Show of Hands: Ever use a waxer?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by sigmadog, May 6, 2011.

  1. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    Galleys. Paste-up. Non-photo blue. Ruby. Waxer.

    If you have personal knowledge and experience with these words, raise your hand.

    (just trying gauge the relative age of the average poster here).
  2. supersize macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2004
    I have. My first job out of college for Printing and Publishing was at the local newspaper doing paste ups for the classified ads. They would actually print the whole section one column at a time on a letter size paper and I had to cut them apart and paste them to the boards adding chartpac tape in between each column as a separation. I only worked there for a couple of months beforeI showed them how to export the Word document they were printing from into a txt file and dump it into Quark XPress. (You've got to love auto flow) I put myself out of a job. This was summer of 1994.
  3. Taximan macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Waxer and Letraset PressType

    You can also add stat camera, cutting film and rubilith to make seps, as well as cutting silk screen stencils by hand. THOSE WERE THE DAYS and lets not forget 45's
  4. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    PMT's (and the resulting smelly hands). Transfer type. Etc.
  5. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
    Raises hand. Plus...
    Merganthaler, Compugraphic, Bestine, Rapidograph and circle & oval templates.
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Spent a quarter in my design program doing a film and plate project. Does that count? Also worked with paper estimating as part of the program.

    My illustration and page layout instructor had been a stripper...:)

  7. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    raises hand... but I also have four clanking vandercook letterpresses next to my office...
  8. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    Yup. In college. Working at the newspaper. We also used it for the very important task of sticking random things to the wall.

    It was sort of a transitional time - we'd design all of the pages in Quark 3.3, print them out on our Apple Laserwriter, and leave black boxes where the photos would go. The printer would plop in the photos that we would have developed. And if we ever had a toner issue, we'd bust out the Sharpie.

    Those days of black picture boxes led to one unfortunate front page where we accidentally ran a story of someone dangling a donut on a string over someone's mouth next to an article about eating disorders. Oopsie.

    And now, all of that has been reduced to File -> Export to PDF.
  9. CoryBoyUSA macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2007
    I sure did, back in 1996-1997ish, when I first worked at a newspaper. Granted, at that point in time, bigger cities had probably already moved on to doing everything in-computer and outputting directly to negative or plate or whatever, but we were still building pages and ads in a slightly out of date way.

    I'm 36 now.
  10. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Oh, yah. The classified ads paper I worked on when I started used Calligramme* to make up the free ad pages. We used to output the pages to QMS 1660s (the press camera-ed them at their end to make negs) but the Calligramme workstations weren't powerful enough to generate the pages with EPSs of the display ads in place, so the pages would come out with gaps where the ads should have been.

    My job was to grab the pages as they came off the 1660s and paste separately output hard copies (trimmed to size with a steel rule and a scalpel) of the ads into the holes.

    What fun!



    *Back then, we and our parent paper were the only publications in the UK using it. At one time, I was one of four people in the whole country who could write programming code for Calligramme.
  11. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    I started way back in 1980 doing paste-ups for those Sears weekly newspaper inserts.

    Yep. Things have changed quite a bit since then.

    With that background, it's diffcult to get too worked up about any perceived shortcomings in current hardware and software.
  12. dmz, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 7, 2011

    dmz macrumors regular


    Jan 29, 2007
    Wirephotos, cold type and cigarettes

    In the early sixties, I saw the transition to 35mm cameras, read stories coming off a teletype and received photos via wirephoto as I worked in the darkroom developing photos from photogs who had just run from wherever they were and were madly typing captions to send up to composition to make the next/morning/evening edition. I could then watch the result spewing from the three-storey press, which could eat a man if he wasn't careful. And yes, they were all men, as was virtually everyone else, except maybe the "home and garden" or "social" reporters. The men had whiskey in their desks, and cigarette ashes filling the bottoms of their Underwood typewriters, and that's the way they liked it!

