Monday, December 31, 2007

Common Screw Stick

Here's another very common model of stick from the 19th Century, although these sticks have many minor variations. This is called a Common Screw Stick, and consists of a body with several holes evenly spaced along the rail, a simple knee, and a screw and nut that attach the knee to the stick.
This particular stick was made by the Chandler and Price Company of Cleveland. It is 6 inches long, with a depth of 13 picas. It has one of the common variations - the part of the knee that runs parallel to the rail has a long slot rather than a series of holes. The brass nut into which the screw fits is machined to allow a portion of the nut to fit down into the slot, which allows the screw to be tightened very securely. The knee can slide the length of the stick to adjust to any chosen line measure. The screw can either be tightened with a screwdriver, or it can be turned by hand by grasping the fluted surface of the screw with the thumb and forefinger and turning.
Although very simple, this model of stick is quite practical and versatile. It can open to about 24 picas in length, yet is small enough to fit into the compositor's pocket. This is the kind of stick that many "tramp printers" would have owned and carried with them on their travels.

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