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Mary Uhl <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 09:32:09 -0600
text/plain (75 lines)
Mac, I found a couple of ancient references in the National Technical
Information Service database that may answer your questions.  I have copied
the pertinent sections below:

Author:       Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.

Title:          Industrial Accidents and Hygiene Series. Survey of Hygienic
                  Conditions in the Printing Trades /; by S. Kjaer.; Sep 25,
                  235 p.

Summary: Final rept.
                  The report contains the results of a study conducted
                  1922 and 1924 of 536 printing establishments. The high
                  incidence of tuberculosis and lead poisoning could be
                  controlled by improving hygienic conditions. Lung diseases
                  appeared to result from dust created in the printing
                  process, insufficient ventilation, high temperatures, and
                  lack of personal cleanliness. Lead poisoning particularly
                  affected compositors, stereotypers, electrotypers,
                  and type-foundry workers. The majority of cases seem to
                  result from ingestion of lead and could be eliminated by
                  forbidding eating in the workrooms and by strict attention
                  to personal cleanliness. Some workers are also exposed to
                  carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion of illuminating
                  gas used to heat equipment in many different processes and
                  further study is needed. Operations are described in
                  with suggestions for improving hygiene of the workplace.

Author:       Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.

Title:          Industrial Accidents and Hygiene Series. Health Survey of
                  Printing Trades, 1922 to 1925 /; by Frederick L. Hoffman.;
                  Mar 27, [1927]; 153 p.

Summary:  Final rept.
                  The report is based on a mail survey of 2,096 printing
                  employing 100,704 persons. Additional data were obtained
                  from labor unions and records of inspections of printing
                  plants by local health officers. Low sickness rates were
                  reported by both employers and labor unions, indicating
                  working conditions were generally healthful. The hazards
                  exposure to lead were sufficiently controlled so that
                  chronic lead poisoning was of minor importance, and the
                  proportionate mortality from tuberculosis much reduced
                  compared to the findings of earlier studies. The
                  of health conditions is attributed to the replacement of
                  many small, antiquated, and crowded shops by modern
                  establishments on a larger scale. A brief bibliography of
                  publications concerned with health and hygiene in the
                  printing industry is included.

As an aside, I also found an article that states that Ottmar Mergenthaler,
inventor of the Linotype machine, died in 1899 of tuberculosis at age 45.
Doubtless this information is available elsewhere, but I found it in "Ottmar
Mergenthaler's Wonderful Machine," _American History Illustrated_ 21 (June
1986): 28-9.

Hope some of this helps.

Mary Uhl
The University of Iowa