Chicago Tribune Building III (First Federal Building)
Life Span: 1902-2000
Location: 7 S. Dearborn St., Southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison Streets
Architect: Holabird & Roche
Chicago Tribune, January 20, 1901
WORK on the construction of the new Tribune building will begin on May 1 next, and the building will be completed by May 1, 1902. The structure will cost about $500,000, while the new and additional machinery that will take its place in the new building will cost about $250,000.
The new building will be four stories in height, with a basement of practicality two stories beneath the sidewalk grade. It will have a frontage of 114 feet in Dearborn street and 120 feet in Madison street, just doubling the ground space by the present Tribune building. Hubbard & Roche are the architects.
The first story will be of light polished granite, while the second, third, and fourth will be enameled terra cotta. The foundations and the steel construction will be planned for the addition of other stories up to twelve, providing for a sixteen-story skyscraper if it is desired in the future to make such additions to the building.
The basement, third, and fourth stories will be devoted exclusively to The Tribune. On the first floor the counting room will take up a large space on the corner, about double that occupied by the present counting room, but the remainder of the space on the ground floor will be converted into stores and rented as such until the room may be desired by The Tribune company in the future. The second floor, with its wide frontages on both Dearborn and Madison streets, will be divided into quarters for two banking institutions.
The general offices of the company, the editorial and artists’ rooms, and quarters for the reporters will take up the entire third floor. All of these floors will be finished in mahogany with elaborate designs, and will represent the highest development of the modern office building.
The composing-room will occupy the major part of the fourth or top floor, being amply lighted from three sides and a spacious court. The rooms of the telegraph editors, telegraphers, and proofreaders will be on the Dearborn street street front of this floor.
ENTRANCES TO BUILDING.
The main entrance will be in the center of the Dearborn street front, but the entrance to the editorial rooms will be in Madison street, about midway between the corner and the alley. This will separate entirely the editorial force from the occupants of the offices in the building, giving the newspaper workers a home entirely of their own, with their own elevators, distinct from those used by the general public. This will be doubly important if additional stories with general office facilities should in the future be added to the new structure.
There can be no cessation of work in the office during the construction of the new building. Consequently it must be erected in sections. The first section will be that occupying the south half of the 144 feet, leased some ntime ago by The Tribune company for ninety-nine years. This is now occupied by the northern part of the Windsor Hotel. The building now there will be torn down and a new wall put in to the south. The wall on the south side of the present Tribune Building, extending the full depth of the lot, will be temporarily retained, but the foundations will be shored up while the work on the foundations of the new building are under way. When this is done the basement will be dug out to the required depth and the caissons sunk to the hardpan over the rock seventy feet below grade. At the same time the foundations for the outer walls will be put in, and then the steel superstructure will be erected.
LEFT:Jan 27, 1901
RIGHT: July 23, 1902
COMPLETED IN SECTIONS.
The south half of the building will be completed entire, the presses will be moved in, the counting-room located on the first floor and the composing-room crowded in the fourth floor before the old building is abandoned. After everything has been moved into the new part the demolition of the present Tribune Building which has become one of the landmarks of Chicago since its erection after the fire, will commence. Then the same order will follow as with the south section. Everything will be cleared away and the basement dug to the required depth. After this section has been completed the office which were moved from their old quarters will settle in the new, and for all time, so far as the living generation can see. The Tribune will have a habitation worthy of a modern mewspaper and equal to its requirements.
Since the sketch of the new building was printed in the architectural journals much favorable comment regarding the beauty of its design has been elicited from the profession. In an artistic sense the building will meet the most rigid requirements. The broad front of 144 feet in Dearborn street and of 120 feet in Madison street, gave the architects a range not usual with the ordinary business structure. Then the fact that the building was to be but four stories in height allowed a freedom of treatment which would not have been possible with a skyscraper. Yet the front is so designed that additional stories can be erected without breaking the unity of the design.
The entrances and the main corridors will be fully representative of the highest development in architecture in the modern office buildings. The mahogany finish, massive floors, and general equipment of the building in electricity, ventilation, and all the other important items which now distinguish the modern office building from its predecessors, but at the same time every detail of the requirements of the publication office of a great newspaper has been kept in mind.
New Presses for the Tribune
The Inland Printer,January, 1902
ARRANGEMENT OF SPACE.
While it is comparatively easy to plan a modern office building, the planning of a newspaper office to secure the best and most economical results of labor is quite another matter. Ever since the ninety-nine year lease for the ground was made with the Board of Education the studying out of these details has been under way. Every head of a department has devoted much time to deciding what room he needed and in what location that room should be for the best performance of the duties entrusted to his department. This work was laid before the architects, who in turn worked out the whole into the plans afterward adopted for the new building. In no place throughout the structure were the problems more complicated than in that most important part of a newspaper plant—the basement. So well did they succeed that the great current of paper, fresh from the mill, never crosses itself from the time it enters the building through the hydraulic hoists until it is set out in the sidewalk by the electric lifts in the finished daily paper. It is a continuous forward movement.
The additions to its equipment that The Tribune will make are scarcely less striking in a newspaper way than the building itself. Three octuple presses and a multicolor press fitted for the highest grade of artistic color printing will be installed in the new press-room. The Tribune will also retain two sextuples and two quadruples belonging in its present plant, making the equivalent of forty-four single presses—exclusive of the color press—when the whole plant is in operation. In the composing-room twelve latest improved linotypes will be added to the equipment of thirty-five machines now in use, making forty-seven in all. The capacity of the office them will be unsurpassed by any newspaper office in the United States.
Chicago Tribune, January 20, 1901
The main entrance to the building will be located at the center of the Dearborn street front. It is to be treated as a memorial hall, suggestive of the progress of The Tribune and of the great craft of news publishing. At each side of the imposing granite entrance will be a beautiful bronze bas-relief of the various buildings occupied by The Tribune in its career of over a half century.
There will be six panels, three on each side, with representations of the six Tribune buildings which have preceded the new one.
The first building was occupied in 1847 and stood on the southwest corner of La Salle and Lake streets.
The second building fronted on Clark street, at the northwest corner of Lake street. It was an unpretentious one-story structure.
In 1852 The Tribune moved into much more commodious quarters, located in Clark street, between Randolph and Lake streets. This is the third building of the series.
The fourth building was the first of the three to be erected on the present site, at the northwest corner of Madison and Dearborn street. It was completed in 1869. By this time Chicago had assumed metropolitan proportions, and the building was fully up to the general architecture of the city. It was a white building, four stories in height, and until its destruction in the great fire on Oct. 9, 1871, was a source of much pride to the managers and employes. The building was considered fireproof, according to the methods of fireproof construction thirty years ago, but it crumbled under the awful heat when the business section of the city was burned.
The Tribunethen moved to the West Side, securing quarters at 11 and 13 Canal street. There it remained while the business district was being rebuilt. This was the fifth building on the list.
The sixth building is the one now occupied by the paper. It was completed in 1873, and, like its predecessor on the same site, the building was in the van of the architectural progress of the city. It ws made fireproof beyond a doubt. For twenty-right years The Tribune has been sent out every morning from it. No building erected immediately after the fire was more substantially constructed, and the wreckers will have no easy task in razing it. This building is five stories in height. Its successor, like the first building erected on the lot, will have but four.
The vestibule enriched with Carrara marble and statuary bronze leads to the main corridor. It is two stories in height. The walls, ceilings, and stairs are of polished Carrara marble, snow-white and delicately molded and carved. In the second story are massive marble columns, supporting arches. In the center of each arch will be placed bronze busts of the famous men who have brought printing and newsgathering to its highest development. Here, also, in this corridor, occupying a prominent position, will be placed a bust of Joseph Medill, now being made by the celebrated sculptor, Augustus S. Gaudens.
Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1901
Tribune Building Under Construction
Chicago Tribune, October 27, 1901
Within the last twelve years the steel skyscraper has had its inception and its perfection of it until the term “Chicago construction” stands for it all, no matter in what part of the world the work may be erected.
