Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging

In dim old town alleyways.imagesimages-7

When I was in middle school. some six decades ago, all boys were required to learn trades: “manual arts”. In addition to woodworking, metal working and drafting, a required course was printing. I was given a wooden drawer of about 3 X 2 feet with about fifty compartments, each with small pieces of lead, each with a letter of the alphabet, a number or a symbol. Our task was to compose a page of text and then “set-the-type” in a type box, letter by letter, until our composition was reproduced in raised  characters. We then put the box of the type in a printing press (you have seen pictures in your history books – Benjamin Franklin’s press). We had an ink roller to apply to  the type. Then taking sheets of paper, one-by-one, at a time, we operated the press to make printed copies of our text.   Printing was a trade in the middle of the Twentieth Century when I was a student! 

I grew up in a small town in a sparsely populated state, decades before TV was common. The newspaper was beyond ordinary – the newspaper was a community institution.. The Editor of our local paper was a friend of my father and I knew him well. The Editor was held in high esteem, on par with a Minister or  Family Physician. The Editor of our newspaper was considered to be our guardian of The Truth. What we needed to know was in the newspaper. Facts were on the Front Page; opinions on the Editorial Page. As citizens, we could “speak” to our community by writing a “Letter to the Editor”.  Assuming it was not libelous or profane, it would be printed in the Editorial Page to be delivered another day.

Now my current point is that we lived and communicated in a community of a few thousand  people in about 20 miles of one another. When I wrote something, if it was accepted for publication, my greatest audience would be in perhaps 100 square miles, and all of the readers would be English-only speakers, few of whom had traveled as far as 100 miles! Also when I finished my letter, it would be probably a week before read. After written, it was then mailed, perhaps arriving at the editor’s desk two days later, another day passed for review, then to the printer to have the print typeset, then printed in the next day’s edition.  Once the paper was printed, stacks of papers were trucked to sites around town where paperboys were given about 50 copies each to deliver to homes at about 6 AM. Thus my letter, if accepted, arrived to  a few thousand readers who lived within 20 miles of one another. (papers cost about 10 cents of which the paperboy received one cent fo each paper delivered; minimum wage: 40 cents/ hour). Now as you know, the world has over  6 billion people and seven continents in 60 million square miles of land surface,

Now I can write my observations and opinions on a handheld electronic device, have it spell-checked by the device, then without getting out of my chair, hit the publish button on my personal Web Home Page publishing template  and, swoosh!  my post arrives in minutes to all seven continents of the world, available to billions of potential readers in  200 countries, regardless of the readers primary language, culture or government. This remarkable event is an unqualified  miracle! 

Young people are blessed with health, vigor and optimism, but I have been blessed to have had a seat on the “fifty-yard-line” of an incredible journey of communication development which has occurred in a half Century.

Communication, according to Yuval Noah Harari (1) is what has allowed humans to dominate a world of millions of species. Look up from you smartphones!  You are  living in the middle of a communication miracle! 30

Charles Clanton Rogers – August 19, 2015

(1) Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens,  A Brief History of Humankind

2 thoughts on “The Incredible Journey of the Human Mind: Blogging

  1. bbnewsab says:

    Just a thought after reading your wonderful, memory evoking post, Clanton1934.

    Half a century ago, in the sixties, I remember standing in a classroom at my school just gasping while looking at a gadget my teacher demonstrated before all his pupils. He called it a “data processing machine”.

    The “machine” was linked to a taperecorder. and I can still remember how the tape was going forward, then backwards, then forward again, seemingly never stopping.

    I remember my teacher saying, “This machine will soon be considered to be the ‘Deus ex Machina’ gadget of our time. It’s heralding a new way of communicating and living”.

    Today we all know my teacher was right. Just a few years later, In the summer of 1969, we were able, all over Earth, to hear the astronaut Neil Armstrong telling us what it meant for all of us “earthlings” when he took his first steps on the dusty Moon surface, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

    Or maybe he actually said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”?

    For more details upon this topic, have a look at .

    BTW, do you remember Mary Hopkin, clanton1934? And her #1 world hit single from 1968, in which she sang “Those were the days my friend, We thought they’d never end”?

    Mary too, like my teacher (and not to speak of Neil Armstrong) was right. Those years (in the late sixties), are really memorable.

    Listen to Mary Hopkin singing her song here: . I promise you many sweet memories, music lover clanton1934!


    1. clanton1934 says:

      Oh yes, I remember all of that including the song. In regards to data processing, in 1971, I had access to one of the largest computer BUT in order to put my data in, it had t be placed on “punch-cards”; then leave the cards with an EE who would process the cards when time was available (perhaps in the middle of the night). Then I could come back another day which my computed/ processed work was printed out on 2 ft. rolls of paper by a rectilinear printer. Minimum time 24 hours. c


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