Jim McMillen's Blog

15

 

My first newspaper job was selling advertising in 1959 at The Taylor Daily Press, a small paper 35 miles northeast of Austin. In those days, newspapers used hot-metal printing--offset printing being in early stages for newspapers. Type was cast in lines of metal through typesetting machines, cooled, and hand-handled in galleys, awaiting positioning onto pages. With page “dummies” as guides, stories with headlines (usually cast with Ludlow “sticks”) were wrapped around pre-constructed display ads, and classified ads were placed into pages framed by chases on flat-surfaced “trucks.”

During my time with The Daily Press, a farmer placed a classified ad (or “want ad”) with a small weekly a couple of towns north of Taylor. The ad, scheduled for several issues, was to note that he had a prize boar hog standing for stud. In the ad, he also offered a Ford tractor equipped with an auger for digging fence post holes. The ad was published as follows:

            Prize Duroc hog available for  stud  service.  Also will dig fence post holes.

            Contact (farmer’s name) at (phone number).

 

A hot-metal operation, the weekly had cast lines of type for the ad, but somehow a line about the tractor and auger was dropped in handling. Embarrassed by the error, the paper offered the farmer a “make-good” to be added onto the scheduled additional ads. However, the ad had attracted so much attention that the farmer refused to have it corrected, so it ran its original schedule, plus additional issues, with errors intact.

 

There are other “hot metal” stories regarding typos and dropped lines--many X-rated. However, I’ll always remember the one about the “super” boar hog. 

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