August 7

Printers have ever been quick to dissent from prevailing acceptance of unsophisticated promotion; thus typo Charles H. Gard of Chicago followed tradition when he took pen in hand and placed tongue in cheek on this day in 1890 to write to the editor of a printer’s trade publication:

“I clip the following from the Printer’s Album and Electrotyper, May, 1890, issue, page 18: ‘One of our western agents writes us as follows: One of our town customers has had a peculiar accident, which I must tell you. Belt came down to the press from the ceiling of second story and was caught on set screw, and wound up and drew the whole press up and through the second floor before the belt broke, and down came the machine with a crash. Inside of thirty minutes after the accident happened we had the parts on the cars, on the way to replace those broken, having had one of your presses in stock from which we took these parts to ship to our customer. The next mail brought the following: “Every part fitted just to a dot,” which speaks well for the interchangeableness of your presses!

“Very queer! Did the customer or the press have the accident? The writer does not inform us that “belt which came down’ ever went up again, nor does he tell whether the press boy went up with the machine, or not. He forgets to tell us how many nicely colored cards were printed during the ascent and descent, and he forgets to tell us just how many splinters the press made of the upper floor going up or the lower floor coming down. We know of no comparison to such an accident on record, save Jules Verne’s vehicle that took him to the moon and return. The writer should inform the waiting typographic multitude whether the press boy threw out the press dog or the monkey-wrench when the anti-gravitation point was reached, and if due astronomical observations were made en route. Pending the arrival of above explanations, must we not doubt the accuracy of this last rise in printing machinery, without the usual thirty-and five off for cash?”

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