Situated at the intersection of Stryker Avenue and Annapolis Street in St. Paul, Minnesota the offices of the Nomadic Press are often visited by characters who do not have the contracting of letterpress work on their minds. For a number of years a peddler stopped in with some regularity. Yea, a peddler. He had a sack on his back which, when opened onto the shop’s big work table was shown to be filled with all manner of trinkets, tools and toys. It was like having the Dollar Store pay a house call, and while none of the proffered goods were of very high quality, everything was interesting insofar as it had all arrived on the back of a man who’s itinerant business seemed as anachronistic as the running of a letterpress print shop.
The Fuller Brush Company also, for a time, had a traveling salesman who’s territory included the Nomadic Press. His wares were of much higher quality and the broom pictured at the top of this blog is a Fuller Brush tool I purchased from their representative fully 2 decades ago. It still sweeps a floor as well as it did the day I bought it.
I have a collection of print industry periodicals from the late 1800s and in the 1891, March – April edition of The British Printer is found this little item which shows an attention to detail reflected in the working philosophy of the Nomadic Press. The sharing of that article here in this blog will provide some explanation for my mentioning my broom.
To wit . . .
“How to Sweep a Printing Office:
We don’t use a leaky old sprinkling pot to sop the floor all over in puddles when we sweep. No, sir! We have wet sawdust, and I put a row of it across one end of the office and sweep that right along to the other end just like a regiment marching across a ten acre lot. It catches all the dirt and carries it along. If it gets a little dry, I add some more. Some folks scatter sawdust all over the floor, but that’s no good; the reason for using sawdust is to avoid wetting the floor all over, and to have something that will absorb the dust.”
Basic information but critical to the running of a jobbing shop of good reputation.