Page 12 - February2017
P. 12

|  The World of Linotypes and a Strike | |  Pat Swadling (10453)  |


            o give some idea of just how large    The fi rst edition was for the Isle of
            the Daily Echo composing room    Wight and the passenger ferry wouldn’t
       Twas, we had 24 linotype machines     wait, so it wasn’t unusual for the van
       taking up just a small part of it, and when   driver to throw the bundle of papers on
       all the machines were working, plus the   board as it was moving away from its
       Ludlows, Elrod, and the stereo’s mangle   berth; also back on dry land, it was no
       making the fl ongs, it was extremely noisy,   good the van drivers taking the papers
       although strangely enough we didn’t really   out if we were late, as the newsagents
       notice.                               sent them back saying all their paperboys
         To give as much light as possible we   had gone home (and yes, it did happen).
       had a glass roof, which was painted green   Management tended to get upset over
       to take off  the                                            these sorts of
       glare in the                                               things.
       summer (more                                                 Back to the
       about that                                                 linos. Most of
       later); added                                              the operators
       to this was the                                            worked on the
       heat from all the                                          same machine
       molten metal                                               each day; they
       pots, meaning                                              considered it
       that in the                                                their own and
       summer the                                                 they took pride
       room became                                                in keeping
       extremely hot                                              it working
       (but it was great                                          smoothly, and
       in the winter).                                            they knew
       The coolest and                                            every little
       quietest part of                                           sound it made,
       the comp room                                              particularly if it
       was the readers’                                           was the wrong
       department,                                                noise showing
       because they                                               something
       had a row of                                               wasn’t right.
       windows and                                                  The rest of us
       sound-proofi ng.                                            fl oated to cover
         But this was                                             days off  and
       all part of the   Pat Swadling operating an early Linotype in early 60s  holidays, which
       excitement                                                 had advantages
       of working on a newspaper. There was   and disadvantages, the worst being the
       always a sense of purpose, even after the   wrath of the operator next day if you
       last edition had been put to bed, because   hadn’t left the machine in the condition
       you then started on the next day’s paper. I   you found it, had left a huge pile of small
       am sure jobbing offi  ces had their own ‘feel’   ads for them to fi nish setting, or even
       and pressures, but we always had the clock   worst broken their favourite tea mug.
       ticking and you lived by that clock.    I was by now becoming quite profi cient.
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