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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Magpie Makers: With Machines

By Bernard W. Levy, Managing Editor

The Magpie, December 1930, v. 32, n. 1, p. 78.

The actual production of a magazine like the MAGPIE is known to very few of its readers, although it goes through many interesting processes before coming to you.

Selected manuscripts are sent to a linotypist. This operator manipulates a machine with a keyboard similar to that on a typewriter. When he presses the key "f," for instance, a brass mold falls from its magazine or compartment onto a revolving strap that is below the entire set of compartments, each of which contains a different letter or number. The strap carries it to a little box above the keyboard. Then, in like manner, come the molds o-r-e-i-g-n respectively, if the word "foreign" is desired. In like manner, the other letters, spaces, and punctuation marks of a line are "linotyped," or set in lines of type.

When a complete line is set, the operator presses a lever which brings into action a series of levers that put this line of type molds against a slot into which hot lead is forced. The hot lead fills the crevices of the molds, and forms a line or "slug." The slug then falls onto a tray or "galley." The individual brass molds then return to their respective compartments by means of a system of gear combinations. Meanwhile, the operator sets up another line, so that the entire machine is in constant operation.

The lead lines are put together into page forms, which have been planned previously to insure an attractive book layout or "dummy." Eight pages of this book are printed at a time. Eleven sets of these eight-page sheets are then cut, folded, and stitched by huge machines.

It required the active service of three hundred boys, thirty teachers, the manual labor of ten linotypists, five printers, twenty pounds of ink, five binders, a ton of lead, one and a half tons of paper, immeasurable time, and the spirit of a city of nine thousand Clinton students to put this book into your hands.


The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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