The man behind printing

If it weren?t for a German immigrant watchmaker by the name of Ottmar Mergen?thaler, we wouldn?t be in the newspaper and printing business today?or at least not in the same way.

Mergenthaler was the inventor of the Linotype, which transformed the information industry and dominated the way information was disseminated to the public from about 1890 to 1980.

Instead of hand picking individual pieces of type out of a drawer, Mergenthaler devised a machine to cast lines of type molded on a lead slug, which was much faster than Gutenberg?s methods.

Derek Hamm, who teaches graphic design at Tabor, alerted me through his dad that there was a video about the Linotype. I looked it up on the Web and ordered the DVD.

Our entire staff watched the video during a lunch hour and half while chomping on a few pizzas.

If you are interested checking it out, here is a link to the film:


I received a letter from the Kansas secretary of state regarding potential unclaimed property of mine.

I determined it wouldn?t be worth all of the paperwork for the $5.20 that I could get?if it is mine.


I recently resurrected a pair of shoes I haven?t worn for about 15 years. They are Sperry Topsiders that had torn lacing that I couldn?t tie anymore.

All it took was a trip to Tandy?s for some new lacing and a pair of pliers, a paper clip that I bent into a sharp hook and some pliable wire to pull the lacing through the eyelet holes.

I was so proud of myself until I put them on and realized they were still too small to wear. At least it kept me out of trouble for the time it took to fix them.


If you?re needing a fix of nice Christmas music 24/7 on your computer and also wish to listen to the Marion and Hills?boro high schools? Christmas concerts?plus the ?Messiah? and Christ?mas concert by Tabor College?then you should know about MCXradio.hillsborofree?

The letters stand for Marion County Christmas radio.

This new Internet radio station is the brainchild of David Vogel and is sponsored by Hillsboro Ford, Midway Motors and the Free Press.

If you are reading this on the Internet, just click the link above, type the address in your browser or go to the Free Press home page and click on the MCXradio banner.


I saw this item in ?Editor and Publisher? and thought it was interesting. Then, after I decided to share it in this column, I read it in a number of other publications, including the Kansas Press Bulletin and the KU Alumni Magazine.

The gist of the story is that former President Harry Truman failed to pay his newspaper subscription in 1947 to a then-15-year-old carrier by the name of George Lund.

The Independence (Mo.) Examiner reported that the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum has now paid the carrier, Lund, for the original bill plus interest amounting to just under $60.

This occurred during a ?We?re Just Wild about Harry? event. I presume the paper got its cut and the carrier got his.

If you wish to share comments or ideas, my e-mail address is

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