
          > been my first acquisition of a letterpress shop. The company had no interest
          > in selling anything. The limited value was not worth their time and the
          > presence of the shop on the ship - in use or abandoned was an asset on the
          > books. I'm glad that I didn't have to disassemble those machines to get them
          > out. I was to have to wait another 6 months to purchase my first Kluge - with
          > a sheet feeder - a press that a good friend of mine ended up using to print
          > several hundred thousand dollars worth of counterfit money while I was
          > floating around on ocean liners - but thats another story that I'll save for
          > later.
          >
          > I'm certain that the Titanic had a fine print shop and I'm certain that there
          > is a complete inventory of the major equipment that was in it. Perhaps Harland
          > & Wolfs web site might have information on how to persue additional inquiry?
          > Could it have had a Monotype on board? It is possable.
          >
          > The thing that still bugs me is how does a Linotype distribute mats when a
          > ship is rocking and rolling at sea???
          >
          > A final note: 5 months ago, the SS Constitution was 700 miles north by
          > northeast of Kauai, Hawaii when she sank. She was being towed to the scrap
          > yards at kaoshung, Taiwan. She is now, with her print shop, sleeping in deep
          > water.
          >
          > Sincerely, Tom Conlon
        • Richard S. Broughton
          Tom, That was a most interesting and informative story. Thanks for taking the time. Way back, I remember seeing a story in Heidleberg s magazine for customers
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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            Tom,

            That was a most interesting and informative story. Thanks for taking the
            time. Way back, I remember seeing a story in Heidleberg's magazine for
            customers about a printshop on a liner. That one had a Heidleberg windmill
            (of course).

            Richard
          • Donn Sanford
            WOW! That much?! ... found ... 12 ... tennis
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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              WOW!

              That much?!


              At 10:01 PM 7/1/98 -0500, you wrote:
              >Somewhere about 7 years ago or so the Treasury Boys busted a counterfeiting
              >operation locally here (Minneapolis, MN). When they were busted the Feds
              found
              >over $20 million in the basement where they were printing it on a C&P 8" x
              12"
              >open press. After printing the money it was put into a dryer with some
              tennis
              >shoes to give it that used look.
              >
              >The Feds estimated that this ring had been in operation for 2-3 years and was
              >responsible for putting over $50 of fake money into circulation.
              >
              >Don Butner
              >Olde Tyme Printing......but no counterfeiting! :-}
              >
            • Don Butner
              Somewhere about 7 years ago or so the Treasury Boys busted a counterfeiting operation locally here (Minneapolis, MN). When they were busted the Feds found
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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                Somewhere about 7 years ago or so the Treasury Boys busted a counterfeiting
                operation locally here (Minneapolis, MN). When they were busted the Feds found
                over $20 million in the basement where they were printing it on a C&P 8" x 12"
                open press. After printing the money it was put into a dryer with some tennis
                shoes to give it that used look.

                The Feds estimated that this ring had been in operation for 2-3 years and was
                responsible for putting over $50 of fake money into circulation.

                Don Butner
                Olde Tyme Printing......but no counterfeiting! :-}
              • Stephen O. Saxe
                A member of APA rented some space to set up his print shop. On a trip to DC, he purchased one of those uncut sheets of one- or five-dollar bills that they sell
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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                  A member of APA rented some space to set up his print shop. On a trip to
                  DC, he purchased one of those uncut sheets of one- or five-dollar bills
                  that they sell at the Department of the Mint. He took it home, pinned it
                  up over his press, along with a sign he printed on his press:
                  "WE MAKE MONEY THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY -- WE PRINT IT."
                  His landlord took one look, contacted the Treasury, and sure enough, the
                  Secret Service burst in on our hapless printer with guns drawn.
                  --Steve Saxe

                  Don Butner wrote:
                  >
                  > Somewhere about 7 years ago or so the Treasury Boys busted a counterfeiting
                  > operation locally here (Minneapolis, MN). When they were busted the Feds found
                  > over $20 million in the basement where they were printing it on a C&P 8" x 12"
                  > open press. After printing the money it was put into a dryer with some tennis
                  > shoes to give it that used look.
                  >
                  > The Feds estimated that this ring had been in operation for 2-3 years and was
                  > responsible for putting over $50 of fake money into circulation.
                  >
                  > Don Butner
                  > Olde Tyme Printing......but no counterfeiting! :-}
                • Dan P. Worley
                  Appropos of this I will insert my little story. In 1961 the girl who would later be my wife left New Ulm Minnesota for a year in Ulm Germany as an exchange
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jul 1, 1998
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                    Appropos of this I will insert my little story. In 1961 the girl who would
                    later be my wife left New Ulm Minnesota for a year in Ulm Germany as an
                    exchange student. On her way home she returned on the SS Rotterdam of the
                    Holland American Line. She kept all of her momentos in a scrap book and
                    many of them were bits and pieces from the journey home. Menus, dance
                    programs,game cards etc. all printed on board. Fast forward to 1990 in
                    Seattle , Wa. Holland American line is converting it's letterpress shop to
                    offset and the shop I work for is looking a letterpress for
                    stamping,diecutting,imprinting etc. The Rotterdam is coming ashore in
                    Vancouver BC for a day and then to the Portland Oregon yards for a
                    refitting. The local Heidelberg rep and I trundle up to BC to look at what
                    is on offer. The shop is 3 decks down and the whole shop had originally
                    been put in , in 1961 through a hole that had been opened in the side of the
                    ship in drydock.

                    The entire shop , including a linotype had been slung in and then the hole
                    was welded shut. It looks promising so we make an offer and later on I go
                    down to Portland in the heat of high summer and carry out anything easily
                    transportable. Later on local Heidelberg slaveys knock the press down,
                    more or less ,and carry it out where it is slung out on the pier after a
                    little dance about with various unions as to who would move it from ship
                    (one union) to land (another). The linotype was left as they had a very
                    grandiose idea as to its value and it was later sledhammered and carried out
                    in pieces as I recall. The press that printed my wifes' scrap book momentos
                    is the press I use every day all those years later. dan worley

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Richard S. Broughton <zarquon@...>
                    To: LETPRESS@... <LETPRESS@...>
                    Date: Wednesday, July 01, 1998 7:21 PM
                    Subject: Re: Press on the Titanic and another ocean liner?


                    >Tom,
                    >
                    >That was a most interesting and informative story. Thanks for taking the
                    >time. Way back, I remember seeing a story in Heidleberg's magazine for
                    >customers about a printshop on a liner. That one had a Heidleberg windmill
                    >(of course).
                    >
                    >Richard
                  • Tony Stabler
                    Did the Hindengerg have a Heidelgerg?
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jul 2, 1998
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                      Did the Hindengerg have a Heidelgerg?
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