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Report on the press check for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1

June 20, 2019

We performed the press checks for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1 at Ampersand Printing last Monday, June 10.

Reader Alan Gerofsky, the winner of our press check contest, stands to my right as we inspect the first “pulls” of the dust jacket for the new volume. Note they run “three up” (meaning, three to a sheet of paper).

I consulted a copy of Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! so we could make sure the jacket red of the new book matched that of the previous volume. After minor adjustments on the density of black ink, I signed off and the pressman (Dion) and his press feeder (Andrew) ran the dust jackets.

Even though we have the ink levels where we want them, the pressman does a “pull” from the run every minute or so, to make sure nothing goes amiss. This machine is called a densitometer, and it is confirming that the actual ink coverage on the press sheet is in accord with the settings.

Here, I’m examining a “pull” from a press form, which covers one half of the first “signature” (a signature in a printed book is a group of pages—in this case 16—produced by folding the press sheet anywhere from one to four times).

That’s me to the left waiting for Dion to do another pull. We started with the black ink levels deliberately on the light side, then slowly darkened them until the press sheets looked just the way we wanted. Our visual “okay” was bang on, because the ink density (155) was exactly the same as a recent job (Steam in Northern Ontario).

Here, Dion is explaining to me why the printing on Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1 will be the sharpest readers have ever seen. That’s because Ampersand Printing tweaked the settings on their Mitsubishi press so there is slightly more pressure on the “blanket” (in offset printing, the inked image is transferred (offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface). My son Duncan is in the background.

Here’s a pull from another of the interior press sheets. By now we were just confirming that the pre-set ink levels were good for a variety of images (note that I chose a press form that has a mix of day and night exposures).

One more check on another signature. By this stage, I told Dion to run the remaining 21 press forms using his own judgement. I have worked with Dion and his colleague Mike for several book projects. They—and Ampersand Printing—are the best in the business. I am proud to say that unlike most publishers in Canada, we print and bind our books in our home country (and in our case, our home province).

Sons Duncan (left) and Spencer (right) inspect the last press form we checked. This one features a number of images of CNR Ten Wheeler 1348 on the Southampton mixed train at Mildmay.

Status of distribution for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1

As of today (June 18, 2019), Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1 is due to arrive at Beck Bindery any moment. The folks at Beck are ready to dive into the job (they’re very familiar with these railway books, having done at least a dozen for me).

The moment we receive the shipment of finished books from Beck, which should be sometime during the week of June 24, we will begin distribution. Please watch for updates.

Do I still have time to order a copy of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1?

Indeed you do, at this link:

Be advised, though, that quantities are limited, because we ordered our press run based upon copies reserved through us. And the price has gone up since our pre-publication offer expired on April 30. BUT, we’ll honour that special all-inclusive price of $69.95 IF you pre-order Volume 2 at the same time (see link below).

Remember the free 1950s CPR steam and diesel video!

This is exclusively for purchasers of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1. More information on this special bonus here:

An attractive offer for fans of the Speed Graphics series

We are already taking reservations for Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2 here:

Expect the second volume to ship in mid-September.

That’s all for now!



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