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1/12/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

For the first time in 30 years, this issue of the Farmers Press was printed at the Devils Lake Journal in Devils Lake. How this came to pass is a long story.
From Feb. 9, 1884 to October of 1967 the newspaper was printed on a press at the Farmers Press office in Minnewaukan. There were at least two presses in that period of time. In 1950 the Farmers Press burned down and for several weeks the newspaper was printed at The Maddock Standard. When the new building and equipment were put into use in the fall of 1950, the Farmers Press had the ultimate in letterpress printing. The newspaper was printed on a 4-page Cottrell press. Four pages of the newspaper could be printed at one time and most issues were eight pages, requiring each newspaper to be run through the press twice. When that old Cottrell press opened up, the noise in this little crackerbox of a building was deafening.
When offset printing became the way to go, the Farmers Press was converted from letterpress to offset in October of 1967 and the newspaper was printed on a new Harris-Cottrell press at the Devils Lake Journal. I was in the Army at the time, so I missed that major conversion from letterpress to offset.
Several of us who were printing at the Journal decided it would be in our interests to have our own central printing plant rather than being customers of the Journal. Ed Doherty of New Rockford, Howard Doherty of Langdon, G.J. Frigaard of Cooperstown, Les Strand of Carrington and I set up a printing plant in New Rockford with a brand new Harris-Cottrell press.
Cost of the press alone was $78,000. The new central printing plant became activated in August of 1973.
Langdon pulled out of the plant and it struggled after that. Finally in August of 1994 the plant closed and the building and equipment were sold.
The press, which we used for 21 years, sold for $93,000, so that turned out to be a pretty good investment.
Since 1994 this newspaper has been printed at a central printing plant in Rugby, North Central Printing. Recent problems with personnel at the Rugby plant created a situation which required us to look elsewhere to print, so we went back to Devils Lake.
What goes around, comes around.
Here are some items by Ken Darby:
In 1900, fathers prayed their children would learn English. Today, fathers pray their children will speak English.
In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family’s head, he was a success.
Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool and 4-car garage. And that’s just the vacation home.
In 1900, a father waited for the doctor to tell him when the baby arrived.
Today, a father must wear a smock, know how to breathe, and make sure film is in the video camera.
In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons. Today, kids wouldn’t touch Dad’s clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.
In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business.
Today, fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach them how to work the computer and set the VCR.
In 1900, fathers pined for old country Romania, Italy, or Russia. Today, fathers pine for old country Hank Williams.
In 1900, fathers shook their children gently and whispered, "Wake up, it’s time for school." Today, kids shake their fathers violently at 4 a.m.,
shouting: "Wake up, it’s time for hockey practice."
In 1900, a father came home from work to find his wife and children at the supper table. Today, a father comes home to a note: "Jimmy’s at baseball, Cindy’s at gymnastics, I’m at gym, Pizza in fridge."
In 1900, fathers and sons would have heart-to-heart conversations while fishing in a stream. Today, fathers pluck the headphones off their sons’
ears and shout, "WHEN YOU HAVE A MINUTE . . ."
In 1900, a father gave a pencil box for Christmas, and the kid was all smiles. Today, a father spends $800 at Toys ‘R’ Us, and the kid screams: "I wanted Sega!"
Ken Darby is the author of articles found in newspapers and magazines throughout North America. His Web site is at and his e-mail address is

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