The Wing Mailer

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In June, 1941, as I graduated from Iowa State College, at Ames, I assumed that I was going into the military. I had four years of R.O.T.C. in field artillery and a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

With World War II going on in Europe and the United States rapidly re-arming, I looked forward to joining the Army.

I went to Fort Des Moines to enlist, but failed the physical exam. The Army didn’t like my heart — something called myocardium damage.

Having four years of journalism, I then looked for a job with a newspaper. Two of my journalism teachers had an interest in the Denison Review, a weekly newspaper at Denison, county seat of Crawford County, and the editor of that paper, also a graduate of Iowa State and a reserve officer, had been called into the service.
I was hired as his replacement at $22.50 per week.

On press day, my job was to go down to the press room, and as the papers came off the press, I was to use a mailing machine called a “Wing” mailer, and address all the papers.

The names and addresses of the subscribers were set in linotype slugs into long galleys, and a proof of the names and addresses were printed on paper about three inches wide.

The mailer had a steel sharp blade sticking out, and I assumed that it was called a Wing mailer because it looked like a wing of a bird. I soon learned that it was a Wing mailer because it was patented by a man named Wing.

Now, 74 years later, I am using a Wing mailer at the age of 96. The Express has two of them so that two of us can be addressing papers at the same time.
The company that made the mailer, Chauncey Wing & Sons, is still in business in Massachusetts, and provides the Express with rolls of address paper, paste, and repairs if necessary.

Subscribers names and addresses now come out of a computer on rolls of paper and are fed through the Wing mailer.

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