Hammers and Tongs

What's in a Name? January 26, 2017 07:30

So we've been buying up all this equipment, which raised the need to name them...

It started with the Xerox C75 Digital Press, which is a monster of a machine. I used its distant ancestors during my days at Bell Labs, and things have come a long way since then. We did our product catalog on it for the Seattle gift show, complete with cover, folding, and staples (Look, ma! No Hands!). It didn't take long for Mike to name it "Goliath".

Then there were these poor little letterpress machines coming in. Old school. Sure, they out-weigh the C75 by several tons, and (surprisingly) they print just as fast (73 pages per minute for the *slow* one), but compared to the digital press they somehow seem like the underdog if you are inclined to confuse "new" with "better". Pretty soon, slings were twirling in everybody's minds, and "David" it was for the inking Heidelberg. Where upon nothing would do but for the foil press to be named "Sheba". Because, you know, gold foil...

Aside: Here in the 21st century it may seem archaic to buy printing equipment that was designed in 1913 (ours are not that old), but the Heidelberg Windmill Press (officially the Heidelberg T-Platen press) was - and still is - the king of letterpress. One of those cases where "this is old and therefore good" is actually true. But if there's ever a case of David and Goliath in a modern shop, I can't think of a better example than putting a Heidelberg Windmill press next to a Xerox C75.

That left the big Heidelberg to be named. Since it's a 60 ton press, the team named it "Sampson", with the inevitable side-effect that the new paper cutter got tagged with "Delilah"...

And with the biblical name pattern firmly underway, the wide-format Inkjet became Solomon. I don't think that one is very compelling. Solomon was *wise*, not *wide*.

Personally, I think it's pretty funny that a bunch of died-in-the-wool progressives chose old testament biblical names. It's even funnier that the one-time Rabbi-in-training had nothing to do with the naming process.

- Jonathan Shapiro, COO, Buttonsmith Inc.


Welcome January 22, 2017 07:30

Buttonsmith is an interesting place to work. We're a small, union manufacturer of US-made products, staffed and led by a curious collection of geeks, tinkerers, and software folks. The products we make are:

  • Buttons, Magnets, and Tinker Top® badge reel tops
  • Tinker Reel® badge reels
  • Tee shirts
  • Lanyards, and
  • (Soon) Customized banners, cards, photos, and printing packages

These require a surprising array of activities ranging from design, to light manufacturing, to software, to commercial printing.

The "Hammers and Tongs" series gives an occasional glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain here at the Smithy.