Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Henry Richard Emanuel Wessman: A Biography, Part 6

Henry always wanted a business of his own. That was another reason that he moved out to Mammoth. His quality of work was excellent but he made more money working at the newspapers in Salt Lake, Kaysville, and Davis County such as the Tribune, Telegram and the Standard Examiner in Ogden.

While in Ogden, Henry went up to Malad, Idaho, and bought a used typesetter so he could set up shop. His business was in a one-room basement of a rented building. The address was 2445 Grant Ave. He would repair and adjust the machine. If by chance, he could not repair the machine, a traveling technician would help him. Henry got the machine into good operating condition. He set type for different printing companies in town. There would be printing to be done for advertising, legal reports, school newspapers, etc. Back then, Xerox machines did not exist. He eventually turned the business over to Harry.

John and Paul also worked for their dad while in Ogden. They would deliver galleys (that held the type) and type in a wagon that resembled a small Mormon handcart. It was a wood box with steel wheels. The boys pulled that wagon through Ogden, Utah. The type that was picked up from the different businesses would be melted down (at least 500 degrees), recast and cooled over night. At different times, one would think it was cool and would be burned. However, it was nothing too serious.

However, one day John and Harry were working when they heard a "bang." Somehow moisture had gotten into the mold and when Dick poured the hot metal in, the high pressure of the steam caused an explosion. Dick was injured on the eyelid. He had a big scab. It eventually left a scar but his eyesight was not affected.

He tried to start his own business but finances were tough. It disintegrated because there was not enough advertising support. The Ogden Examiner had been there for years and they had the corner on the market. Henry also started to get sick and he then died.

The family moved around a lot as he pursued his career. There were lean times but the family always had something to eat. They would buy things when they could and store it. For instance, Henry would buy ten sacks of flour and store it for when it was needed. There was not much bakery bread back then.

Henry also wanted the very best for his children. He wanted them to be successful in life in whatever they wanted to do. However, he tried to guide their decisions when he thought it needed guiding. Jean (daughter) loved to dance and was good at it. She wanted to go into dancing as a career. Her father did not think it was a positive career choice. He thought it was better to get some training that could be more successful. Jean followed her father's advice (even though it was a hard decision to make) and went into the clerical field.

Ernie remembers his father being around on weekends but not too much during the week because he would be working double shifts. Sometimes he would work night shift and other times, he would work swing shift. When he was home though, he spent quality times with his family.

At times, after work, he and his friends would play cards for candy bars. He used to give some to his children, then go to Birch Creek Elementary School, and pass out more candy bars. They certainly knew "Mr. Wessman."

He would always bring home gumballs from the gumball machine. In those days, paper bands were around the 1-cent gumballs. If a certain number was on the paper, then it meant that something was won.

Photo of the linotype machine is from

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