Just a point to see what the response is.
I was always known as a printer, in the shop we had machine minders ,later referred to as machine managers .
How do the old boys (and girls) out there see those descriptions .Bear in mind these terms came up in the uk ,not sure what the usa call us . I dont like to be referred to as a machine minder ! Any one with a mechanical attitude can watch over a press and have not the slightest idea of what they are looking at ,once set and running with a settled duct we often handed the press to a minder , then moved to the next press ,set up started the run and so on , those left to run the machine would after a period of time learning on the job would move along the process learning to set up until they got the drift and could recognise the the problems . This is the way i was taught , you cant produce work that is good if you cant run the press and there is little point teaching the finer points to someone that cant set the feeder and duct .
How do you feel on the point ?
Today there are people in print who have no knowledge of the nature of paper and when you see men struggling to get a saucer shaped sheet through the machine i have an urge to scream the word stack capping at them , i dont think i have seen a stack of work with top caps on them for years, what happened to proper training ?
Log in to reply 3 replies so far
In the US and Canada, in my experience, we call the people like you a Head Pressman or Pressman, and the lower person a Press Helper.
On larger presses with larger crews, you might have a Head Pressman or No. 1 Pressman, a No. 2 Pressman, and a feeder (to keep the press supplied with paper).
And above all of them could be a Pressroom Foreman, who might or might not be a working foreman which meant that he was expected to run a press as time permitted, as well as manage the pressroom.
We definitely should in this day and age say “press person,” since so many are women.
Except perhaps in the larger union shops, formal press training is a thing of the past, I guess. Because of that, we are kept busy answering questions on this site. And I think most of us old timers are glad to do it, because it keeps letterpress alive and has resulted in the saving of countless pieces of letterpress and related equipment, and the production of a lot of interesting work.
I’m sure others will have input on this as well.
My experience goes back 60+ years. I have not been involved with the craft all those years. There was a period of about 40 years that I was a sailor.
I learned the basics of letterpress in junior high school. I do not remember any street front offset shops, but there were what we now call leterpress shops. At age 15 a boy could do some work as an employee and we did not have OSHA. Often a boy would have an after school job running a hand fed press. I guess he was a machine minder although we used the term pressman. Often the shop was a one man owner operation. The owner welcomed having a boy to operate the press so he could attend to other things. If there were several jobs ready and locked up and the boy was well trained and there were good instructions for each job, the boy could get several small jobs printed each afternoon and clean the press.
I think the term printer is appropriate for the one who must be able to do everything in the pressroom. That includes bindry. If he happens to be the owner, he must deal with the customers also.
I would rather print.
Been in the industry 36 years. Own a commercial printshop.
On large offset presses head guy on press is called Lead or Head pressman. I’ve heard his assistants called Operators,
Loaders, or 2nd. or 3rd Pressman.
My Grandfather was a Compositor in NYC. I asked him if Stonehand was term for Compositor. He said a Stonehand
was a Compositor who was qualified to make changes to the form on press.