Page 12 - January 2017
P. 12

|  What a Dummy |                                 |  Pat Swadling (10453)  |

       I                                     night school (in addition to day release)
          don’t know about jobbing offi  ces,
          but our newspaper composing room
                                             was going to feature large in my life,
          Overseer’s (note the capital letter)
                                             department had a linotype and an
       word was law, so when he called you   but that was fi ne as I knew the printing
       over your fi rst reaction was one of slight   intertype and, as I discovered, they also
       apprehension, because he didn’t mince   had a very experienced teacher who knew
       his words if something was wrong. His   everything about the machines and pretty
       favourite expression to all apprentices   much the same about young apprentices
       was, roughly translated: “If you don’t pull   (who thought they knew everything).
       your socks up, you’ll be out.” To be fair     Anyway, back to the dummy keyboard.
       though, as far as I know the threat was   I spent quite a few hours on this, boring,
       never carried out.                    but worth it – by the time I was let loose




















                                  Linotype main keyboard.

         However, on this particular occasion it   on the real thing I had more or less learnt
       was all good news. I could go on the linos   the keyboard.
       while some of the machines were free     The linotype keyboard is completely
       during the operators’ dinner hour, and the   diff erent to the Qwerty keyboard, and
       engineer would keep an eye on me.     much more user-friendly. Several of the
         This was great, because I felt I had   letters are very close to each other, so
       waited long enough, but it’s strange how   keying words like ‘the’ and ‘in’ are very
       things are seldom as straightforward as   easy. Incidentally, did you know that the
       they sound. Dinner time arrived and so   word typewriter is all on the top line of the
       did the engineer, complete with a dummy   Qwerty keyboard? Try it.
       keyboard, although I could go on the   Night school proved to be really good:
       machines, that apparently wasn’t going   if you were going to make mistakes and
       to happen any time soon. The Overseer   damage the machine, that was the place to
       hadn’t bothered to mention a dummy    do it. This stood me in good stead, as my
       keyboard!                             next move at work was on to the linotypes
         I also found out this now meant that   full-time.
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