2011/1/30: Old School Letterpress Printing and Secondhand Smoke

I just watched a video on YouTube – Old School Letterpress Printing – after a polite e-mail exchange with some of the most ardent opponents of smoke-free air.

The exchange was prompted by the previous blog in which a TWA airline pilot Schuyler Shipley had written in support of MoGASP’s protest against the Cigar Bar at the Clayton Ritz-Carlton in 1996. His support surprised a pro-smoking opponent who had worked with him on another issue: opposing OSHA regulations prohibiting an old type of letterpress machine because they were potentially hazardous. As was noted in the e-mail thread:

“A lot of old letterpress printers are missing tips of their fingers due to the presses “Sky” championed. Still, using a hand-fed platen should be a free choice.”

What struck me was a remarkable similarity to the smoking issue, and the use of similar verbiage, as above in the reference to “free choice.”

But another pro-smoking supporter responded:

“I can see why OSHA might not have cared for them if there was an alternative. It’d be all too easy to lay one of the “pages” down a bit off-center and keep your fingers there for an extra half second to try to fix it. If you look at attempt at :35 into the second video you actually see something close to that happening!”

That’s the argument supporters use in favor of smoke-free air laws! And justifiably so, in my view.

Here’s the still image at 35 seconds from the YouTube video referred to above.

Old School Letterpress Printing demonstrated on YouTube

MoGASP, as a matter of policy, doesn’t oppose smoking, per se, as is clear from the third of our published goals:

A society where smoking is done only between consenting adults in private.

That ensures that no one is involuntarily harmed by this activity.

The same may be said about this old style letterpress. If, as noted in the thread, there’s a safer machine available, then government has the right – nay, duty – to implement regulations banning the more dangerous machines from use in letterpress businesses. But that presumably doesn’t prevent a private individual from using an old style letterpress printer in their home for personal use, as long as they’re not exposing anyone but themselves to harm.

Disclaimer: I’m informed about secondhand smoke but not about letterpress printing.

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3 responses to “2011/1/30: Old School Letterpress Printing and Secondhand Smoke

  1. MoGasp, you wrote that the third goal of MOGASP is ““A society where smoking is done only between consenting adults in private.” ”

    So MOGASP would support allowing someone to open a Free-Choice smoking-allowed bar/restaurant for consenting adults to work and play in with no one else ever EVER being forced to enter?

    If that’s true, then I don’t see where we differ.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

    mogasp reply: There is already an issue with private apartments. for example, where SHS migrates into adjoining non-smoking apartments. I’ve been contacted about exactly this problem already. Your proposal would create even greater problems, and would potentially drive a bus through smoke-free air regulations. I can visualized all sorts of individuals needing access having problems with the permitted smoking.

  2. Great post, Mr. Pion. I feel the issues involved are almost exactly the same. But Schuyler and I didn’t really campaign against OSHA regulations per se 20 years ago. They were already a done deal. I was at the time lamenting to Schuyler the refusal of my press manufacturer to supply replacement parts for my machine due to liability issues brought about by an OSHA ruling. I said to Schuyler that printers knew the machines they had been running for 100 years and accepted the risks. He replied, “Now you are thinking like a printer!”

    Part of the issue is quality versus safety. Printing on dampened hand-made paper, which is necessary for printing of the highest quality, could only done with a hand-fed press like this powerful beauty.

  3. Forgot to put in the You Tube link:

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