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Off the Editor’s Desk 7-19-2023

Going to Minnesota is difficult!

If you have the urge to travel into Minnesota, be aware that I-94 is under construction just west of the bridge at Hudson.

Last Thursday there was an accident that closed down the west bound lanes of the Interstate.

On Saturday, I was in Hudson and drove alongside of the Interstate just to see how the westbound traffic was doing, and it was moving very slowly and this was about two o’clock in the afternoon.

I planned to travel into St. Paul on Sunday morning for my first scheduled work day at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum in the 4-H building on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I was advised later that maybe I should cross into Minnesota at Stillwater.

So staying in Hudson and enjoying lunch at Pier Five-hundred along the St. Croix River with a very good friend was an enjoyable afternoon eating on the open deck and enjoying the river sights and sounds. I ordered a Spotted Cow with my lunch and when the bill came, I should have not been surprised that my glass of beer cost six bucks. Of course that is in the high rent district at Hudson. The service was very good and the sirloin that I order was done to my satisfaction. 

So, I took the advice that was given to me and crossed into Minnesota at Stillwater and onto the fairgrounds, with the traffic being very light at nine Sunday morning. 

The reason for this event is that we as museum operators hold a training day each year to get new people that have volunteered to work the museum indoctrinated in how thing are run during the 12-days of the Minnesota State Fair. As this is my 25th year of volunteering at the museum which makes me one of the old timers and there are not many of us old letterpress printers around. We do have a couple volunteers that are still printing using the process called hot metal in the printing trade.

I described to several of the new volunteers how the Linotype works and explained about the keyboard of the machine that has 90 keys and there is no shift key.

A young lady, who is a new volunteer asked if I would let her set a line of type on the Linotype. For first timers I always let them set their name and address and let them run the machine, while I guide them in making a line-of-type in lead. She sat down at the keyboard, looking it over for a time and them using the hunt and peck method, she was able to assemble the needed line of mats to create her name and address. I instructed her on how to have the Linotype cast a line of type and when the new line was ejected from the machine to her pleasure, she noted, “everything is spelled right,” and turned to me and gave me a hug.

So if you want to see how a small weekly newspaper was created back 85 years ago, stop by the museum during the fair.

I have not yet scheduled the days that I will work, in my younger time I spent ten of the 12 days of the fair at the museum, but have cut back to two or three days. I will let everyone know when my schedule is, stop in and say hello.

Thanks for reading!     ~Carlton

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