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  1. #16
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: George Nelson)

    Hi, All,

    Well, heard back from The Print Museum that Dick C. so kindly sent me the link to. Sadly, they did not think the weights were from a printing press.

    However, as the weights were sitting on my desk this AM, a shaft of sunlight briefly illuminated the larger of the flat sides of both weights (the front or back?). Immediately obvious were the outlines of many printing blocks for individual letters, all different sizes and all in the Times New Roman font!

    Once the sunlight was gone, the letters disappeared as well. When lit, however, the letters could easily be seen and identified. It was as if a handful of letter blocks were softened and put into a square glass jar, something like a handful of soft M&M's. Quite curious.

    It rained the rest of the day, and I could not reproduce the phenomena under any of my ordinary lights or even my black lights. But the letters were decidedly there. I'll try again tomorrow if the sun shines, and will get a picture if possible.

    If I remember correctly, we once had a discussion about tall case clock weight fillers, and someone mentioned typeset in one of their weights.

    So, while not printing press weights, they do have a connection to printing! Hopefully, someone will come along with another hint or suggestion!

    Best to all,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  2. #17
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights

    Well, under a combination of incandescent, fluorescent and UV lighting and with the help of my photo manipulation program, I have been able to illuminate and photograph just a few of the letters within the weights. Both weights seem to have been made of 100% softened/broken/melted letters and numerals. I hope you can see them in the pictures!

    Best to all,

    George

    PS: There is an "N" visible to the left of the "B" if you look closely.
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    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  3. #18
    Registered user. ballistarius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: George Nelson)

    Amazing find, George!
    That 'N' is straight. Shouldn't it be reversed in case it was a printing block?

    Aitor
    It's all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever. Steiner

  4. #19
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: ballistarius)

    Ah, Aitor- you are so wise! Somewhere in my photo manipulation, I inadvertently must have reversed the picture before adding the text. Good catch!

    Best always,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  5. #20
    Registered user. THTanner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: George Nelson)

    I finally found a picture similar to the old press that I worked with in the late 1950s in Peru. Take a look at the fourth picture down in the attached article. You will see some large round weights hanging near the top of the press frame. The smaller ones are not visible since they were below the press platform and stabilized what I was told was called the shuttle.

    Your weights being made out of old lead press characters makes perfect sense. Once the character blocks became too warn they were often melted down and poured into molds to make new characters. Using them as scrap to make the counter weights is certainly possible.

    http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/educator/m...ooks/printing/

    Quote Originally Posted by George Nelson View Post
    Well, under a combination of incandescent, fluorescent and UV lighting and with the help of my photo manipulation program, I have been able to illuminate and photograph just a few of the letters within the weights. Both weights seem to have been made of 100% softened/broken/melted letters and numerals. I hope you can see them in the pictures!

    Best to all,

    George

    PS: There is an "N" visible to the left of the "B" if you look closely.
    You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - The Great One

  6. #21
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: THTanner)

    Hi, All

    THTanner, you have been quite helpful. I've sent another e-mail to museum of all things printing, in the hopes of getting a better response. TH, I'm more and more beginning to think you are 100% correct! Everything is fitting in perfectly the farther we go with this.

    Thankfully,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  7. #22
    Registered user. THTanner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: George Nelson)

    While it is quite possible that you mirror imaged the photo - that is not the only possible explanation. I learned the hard way early on with the press that the letters are on both ends - one end is for humans - the other end is for the press. If you put them in upside down the paper gets the mirror image. So you are probably seeing the "human" end of the N block and the printing end is inside the weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Nelson View Post
    Ah, Aitor- you are so wise! Somewhere in my photo manipulation, I inadvertently must have reversed the picture before adding the text. Good catch!

    Best always,

    George
    You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - The Great One

  8. #23
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: THTanner)

    Of course- once again, makes perfect sense! Another fact of learning for my mental filing cabinet, such as it is...

    Thanks,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  9. #24
    Registered user. THTanner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: George Nelson)

    I am a bit dyslexic and the N was one of the worst - upside down, mirrored, mirrored upside down - you tell me. Also problematic were the E and 3, the p,g,q and a few others. With certain fonts a 3 mirrored or upside down looks almost identical to an E and even a 4 can pass as a marginally printed A. You will sometimes see these errors on old documents if you look carefully.

    So to speed up the setting process, and to help those of us with a bit of an issue, we would mark the upper half of the human side of the block with a deep chisel strike. It was then quite easy to tell that you messed up if you could see any blocks with a chisel cut in the tray when print ready. It also made it quicker to make sure the letter was correct and not upside down. And it for some reason it got missed during tray inspection the big white chisel mark was clearly visible on the printed proof sheet.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Nelson View Post
    Of course- once again, makes perfect sense! Another fact of learning for my mental filing cabinet, such as it is...

    Thanks,

    George
    You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - The Great One

  10. #25
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Strange Weights (By: THTanner)

    Wow! TH, I had no idea you had some trouble with dyslexia. No trace of it that I can see. What a great job in overcoming it. Ya gots lots of guts, TH! Way to go!!!!

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

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