The firm of Holabird & Roach, which is building the new home of THE TRIBUNE at Dearborn and Madison streets. built the first skyscraper that the world ever saw. It came out of the necessities of putting up a building on the lot 80×101 feet at the northeast corner of La Salle and Madison streets. The owner of this ground wanted a building that would give the greatest light and floor space possible.
In the Home Insurance and the Rookery Buildings cast iron skeleton work had been used in some degree, and in that year, 1888, Messrs. Holabird & Roach planned a thiteen-story building whose columns should be run up from the foundation to cornice on the outside, having a mere facing of stone tied on by copper wire and fastened to the structural iron by wrought iron anchors.
Men familiar with the old, thick walls of the six or seven story office building of the period opened their eyes wide at the specifications for this new building. Thirteen stories for a building was an innovation at best, but when a twelve-inch wall was provided for the lower floors of the new build- Ing, where otherwise a thirty-inch wall would have been necessary, even the Chicago Building department hesitated as to a permit. But the work went on and the building was completed in one year.
CAST IRON IS OBSOLETE.
This was the beginning of steel construction In building in Chicago. Today all cast iron has been replaced by steel. The clumsy makeshifts of a dozen years ago have been replaced by steel shapes undreamed of when the Tacoma Building in Chicago was going up.
In the erection of the new Tribune Building a place has been made for a department of building such as was unknown ten years ago. The engineer has been given Important place In the modern city building and much of the work depends upon him. Upon him devolves much of the economy of construction.
In the first place he makes sure of the loads which are to come upon his foundations. To do this he has to figure not only the weight of the entire building and its prospective contents, but he must take into account spots where greatest weight is disposed to fall, and, if necessary, distribute this weight to other parts of the building with the least expenditure of steel. He must know the carrying capacity of-Each beam, girder, and pillar, and the strength even of the rivets which hold the steel together. The “live” contents of the building must be figured, for 1,500 persons in an office building, averaging over 100 pounds, represent an aggregate weight of 150,000 pounds.
So that when the architect has designed a building of so many stories in height, the steel constructors are called In to make the skeleton of it all.
The shop drawings of the steel construction become of prime importance from the first The engineer has the dimensions of the building’s shell. It is his work to put in the strong, firm, steel frame work that shall be all-sufficicient for strength and with a minimum of material expended. In the columns, floor beams, girders, and filling-in it is necessary that they be distributed with the nicest accuracy, making certain that no piece carries more than its proportion of weight. In these shop drawings the exact size of every piece of steel entering into the structure Is made plain In the tracings. Every angle Is indicated. Every rivet hole is made plain as to position and size. Every rivet is accounted for.
METAL CAST TO ORDER.
When these drawings, down to the last piece, have been completed and the numbers indicated which shall make the putting together possible, the drawings are sent to the steel mills for reproductIon in metal. To meet the demands of the builders many of the big plants in the United States have been structed to turn out this work.
In these great mills, nearly all of them to the east of Chicago, the rolls are set at work on the building contract. As each beam, girder. and column is turned out according to specifications, it is dipped in preservative paint, and when. dry the numbers for as- are marked upon it. Rivet holes are made to the hundredth part of an inch. and gradually the pieces are passed on to the assembling-rooms of the mill. There, as far as is possible consistent with freighting, the steel work is assembled. and riveted together as as hot rivets make possible. Girders have been turned out that were eight feet wide and nearly fifty feet long, more than fifty tons each.
After this initial assembling of the structural steel in the mill the assembled parts, numbered for the final assembling on the site of the building, are loaded and shipped.
PLACING THE STEEL.
At the site of the building there are diagrams of the floors. The position of each piece of steel that arrives is designated by both number and drawing, and out ‘of the seeming puzzle-grouping of steel, the steel basework rises, just as it has risen in the pit which is to be the press rooms for The Tribune in its newb home.
In the beginning this assembling of the steel skeleton is accomplished by the use of temporary bolts. Enough of these is used to hold the framework safely together until the position of each piece and its relation to the whole bridge construction Is determined. Then the field riveters. catching, tossing. and hammering into place the hot rivets that make the structure whole, put the last strokes upon the completed framework, which some one aptly has described as “a bridge set up on end, with cars rushing up and down it.”
Steam cranes, with a system of pulleys and a code of whistle signals. make the handling of these Immense pieces of steel only the merest child s pay. The back- woodsman who had his log ” house-raising ” a hundred years ago tolled twice as hard to lay his log walls to a height of ten feet as does the modern structural ironworker who fastens a ten-ton girder into p lace 200 feet above a sidewalk.
In this design in steel the principle was reached In leaving to the walls of a building only the necessity of carrying their own weight. In fact, the wa fls of tile modern steel building are almost Insigniil- cant, whereas under-old conditions the foun- and walls were all of it. Today the contractor tray begin building his wall at the top story and run It downward to the bottom, and not Infrequently the first stone- work Is put on an tipper story, tied to place -v with conner wire.
In brief, the steel constructed building is a.-wind-braced, beam-tied bridge starting from a foundation whose Is! counted upon as a certainty, but figured to a degree of uniformity that can- not the whole, and over this frame- .work a skin of terra cotta,.brick. or stone Is tied Independently, to be bulwarked from behind by fireproofing laid in and plastered over as may be determined by the architect.
This “Chicago construction<" of which The Tribune Buliding is to be one of the newest and best examples, has overturned the old Ideas of builders, who worked from heavy foundations, building old-fashioned, solid-masonry piers, exterior wails, and partition walls together from the bottom up. It has reduced the size of piers that would have been necessary for an eighteen-story building from seven feet square to two and one-half feet square, and the wall thick- ness in proportion. It has given more floor space, more strength, and more light, and in doing away with interior walls it has made partition alterations a simple matter. Once, in making partition changes, it was necessary to substitute supports for floors above: now and vaults of hollow tiling are in or removed at the pleasure or the tenant. To down-town Chicago with its congested territory it would be hard to estimate how much is saved annually to property-holders by the decreased thickness of building and partition walls. Buildings on such fronts as are the Monadnock and Old Colony piles, if carried up to such heights under the okl solid-wall . scarcely have space for an entrance way at the first floor, and the windows be neces- sarily so far away from this entrance that could not in through them.
Chicago construction has not beet pitt to the test of time, but it promises well. Ex- of steel ten years ago and In cement, and of foun- dation tying below the vater tine. have shown that not even the – scale from the rolling mill finish has turned color. Wherever it is possible these steels are buried in cement, in itself a rust-proofing, and under such conditions the steel-constructed buliding to promises to stand as long as the building itself shall be satisfactory to its owner and its tenants.
Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1902
LEFT: Front Page of Special Supplement on the New Tribune Building.
RIGHT: Artist’s drawing showing the five additional stories that will be complete by end of 1902
Chicago Tribune July 23, 1902
Situated on the most vital of corners in Chicago’s heart, presenting two facades of striking beauty to two of the most congested streets in the city, the twelve story building of The Chicago Tribune already has become one of the show sights of the city. In Italian style of srchitecture, built of Bedford stone, gray pressed brick, and terra cotta trimmings, chemically treated in its outer walls with a view to preserving all the beauties of shade and finish which belonged to it when it left the hand of the builder, it is purposed that the building shall be a landmark of tomorrow, as it is a show place of today.
Clean out, definitive as to its effect as a whole, and yet, at the same time, of that “Chicago construction” which only a few years ago stood only for business purposes, to the exclusion of the artistic, this new home of The Tribune is one of the best examples of the growth of the esthetic in Chicago.
It will not be lost to sight that in all of this observance of detail in architecture the designers have maintained the greatest degree of economy in its arrangements; that inside of it they have not only housed every editorial, business, and mechanical department of a great daily newspaper, but they have made offices for a representative class of business men—above, below, and around the newspaper plant—and while this mechanical plant is driven by more than 600 horse power of electricity, not a tenant in the building feels a vibration from the mighty press plant in the basement, or from the long lines of typesetting machines on the fourth floor.
