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THE TYPOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL.
that it has a tendency to sap the vital forces and to promote nervous disorders. It is a well-known fact that some men are more susceptible to nerve-fag than others. There are those who work fast and well because it "comes natural” for them to do so. In the old hand days there were men (commonly termed "swifts”) who could set type faster than their fellows simply because they were better adapted to it. These men did not work under any extraordinary nervous tension, but simply set type rapidly because it was easy for them to do so. Nervous disorders, as a result of their work, were unknown among this class of men.
Then, again, there are many workmen who take pride and pleasure in their work; men who always like to be "doing some thing," and like to do it well. These men are always good printers, always set clean proof, space properly, and turn out a good all-round job; and they never stop to worry about their nerves. In them we have an excellent exemplification of President Eliot's pet phrase, “The joy of work.” These men work fast and work well because they enjoy doing so, and would not be satisfied with moving at a slower gait. Loving the work for the work's sake is a whole lot, and a cultivation of the sentiment will do much, not only to offset neryous disorders, but to reconcile us to the changes inevitable in the printer's world.
It is not from among these classes of natural workers that the grim destroyer reaps his harvest of nervous wrecks, but from the ranks of the unnatural workers. These cases will always be found to be the result of overexertion; in the case of the hand compositor because of a desire to pile up a large string, whatever the incentive may be, and in the case of the machine operator, from an attempt to "beat the machine," to hold a line in the air all the time, or to outstrip the next man; and the men who have to "break their necks" to do this, and yet constantly attempt it, are the ones whose nerves finally break down under the strain. It is a matter of common knowledge that a highly nervous man is always "working on his nerve," whether he be set ting type or laying bricks, and the man who is of a high-strung temperament always finds it difficult to work at a slow pace.
Many evils are laid at the door of the machine for which it is not in the slightest degree responsible. The machine is just what the operator makes it; simply that and nothing more. It may be made an easy vehicle to a good living, and it may be made an instrument of torture. The men who attempt to set more type than they are able, under normal conditions, to set, whether by hand or machine, will suffer equally because of overexertion and overtaxed nerve force, and the final result will be the same in either case. The man who plods along, doing a natural day's work carefully and conscientiously, is never bothered about his nerves. The whole proposition may be summed up in the statement that work performed under natural pressure, whether the operator be working fast or slow, will injure no one; it is that performed under high pressure, under forced draft, as it were, that racks the nerves and breaks down the strongest constitutions. It is the unnatural pace that kills.
Of course it is a well-recognized fact that the work of the machine operator is more trying than hand work, because of its very nature. He must think many times faster than the hand man; there is a greater strain on his eyes, because of closer application and the necessity for a greater degree of watchfulness. And there are so many things that he must watch. But men should be selected to operate typesetting machines to whom it is no hardship to think rapidly, men who are naturally quick of motion, and, above all, men who are cool and collected. Youth, strength and a sound mind are indispensable adjuncts. Unfortunately, every printer is not endowed with all of these blessings. Men of nervous, excitable dispositions should not be anxious to work on a typesetting machine. Ambition to earn greater rewards, consequent high pressure, failing nerves, all these things are liable to come, and should they do so, they will surely prove his undoing.
Some few years ago the operator who was able to rattle together 35,000 ems in eight hours was looked upon as an expert, and consequently became a noted man in the printing community of the city or town in which he happened to reside. But gradually men have appeared who were possessed of the ability to add more thousands to this amount, until today even 50,000 ems in eight hours is looked upon as scarcely out of the ordinary. The question naturally arises whether this has been accomplished at the cost of the operator's health, or whether it is the result of constant practice and natural adaptability to the work.
The answer might truthfully be made that it is due to both causes. There is no branch of the printing business in which the saying, “Practice makes perfect," holds so good as among the machine operators. But so many devices have been introduced for the purpose of increasing the output of the machines, such as bonuses and clocks, for instance, that the effect has been in many cases to nerve the operators up to the highest point of human endurance. But it should be remembered that the passing of this point will prove detrimental to the interests of the employer, as well as disastrous to the employe.
