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Grape-Nuts for typesetters

Started by Mechanic, May 23, 2008, 06:25:20 AM

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When I was an apprentice, the printers assured me that their trip to the local pub between editions was to counteract the lead from stereo and type metal. I of course did not believe them, but I ran across this item written by Gene Gable on May 29, 2003 and I wonder if there is not some truth in the printers claim. He refers to a 1902 advertisement in "Good Housekeeping Magazine" for Grape-Nuts.

"I have been at the Linotype three years," said Mr. Eckhard. "It has made a great change in my once robust health. About three months ago, after long expecting it, I completely collapsed, from indigestion and extreme nervousness. The daily physic I had not dared to omit for years, now and then, refused relief and a physician was consulted."

I admit I had to look up what a "physic" was, though I suspected from the tone of Mr. Eckhard's letter and the nature of Grape-Nuts cereal that it had something to do with the bowels. Needless to say, his physician immediately recommended "change of diet," and the prescription of "eating Grape-Nuts food twice daily."

Thankfully, this keen advice did the trick. Reports Mr. Eckhard: "Since then have used Grape-Nuts, both at breakfast and supper, daily. The results are truly remarkable. The first appreciable change was in the matter of digestion. It has been six weeks since I have had to swallow an aperient of any kind. My nerves, which were completely shattered three months ago are now strong and steady, and I do not tire easily."

An "aperient," by the way, is a potion that aids in making sure you have your daily physic.

The addition of Grape-Nuts to his diet was not just a boon to Mr. Eckhard, but to his employer as well. "I have increased my capacity at the machine fully two columns of type a day," he reports. "I am convinced that Grape-Nuts food is the food for persons of sedentary occupation, especially for those who work with brain in lieu of brawn."

I will admit to a sedentary lifestyle, and there was a period in my young adult life when I ate Grape-Nuts for dinner, so I can relate to Mr. Eckhard. But in my case the Grape-Nuts were a result of poverty or laziness, not digestive problems. And I've never felt the need for an aperient of any kind.

You can see part of the advertisement by clicking on the "TINYURL" . The page also contains history relating to the "International Typographical Union" told, I think, with tongue in cheek

George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

Dan Williams

And in my lifetime, it was Euwell Gibbons and his wild hickory nuts.   :-X

Dave Hughes

In my day a lot of credence was given to drinking a pint of milk!
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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

I understood that the milk diet was provided by the employer for those unfortunates who were engaged in the operation of bronzing machinery.

Never worked in such an area myself so I can't attest the truth of the story but I always disliked the occasional hand bronzing job that came into the shop and endeavoured to drink something - no matter what - after it was done to clear the gunk that I imagined had gotten inside me.

Yuk --  double Yuk  --  Long live Virkotype !!


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