There seems to be no mention on the site of impositions, a skill that once acquired in the distant past meant a rise in wages of 5 shillings a week, the journey mans wage 55 years ago was £8.50 in commercial printing so extra skills like impositions etc were financial rewarding, incidentally my first pay slip as a apprentice compositor was 10 shillings a week, but to get back to impositions, are the new printers keeping up tradition still using the pica leading with the hollow groove on the side that allowed you to make up the formes without removing the page cord, a boom when doing 32 and 64 page makeup, also a trick that was passed on to me when doing a new imposition, especially the 32 and upward was to fold the sheet the way it would be folded when printed, ideally if you where friendly with the binders he would run a blank though the folder for you, then in the centre of the folded blank you cut a fair sized V right through the blank sheet, you can then lift each flap starting from the top and number each one 1 (front of first V flap) 2 (back of 1st flap) and proceed though to the last flap, when the blank is opened imposition is easy to copy, we all had a good collection of these impositions as time then was money, this trick works even when you are doing one printed one plain impo. My memory on the printing terms is getting a little rusty but still remember how it was done.

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Alan, never realized that groove in some spacing was for that, now it makes sence. I never worked in a large shop, mostly in smaller job shops so i don’t have hardly any experience with impositions, but somewhere i picked up a small paperback book of impositions, i’ll look for it and see if i can get my daughter to post it (i can’t figure out how to do that). When i was just starting out with my own shop my first small booklet i printed was less than 20 pages, i only ran 2 pages side by side, made a dummy, ran one side, flipped it over ran the back, i’ll never forget when i put the first one together and opened the cover only to see where page one should be was the last page.

to Austin Nolan and others

Would it help it those who write posts to this department were to give the country where the circumstances apply; I guess that mention of the pound (money) means England or part of its empire.

However, I spent the time at the beach from about Christmas 1944 to the afternoon of January 1, 1945 with other teenagers, some of them from the same school. That night, my parents informed me that I would be starting work next day. January 1, 1945 was a Monday, so I was paid for a day before I even knew that I would be employed. My first pay was one pound a week.

It has been pointed out that a gram of gold could be bought for one dollar in Australia in the year 1966, and for about 57 dollars today; the value of gold has not changed, the value of money has.

During my apprenticeship, the curriculum of the formal training (by a correspondence course) was changed, and I did not realise that I was being given instruction in some of the work twice, missing out on parts which were moved to a different part of the timespan. The foreman had no idea of how to train an apprentice, nor did he show any interest.

Circa 1957 a different foreman was asked by an apprentice to
explain imposition. He called me, asked me to go to the commercial printing section, then come back and explain it to the apprentice. I understood that when the sheet was folded, what the relative position of the pages would be, but was puzzled till it dawned on me (or it was explained to me) that the position of the pages of type was the mirror image of what was on the printed sheet.

I would have thought that the demonstration of putting the sheet through a folder would be universally known. For most people who read The Briar Press, doing this for every job would be advisable; otherwise, one becomes eligible for the special award of paper-waster.

All this reminds me of the licensed light aircraft pilot who insisted that, if a propeller was unbolted and turned over, then re-bolted to the aircraft, the direction of rotation of the engine would also need to be changed, or the aircraft would be driven backwards.

The relieving foreman of the press room argued with the foreman of the comp room that it was not possible to print a 28-page tabloid newspaper; apparently he had not seen it done, and had not been given a chart of how to do it. But, some years later, the same press man came to me and asked if one of the linotype machines put more space between the words, and I was able to confirm this; one of our machines did some headline sizes, for which jumbo space bands were used, and also some normal text (Mergenthaler 7 point, with a set-width of 8 points, for which the spacebands were not changed.

Now I think I have grasped the principles of the supply of electricity to homes in U.S.A., and why it is 110/220 volt, I can guess how the motors are wired; it is somewhat complex, and could be lethal if not done the right way. I decline to try to explain how to connect, because I do not wish to have any part of anything to do with deaths from ignorance, just as I refused to supply a customer at the electrical store with a lead to connect a light socket to an electric jug (water heater), even though I was assured the customer had been able to buy and use such an item elsewhere.

And, my son who had some experience of variable-speed drives tells me that motors more than 50 or so years old may not suit the way variable-speed controls are designed. One of the first jobs he was given after dong the training on variable-speed installations was to find out what was wrong with an installation designed by a uni-trained engineer who had no idea of the principles. It is an indicator, that he ran the motor at 1/25 of its designed speed, continuously, and did not even provide any extra cooling. Can you imagine the airflow with the fan in the motor running at 1/25 of its design speed?


to dickg

Once you have found out how not to do imposition, it’s easy to do a dummy and check if it is the right way.

Anyway, do not worry. For this town a prestigious book of history was produced, after much hassle. [One writer started, abandoned; the second writer was out of town (although only a couple of hundred miles away) and some copy was transmitted vocally by phone, so that some names came out phonetically (not a pun). At the presentation, the (lady) Mayor said, “Why has my book got the covers on upside down?”.]


Dickg, when you ask your daughter to post the imposition book, would you see if she can upload it to Then we could add it to our “libraries.”



oh boy, i’ll try Barbara.