All this is accomplished. It was a different proposition altogether when The Tribune company first approached the firm of Holabird & Roche, asking for the designs for such a building. Not only was such a building rare in any part of the country, but in the designing of The Tribune’s own home there was little by which the architecture could profit in the offices of other newspapers.
Men were sent to the office of other papers in other cities. In almost every city the things not to do were impressed upon the inquirers. Offices that had stereotype rooms in the basement would have them in the attic if only they could have the building to do over again; on the other hand, those with stereotyoe rooms in the top story would like to have them in the basement, if it were to be done again. So it was by the linotype machines—they were universally in the wrong place.
But between the architects and The Tribune, these details were fixed upon definitely, and work was begun on the drawings on Dec. 13, 1898. After the first drawings, however, many changes were made necessary, chief of which was the decision to provide a sub-basement for the motors which were to drive the presses. The subbasement made the old floating foundation for the building inadvisable, if the necessities for taking the jar from the structure had not already made such a foundation possible.
Elsewhere is told in detail the story of the subbasement; so far as affected the building, the necessities were to sink caissons to a depth that, filled with concrete, they would carry the main building and leave no connection between it and the machinery equipment of the paper.
To accomplish this, caissons to the number of fifty were sunk in various depths, according to the load of superstructure that each was to carry. Some of these caissons went down to the gravel, eighty feet below the surface; others went down from sixty to seventy feet, varying in diameter from four feet to nearly seven feet. Near the bottom of the wells the bore was “belled” out to ten feet, and the whole caisson filled to the brim with concrete. On this was laid the steel base plate for support of the steel columns and upward from these plates rose the columns that were the first evidence of the new building above ground.
From the base linen of 144 feet on Dearborn street and 121 feet on Madison street, the new Tribune building rose in the shadowy outlines of the architect’s blue prints to an extreme height of 108 feet. Then the masons came and the lines of the steel skeleton took the shapes of stone and brick.
The difficulties that beset other newspapers had been considered; they simply had outgrown their new quarters, and for The Tribune it was a first consideration that room for future growth should be provided. Before The Tribune had moved into the new building, however, it found it necessary to encroach on that reserve space. Room had to be made for another press, and where one autoplate machine was thought to be enough another had to be provided.
Building for the esthetic and for the utilitarian, one of the first considerations was adequate fireproofing. As the steel columns rose and the beams and girders were riveted fast, they were cloaked in a lime and terra cotta jacket. Concrete was used as a covering, the general result being that the lime prevents rust, just as the terra cotta and mortar would discourage the action of fire.
With beams and girders in place to the full number, and with the terra cotta covering under and between them, the space above was filled with a mixture of cement and cinders—cinders being used because of their lightness and their unresponsiveness to heat. Above this filling and just under the wood floors, in a space three and a half inches high, are placed plumbing pipes, pneumatic tubes, speaking tubes, and tubes for telephone and electric light wires.
Grand Carrara Marble Entrance to the Building.
As a precaution against fire from outside, the whole east side of the building facing on the alley has been fitted with metal windows, having in them polished plate glass with a center of woven wire. This glass cannot be shattered by heat, even in combination with water, and as each window is equipped with a fusible plug which, under stress of heat, melts and causes the open window to close it if it is open, the element of fire enters in small degree into the building’s risk.
On a firm foundation, with the fire risk reduced to a minimum and the separation of newspaper and office tenants made certain, the permanency and esthetic sides of the structure becomes most prominent.
From the outside in Dearborn street one sees a building that is at once striking in its simplicity and richness; beautiful in outline, and yet impressive in its size. Four four stories up it is of Bedford stone, cut to classic shape, and above that level it melts without a suggestion of a line into the gray white pressed brick, with its terra cotta trimmings. Where once the Chicago “skyscraper” was suggestive of nothing but the greatest amount of office room to a certain amount of real estate. The Tribune building looks first to the architectural whole, to the exclusion of the other idea.
Entering the building by the main entrance in Dearborn street, the visitor finds himself confronting an entrance way of Carrara veined statuary marble, extending sixty feet back to the elevator doors. To the right and left are marble staircases, curved broadly from the marble newel posts and rising thirteen feet to the level of the second floor. This entrance is twenty-six feet wide, with marble panels on the walls and on the ceiling of the balcony, while twenty-seven feet up, to the extreme height of the entrance is a ceiling of glass mosaics furnished by Tiffany in all the brilliance of good taste.
Just at the doorways the bronze panels of left and right showing in relief the homes of The Tribune since it became an institution on Chicago take the attention of the visitor. The evolution of the paper is shown in these eight bass-reliefs, each showing a former home of the paper, up to the building which was torn down only a little more than a year ago to mskr room for the present structure. These tablets are hand chased and show exquisite workmanship. Aside from the art point of view, too, they have a distinct historical value.
The marble stairs are striking features of the entrance. Aside from their points of richness there is nothing like them in the city. Twenty-four steps are necessary to the rise of thirteen feet, with a wide landing in the middle of each flight. In order to make this rise as easy as possible, it was decided to make the lower steps curve out and in again toward the newel posts, thus preventing the converging of the steps at each post and preventing a foothold for nearly half the length of the step. And when this was done the lines of beauty thus described became the most striking features of the design.
At the stair landings on the balcony doors lead left and right into the quarters of the Union Trust Company and of the New York Mutual Life Company. From this landing, too, to the height of the main ceiling rises a series of fluted doric columns, each a monolith twelve feet in height. They are beautiful specimens of material and of workmanship. In this entrance the general treatment is of the lower part of a base for the support of the doric columns carrying the marble entablatures. The broad balustrades, the great marble panels on the walls and under the balcony, and the great white girders of the main ceiling are all relieved and set by the brilliant colorings of the glass mosaics, which from, this main ceiling give something of a cathedral glow to the statuary marbles. If it were said that this entrance is the handsomest in the city it might be a statement hard to dispute, for the reason that its treatment is so wholly unlike that of any other of the down town buildings.
At the extreme east end of this entrance is the bank of seven elevators, formed around three sides of a rectangle 20 x 22 feet. The floor of this entrance is of mosaic, with depressions in front of the elevators in which are placed rubber matting. The elevators are of a pattern in keeping with the architecture of the building, the cages being of square bronze rods in tasteful arrangement.
With reference to the separation of the Tribune offices and plant from the tenant portions of the building, the arrangements of the elevators have cut a figure. The composing room on the fourth floor, with its possible chance of odors from the melting pots of the machines, has been cut off from the passenger elevator service, no stop being made by the passenger elevators at that floor. Even the freight elevators on the south side of the building have been safeguarded from these possible disseminations of metal odors by having double doors. As to the basement and subbasement, the passenger elevators do not go below the first floor.
For the lighting of the back offices by day, an inner court 36 x 46 feet begins at the level of the second floor. It is lined with white enameled brick and leads up to the fifth floor in these dimensions. There the court widens to 60 x 66 feet, and thence is carried up to the top of the building. The trimmings are of white terra cotta, and the maximum of light is reflected in. In such mechanical departments of The Tribune as require men to work in a degree of undress, the windows opening into the court are provided with unpolished windows, the ventilating system in these departments making it unnecessary that the windows be raised even in hot weather.
Throughout the building, all corridors are floored in mosaics, with a marble wainscoting. The woodwork, which has been reduces to a minimum, is mahogany throughout, and the floors of the office portions of the building are of polished oak. The Tribune’s editorial floor is covered with tiles.
In every floor of the building devoted tio tenants, the arrangement has been to leave the partitions as easy of removal as is possible, so that in the event of a tenant’s desire to change his suite, or to enlarge it, anything necessary may be fitted to order with the least expenditure of time and labor. For the meters in the light service, the wiring has been done in the most economic manner, making the meter change of the slightest consequence in alterations.
With the new Tribune Building filling to the full all that was expected of it as the home of the newspaper, the visitor has only to step into one of its elevators and ride to the top floor and back again to see how fully it it also has met all the requirements of an up-to-date office building. There will be only a visible evidence that the building is the home of a great newspaper; there will be no suggestion of a tremendous battery of pressed twenty feet under the sidewalk; he will see and hear not the slightest sign of the great machine shop, which the modern composing roomon the fourth floor has become.
