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Letter: Printing story brings back fond memories

An assortment of linotype machine slugs is on display at the Museum of Printing in North Andover.

Laurie Swope for The Boston Globe

An assortment of linotype machine slugs is on display at the Museum of Printing in North Andover.

I enjoyed your article about printing, especially presses (“North Andover museum makes printing indelible” Globe North, June 13). When I got off my destroyer at the end of World War II (February 1946), I went to work for the Milford (N.H.) Cabinet, a weekly dating back to 1798 and owned by my wife’s family since 1802.

I worked there as a reporter, advertising manager, and often in the composing room helping to set ads and headlines, and writing a column.

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We had two linotypes used almost exclusively for news stories in 8-point Corona (I think) and I often had the job of locking up a chase so the page could go on a sort of tiny elevator to the basement.

There, four chases (each the size of the Globe’s pages) went on an ancient flatbed press run by an ancient white-haired gent who somehow lifted newsprint up onto the feeding level and then fed the press, sometimes having to jump down and extinguish a big sheet that caught fire on the gas-fed blaze that dried the ink. There was a Baum folder and that did the rest.

This went on week after week until 1972 when offset came along, making great changes in printing newspapers. (Very much like the turn of the 20th century when the automobile replaced the horse and buggy.) As a result, the Milford Cabinet was thereafter printed by the Nashua Telegraph, at first with layout sheet, and then, as now, layout was entirely by computer. No need for a linotype and as far as I know, the Cabinet’s two such monsters are still in the newspaper’s composing room (which became a museum). The building has been sold.

Well, I’m remembering a great change in communication — plus all the incredible development of the iPhone, etc.

What a world.

Exeter, N.H.

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