|Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from the Calhoun
Chronicle dated 6/9/83.
A Day at the Chronicle
by Mary Ann Barrows
Sorry I don't know the date. Even the year is just a guess, but
it must have been about 1964, and I think it was summertime.
One of the greatest fears for any printer - in the days of hot type,
when each line of type was set on a different piece of metal and the larger
sizes of type such as were used in headlines and advertising were hand
set, letter by letter, - was to "pi" the type.
All of these many hundreds of pieces of metal were assembled in page
sizes in large trays that looked like a picture frame with no backing.
Everything had to fit together and be tightened, then carried back and
put on the press. To drop even one page meant hours of reassembling
the work. Once at the Glenville Democrat the front page was dropped
and Editor Linn Hickman decided the only thing to do was have a blank front
page with a brief explanation that it was impossible to reconstruct the
whole page of a newspaper after it had been "pied."
So on this summer day in 1964, on a Tuesday noon, four pages of that
week's edition of The Chronicle were ready to be printed. The heavy
frames were carried back and put on the press. Paper was placed on
the feed board, and the press was turned on and rolled over.
There was the loudest crash I ever heard in the printing office.
While the four pages had been put on the press bed, they had not been tightened
and held in place with clamps; moving the press bed caused four pages of
type, over 400 pounds of metal, to slip off the press bed and fall to the
floor, and all in a big jumble.
What a mess! My first thought was that the big cylinder which
carried the paper through the press had fallen to the floor. That
would mean disaster. When I got to the back of the press and saw
that was only four pages of pied type, bad as that was, it was with the
knowledge that we were not completely out of business and ruined.
That thought saved my sanity, and I tried to be reassuring to my husband,
Olin Barrows, who had done the fateful deed which caused the terrible accident.
"We can put it back together. We must put it back together." That's
what we kept telling each other. Harley Gayle Harris and Rusty Haynes
happened to come in. They pitched in to help, first picking up the
many pieces scattered under the press. Greta Roberts came back from
lunch and started putting the lines of type together again. For some
reason Bernard Harris, our loyal pressman for seven years, was not there
that day. But there were five of us working at the job and we had
it done in six hours time, by 6 p.m., and back on the press, and The Chronicle
didn't have any blank pages. It was out on time on Thursday.
We didn't even tell our readers what had happened to pages two, three,
six and seven of the edition.