Eat hot lead, varmints!

PublishingMojo's picture

I just learned about Noel Loomis, a popular author of Western novels, who launched his literary career in the mid-1950s while employed as a Linotype operator in Minneapolis. His books weren't just set on the Linotype--he wrote them on the Linotype!
Here's how Bill Gulick describes him in his book, Sixty-Four Years as a Writer:

"A feisty little guy with a black mustache, Loomis dealt in hot lead both figuratively and actively, for he heated up the lead pot each morning, straddled a stool shaped like a saddle, and composed on the Linotype while wearing black cowboy hat, spurs, boots, and at times, I suspect, a holstered six-gun or two."

blank's picture

Good god do I want video of that.

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

That is a marvelous story. Is there a photo of him?

clauses's picture

A feisty little guy with a black mustache, Loomis dealt in hot lead both figuratively and actively, for he heated up the lead pot each morning, straddled a stool shaped like a saddle, and composed on the Linotype while wearing black cowboy hat, spurs, boots, and at times, I suspect, a holstered six-gun or two.

Hero!

Si_Daniels's picture

Shame there's no wikipedia article on him.

will powers's picture

I knew a newspaper guy in Ohio who was like Loomis. Part owner of the paper, reporter, Linotypist, pressman, janitor, etc. He'd go to a town council meeting, take notes, go back to the shop [where the Lino pot would be already fired up because he'd been by before the meeting], and sit down at the machine to write his story.

I'm going to have to see if any of my older pals here in Minnesota know about this guy. I've only lived here 22 years, and this is the first I've heard of him. I'll report if I find anything worth while.

A lot of hot-metal compositors prided themselves on being able to "design in the stick," without sketches or any other preliminaries. But writing at the Lino is a higher level of skill.

powers

PublishingMojo's picture

Shame there’s no wikipedia article on him.
Maybe you'd like to write one, Simon.

Will, it must feel good to live in a place where you can say, "I’ve only lived here 22 years."

hrant's picture

Reminds me of that Monty Python skit with the train-obsessed author on the typewriter!

hhp

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