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Print Shop: 1922
January 1922. Washington, D.C. "Machinists' Association -- printers." Activities relating to the International Association of Machinists . National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size. Before WordPerfect or even Atari Writer ... ... 
Posted by Dave - 12/29/2021 - 4:51pm -

January 1922. Washington, D.C. "Machinists' Association -- printers." Activities relating to the International Association of Machinists. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.
Before WordPerfect or even Atari Writer ...I am reminded that my junior high school industrial-arts class (boys only, in those dark ages) included a month of weekly sessions on manual typesetting (in addition to wiring, woodworking, and metalworking). It started off with a hand-held composing stick onto which you placed letters from the wooden type case, upside down and backwards. You advanced to setting a whole page in a metal frame, inserting lead spacers between paragraphs and locking the whole thing solid with key-tightened springs around the border. The irascible instructor, Mr. L______, who seemed vaguely disgruntled with life, would walk around, tilting the frames upright and rapping your typeset assemblage in the middle. If the type collapsed into chaos on the bench, he'd smirk and say "Better sort it out and try again, tighter," then walk off. Oddly, despite the abundance of sharp or heavy tools in the area, he was never murdered. The uplifting part of the experience was that none of us had ever heard of a single alumnus who had ever made a living as a typesetter, or wished to. But I do not begrudge the experience: it taught me to respect the craftwork mastered by folks like the guys in the photo.    
A Century AgoI'm no where near 100 years old, but my mind still has difficulty processing the fact that 1922 was already 100 years ago.
Grand Lodge, International Association of MachinistsJust in case anyone was curious about the building on the calendar. Built in 1919, it sat across from the AFL-CIO building at 9th Street and Mount Vernon Place NW in DC.
The new female supervisor ...has just advised the chap on the left that his choices for wall display in front of his press are inappropriate, and need to be removed.
Moving on upLooks like one of them has traded in his cards and bubble gum for something more adventurous.
Manual LaborI operated presses like that in high school, even had one in my garage for years. The pressmen are interesting, two have baseball pictures on the wall and the other guy has girls. I see a spittoon on the floor. 
Sports section, women's sectionSports on the right, women's on the left, judging from the "halftones" on the wall in each location.
Model ModelsMightn't the images on the wall (models; baseball players) be samples of what the artisans are printing at their respective presses?
Upside upside down, but not backwardis actually the way to set type, and also from bottom to top, rather than top to bottom. It still works, and there are a few hundred of us who still on occasion set type by hand.
Pay AttentionLotsa ways to lose a finger or limb in this picture.
Horological Accuracy -Provided by the Naval Observatory, via Western Union.
Stop the Presses!I also ran a letter press such as these in Industrial Arts class.  The one we had was probably older than these.  I also worked as printer for a few years in a check printing plant which used letter presses well into the 1980's.  I ran Intertype Machines which were automatic type setters that cast the lead slugs used in the big presses.  I'm sure I am one of the last people to ever have been trained on such machines, they were phased out about 2 years afterward.
I was trying to figure out what the tall structure on the center press was.  The operator is hand-feeding the paper into the press.  His right hand is on the unprinted stock. The press on the left has an auto-feeder (meaning the press is "sheet-fed").  You can see the vacuum lines which provide suction to lift the sheets of paper and draw them into the press.  It dawned on me that the two presses, left and center, are identical.  The center press is also sheet-fed, but the mechanism has been swung up, out of the way (the vertical structure) and is being hand-fed.
Hand feeding a letter press means you have to remove the freshly printed sheet with your left hand and put in a fresh sheet with your right hand as the press cycles open, and do so before it closes again.  Meaning, BOTH of your hands are inside a running machine each cycle.  Thats why the guys in the photo are concentrating so hard on what they're doing.
The machine in the fore-ground: my guess is that it's a folding machine. 
Platen pressesAs a former employee of a Dutch Company, Bührmann-Tetterode, that used to be an important player in Europe on the market for Platen Presses, I am delighted with pictures like this, showing print shops, like you may see them nowadays still frequently in Asian countries like Indonesia (the country where my wife was born when it was called Dutch East Indies). My firm represented  the, rather famous, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Gesellschaft in Europe, except for Germany and the U.K. The Original Heidelberg Platen Press was often referred to as the Heidelberg Windmill, which is a rather curious name for me as a Dutchman. The platen presses we see here may well be Chandler & Price platen presses.
Dang Near Cut My Finger Off!Years ago my father owned a boutique printing company and an advertising agency. One of the printing presses was a letterpress, with moveable type. I remember watching him set type.
My brothers and I had the job of busting up the type and putting it back in the type drawers which were called 'cases'. The trade term for the kids who busted up the type was "printer's devil". Each font went into a different case and each letter went to a specific bin in the case. Woe to the devil who put a sort (pieces of type) in the wrong space! Now you know where the term 'out of sorts' originated!
I can still remember the layout of the cases and where each sort belonged. The type was made out of lead.
I remember how amazed I was the first time I saw a linotype machine.
This press was at a junk store. The press and all the type for $850.  Years ago.
One day I was talking to my dad while he was running the press. I stumbled and laid my hand on the press for balance. The press was running and I about cut my index finger off. The finger, my right index finger, is crooked and shorter than my other fingers. I don't have much feeling in it and I don't use the finger much. I was maybe eleven or twelve years old.
(Technology, The Gallery, D.C., Industry & Public Works, Natl Photo)

