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Started by Dave Hughes, March 17, 2010, 09:59:07 AM

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Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type

Dave Hughes

Many thanks to George Finn for suggesting this subject for a little puzzle.

The photograph shows a very industrious-looking workforce, but what are they doing?

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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

Rightho I will have a stab at an answer to George's puzzle, though I will be happy to be shown to be wrong. . . . . .

My guess is that the area is a Teletype Room for one of the larger news conglomorates like Reuters - possibly in the late thirties to judge from the hairstyles, clothing [the males are almost universally wearing waistcoats] and the fact that there are so many men.  The war brought a heavy influx of women into such jobs which they did well.

The keyboards have four rows of keys which, I believe, were first fitted to model 33 machines though the units themselves look like they may be earlier models.

I could well be mistaken for I have not used such beasts or even seen T/Types with keyboards being used though I believe there are a couple of printer units and tape punches or readers in the "Cave' somewhere.

That's my threepenny'th - at least it may get the ball rolling - jeffo

Dave Hughes

No, not really Jeff.

Think more "office" than "news office."
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They also played a part in newspapers. The Wagga Daily Advertiser had one. I would imagine the Sydney Morning Herald had several.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast


Methinks it is the circulation department for a large magazine publisher and the ladies are at Graphotype machines punching address stamp cards (note a stack of these on the third or fourth machine back, right above the keyboard).  I see no evidence of teletype tape (if these folks were punching tape for later sending).

If they were setting tape, the ladies would likely be in the union and not working in such a dodgy looking place as that (note the lockers on the back wall and no separate coat room.   I might well be wrong, but that's my guess.

Michael Seitz
Missoula MT

Dave Hughes

You've got it Mike!

Here's the caption to the photograph:

QuoteThis photograph shows a typical installation of Graphotypes as they were employed in large corporations and business.  The Graphotype was essential to company operations as it was the backbone that produced the metal plates for the Addressograph machines.  This photograph illustrates at lease 13 Graphotypes that can be seen.  If one looks closely it is assumed that there are many more that did not make it in the photo.  It is sad as many people who are passing today have listed in their obituaries the fact that at one time or another they were an Addressograph operator.  The machines produced by Addressograph Multigraph effected whole generations and yet many people today have no idea how large a role these machine played in history.  Many people spent their entire adult career as an Addressograph operator.

While the Graphotype may be found in thousands of models and configurations the principal behind all Graphotypes remains the same.  The machine uses a set of dies and punches to either emboss or deboss metal plates or tags for a given application.  Graphotypes come in two styles - either hand operated (manual) or electric (motor-driven).  The motor driven machines are faster and more geared toward production.

Anyone wanting to find out more information about the graphotype and addressograph machines, should visit this excellent website:
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