Distinctly he will be in an office building. If his business be with office people; if it be with The Chicago Tribune, he will be as distinctly in a newspaper office that has no connection with tenants above and below, and which is as compact and as accessible as the size of a great office will admit.
Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1902
In point of solidity and richness, no room in the Tribune building compares with the business office, occupying the Dearborn and Madison streets corner on the first floor. Alps green Georgia marble for the wainscotings and counter bases, and with Belgian black marble for the counter tops, both in striking contrast with the mahogany of the office fixtures seen over the counters, with the bronze grill work and panels, and the chipped plate glass that make up so large a portion of the partitions—all this needs only the stuccoed ceiling, the Apls green pillars, the ceiling mosaics, and the wall painting to make the room as a whole one of the striking business offices of the country.
Three entrances lead to the office. One is from the Dearborn street side, one from Madison street, and the other from the main corridor. From this main corridor of the building the entrance is through a door and across a marble walled entrance leading to a cloak and coat room behind the elevator, leaving the caller midway the public counter space that turns at right angles half around the central square of the counting rooms. The entrances from the streets are by tubular storm doors of plate glass, capable of being folded in a manner to make an open passage in mild weather.
Inside, the visitor is struck first by the soft and yet firm and silent flooring under his feet. It is a rubber tiling, laid piece by piece, in alternating red and black, giving an excellent footing, with the minimum of noise, and at the same time showing a surface that is lasting and easily cleaned.
The caller, entering, finds himself in a room 40 x 60 feet, with lobbies 10 feet wide extending along the east and south sides of it. The high green-gray marble that serves as a wainscoting serves also as a base for the wide counter tops of black marble, at which customers may write small advertisements or answer them, the counters being supplied with the necessary stationery. Door facings are of this marble and the two great pillars that rise from the floor are faced with the same material.
The cages of the cashier and his assistant, standing eight feet high, and presenting fronts of bronze grill work that are rich in their simplicity, make the Madison street entrance the most showy of the three.
In front of the entrance from the main corridor are the letter cases and counter where answers to advertisements are held and passed out on call.
At the Dearborn street entrance the business office proper lies directky to the left, cut off from the lobby by a framework of classic bronze resting on the Alps-green marble of the wainscoting and holding in place the shipped plate glass of the partition. To the right, behind the Madison street tubiular door, is one of the show pieces of this marble, turning almost a half circle to conform to the shell of the doorway,
The Business Office.
Inside the counting room the space is divided almost in the middle with a wall of plate glass and mahogany. The entrance to the privacy of the counting rooms is by the one door near the Madison street front. Inside of this entrance the caller finds himself in the business office and the room of the business manager. Here the floors are of light tiling, the wainscoting of broad slabs of quarter sawed mahogany, and the desks, chairs, and fixtures of the same rich wood.
In the center of this office is one fixed table that is worthy of especial notice. It is double sided, with double sets of seeming drawer cabinets at each end. But in each end of the desk is a bronze register that to the close observer has nothing to with a desk or with a set of drawers, and to follow with questioning it is discovered that while the table is a table and is fully available for the purpose, it nevertheless covers two rectangular openings in the floor through which the ventilating system pumps from an inexhaustible supply of pure air.
In this office, is the headquarters of the business manager and the desks of the advertising manager and purchasing agent. Seven roll top desks of solid mahogany find place in this room, and a telephone booth in one corner is built of the same material.
Beyond the mahogany and glass partition cutting off the advertising and counting room from the main office. most of this section of the floor is visible to the person in the lobby. Over the black marble counter on the south one sees the ends of three letter cases, each end being of paneled bronze, seven feet high. The pigeon holes in the upper part of each case are of mahogany, and each case has a double front. On each side of a case and below the pigeon holes are cabinets, one for each day in the week, in which extra copies of The Tribune may be kept free of dust and in such order that the clerk may put a hand on a paper of any special date with no delay. In these three cases are cabinets for copies six weeks back. From the ends of the center case comes the end of a ventilating duct.
Office of the Advertising Department.
Beyond these cases is one of the interesting automatic devices of the building. It is the central station of of a pneumatic tube service where five tubes converge, these tubes radiating to the mailing room in the basement balcony, to the city editor’s room on the third floor, to the auditing department on that floor, and to the copy box and the display advertising desk in the composing room on the fourth floor. This tube service is note worthy from the fact that carriers may be sent each way in a tube, thus making unnecessary the doubling of the service pipes.
Chicago Tribune July 23, 1902
Speaking broadly, the third floor of the Tribune building is the editorial floor. To a slight extent it is less than that; to a great extent it is more. The telegraph editor andn his department are on the fourth floor, but on this third floor are not only all the other editorial departments of the paper, but the offices of the publisher, the city circulator, the county circulator, the auditing department, and the quarters for the artists and etchers.
From the office of the editor in chief, occupying The corner room looking out into both Dearborn and Madison streets, the business offices and editorial rooms extend, the one lining up on the Madison street side of the building and the other taking the Dearborn street front. Essentially it is The Tribune’s floor, as the elevators open into a private corridor through doors of plate glass. From this corridor the visitor passes into the hall leading all around the central court to every department of the floor. This corridor, the hall, and the entries are floored in mosaics in geometrical pattern. The wainscoting is of marble and the walls are of warm buff tint. The doors and the panelings are of solid mahogany.
The room of the editor in chief is not only the largest individual room in the building, but it is the handsomest in interior finish and furnishings. The floor is tiled in tasteful pattern, giving a warm effect to the room. The low wainscotings are of quarter-sawed mahogany, oil finished, and in pleasing contrast with the walls, which have as a background base of olive green. This green has a pleasing pattern of gold running over it, and as the ceiling is approached, the green and gold merge and melt into a light orange, fading again into the buff of the ceiling finish. There are four windows, two in Dearborn street and two in Madison street.
The furnishings of the room are of heavy mahogany, the design of desks, tables, chairs, and couches are of the simplest, and the wood finish is in oil, lacking the shiny effect of varnish. The upholstering is black leather. The light comes from a central chandelier in the ceiling, and also is led from the walls to desks and tables to suit convenience. There are two entrances to the room, one from the hall and the other from the editorial reception room.
To the east of the room of the editor in chief is the room set aside for the publisher. Between these two rooms is a dressing room, connecting with each, and having a shower bath and toilet appurtenances. Both walls and floors virtually are of marble.
Entrance to the rooms of both editor in chief and publisher is through the editorial waiting room, which also serves as an entrance to the library and to the rooms of the editorial writers. This room is covered with mosaics and furnished in keeping with the rest of the building. On the Dearborn street side of it is the office of the editor’s private secretary, and in rooms slightly larger four other offices front on Dearborn street, devoted to the editorial writers. Three of these rooms extend beyond the south wall of the reception room and open directly into the library. Each of these rooms is finished in mahogany, with mahogany desks and chairs.
Chicago Tribune Library
The library os one of the attractive rooms of the building. Its fittings are in the soft, warm tones of mahogany, and the great surfaces of the wood presented in tables, file racks, bookcases, and cabinets and desks give to the room the rich mellowness that belongs to the home of books. From the ceiling eight lights, in cluster, depend, and for table use incandescent bulbs are movable at will. Two large file racks of solid mahogany extend the length of the room, accommodating seventy-two bound volumes of THE DAILY and SUNDAY TRIBUNE—which allowing four volumes to the year, represent a period of eighteen years. Beyond these, the files find place in the storage vault for the purpose.
All round the library are bookshelves, some of them of only half height, in order not to interfere with the glass fronts of the rooms of the editorial writers. Each volume is grouped according to its classification for ready reference, and each of them is listed in accordance with the card catalogue system.
From the library entrance into the into the reception room there is a straight passage leading past the room of the managing editor, past the office of his private secretary, and on into the local room at the door of the city editor’s room. Thus from the office of the editor in chief back into the reporters’ room there is an unbroken private way, through which the whole editorial staff may keep in touch.