It is not the machine that causes nervous
prostration and ill-health among operators, but a combination of ambition and greed of gain on the part of both operator and employer. In offices where these conditions do not exist, no trouble of this nature will be found.
As an offset for these conditions the machine operator and the compositor, if not on his feet constantly during working hours, should walk in the open air as much as possible. It will make him breathe deeply, improve the circulation of his blood and benefit his whole inner man. The open air and outdoor exercise will do much to improve the health of those afflicted with nervous disorders.
It seems to be the most natural thing in the world for an operator to get nervous and excited when his machine doesn't run right, especially if he is setting a “hurry take.” A frequent recurrence of this nervous excitement is bound to have harmful results.
Keep cool; don't get excited.
CO-OPERATIVE PRINTING SHOPS.
BY J. W. SULLIVAN, OF NUMBER SIX.
A T the last quarterly meeting of the M London Society of Compositors a committee submitted a report recommending the establishment of a co-operative printing plant. The capital required was estimated at $50,000, to be raised by the sale of shares at $5 each. As the printing and stationery accounts of the workingmen's organizations in the district to be covered amounted to $750,000 a year, the work is at hand to commence on, removing the chief element of risk usually attendant on launching a new business venture. The prospectus says "it is not the intention of this company to simply make money and share the profits, as in ordinary money-mongering concerns," a statement which leaves the American printer who is unacquainted with the meth ods of English co-operators in darkness as to what disposition will be made of the surplus. Arguing from the history of alleged co-operative printing offices in Amer
ica, the printer in this country would be little to blame if he saw failure written all over the proposed London enterprise.
But they do some things better in Great Britain than in the United States, and cooperation is one of these things. For a long time co-operative printing offices have been successfully carried on in half a dozen cities in the United Kingdom, and hence the writer of a prospectus intended for the eyes of British printers would assume on the part of his readers a knowledge of facts as to Co-operation of which his fellow craftsmen in America, even those among the brightest and most experienced, might pardonably be in total ignorance.
By the English system-or more properly, the British system, for the method is also employed in Scotland-the trade unions, co-operative societies, and perhaps a few similar workingmen's associations of a city or other territory form a co-operative printing society through a body of representatives. Each constituent organization buys at least one share of stock, the price being usually $5 or $10 (£ı or £2). Capital is also borrowed, the interest at present being commonly, as in the other British cooperative societies, 5 per cent. The shares nowadays never rise in value, since they draw no dividends, but interest only. They may fall in value only for one cause-failure of the society. The customers draw the dividends, which are paid in the ratio of patronage. In other words (the usual cooperative formula), "dividends go to purchasers.” More correctly, there are no dividends or profits, since what is returned to the customer is merely an excess over actual cost that he advanced on paying his bill. It is his own money that is paid back to him, or to a constituent organization. Hence, as the compositors' prospectus announces, the financial scheme of the co-operative printing office recognizes no profit-mongering. Each stockholder gets his work done at cost. No mighty printing-house Napoleon is possible under the plan.
The co-operative printing society thus formed, it is hence seen, takes up the thread of co-operation with the consumer and not with the producer. The process reverses the ancient order of production. True co-operation is a consumers' movement.
The English co-operative printing office is usually bought, organized, and managed by a committee representing the stockholders. The latter are not, it is to be observed, or ganized in a joint stock company of the usual form, for their stock is not transferable, votes do not accumulate with shares, and to obtain a controlling interest is made impossible.
Under control of the committee a manager hires the employes and runs the shop. Hence it is difficult, at first glance, for an American printer to see where co-operation comes in for the workmen of the force. That is because the American printer has been walking so long on his hands, in respect to co-operative effort, that it makes him dizzy when he is set on his legs and asked to try to walk on his feet.