Modern Office: 1921
December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." Mad amenities in this office paradise include windows ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/02/2013 - 7:06pm -

December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." Mad amenities in this office paradise include windows and a sink. Note the Burroughs tabulator with glass sides. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.
ReflectionNice shot of the flash powder going off!
Just what I needIn our modern era of bland-looking office equipment, this collection of exotic machinery looks wonderful - it must have sounded good, too, and even more so when those splendid oil cans beneath the Addressograph machine were applied. No need to defragment this equipment - just an occasional oil job.
The girl in the corner would have to be considered a visual amenity, I think.
What an absolutely mad PC that would makeI've built a couple of PC's into vintage cabinetry, and let me tell you, I drool at the thought of putting a mini ITX board into that glass Burroughs box, especially if I could make its keys functional and fit the power supply in that big old motor can hangin' underneath.
Clean hands indeedNothing like a little Twenty Mule Team Borax in the new convenient crank to powder dispenser that keeps ladies hands sparkling clean.   
Addressograph operationWhen I delivered newspapers in the early 1960s, the news agency I worked for had Addressograph machines much like the ones shown here.
For those not familiar with the technology, an Addressograph lets the user punch a name and address onto a small metal plate. The plate can then be used to print the name and address on a postcard or envelope.
The machine further from the camera punches plates. The operator has placed on her machine an index card with a name and address on it. As she types, the keystrokes are punched into a metal blank. The machine then smooths the punched plate and pops it out.
The machine closer to the camera is using a stack of plates to print labels. The machine I remember was electrically operated: the operator put in a stack of plates and a deck of postcards, and turn it on; the machine would feed the cards and plates through one at a time, and print a the name and address on each card. This machine, though, appears to be hand-operated: the operator feeds in a card, then pushes a foot treadle to print a name and address on it. The machine then pops out the plate, and loads the next one. Note the two oil cans under the machine: keeping it well lubricated was essential.
The second machineI recognized the Addressograph machine closest to the camera, but what's the other machine? It almost looks like some sort of multigraph machine, but not quite. Is it a machine for making the plates for the Addressograph?
Another AmenityA cabinet full of fresh, clean towels delivered to the office by a truck like this.
Mt. Vernon Place and 9th Street, NWThe office appears to be on either the 6th or 7th (top) floor in the southeast corner of the Machinists Building which was located at the corner of Mt. Vernon Place and 9th Street, NW.  The building seen through the windows is still standing across 9th Street (see detail below).
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The Second MachineIs probably the embosser that makes the Addressograph plates.
It all comes back to me nowI can remember an adressograph type of machine in my dad's office. And I'm only 47 years old. I guess that punchcard style machines (which should have been able to do the same thing) may have been too expensive for smaller companies?
Well, electronic data processing has all but eliminated mechanical data processing. 
Graphotype The other machine in the corner is an Addressograph. Graphotype, which is used to make the Addressograph plates.
Good postureMy wife, a fashion historian, noted that the woman in the foreground is rigorously corseted in the foundation of the day based on the telltale bulge showing through the back of her dress.
Saving ElectricityThat Burroughs would work better if it were plugged in. 
As a worker in the wholesale electronics business in my late teens/20's and ran Addressograph-Multigraph machines and printers, one of many hats I wore. I would feed one of the machines the brochures/advertisement by hand as I could never make the automated feed work reliably. If you spilled one of the trays loaded with those metal plates it was a task to sort and file them. The offset printer was a more forgiving, dependable machine and I cranked out plenty of trees on that. 
My father-in-law was a sales rep for the A/M company and wanted me to enter the business. This was at the time when computers (using punch cards) were just coming to small businesses.  I held out for computers, to his dismay but to my long term benefit.  Ahh the smell of ink....
The sinkThe sink did seem strange but I guess it was to wash hands after all the oiling that was done there.
At least computers don't need oiling. 
Model B Card IndexThis appears to be an Addressograph Mode B Card Index on the left and an Office Graphotype on the right. The card-index drawer to catch the stack of plates for re-filing after printing is above the operators knee. 