To reach the room of the managing editor direct, however, a reception room opens into the hall just opposite the elevator entrance. It is furnished in mahogany, with writing desks, chairs, and an attendant to meet callers. It opens into the office of the private secretary or into the room of the managing editor direct.
The managing editor’s room fronts on Dearborn street, as do the others in this line of offices, and is handsomely furnished with mahogany table, chairs, and desk. The room of his private secretary is fitted in keeping, and is connected with the other direct or through the reception room outside. These rooms are in closest touch with the city editor’s department, opening directly into the local room.
The Local Rooms—Showing Copy Readers’ Table and Reporters’ Desks.
Individually, the local room is the largest room in the editorial department of the paper. It stretches along Dearborn street front of the building from the south line of the elevators to the south end of the structure, turning an “L” to the east along the blind wall. Its main entrance oif from the corridor, direct, with another entrance from the reception-room, leading to the office of the managing editor. The general dimensions of the room are 32×48 feet, its length extending north and south.
At the northwest corner of the room the quarters of the city editor have been cut off in oak and glass, where privacy may be insured, and yet where he is in close and easy touch with the local news departments of the paper. Just outside of the room is the desk of his assistant, and still within close touch with the central copy desk, with its places for the head of the copy desk and his six readers. Two telephones are at his desk, one at the desk of the city editor, and in close touch with the copyreaders are the pneumatic tubes leading to the composing-room and to the business office on the ground floor.
Desks for twenty-four reporters are ranged along the east side of the local room, and in a double row down the center of it. Each desk is a flat top cabinet, with a disappearing typewriter, and to each of them is a full set of drawers, the whole desk locking up in compact form, sacred to the individual reporter. Along the front, looking out into Dearborn street, are ranged the desks of the department men, who have to do with the news of the city in special lines. Each desk is of antique oak, with roll top, housing in it a typewriter, and all the matter that belongs to the special department which he “covers.” In the “L” which turns from the main local room at the south end is the department of the sporting editor, with desks for his staff around him. In the extreme end of the “L” are the coat closets for the men—closets made of steel wire, having the advantage of being both fireproof and sanitary.
From one of the pillars, coming up through the floor of the local room is a water faucet and marble waste basin, supplying artesian water, artificially cooled, to the staff. At the north end of the room, in an inconspicuous position, are two marble was basins. Around the pillars in this room several closets have been placed for the storing of books of frequent reference. The general finish of the room is in polished oak, with walls of a light buff tint and floor of red and black tiles.
Roominess, light, and air are suggested in it, and in the disposition of the desks of the staff, those of the men who work by daylight are placed closer to the windows than are those who work only by night. As to artificial light, the room is illuminated by four groups of incandescent lights depending from the ceiling, while each individual desk has its incandescent bulb, shaded and put where it will diffuse light to the best advantage.
Outside the line of the local-room the hall leads past the etching-room, which has been described elsewhere, and turns north again on the alley side of the building, leading into the Sunday editor’s department on the right and ending at a door which opens into the art department.
The Sunday editor’s department is oak finished and has tile floors, with a main room for the staff writers and a room for the Sunday editor cut off in oak and glass in one corner. The roll top desks are of antique oak, each with typewriter cabinet inside, and in addition the ceiling lights, the light for the individual desks comes from shaded lamps attached to the tops. Daylight on this side of the building has been accentuated through painting the blind wall of the building opposite a dead white.
The Sunday editor’s departments is in touch with the art department is in touch with the art department through a doorway. This department for the artists has the advantage of opening not only into the alley but into the central court with its white enameled surface of brick and tile. Thus it has a subdued, diffused light from both sides. On both sides of the room are desks for the artists, each desk a special design provided by the head of the department as best suited suited to the work. Each artist has a desk with flat top, and in it a locker and drawers that are his own. His desk is separated from the others by a six-foot partition of oak, leaving him in comparative isolation, though the end of the space toward the center of the room is not closed.
Between the rows of stalls, furthest from the entrance, is a cabinet of drawers for the storage of pictures, drawings, and drawing materials. Above it is a clock regulated by Western Union service. Beyond this, but in direct touch with the artroom is the room for the “color
” men, whose work for the Sunday supplement has been described. Opposite this room is a coatroom, with wash basins.
In this grouping of the artroom, the “color” room, the rooms of the Sunday staff, and the etchers’ room, all at the south end of the hall, these departments most intimately related are thrown close together and may communicate with the least loss of time and effort.
On this editorial floor, going back to the starting point of the editor-in-chief’s room, one finds just across the hall from the reception-room the vault-like room in which are kept the biographical material and pictures and reading matter bearing upon the lives and history of thousands of persons and places. All this material is assorted and catalogued to be most ready of access in the emergencies and hurry of papermaking. Parallel with this room and with an entrance only a few feet away, is the vault for storage of newspaper files such as are not likely to be in use and for which there is not room in the library.
Office of the Publisher
Opening from the room of the editor-in-chief to the east, the room of the publisher fronts on Madison street, and in size and finish compares with the other. The color scheme for the walls is blue, the room has the same mosaic floor and the same quarter-sawed mahogany wainscoting. The furnishings are of the same general pattern and the room itself is only slightly smaller. As a whole it is in strict keeping with the general character of the building.
Next to the publisher is the room for the city circulator, from which is controlled the whole circulating machinery of The Tribune, including the stables for sixty-eight horses, the thirty-eight wagons for the daily deliveries, and the fifty-six wagons necessary for the delivery of each Sunday issue. And here are received and filled the 4,200 orders from city dealers in papers——3,500 of these orders received a week in advance through the wagon drivers and 600 of them coming over the counters of the department. The room is oak finish, having a space railed off at the entrance with reference files of the paper at hand, and with a glass and oak room for the city circulator in an opposite corner. The light is from a central chandelier and taken to the desks as needs dictate.
Next to the circulator is the room of the auditor, in which every cent of income and outgo is recorded in the business of the paper. Ten cents paid by newsboy for an armful of papers to be sold in the street is recorded as carefully as are the receipts from a page “ad” contract for a whole year. There is an entrance way railed off and beyond are the desks of the accountants, made of oak, and giving place to twenty persons. The room has an ante-room for the head of the department, and a vault and a file room open off it. There are wash basins and the flow of artesian water for drinking that is in every other department of the paper.
The rooms of the country circulator complete the quarters that have been assigned to the third floor. There are three rooms in the suite, oak finished, and receiving light from the inner court. One room is devoted to the office of the circulator, the central room in the suite is set aside for the accountants, and the third is the “gallery”-room, where the addresses of out-of-town newsdealers, of subscribers as individuals, and the records of wagon orders are kept in type. From these galleys proofs are taken on sheets of yellow paper, they are cut into single addresses, the number of the copies ordered is put on a slip and in the mailing balconies in the basement, these papers are wrapped, the yellow slips are pasted on, and, according to the routing as planned in the circulator’s department, the papers are sent to their destinations at a great saving of labor to the postal service.
In the gallery-room of the country circulator’s department the machinery necessary is a modern proof press, and an “addressograph” machine , which may be “loaded” with a band of metal addresses hinged into a loop after the manner of a bicycle chain, and which thereafter may be run through the machine, stamping addresses on envelopes or cards at the rate of a hundred a minute.
From the time that the figs are fed into the pulp machines at Thorold, Ontario, until the newsboy receives his bundle of Tribunes, the newsprint may have been touched by human hands only four or five times.
Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1902
As a pioneer in the introduction of high speed newspaper presses into Chicago, The Tribune goes back many years. In the last ten years it made two records in that line—the first in 1893, when the needs of the pressrooms caused The Tribune to order and put into operation the first sextuple press presses ever seen in the city. These machines from the Walter Scott shops were wonders in their day, but their day has gone with The Tribune’s necessities for something more rapid, and the second innovation has come with the installation of R. Hoe’s double quadruple combination octuple presses in the basement in the new building.
Today The Tribune has the greatest battery of octuple presses ever put into a newspaper office. Six of these monster octuple presses, with a color press larger than any of them, are capable of printing, inserting, and folding 828,000 sixteen page papers in an hour. These presses are the largest of their kind. Each of the black octuple machine is made of two quadruple presses, both of which are complete and independent machines capable of running singly or being geared together into one machine, each double machine capable of printing 96,000 eight page papers in one hour.
