ANOTHER good thing from the past – this from Alan Manning, a founding member of the Waikato Vintage Tractor & Machinery Club.
Alan’s grandfather Arthur worked at the Waikato Times as a printing machinist from the early 1900s. He returned to his job after serving in the first World War, and stayed until his death in 1952.
“I was the first grandchild and very spoilt by my grandparents and loved staying with them. I learnt a lot about printing, lettering and drawing, also spelling, punctuation and grammar. Even now it makes the hair stand up to see people using text spelling!
I remember looking through a skylight from a driveway beside the old Times building on Victoria Street and seeing him working at his press. It is sad to see the decline of these local industries with takeovers and technological improvements.
Incidentally there were two Arthur Mannings there, the other one was the manager or owner or some such, I think he was also mayor at one stage.
I believe this was taken at the rear of the Times’ building. The alley way going out to Victoria Street would be on the left of the photo, in front of the car. I don’t have a date for the photo, but would think 1930s. There were other businesses in that yard, a shoe repairer, Mr Filer was one.
The joy of old machines
I loved the old machinery, I have a video of the scrapping of dozens of Linotype machines, pushing them out of second floor offices and taking them to scrapyards to be smashed up with a fron-end loader. Very sad to see them destroyed.”
Alan has a hand-fed letterpress at his home in Ngaruawahia. Built in London by Haddon in the late 1800s, he says – “You pedal it like an old sewing machine, but I have powered it with an electric motor, as I found it difficult to feed it, standing on one foot while pedalling. It prints an A4 sheet.”
Grandfather Arthur is in the second row, second to the left of the group of four ladies. He is wearing a lighter coloured suit.
As a lad, Alan attended Komakorau School – in fact, he was strapped on the school steps, which are all that remain of the school today! For a story on this which appeared in Home Range magazine, click here.