John Vining looks back on the press

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

As a kid the old building fascinated John Vining, grandson of Tryon Daily Bulletin’s founder Seth Vining, Sr. He remembers the old barbershop chairs downstairs and all the celebrity pictures such as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Henry Fonda glued to the walls. 

John Vining

“There was a wooden sign that read ‘showers fifty cents,’” Vining said. People could go down there and get a shower and a hair cut.”

Vining said in his father’s (Seth Vining, Jr.) day, the paper switched from the old lead type press to an offset press. This meant they no longer had to send photos to
Spartanburg to be imprinted on a metal block. The offset press also allowed them to run more pages.

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“With the offset press they could run many more photos,” Vining said. “It was much quicker and easier.”

Though as a youngster, Vining realized he was more interested in a career in horticulture than running a newspaper, he did help out occasionally when he was young. On the large papers, Vining and his brothers would help with inserting the ads that had to be done by hand. They would also help some with deliveries during Christmas time and sold ads occasionally.

“During Christmas time the newsboys who delivered the papers would pull around little red wagons because the subscribers gave them gifts to take home. It was during my father’s time as publisher they switched to delivery through the mail.”

The time Vining spent at the office is full of memories, such as seeing old copies of the paper in his grandfather’s desk. “It was originally much smaller, about the size of a ‘Reader’s Digest,’” he said. “I remember seeing copies printed in colored ink like blue, red or gold.”

Vining explained that these copies were printed during WWI when ink was hard to get. It was also during WWI, when supplies were so limited, the paper changed from being printed six days a week to five.

Another memory from the days of the old lead type press include when some letters broke off from the masthead. Vining said the pressmen didn’t realize there were several copies where the “e,” “t,” “i,” and the “n” had broken off.

“About 100 copies came out, ‘the Tyron Daily Bull,’” he said. “I wish we had one of those copies today.”

Vining described his grandfather as a kind of “neat individual.” “I can remember as young kid, he [Seth Vining, Sr.] would call us by our full name,” he said. “He would call me John Hamilton.”

“Grandfather was a master at working people for information,” he continued. “When he visited businesses, he would always ask people what was going on and it would show up in the paper the next day.” •