Page 12 - May 2017
P. 12

|  Machines in My Life  |                            |  Jillian Atkins (7184)  |

       This short article was written in (probably) about 1962, by Robert Atkins, who was a
       member before he died recently. He joined ISPA in 1963, becoming member no. 2173.

               y fi rst contact with printing   through the sheet-conveying arm striking
               machines was way back in      him, and rendering him out of action for
       M1946, when I started my              several days. The young journeyman with
       apprenticeship one fi ne May morning.  whom I fi rst worked had the fi ngers of his
         Awaiting the arrival of the foreman   hand crushed and distorted when trying to
       (who was in his seventies) I viewed   steady a few remaining sheets of paper in
       the intricacies of a D/Crown Standard   the feeder, by the action of the sucker and
       Wharfedale, equipped with a Universal   pile-raise detector arm.
       Feeder, with some delight and dilemma.    After a few weeks of running on various
         However, I was soon weeded away     jobs on the Heidelberg platen and Meteor,
       from this captivating machine to the   so enabling me to get used to the various
       guardianship of a young journeyman    activities of machine, feeder, delivery,
       who was operating a ‘Meteor’ – a small   handling of printed sheets, fanning out
       automatic Wharfedale – and a Heidelberg   of paper to be printed, conveying formes,
       platen. Here I was to learn the fi rst steps   learning the trade generally, I was
       in printing, and experience that side of   transferred to an Arab platen. The platen
       learning which is possible by participation   was situated between two old hand-fed
       and experiment.                       Wharfedales and all three machines
         One lesson that I learned at that time,   obtained their power from an overhead
       which has remained with me, is the    pulley shaft. The shaft had at one time
       possibility of personal injury when more   served a guillotine and still ran several
       than one person is attending to a machine.   belts through the ceiling to serve ruling
       This is particularly so with a Heidelberg   machines in the bindery overhead. Here
       platen. The present-day machines are   on the Arab I was to commence putting
       so fi tted that it is impossible to start the   jobs on the machine from scratch, obtain
       machine when the eye-level guard-plate   the lay, set the friskets, make-ready and
       is lifted to a vertical position. The older   learn the art of feeding a platen. Often
       machines could be started with the guard-  there was a girl available to do this, but
       plate raised or lowered, and if the forme   I was given instruction in feeding the
       was being observed or cleaned at the time   machine with paper and card all the same.
       the situation was far from amusing. The     Back in those days of 1946 there were
       accident proneness by an operator to a   shortages of all sorts. There was paper
       Heidelberg can be high. There is nothing   rationing, and the paper that was available
       to prevent an article or limb from being   was not always of the best. The purchase
       crushed by the platen when the machine   tax and luxury tax that prevailed upon
       is in operation. A high belt-guard helps.   printed material was notoriously high.
       Possibly the best arrangement is for the   There were fuel cuts, when without
       fl y-wheel side of the machine to be against   warning everything would come to a stop,
       a wall, so making it impossible for the   or we would be instructed not to run the
       machine to be approached from that side.   machines and so would mope around
       I have known the owner of a one-man   wondering just what to do. The machines
       business have a nasty accident to his face   that existed after the bombing were worn
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