The good profit-mongering American printer who longs for what he calls cooperation usually sees in it a chance for a
soft berth for himself as a shareholder, with a pro rata of the profits formerly going to a boss flowing back into his own pockets. That the non-shareholding comps should get nothing but common wages and first slide he regards as perfectly natural. He takes his profits off their labor with an easy conscience. Hence the shock to his sensibilities when he finds that in English co-operative printing offices all hands are wage workers, laboring on a square deal, which implies no preferences for coupon clippers. As a matter of fact, the English co-operative printer gets something substantial out of the co-operative system and at no risk. In visiting the big co-operative plant in Newcastle-on-Tyne, I found that the work week was two hours less than the short-day union scale, while wages were two shillings higher. At the end of each half year each man received a percentage of profits based on his wages for that period. The force enjoyed the freedom and fellowship characteristic of co-operators everywhere, and were sharers in the marvelous modern co-operative spirit. The office was a model in cleanliness and sanitary condition. Nearly all the workmen were members of one or more of the societies or stores that make a part of the great cooperative movement.
Besides local or district co-operative printing offices, England and Scotland has each a general Co-Operative Printing Society. The English society is made up of more than 200 shareholders, each of which is a Rochdale co-operative organization. It was formed in 1896, has now a paid-in share capital of $100,000, a loan capital of $30,000, and a reserve fund of $25,000. Its trade expenses exceed $25,000 a year; its wages are more than $60,000; its business is about $250,000; its profits run about $10,000; its plants are worth about $100,000. The total number of employes is 400. It has offices in Manchester, London and Newcastle. Since it began business in 1869 it has paid $1,500,000 in wages, distributed bonuses to employes of $30,000, and given to charitable objects $5,000. In 1894 it adopted the fortyeight-hour week.
The Co-Operative News, of Manchester, of May 21, 1904, contains a summary of the report of the English Co-Operative Printing
Society for the half year ending March 31. The “sales” for that period had been $215,000, an increase of $22,000 as compared with the same period for the previous year. The "profits" had been $13,500. The usual dividend of 5 per cent was declared on shares, and a bonus of 272 per cent each on capital, labor, and trade.
The Scottish Wholesale Co-Operative Society has similarly conducted a printing workshop since 1887. Its annual net "profits” were more than $20,000 from 1897 to 1901, as I find in the Co-Operative Annual for 1902.
What the London Society of Compositors is venturing upon is, therefore, not a wild and unheard-of scheme. The principles of its proposed co-operation have been long
tried and thoroughly proved. The society has, I may safely state, at least 1,000 members well grounded in the doctrines and practices of genuine co-operation, of which Americans in general have everything to learn and are little capable of criticizing. It is unbecoming in infants who have hardly learned to walk to prattle nonsense about the training of athletes.
The French printing office companionships, which I have already described in previous numbers of The TYPOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL, and the English co-operative printing societies, both present features of pure democracy and economic equality. Imitation of them would be highly creditable to the progressive members of the International Typographical Union.
A SCOOP ON SKATES.
BY ARTHUR F. BLOOMER, WASHINGTON, D. C.
THERE is always great rivalry among
I the newspapers of a city-perhaps greater than among competitors in any other business. This is possibly because there are more opportunities for comparison of the merits of competitors. This desire of each to outdo the others was never more fiercely exemplified than in one of the cities on a great western river-Illindo will do for the name of the city, which was situated in one of the three states whose abbreviated names are represented in that name. There were two papers—the principal ones of the city—that were especially active in their rivalry. Of one, the Herald, the principal owner and editorial manager was Mr. Braden; with the other we have little to do so far as this story is concerned.
Mr. Braden came originally from the little city of Kyova, a few miles up the river from Illindo, and when he received a request from his life-long friend, Judge Woodruff, of Kyova, to take his son Harry, twenty-four years old and fresh from college, and make an editor of him, he acquiesced at once-not without some misgivings, for he had the old newspaper man's prejudice against college-bred youngsters;
but he was willing to do almost anything to oblige his old friend.