Perhaps to the lay reader the capacity of these combined presses in turning out 328,000 eight page papers in an hour does not present them in their colossal whole as would the measurements of the machines themselves. Placed end to end, counting no passageway between them, these seven presses would stretch for a total length of 210 feet, would lie eight feet wide, and average thirteen feet, four inches high. Their combined weight is 1,168,180 pounds, and more than 180,000 separate pieces go into their makeup. To run the full battery of presses at working speed requires a total of 600 horse power.
It was on Dec. 10, 1900, that The Tribune placed the first order for these quadruple combination octuple presses. Three machines were ordered at that time. The first one was shipped on Aug. 16, 1901; the second on Sept. 20, 1901; and the third on Nov. 4, 1901. A fourth press was ordered on March 14, 1901, and was shipped on Jan. 15, 1902. The fifth and sixth machines were ordered on Dec. 19, 1901. The color press was ordered on Aug. 7, 1900, and was shipped on May 27, 1901.
In reality, each of these black octuple presses is made up of two complete quadruple presses. Instead of piling one quadruple press upon the other, however, the two presses have been placed end to end, with the four folders in the center.
Placing these two machines on the same level gives a great advantage to pressmen. There is less necessity for climbing for adjustments and the men are less timid about working in the great webs of machinery than they would be if one of these presses, operating independently, was thundering above or below them.
For each pf these quadruple presses may be operated as an individual press. By slipping a gear in and out, without going into the pit, the pressman may combine the two machines or operate them independently. Especially is this independent operation desirable in equipping the quadruple machines with the stereotype plates, and in thus equipping them each is given its own slow motion. When all the plates are bolted to place the gear which combines them into octuple press is slipped in and the machines operate as one.
When running at full speed as an octuple press the four deliveries of folded and counted papers are made in the center, where the two quadruple presses come together. With these folders on the floor there is no climbing for adjustments, as if the folders were put one above another. The deliveries are tapeless and are raised somewhat higher than the floor to make the taking up of folded papers easier.
With these deliveries in the center, too, it gives us all four webs the shortest possible run of paper through the press and folder. Only two rolls of paper may be hoisted to a limited distance and provision is made for starting each double press with eight rolls up ready for printing. The folding cylinders are equipped with an adjustable folding device and sections of the printed paper are collected by a collecting cylinder or by a transverse collector for odd products.
The last two double quadrup’s combination octuple presses made for The Tribune differ from the first four machines ordered in that each of them has an extra color cylinder attachment at each end for printing an extra color. These two presses also have double column late news devices, with two fudge cylinders, giving to one or two columns, or portions of one column, any color desired.
Any of these six octuple presses may be run as two quadruple presses, as a sextuple, or as an octuple press, at the will of the pressman. Each press will take on eight rolls of paper, so that when a roll is consumed another is ready to drop in its place.
Each of these black presses weighs 158,000 pounds and is made up of 25,000 separate pieces. Each machine is 30 feet long, 8 feet wide over the bed plate, and is 13 feet 4 inches high, requiring seventy-five horse power to start it at working speed.
For the capabilities of these presses in folded and counted papers, each double press running as an octuple, the speed is:
WHEN RUNNING AS A BLACK PRESS ONLY
96,000—4, 6, or 8 papers, all inserted.
72,000—10 page papers, all inserted.
60,000—12 page papers, all inserted (48,000 inserted, 12,000 collected).
48,000—16 page printers, collected.
48,000—12, 14, or 16 page papers, all inserted.
24,000—18 or 20 page papers, all inserted.
24,000—20,24, or 28 page papers, collected.
WHEN RUNNING AS A COLOR PRESS ONLY
96,000—4 page papers, with all pages in two colors.
48,000—6 or 8 page papers, all inset, with all the pages in two colors.
48,000—10 page papers, all inset with the first and last and pages 2 and 9 in two colors, all the rest in black.
48,000—12 page papers, all inset with the first and last and pages 2 and 1 in two colors, all the rest in black.
24,000—14, 16, 18, or 20 page papers, all inset, with the first and last and the two pages which back them up in two colors; all the rest in black only.
24,000—20, 24, or 28 page papers, collected, composed of two 10, 12, and 14 page sections laid on each other, with the cover pages of both sections and the pages which back them up in two colors; all the rest in black.
24,000—12 or 16 page papers, collected, with all the pages in two colors.
The color press is the giant of the plant, measuring 36 feet long, 8 feet 7 inches wide, and 12 feet 8 inches high. Its weight is 220,180 pounds. It has 30,000 separate pieces in its makeup, and requires seventy-five horsepower to drive it. It has nine pairs of color cylinders and incidental to the machine itself is a plate-curving machine, with saddle and finishing block, for curving the electrotype plates to fit the cylinders; a complete electrotype plant for making those electrotype plates; a hovel sawing machine; and a double page curved router.
This color press is the latest design from the Hoe factories. Technically, it is a double width, nine cylinder, multi-color electrotype web perfecting press, arranged to run from one or two double width rolls, and is equipped with offset rolls. The folding and cutting cylinders are milled, and the folded papers are served from a high delivery. Papers may be printed either seven or eight columns wide, and when running from one roll the web will be printed in black and four colors on the top side and in black and one color on the inside. With the paper running from two rolls the upper web will be printed in black and three colors on the outside and in black only on the inside. The lower roll will print in black only on both sides.
The capacities of this great press in one hour are as follows:
RUNNING ONE ROLL OF PAPER IT WILL PRINT:
24,000, 36,000, or 44,000—Four page papers, the cover pages in five colors and the inside pages in two colors
12,000, 18,000, or 22,000—Four, six, or eight page papers with the cover and center pages in five colors, all the rest in two colors
6,000, 9,000, or 11,000—Twelve or sixteen pages, composed of two six or eight page sections, laid on each other, and delivered folded together to half page size.
RUNNING TWO ROLLS OF PAPER IT WILL PRINT:
24,000, 36,000, or 44,000—4, 6, or 8 page papers, with the cover pages in four colors; all the rest black.
12,000, 18,000, 22,000—8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 pages all inset, with the cover and center pages in four colors; all the rest black.
6,000, 9,000, 11,000—16, 20, 24, or 28 page papers, collected, composed of two 8, 10, 12, or 14 pagesections laid on each other and delivered folded to half-page size, with the outside and center pages of both sections in four colors; all the rest black.
DISTRIBUTING FEWER COLORS, WILL PRINT:
24,000 to 40,000—8 page papers, all inserted, with the cover pages in three colors and black, and with two colors and black on pages three and six; all the rest in black only.
12,000 to 20,000—8, 10, 12, 14, znd 16 page papers, inserted with the first and last, and two center pages in three colors and black; also four other, inside pages in two colors and black; all the rest in black only.
12,000 to 20,000—16 pages, collected, composed of two eight page sections laid on each other and delivered folded together to half-page size, with the first and last pages of each section in three colors and black, as well as the third and sixth page of each section in two colors and black; all the rest in black only.
6,000 to 12,000—16, 20, and 24 pages, collected, composed of two 8, 10, or 12 page sections laid on each other and folded together to half page size, with the first and last and two center pages of each section in three colors and black; also four other inside pages of each section to two colors and black; all the rest in black only.
WHEN RUNNING MUSIC SHEETS, WITH THE PAPER IT WILL PRINT.
24,000 to 40,000—4 page papers, with the first and last page in three colors and black, the other two in black only, with four page music sheet added, cover page of which will be two colors and black; the other two pages in black only.
12,000 to 20,000—8 page papers, with the first, last and center pages in three colors and black; a four page music sheet added, with the cover in three or two colors and black; the other two pages in black only.
These are some of the accomplishments of this great color press. For nearly a year its work has been demonstrated in the pages of The Sunday Tribune. The time may come when the great machine will have to be discarded as too slow, as was the old Washington hand press of fifty years ago. But for the present the multicolor perfecting press is the wonder of this age of printing.
Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1902
These presses can print 72,000 thirty-two page papers, per hour, or 36,000 sixty-four page papers, or intervening sizes at the proportionate rates. As the folded papers are dropped from the presses they are seized by a peculiar coiled wire conveyer, and flow up in a snaky stream through the ceiling to be deposited on tables in the mailing room. Here an elaborate system of wide belt convevors runs under the tables carrying bundles to chutes, the ends of which are in waiting trucks and wagons.
As the changes of half a century, no more than the old practical printer and pressman can appreciate all that this evolution means. It has turned 10,000 compositors from the case to seek other means of livelihood. But where it has destroyed the occupation of half a dozen compositors, it has made a pressman necessarily of such skill as to draw good wages; it has left one machine compositor; machinists for presses and for machines have been made necessary;stereotypers, etchers, electricians, and all the myriad workers who contribute directly and indirectly to the modern newspaper have grown up since that first issue of The Tribune, until from one of the simplest of business ventures The Tribune of today is representative of one of the most complex modern institutions.
When the first copy of The Tribune was printed it represented the maximum of physical labor in the work. From a pile of sheets, out to a small, six column measure of the paper, the pressman, having a single sheet on the upright mat of the press, dropped the mat down on the double forms, turned a crank, which rolled the forms and paper on to the bed of the press, when, reaching far over, he seized a great lever and, with a heavy pull, brought an iron square down upon the mat, forcing the impress of the linked type into the paper. Then the pressure on the lever was released, the crank was wheeled backward, moving the forms, sheet, and mat from under the press; the mat was lifted out of the way, the sheet, printed on one side only, was pulled off the forms and laid to one side, and after the “devil” had run a two handed ink roller over the type again the pressman made another sheet ready.
Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1902
To start The Tribune’s gigantic color press to printing a twelve-page colored insert that is up to the standard costs fifteen hours of hard work on the part of the press crew, even after the electrotypers have delivered to the pressroom the necessary fifty-six plates for the work.
In the adjustment of the color impressions and the proper registering of the plate, 3,500 copies pf the twelve-page insert will be spoiled, and before Sunday’s “run” is off 3,500 more copies will be thrown out as waste, representing a 1,500-pound roll of white paper; besides all the inks that have gone to waste in the process.
And when more than a working day has been spent in adjusting the great machine to the work of color printing, the six other days are necessary in order to print the color sheets for just one issue of The Sunday Tribune.
These are statements designed to call attention of the reader to the effort necessary to make the color pages of The Sunday Tribune. From the artist’s point of view, the pages have been drawn, colored, and finished; the “color” men have put the picture in composite shape upon the yellow, red, blue, and the black “key” plates; the electrotypers have made from these the full complement of fifty-six electrotype plates, and have sent them, flat, to the pressroom, where the giant press is waiting.
And all this has been scarcely more than preliminary.
For, in the first place, every electrotyped plate is as flat as a billiard table, when every one of them needs to be in a perfect half circle before they can go to place on the press. Necessarily they have to be bent, and in order to bend them nearly all the redundant metal which the etchers routed out from the original etched plates had been replaced in the castings by the electrotypers. This, because if the electrotyped plates were not of uniform thickness the bending machine, operated by electric power, could never bend the plate to a true half circle. And, once bent, all the routing has to be done in the pressroom, just as carefully as it was done in the etching-room, and there are nearly ten times as many plates to “rout.” Not only are these plates to be routed, but they need to be beveled in order to be fastened to the cylinders, and for each of these fifty-six plates an average of fifteen minutes is spent preparing them for a first adjustment to the cylinders.
oThe full capacity of this great press is seventy-two plates, but the fifty-six are necessary to a twelve-page color supplement. For this size color paper eight double-length cylinders and one single length cylinder are covered with the electrotype plates, adjusted with all the nicety that is possible to machine work. This gives in effect nine presses, each distributing its color upon the paper that passes between plate cylinder and its opposite roller, the tympan cylinder.
This tympan cylinder is as unlike the cylinder that turns opposite a black press cylinder as is possible for it to be. Instead of the cylinder being blanketed and presenting a softy cushion-like roll, as in the black press, the tympan cylinder is as hard as a steel roll, with two coats pof dense tough paper wrapped around it, can make it. Each plate cylinder on the color press has its imposing tympan cylinder, so geared as to turn with the plate cylinder and keep the paper pressed always evenly against the cylinders’ plates.
But when the cylinders’ plates are first put on it is impossible that a tympan cylinder can keep the paper closely and evenly to the printing cylinder. When the first printed, cut, and folded supplements are run from the press at one-fourth speed, a reader of the Sunday paper would scarcely find enough shape and design in them to be able to recognize the finished paper of fifteen hours later. In the electrotyping and bending of the plates and in their bolting to the cylinders, all manner of high spots, low spots, and misadjustments as to registering the the several imprints have been brought about. A yellow spot that should have come just under a blue spot on another cylinder in order to effect the intended green may be so low on its plate as not be touched by the blue or it may be half an inch out of place, mingling with a red instead of blue.
When the red cylinder plates, for instance, have been bolted on, a strip of paper is first run through the red “press,” giving the impression upon one side of the paper. With several of these impressions on the paper the strip is taken to a lighted table and spread out, a search being made for the low places in the imprint. Some of these spots are so low as to have left the paper white. To bring the electrotype “up” just where these spots occur is the object of the color pressmen, and to do this a representative imprint of a plate is taken and the sheet cut close to the print margin all around. This leaves it the exact size of the curved surface of the plate.
Then, holding this sheet, print upward and at an upward angle to the light, the color man looks under the sheet and through it, finding the low places by the impress of the high spots which send a sharp indentation through the sheet. Turning the sheet printed side up, the judgement of the adjuster tells him how many “underlays” will be needed to bring the low place up. With a soft pencil he traces a line all round the spot, reaching almost to that portion of the plate that is printed strong enough. Within this inclosed, irregular space he draws a second line, less irregular, and in the center he may draw another line that forms almost a circle.
Chicago Tribune Comics Supplement
November 16, 1902
Then first he cuts a piece of paper of the shape of the last figure and pastes it firmly over the inclosed space. A second sheet is cut to the figure of the next largest space and pasted on, and finally a third sheet is cut to the first outlines and pasted over the other two patches. Just in this way every portion of the print is gone over and under layed. One depression may be so small that a single thin sheet may raise it; another may require the limit of three sheets; still another may take the three sheets and still force the pressman to raise the covering of the tympan cylinder in order to meet it.
But when this pasted sheet has been made, the plate from which it was printed is taken off the cylinder, turned upside down, and the sheet of paper pasted under it in just the order of the print. Every plate on the press is treated in this manner, and when they have been bolted back to place they are still mere blotch-makers upon white paper.
For, first of all, they do not “register.” If it be designed that a double Cupid’s bow of red shall bne left upon the lips of a Gibson girl, it is not at all unlikely that when the even surface of the plate is accomplished, the red bow may possibly come squarely across the young woman’s ear. Thus perfect registration must be accomplished and this is done only by “threading” the press from the great 1,500-pound roll of paper behind and starting the whole press at a test speed. Slipping one plate to right, another to left, wedging and adjusting, according to long practice and training, every plate of the fifty-six is made to make its impress with reference to all the others in its scheme. And when this has been done, there is the color to be adjusted.
This color tempering is one of the most difficult of the processes. In the first place colored inks cannot be uniform. One lot of reds necessarily will vary in shade from another lot, just as they will vary in fluidity. In the distribution of color to each plate cylinder, nine rolls are in conjunction between the steel blade under the fountain from which the first roll takes its ink. This blade and fountain stretches the full length of each cylinder, and thumbscrews at intervals of two inches regulate the flow of ink to the blade from which the first roll in the set takes up the color.
It may be that this ink is so much thinner or thicker than the last that every thumbscrew will have to be turned out or in. Or it may be that a variation in the hardness or softness of a certain paper will force this change. Inks, indeed, may have to be thickened before they will work. And under all circumstances each touch of color that falls upon the paper must be just so light or so heavy as ti mis with the complementary spot that shall be left upon it or near it from the other cylinders in the series. A full width cylinder, carrying eight plates, four on each side of its diametric center, requires an ink fountain holding 200 pounds of ink.
