Last Friday was pretty darn special. My grandfather (aka Poppy) won a trip to New York through an incredible organization called Wish of a Lifetime through Brookdale Senior Living. He got to tour Woodside Press in Brooklyn and use one of the last remaining functional Linotype machines in the U.S. As a graphic designer, the work that was put into printing and typesetting pre-photoshop is completely mind-blowing. Seeing my Florida family in New York was enough of a blessing, but seeing Poppy in action and flawlessly using machines he hasn’t used in about 35 years was straight-up inspiring.
Wish of a Lifetime wrote:
It’s said, Thomas Edison called the Linotype machine the 8th wonder of the world. These machines powered newspapers, factories…a whole industry that was American as any. But with the ebb and flow of technology, it quickly became obsolete, and those with an occupation operating the machines soon found themselves out of work. 83-year-old Jack was one of those people. It was his first career up until 1985, “[I was] convinced that I would one day retire from my craft. But that was not to be the case. A new technology started to come into being in the later 1970’s…The industry did not transition well at all. In fact, over half the rank and file of the union would be out of jobs in a very short time. What we referred to as ‘the composing room,’ was becoming a thing of the past.”
It was Jack’s wish to be able to sit down at a Linotype machine again, even if for a short while. So on September 14th, with the help of Brookdale Senior Living, we sent Jack and his granddaughter to Woodside Press in NYC – where there is one of the few remaining Linotype machines in the country.
A special thank you to everyone who helped make Jack’s experience so special!
Above, Poppy when he was 18 years old, at the “Ludlow” machine, then again at 84 years old, striking the same pose.