    One of my most memorable moments was reading the reports of JFK having been shot in Dallas as they came off "the wire" - the entire pressroom came to a standstill - even the most hard-nosed reporters were silenced in that moment.

    I still can't believe we could make three runs a day with that technology, but we did! In the mid-eighties, I began working with Linotype on something called "PostScript" - and so the revolution began.

    I still have a box full of all that old junk - ruling pens, film packs, even an old Graphic Reflex camera - but I don't miss the chemicals, the smoke, the industrial accidents or the chauvinism. What I do miss is the culture - modern journalism sucks.

    Ah, those are the rose-tinted memories of my youth! Thanks for asking...


  13. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    OP: You can turn this "hand raising" thread into a poll.

    Every day I pull into the garage, I am greeted with an old tube of rubylith — from the era of waxers. Of course the better design studios used one-coat rubber cement. In fact, I have a well-preserved mechanical from 1988 that has all the elements intact.
  14. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2006
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    Rub our age, I mean experience, in...

    Waxers, exactos, galley strips, stat cameras, type setting machines, the really weird smell at our prepress house... Stuff I do not miss at all.

    I did learn the finer points of kerning from a kindly older craftsman who worked at Esquire where I was lucky enough to intern for 6 months. He ran the Typositer in the darkroom and set all the headline type for the magazine.

    I also remember how the Xerox that could enlarge and reduce was a huge technological and design tool for us. Glad I didn't have to pay that toner bill, lol.

    I even remember when Adobe was a great, and loved, company.

    I don't miss much of the past... the chemicals, the limitations, the length of time things took (anyone remember when it took 45 mins to copy 45 mb to a syquest drive?). It is a great time to be a designer...
  15. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Or not, since graphic design (and put any other word in this place) work is much less respected as it was in the past.
  16. primalman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    at the end of the hall
    Rubber Cement to this day is the single most powerful smell of nostalgia there is for me. I teach design at a high-end university and every time I get a whiff of the stuff, I am taken back 20 years to my college and first jobs running PMT cameras, making plates and doing paste-up.
  17. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Oh yes... The worst bit was getting home after pasting up a book catalogue (I was in publishing then) and finding an 'and' stuck to the bottom of your shoe - "Agh! Where did that fall off from!!!"

    We also had guys who smoked while they were using rubber cement (we used cow gum ) - often very entertaining...

    Oh and argh! Syquest drives - you never got them back after a job... Mind you there was more money and time then.
  18. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Hah. We had three Syquests in our office -- they were attached to the aforementioned QMS 1660s and the fonts were stored on them. If you didn't power on the Syquests before the printers in the morning, the printers didn't 'see' them and everything printed in Courier.

    Our boss was so tight, he wouldn't spring for additional Syquest carts he used to (I kid you not) save the cover-mount floppies off Mac magazines, sellotape over the write-protect tab to make 'em reusable, and then make us split large files over multiple floppies by means of a segmented Stuffit archive.

    We used to send hard copy of all the internal pages by courier to our press for camera, but the front covers went by ISDN earlier in the day. One day, the connection went down at their end and I had to send the front cover with the courier on twenty-three floppy disks.


  19. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    Bah! We don't need a new-fangled poll contraption. This is an old school thread, and a show of hands is just fine.

    By the way, remember when text wraps required a sharp X-acto knife, a T-square, and the patience and skill of a surgeon? And can you recall praying that you wouldn't need to hyphenate a word because you didn't know where you would find the dash?
  20. Zoreke macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    They had a waxer on my first job and my boss was still old school but they had a brand new mac a scanner and a printer! So after a week of doing paste up for a book cover and interiors I asked: why don't we use the computer? they didn't know how and I just knew enough to make some damage (it was 1991) so I just turn it on and did the same work in a couple of days with color variations!!! illustator, photoshop, page maker and quark! wow I was hooked! :D

    I have never done anything old school after that but the funny thing is that now I'm considered old school since I don't do any web programming... :confused:

    Anyway, technology right now is amazing, you can draw directly on the screen, you shoot digitally at hi-res and the computers are so fast!!! We can't complain.

