I landed in the printing business and stayed … for more than twenty years. It was right on the cusp when engraving had lost its luster and thermography was about to shine.
I actually started on the engraving press. It’s a great story for another day. Pretty soon I jumped ship and worked the company’s first thermography operation (a small press with a looong machine attached). Say whaaaat?
Ever seen a business card with shiny raised letters? That’s thermography. We didn’t have computers and such back in the day, just hard back-breakin’ labor. Here’s how it worked…
Couldn’t find a picture, this is my own crude sketch.
The first machines were huge and bulky; I literally ran back and forth all day. The press is really crankin’ and the bin loads up fast. I have to pull a ream (500 sheets), shuffle, place on the table and get back to the press.
Oh honey, the paper cuts brought tears till I learned how to shuffle those sheets.
Once I’m done with letterheads, I move on to business cards. They are run eight-up on different types of card stock. Every setting has to be changed, including the press. More runnin’ up and down.
Don’t even get me started about envelopes … I hated runnin’ those things.
You gotta hear about the fun part of the job. Every newbie has fires, even some veterans let me tell ya. See, if you don’t have the speed and the heat settings copacetic there will be a massive collision.
If the heat is too hot for the paper it coils and stops in place, more paper is feeding in behind at a rapid pace causing a paper jam. In less than a minute a fire starts to build.
Rule number one: turn off press lever that feeds paper, two: turn off burners, three: grab fire extinguisher.
Afterward ya wanna yell, “Call the am-bu-lance; I’m havin’ the big one.”
No such thing as 911…
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full