So much older then…

My Back Pages. “Crimson flames tied through my ears, rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon, ” said I, proud ‘neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

That’s about it. When I was a kid (anybody younger than 40), I thought I knew everything. I didn’t. Things were very different then. Graphic arts were so primitive by today’s standards. When I started in the industry in Las Vegas, NV in the late 70’s of that now so distant last century, I was apprenticing as a typesetter. That was the person responsible for creating the type used in newspapers, magazines, album covers, drum heads… everything from key chains to store windows.

The place was Nevada Graphics and they did most of the work for a large share of the Las Vegas hotels, restaurants and recording artists. We even had an old Linotype machine in the back. “The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o’-type, a significant improvement over the previous industry standard, i.e., manual, letter-by-letter typesetting using a composing stick and drawers of letters.” – Wikipedia.

That was operated by some “old” guy I rarely saw. I worked in the dark room. Not so much a room as a closet. I ran the typositor. I was essentially creating type in a kind of photographic process, running a reel of celluloid through a photographic emulsion. Light passed through cutout letters in the celluloid that I moved back and forth by turning either the reel on the right or left depending on the direction I had to go to get to the particular letters I needed for any given project. I would then remove the film lying in the emulsion. This was the reason for working in the dark. Nothing but a red light to see by. I did the invitation card for a thank you celebration by the Hilton Hotel to the valley’s bravest, the firefighters and other first responders for battling the flames that had threatened the destruction of the hotel a month or so earlier. This was a single paragraph done in a script called “Polanaise.” This particular script had a great deal of flourish and hairline connectors one letter to the next. It took me eight hours to do that one paragraph.

Damn, things have changed. And I must say, for the better. We didn’t have Web sites then, or even the Internet. But man has always needed a way to advertise his wares, or services. The printing press made it easier, photo type even easier still. But desktop publishing killed my old occupation, and personally, I don’t miss it.

Yes, the business has changed. But needs haven’t. I’m still here, and that even surprises me, but I’m still doing it. Still designing. Still writing. Still playing. If you click on the image here, you can leave me a comment if you’d like.

Till next time…

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