The Way Sam Remembers It
Jun 23, 2004 | 613 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As we struggled Tuesday afternoon to find (or rebuild) one whole section of this week’s paper, it brought back a lot of memories.

This problem involves our computers, and given a little time, we can rebuild what was lost and start over. That’s not a big deal, since not a lot of work had gone into building that section up until now. We have computer records to help us find the missing stuff. It is just time consuming, and a little frustrating. I remember other times when things were a lot worse, and we made it even then.

We may have been short of a lot of services in Moab in those days, but we were rich in specialty shops serving the booming mining industry. That worked to our advantage.

One time, my memory tells me, I dropped an entire front page of one issue, made up of thousands of lead linotype slugs, and scattered the mess all over the floor. There was no way any of us could remember just how we had put it together in the first place, so we started from scratch, re-set all the stories, and built a new page one, hoping that we had recovered everything strewn across the floor. But, we got the paper out on time, working late into the night to do it.

Another time the electric motor on the newspaper press burned up. The 400-pound 20-horsepower motor had to be rebuilt. At the time, we managed to get enough people around it to lift it off its mounts, and take it in a pickup to Cordray Electric where the owner re-wound it, coated the coils and baked it until it was as good as new. We had it back pulling the press by morning, and we got the paper out.

I remember the time we shattered an intricate 18-inch diameter cam wheel on the typesetting machine, made of cast iron rimmed with steel. A call to the manufacturer told me that since Linotype Machines were going out of style, there were no spare parts domestically. We could order one, they said, but it would have to be machined in London and would take six weeks. We had to get a paper out the next morning, so they were no help—but we ordered one, at a whopping price of $600. We took the remains of the old wheel out to Ned’s Welding and Machine Shop, where Ned Dalton worked overtime to weld it back together using a method he had developed for welding cast iron. It worked, and we got the paper out. Eventually, the new part from London arrived. It was still sitting in its packing box when we retired the Linotype a number of years later. Ned’s job was still working.

There were a lot of other similar occasions that I wish would drop from my memory. People talk about “the good old days.” There were a lot of not-so-good days mixed in if we take the time to remember.

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