In printing the eight-page magazine section and the comic supplement of The Sunday Tribune the eight pages of the magazine are threaded through the press from the double roll of paper at the bottom of the rear end of the press, rising and back on another level, then up again, and forward through another maze of rolls, then up to the splitting knife and down to where the folders reach for the four pages of the comic supplement which has fed up into it from a hair roll, the two-color insert of the magazine has been inserted between the first and eighth pages in four colorsw, and the comic supplement of four pages in colors has been laid upon the other and the two sections made into one by a fold across the middle of the pages are dropped in counted piles, ready for the electric carriers.
Under full speed this great combination color press sends papers through the cylinders at the rate of 800 feet per minute, or more than nine miles an hour. This is a good speed for a driving-horse to maintain for an hour, drawing a light vehicle over a good road.
A source of loss that comes from color printing is the waste of paper and of ink that comes from each stop of the press. The flow of inks cannot be stopped for the occasion and as occasion forces the stopping of the press, the spoiled papers from all causes are are loaded into a truck and kept till the end of the week’s run. Then this waste is weighed and the total number of pounds divided by five to give the total number of twelve page supplements short. Then the papers—which have been estimated at 8,000 in each 1,000 pound roll—are printed, five to each pound of waste, to make good the shortage.
In all this distribution of various colored inks over an intricate system of cylinders, the tympan cylinders which hold the paper to the printing surfaces have to be guarded from smearing. Fior this purpose, just before each of them a roller of soft, almost push-like, substance revolves in a trough of oil, and then rubs its surface against the revolving typman. In this way the typmans are kept free from clogging, as the inks will not stick to these oil-touched surfaces.
As to the press in general, it is designed to run without a stop, if desired, for there is not a bearing in the whole machine which cannot be reached by an oiler while the press is at full speed.
Chicago Tribune Building III
Southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison Streets
Chicago Directory Map
Chicago Tribune Building III
Sanborn Fire Map
Tribune Building III
Southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison Streets
Chicago Tribune, December 26, 1920
HERE is a drawing of The Tribune’s new Plant at Austin (Hubbard Street) and Michigan avenues (location of the current Tribune Tower), with the north wall torn off to reveal the interior. Crowding practically all the activities of this great plant into one drawing gives an unwarranted impression of congestion. Although well filled it is spacious and airy.
In past generations the practice was to construct a building and fill it with machinery, offices, stores, etc. The best modern practice is to design machinery, layout various departments with regard to their relation to each other, and then construct walls around the whole. This has been done in The Tnbune Plant, but with special consideration for factors of health and comfort.
Many windows and high ceilings are supplemented by an extraordinary system of artificial ventilation and by floods of artificial light. Good health and better workmanship are assured by this wealth of light and pure air.
Contrary to ancient newspaper custom, the presses are not in the basement, but on the first floor in a long, high ceilinged room with windows extending its entire length. The presses are only eight feet high, with ample clearance in all directions so that pressmen need no longer clamber in and out through swiftly moving machinery. In addition there are more safety devices than were ever known before, enablIng the pressmen to work with an absolute minimum of danger and to stop the machinery at any place at any time.
A special switch track hrings freight cars of paper (loaded inside The Tribune‘s mill at Thorold, Ontario) to the very door of The Plant, the basement of which is used for paper storage. As the rolls are needed. they are placed on reels it the basement, from which the paper feeds to the presses on the floor above. There are 25 reels, each holding three rolls. As a roll is exhausted a button is pushed, the reel revolves. another roll comes into position and begins feeding the press without a stop in the printing.
On Sunday, November 21, 1920, the editorial, circulation, and mechanical departments of The Chicago Tribune were moved from the historic, old Tribune Building at Madison and Dearborn streets, to the new Tribune plant at Austin (Hubbard) and Michigan avenues. The Sunday issue of 760,000 copies, and the Monday paper, 450,000 copies came out—as usual.
Up to six o’clock Sunday morning, The Tribune was prepared to issue extra from the old building; by nine o’clock Sunday night all departments were functioning fully in their new new home.
Looking from Michigan Boulevard toward The Tribune’s Manufacturing Plant.
Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1920
THE NEW PLANT at Michigan and Austin avenues (location of the current Tribune Tower) is not large enough to hold th entire Tribune force. Rotogravure and color sections of The Sunday Tribune are printed on their own presses in a specially constructed building on Ontario street near the lake. There are great barns and garages which house more than one hundred delivery vehicles. There is a warehouse full of paper. And The Tribune Building at Madison and Dearborn streets still throbs with Tribune activities.
The presses in the basement at Madison and Dearborn are still in use to supplement those at The Plant. The want ad office remains in the location which has proven so convenient and serviceable for the public. An assistant city editor is st1.tioned in this office as a link between the editorial department and the loop.
In addition to the big space on the street level and scattered offices on upper floors, the advertising department fills the entire fifth floor. The accounting departments occupy the sixth floor.
The advertising department of The Tribune is a unique and highly specialized organization built to render the utmost service to advertisers. For instance, The Tribune several years ago began preaching that manufacturers should not advertise in advance of distribution. The policy of attempting to force the public to force dealers to stock goods was held to be fundamentally unsound. The Tribune, on the other hand, advocated that dealers be persuaded to stock goods because they would be advertised by the maker.
The Tribune has expended hunareas of thousand of dollars to smooth the path of the advertiser seeking to obtain distribution in line with this policy.
THE TRIBUNE’S advertising department analyzed Chicago into 48 lOgical sales districts. A card catalogue of the dealers in each often lines in each of these 48 districts has been compiled and is kept up to date. There are thus available for the u e of manufacturers’ salesmep 480 lists of retailers, each in route order, and each for a district with definite, known characteristics.
For seven years the advertising department of The Tribune has published The Co-Operator, a monthly trade journal circulated among 15,000 Chicago retailers. From the standpoint of circulation or from the standpoint of the editorial material it contains, this is the leading pUblication in its field. Its object is to educate retailers to an appreciation of the service rendered to them by the advertising of manufacturers.
Members of the Business Survey have investigated actual conditions in the Chicago market concerning the sale of. hundreds of products. During recent months these investigations have dealt with antiseptics. baking powder, chocolate bars, hairnets, honey, nail polish. pancake /lour. oil. soap, sardines and spark plugs. Tribune salesmen of national advertising are picked from the force which makes these investigations. They are therefore men who have been in close touch with market conditions.
When Tribune advertising is relied upon to create a demand for a new product in the Chicago market a Tribune service man is assigned as advisory sales manager. He assists in organizing the sales crew, drills the salesmen in the use of advertising to secure orders, routes them through the various districts, checks up on the daily progress made and co-operates in overcoming the merchandising difficulties which invariably develop.
Tribune solicitors of national advertising are fitted by this foundatiolYof practical experience to counsel with the manufacturer and to see his sales problems from his angle. They need not talk vaguely of the marvelous powers of advertising, nor bewilder him with statistics of circulation and
agate lines. They know what can be done to sell his goods, how to do it, and what it will cost.
WHEN THE TRIBUNE Building pictured above was opened, there were only seven persons in the advertising department. Today there are 236. These are distributed among the following departments:
—Autos, Trucks and Accesories-National Advertising (with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris, as well as Chicago)
—Financial and Real Estate-Schools
—Hotels and Resorts Amusements
—Copy and Art.
In each of these departments are experts competent to assist advertisers in making most profitable use of Chicago Tribune prestige and Chicago Tribune Circulation of 450,000 DaIly and 800,000 Sunday.
October 16, 1901
Chicago Tribune Building III
May 26, 1907
Chicago Tribune, April 4, 1998
Chicago Tribune, August 31, 2000
‘Tallest’ building declared a no-go
The controversial skyscraper that would have been the world’s tallest was declared dead Wednesday when Chicago’s top planning officials said financing for the project has failed to materialize.
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