The Preparation and Care of Mailing Lists, 1914.

The most modern and efficient form of card-index is the Addressograph system. This system contains all the good points of the card-index method but goes much further in that it practically operates itself. With the Addressograph system there is no need to have clerks laboriously hand-write envelopes, wrappers, etc., from the names and addresses on the records. For, by running the “cards” through the Addressograph they automatically print in facsimile typewriting the names and addresses that appear on them. … 

When plates have been made for all the names, they are placed in the Addressograph and the necessary envelopes, postal cards or circulars addressed. When this is done the plates are filed away in an Addressograph card-index drawer in the same way as regular card-index cards When it is desired to use the plates for addressing, the entire drawer is simply placed in the Addressograph, and the machine started. As the plates run through the Addressograph impressions are taken from them at printing point after which they are automatically returned to the original drawer in the same order in which they were filed. As their original order of filing is not disturbed, there is no possibility of their becoming mixed.

Graphotype operation(See image at “Model B Card Index” comment, 08/06/2013)
Inserting the plate – Operator slipped a small aluminum address plate into a spring-grip plate carriage, flipped the carriage up and back to face inward, then pushed the carriage a bit further in.
Letter selection – Letters were chosen one by one by the left hand turning the big side wheel. Letter selection was shown by a pointer traveling the long horizontal strip just below the clipboard. 
Punching a letter – Right hand on center lever (rising from table) pulled to trigger the motor-driven letter-punch action, and pushed a small thumb tab to advance an empty space. 
New line – Right hand repositioned the plate carriage for new lines. 
Mounting the plate – Finished plate was removed and (usually) mounted in a larger steel carrier plate for storage in drawers and bulk printing. The carrier plate also accepted a paper print of the address for easy reading, and could accept colored steel tabs along its top edge to help organize the storage drawers. 
Variation – For lighter printing needs, smaller address plates were used, without the carrier plates, fixed to heavy paper folders (often holding related account papers) for use in hand-operated desk printers.
Burroughs TabulatorI have a Burroughs tabulator with glass sides (and thanks to this post, I now know what it's called). Does anyone know much about it?
Mine doesn't have the table on the left so it just has two iron arms that stick up on the side so I didn't know what they were for until now.
Also, mine doesn't have a motor underneath or a cord so I never knew there was electricity involved.
I read Shorpy regularly. I have lots of pictures I've always said I wanted to submit so now that I had to create a username to post this comment, maybe you'll hear more from me soon.
Machine, Addressograph, One EachRe: Fred's comment, " Addressograph lets the user punch a name and address onto a small metal plate"...small metal plates such as the dog tags worn by generations of US soldiers from about 1940 through the 1980s. The ones used to stamp dog tags were very similar to those in the photo.
(The Gallery, D.C., Natl Photo, The Office)

Podmates: 1921
December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." One of a six-photo set. National Photo Company ... This one is probably the entire office staff of the "Machinists Association" or the annual convention in Ashtabula. Rrrring ... 
Posted by Dave - 09/13/2011 - 7:59pm -

December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." One of a six-photo set. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.
Those were the dayswhen people used a pencil with an eraser on the end!
Hanging UPThe pantograph-mounted phone is a real nifty touch.
Device Behind the TypewriterDoes anybody know what that device is behind the typewriter -- the vertical panel that looks like it probably held paper in place. There was one featured in another recent Shorpy photo and it looks much more elaborate than a simple paper holder.  
I'm dying to know what it is!!!
[It's a Remington-Rand "Line-a-Time" copy holder. The lever advances the copy up one line each time it's pressed. - Dave]
For the GoldIdentify the photo on the wall on the left.  
Politically CorrectNo girly calendars here.
ErgonomicsPlenty of innovative ideas for arranging a small space.  Everything "falls easily to hand" when needed and stays out of the way when not needed.  Note especially the double-hung shades: no need to open the shade before opening the window!
To the bitter endPencil with eraser: I still use them,when the occasion arise.
Who's got the button?Did the ladies of the '20s miss the long rows of buttons they no longer needed to fasten up, now that high-top shoes  and high-collared shirtwaists were out of style?                                                Could that explain the fad for sewing random rows of extra buttons on their clothing that we've seen on more than one Shorpy business woman of the day?  Perhaps a law of fashion nature - the button can neither be created nor destroyed, only moved to a new location.
Photo IDPanoramic group shots like the one on the left wall are something of an antique store staple. This one is probably the entire office staff of the "Machinists Association" or the annual convention in Ashtabula.
RrrringLove their modern wall phone! 
(The Gallery, D.C., Natl Photo, The Office)

