Parting with old friends

It is quite amazing the number of ‘absolutely necessary items’ one can accumulate during the space of 40 plus years in one town — specifically Clearwater. And even more amazing is the amount of space these ‘valuables’ can occupy.

But they were all needed so I told myself. My motto used to be: throw it in the garbage Monday and it’s sure to be needed Tuesday. So I revised my ideas and as a result have practically saved almost everything that could possibly be needed at a later date. Just don’t ask me where else I can put it.

Which brings me to my point — the time has come to ‘Downsize,’ a word I’ve blissfully ignored for many years. The fact is we have almost run out of space!

Back in 1970 I became involved with The Clearwater Times, a process which continued until 1993 at which time I handed over management of the paper to new owners. As technology had rapidly advanced during our ownership I retained portions of equipment including most of the cases of lead and wood hand type with intentions of donating this portion of Clearwater’s history to a local museum when the opportunity presented itself. Much of this equipment had been the basis of the business when it was established in 1964 and had received much use during The Times’ early days. Some of the type,  I believe, had first seen the light of day during the late 1920s and ’30s. I suppose some of it can be referred to as junk.

Now I have a quandary — I have to clean up my act and dispose of my old faithful friends. I would happily donate it on a permanent loan basis locally as I feel it belongs here, otherwise my choice appears to offer it on the Internet to the highest bidder or send it to be recycled.

For me the time has come to face reality. I must bid farewell to ‘old friends’ which I have fondly stored for many years. As an instance just before we changed over to the computer era — not the type we are all now familiar with, but a computer which created columns of type and required processing in a dark room — we used an expensive and labor-intensive photographic system called the Compugraphic. Its predecessors, after we changed from the ‘hot lead ‘ of the Linotypes were unusual machines called Justowriters. I boxed a pair of these up in 1977 and when we moved to our present location took them with us. I have never opened them to this day. They may be rusty or in perfect condition, I haven’t looked.

So the problem remains: Is there a person in Clearwater willing and prepared to store all this old equipment until a museum has been established? If not — next step ebay and then to the dump!

Should you be able to help with storage space please email me at

Frank Tonge


Clearwater, B.C.