On Harry's arrival, and after his assignment to the city editor for orders, Mr. Braden took him to his home, where he was soon established on a most friendly footing with the family, especially Miss Geraldine, in whose society he seemed to find the keenest enjoyment. He was regular in his attention to his duties, and as the occupation of a reporter demands practically one's entire time, his visits to the home of Mr. Braden were nearly the whole of his recreations. Quiet, unobtrusive, and gentlemanly, he had as yet failed to make any remarkably favorable impression upon the editorial corps, and as Mr. Braden did not interfere with the routine of the different departments, he had little knowledge of Harry's journalistic progress, and when he met him at his own home his instincts as a host prevented him from appearing also in the character of an employer. He greatly desired to please his old friend, Judge Woodruff, with whom, when boys together, he was a constant associate in the old days at Kyova, and that was really about the only interest he felt in the matter.
Young Woodruff had begun his newspaper work immediately on graduating, in June, and during the ensuing six months he and Miss Geraldine had arrived at a pretty clear understanding of their feelings toward each other.
"Sweetheart," said he, one afternoon, after their happiness had become so great that they felt they could no longer keep it a secret, “I think I will ask your father's consent tonight to make you my own dear little wife.”
“Dear Harry,” said Geraldine, "he has never said a word about you to me, and I doubt if he has ever given a thought to our being more than friends."
"Well, I'll bring him to a realization of the condition of affairs, and as he has been so uniformly kind to me, I have hopes that he will not object.”
His assignments in early, that evening Harry again called at the Braden residence, and this time he asked for Mr. Braden. Upon being shown into the library, where the father of his beloved was seated, he was slow to state his errand, suffering from the misgivings and diffidence that afflict every young man in his circumstances.
"Well, my boy,” said Mr. Braden, in his ever-kind manner when addressing young Woodruff, "what can I do for you? You seem disturbed in your manner. Has anything gone wrong at the office?"
"No, sir," said Harry, "it isn't that." Then, plucking up courage, he said: “Mr. Woodruff, I love Miss Geraldine. I want her to be my wife. She has consented. Will you?"
Mr. Braden looked thoughtful for several minutes.
"Harry," he said, “I had not quite expected this. Of course, I knew that you and Geraldine were together a great deal, and are very good friends, but you are both so young that I had not thought of matters going so far."
"I'm twenty-four,” said Harry.
"Only twenty-four," said Mr. Braden, "and Geraldine is but nineteen.”
"Another thing,” interrupted Mr. Braden. "As yet you have not made much of a showing. I do not care for wealth, and if I did I know that your father has it and that you
are his only child. But the man who marries my Gerry must have shown himself to be something. Have you made any progress as a newspaper man?"
"No," said Harry, "nor ever will until I am given an opportunity. My assignments have been the police court, when there were no important cases; river news, city government items, and the privilege of reporting any runaway accidents, dog fights, or broken pump handles that I may encounter. But are not these things properly written up?"
“Newspaper men are generally quick to recognize merit and to avail themselves of it. If the city editor thought there was anything in you he would give you important assignments.”
"The trouble is, the reporters call me 'the old man's pet,' when speaking of me at all, because I was taken on at your request, and the city man takes it for granted that I'm a flat, and so far I've not been given a single chance to show that I'm not a failure."
“Well, day after tomorrow will be Christmas, and I suppose you will want to spend the day at home. Go up to Kyova tomorrow, and I'll think the matter over while you are gone. I've got a good deal of faith in you, Harry, for you come of good stock. Good by, my boy, and give your good father and mother my kindest regards.”
Harry took the train the next morning, and was soon with his parents. He told them of his work and life in Illindo, but never a word of Geraldine, further than to mention her as a member of Mr. Braden's family. It was not the only time he had been at home during his work in the city, for he traveled the few miles between the two places once a month at least; but his visits generally were of but a few hours. But now he had two whole days, and one of them Christmas.
That Christmas was the stormiest that had been known for years. From a heavy snow the night preceding, during the day it changed to a fine, stinging hail that made outdoor work or travel practically impossible. No Dakota blizzard was ever more terrible to face.
About 10 o'clock at night a neighbor dropped in with the news that a horrible murder had been committed a few blocks away. A man had murdered his wife and