Union Shop: 1922
January 1922. Washington, D.C. "Machinists' Association, printers." Another peek behind the scenes at the International Association of Machinists. View full size. I like exposed moving parts. Probably why I don't have a lot of sympathy ... 
Posted by Dave - 09/13/2011 - 8:03pm -

January 1922. Washington, D.C. "Machinists' Association, printers." Another peek behind the scenes at the International Association of Machinists. View full size.
I likeexposed moving parts. Probably why I don't have a lot of sympathy for computers with, in some cases, almost no moving parts, exposed or not.
Business Is BusinessThey have a time clock!
Printing OfficeThe press shown here is a Kelly B made and sold by the American Type Founders. The machine is a high speed automatic cylinder letterpress.
(The Gallery, D.C., Natl Photo)

Office Girls: 1921
December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." And what could be an exhibit for the Museum of Antique ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/30/2013 - 9:25am -

December 1921. Washington, D.C. "Machinists Association." And what could be an exhibit for the Museum of Antique Office Equipment. Experts please weigh in. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.
Priceless Look The clock on the wall says 20 past 4 and the lady seated on the far right is looking at the next big batch of work before she can leave. 
A monthly mailingI'm thinking Addressograph/Multigraph. The operator in the middle looks like she might be creating the little metal plates -- a lot like dog tags, really -- that the Addressograph system used for high-speed imprint onto labels and envelopes. And the finished plates would fit perfectly in those little drawers in the left-hand cabinet. An after school job in a church rectory taught me way too much about that system.
The hair pinTakes the prize, but the watch, dress and silk stockings are close runners up!  The bobbed hair is right in style, too!  "Thoroughly Modern Millie" even if she was from 1922!
Oh, goody!!!  More work!The expression on the face of the young lady seated nearest the window says it all.
And a Graphotype to boot!Yes, this is Addressograph/Multigraph equipment -- we ran it into the sixties. The filing cabinets contain the small metal plates used to address envelopes and such. The lady nearest is printing from the metal plates through a cloth ribbon on some roll of paper material. The two seated ladies farthest from us are operating Graphotypes -- these were the machines that stamped the letters and numbers onto the small metal plates. There are still a few of these machines around though they are mostly used to make dog tags for military wannabes.
Don't put it on your résumé!I typed Graphotype plates (both metal and plastic) for Addressograph Multigraph in Minneapolis during the summers of 1969 and 1970. It was a boring job and, due to the vibration of typing on metal, it actually slowed my typing speed down a bit. I quickly realized (uninspired by the full time fellow-workers around me) that this was something I absolutely did NOT want to do for the rest of my life.  Fortunately it was just a high school summer job and I was relieved to leave it behind and head to college in the fall of '70.
Wouldn't you know it though - my first week on campus I got a call from the school's alumni office.  The admin building had burned to the ground the previous year and they were reconstructing their alumni membership lists from the sooty remains of the addressograph plates which had (sort of) survived the fire.  
Unfortunately somebody had noticed that I had "Graphotype Typist" on my college application/résumé and the bells rang. They corralled me.  My first work-grant "scholarship" at college was (using a graphoptype machine they had shipped down from my old workplace) retyping every dang one of those charred plates.
Sittingin those HARD wooden chairs 8 or more hours a day must have been brutal....
Imagine the Sound of SixAs a computer operator in the late 60's I ran jobs that produced punched paper tape spools that were used as input to the six Addressograph machines at the service bureau where I worked.
Imagine a room containing six of those Addressographs running non-stop for an eight hour shift.  The din!!
Those Addressograph machines punched out raised print credit cards that were run through the manual credit card imprinters in department stores of the day.
(The Gallery, D.C., Natl Photo, The Office)
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