Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Wayback View - At the print shop

The lyrical update to Walt Disney's well known song says it best: "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go." And with that little ditty in mind we'll take a look at the trade workers inside the print shops of yesteryear.

Click on images to enlarge.

The art room and print area of Walling Press - a silkscreen printer.
The offices of the Government Printing Office, Washington, DC in November 1912.
Louis Gitney, a young type compositor earns $7.00 a week in a Sixth Ave. New York printing office 1917
Press room at Richmond & Backus Co. Detroit circa 1901.
The typesetting department - 1910.A poster on the wall in the above photograph reminds employees "Do Not Spit on the Floor".
Horace Lindfors is a 14-year-old helper at Riverside Press, 1st Ave. New York in February 1917.
Management pretending to check a press sheet at the Government Printing Office, Washington, DC in 1937.
Printing postcards. As in the previous photograph, note the lack of safety enclosures on the press. Watch your fingers!
Keep those presses running!
The "Old Castle Print Shop" has its name prominently displayed on the shop floor wall. Perhaps to remind employees about where they work?
Upon closer examination, some old shop photos reveal bits of interesting information. For example, in this print shop interior dated January, 1922, there are two small posters on the back wall.The smaller poster proclaims this to be a union shop.The first successful strike in the U.S.A. was organized by printers in Philadelphia in 1786. It won the workers pay raises.

The other bit of interest in this photograph is the poster on the right hand side: The words read:
'Help the private soldiers and sailors legion establish a Soldiers' Club here.
For the Unemployed and Hungry Ex-Service Men.
"We are as buddies"
Help us to help them.'

The U.S. entered World War 1 in April, 1917. The war ended in November 1918. But as this poster indicates, four years later help was still needed for the soldiers who fought in that conflict.

Inspecting unemployment forms at the Government Printing Office in 1937.The Great Depression originated in the U.S., starting with a fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929. From there, it quickly spread to almost every country in the world.

Automated bindery, 1910. Looking not that different from what you would see today.
Manual bindery (1912), also similar to what you'd see today.
An in-house print shop in Vanier College c.a. 1940. Even nuns enjoyed a turn at the press.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. These pictures are very interesting and give a great view of the past. Keep up the good work. We really enjoyed the Walling NYC factory photo. The Walling family were NY printing legends.

    Joe Rickard