    I do comps from tim to time and who doesn't knows the smell of super 77? ;)

  21. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    you guys are OLD :eek:

    Or maybe I am simply young still :p
  22. SamuraiArtGuy, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011

    SamuraiArtGuy macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2010
    Eastern Panhandle, WV, USA
    I ressemble that remark

    ... I'm an old man of the design world. Hell, I used to own a waxer. It was an upgrade from rubber cement and spray mount. I'll be 31 years as a Creative Pro in June. So kind of a battle scarred veteran of the design wars.

    In 1990, I cashed out an annuity to go back to school and learn about this weird "desktop publishing" thing... at the time, it was PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Pagemaker... But I also took a look at some then brand new "Quark" (wasn't that an sub-atomic particle?) thing, as it looked like "a promising new product." (Didn't know about the vile and diabolical fatal document-eating "error -41" yet... I digress... ) But about a third of the design pros I knew, many of them older, talented and established professionals, left the Design industry utterly within 5 years, their deep skill sets, knowledge, and good good eyes discarded for High School interns who grew up playing "pac-man" and could shove around a mac SE's mouse in Pagemaker.

    Those were the years of some of the UGLIEST design the world had ever seen. Till employers and publishers got the idea they might do better teaching DESIGNERS to use the new digital tools, and then got serious. But till that epiphany, desktop publishing was sold mostly on the premise of "getting rid of" those expensive artsy prima-donna's and do it yourself on the cheap. An image and reputation we're still desperately trying to put a stake through, with decidedly limited success.

    However in some ways, for ordinary folk, current incarnations of MS Word is more capable than those early versions of Pagemaker. But commercial printers still cringe at Word files with "ransom note" typography (yes, including the dreadful comic sans and papyrus) and RGB colors. I swear at times, it seems like half my job consists of explaining to clients the difference between RGB and CMYK, and why anyone but me should give a s***....

    My T-Square hangs in the closet getting dusty... While I replace 90% of my professional tools every three to five years between hardware and Adobe Creative Suite upgrades... Thank the gods Macs have about double the useful service life of a windows PC.
  23. doug in albq, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011

    doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007
    Hand in air.

    and I would get an oddly-calming sensation when adding a few wax sticks into the hot bath and watching them melt.....



    also, I worked at a shop back in the 1990's that combined with another (even-more-old-school) shop and there was much extra traditional graphic design supplies that no one wanted. therefore, I owned a waxer and also inherited about 50 years of exacto blades (still have a few boxes of blades in the garage today), t-squares, triangles, rolls of clear tape with black registration marks.....

    (But I am only 29 years old. Yes, that is right 29. Impossible? Maybe, but I am 29 if anybody asks...)
  24. Baron58 macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2004
    Yep! Everything mentioned so far in here, I've used! How about replacing a word, letter, or single punctuation mark by typing a new one and using an xacto knife to cut-and-paste (literally) onto the galley? :D
  25. oscuh macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2007
    I did all of that stuff, and I'm only 33. Does that make me old? :confused:

    Bluelines, Matchprints, FujiProofs, Stat Camera Work, Waxers, Hand-trimming EVERYTHING, even hand-trapping in the then-new Adobe Illustrator... I never had to hand-strip film as we had an imagesetter, but I still had to spool the film into the cans, spool it out into the processor, clean the processor every couple days.

    It was a big deal when we went direct to plate... of course that still required punching and hanging plates on our MASSIVE platesetter and then feeding them through the processor... which of course had to be cleaned every couple days.... a several hour, stinky, messy job...

    Of course those first jobs I got to play with brand-new wide format printers... 36" wide! And the one we got from Xerox cost ONLY $60,000! And of course Orca laminators, drum scanners and a screaming fast G3 blue tower.

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