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Swiftly o'er the tri-colored keys
As with weary mind
And eyes growing blind
And curses and frets
which are of the printers' own creation, and which they themselves might remedy, while the others are due to conditions over which they have absolutely no control. The typesetting machine has been blamed for many of the ills to which the latter-day printer is heir, but it will be found, on a close analysis, that a majority of these grievances are purely imaginary. The claim has been made that the machine is a nerve-wrecking institution, and the conclusion seems to have been reached, in some quarters at least, that, instead of being a blessing, because of the reduction in the hours of labor which has generally followed its introduction, it has really become a curse, because of the evil effect which it has had upon the nervous system and general health of the operator.
One writer says: "With all the care that has been taken to select men who would be proof against the shocks which the typesetting machine administers to the nervous system, it has more victims to its credit than the four years of the civil war. The operators, like the Indians, are becoming extinct. They are overworked.” While the foregoing deductions are somewhat far
fetched, and obviously overdrawn, still they will serve to show the sentiment that exists in the minds of some in this regard.
Many of our present-day printers like to compare the existing conditions with "old times," to the manifest detriment of modern methods. But while the difference betweco the work of the hand compositor and that of the machine operator is so great as hardly to allow of comparison, still the step from one to the other is not a longer one than has been taken in many other trades. The introduction of labor-saving machinery in almost every branch of human endeavor has been steadily going on, and has caused the overturning of old conditions and old methods; and the tendency in every case has been toward more rapid and nervewearing work on the part of the persons who operate the machines. The printing trade has been no exception to the general rule, but perhaps the transition has not been so great as may at first glance be imagined. Whether typesetter or linotype operator, the compositor's brain is active every moment during the workday. Composition can never be wholly mechanical. Copy must be deciphered ; attention must be given to spelling, capitalization, punctuation and office style, as well as to accuracy.
There is, of course, a limit to a man's capacity for work, just as there is a limit to his capacity for food, or drink, or sleep, and when he reaches that limit he can do no more; and a wise man will not attempt to raise the limit.
The principal objection to the typesetting machine seems to be based on the ground