Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good Vibrations

Many thanks go to David Lukens of the Lauchmen Printing Company in Lansdale, Pa. Dave very generously presented me with this paper jogger, a very nice 7” x 10” size perfect for most work. Dave has been a printer for years and years and is still hard at work doing what local print shops have always done: take care of his community’s basic printing needs. Schools, churches, businesses and individuals all make use of his skills and experience. While no longer doing letterpress work, he does all kinds of single and multi-color offset work (making his own plates), binding, folding, etc. His shop looks like a working print shop with cans of ink, paper of every description, boxes of envelopes, and all the misc. debris and brick-a-brac of printing laying about everywhere. While in some trades this is often considered a sign of sloppiness that is reflected in the work, such is most definitely not the case here. The work Dave produces is crisp and clean and he does this with easy efficiency. The old cry of “don’t clean it up or I won’t be able to find it” rings true here. The focus is on being productive and getting quality work out the door when customers want it and not maintaining a museum or laboratory environment. The proof is in the printing and Dave provides excellent work to happy customers.

A paper jogger is probably not one of the most needful things in a small shop, especially an amateur one like mine. But I do confess there have been times I’ve wished I had a way of more easily getting a nice even stack, especially when making pads. I happened to notice the wood table of the little jogger sticking out from among some debris on a bottom shelf while Dave was showing me around the shop and exclaimed, “Hey, what’s that under there?” Once pulled out it was obviously a jogger that Dave said he used to use but it hadn’t worked in a while. He then placed it in my hands and asked me if I wanted it.


Once home I took it apart, cleaned it out, replaced the cracked and warped table, plugged it in and it was time to give it a workout. It was manufactured by the Syntron Company of Homer City, Pa. and is called the Syntron Paper Jogger, Type PJ4, Style 1763, Serial No. C8PJ65154. It has an on/off switch and a dial control to adjust the amount of vibration. The knob itself is missing and I’ll be picking up a replacement though it’s easy to adjust as it is. Based on the finish, construction and other little things I’m guessing the vintage to be 1930’s or 40’s. Syntron is now owned by FMC Technologies and is still making joggers today. I’m going to write to them to see if they can provide any information about mine from the serial number. But if anyone can narrow the date of my jogger down I’d appreciate it. Well, I’d write more but it’s time for my daily jog.


Gamewell Press said...

I've actually never heard of a paper jogger before. Good to learn about and I'll bet it will be quite useful.

Rich Polinski said...

I wasn't sure it would be useful/needful but for large runs of bond-type paper where you're trying to stack them up nice and even, like pads, it helps. I've also found it usefull for smaller sheets when using the paper cutter. It's noisy and isn't needed a lot and I could get by without it but...