Technology: Jan DeLap

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Technology: Jan DeLap


In this video Jan DeLap reflects on the changes to the industry and how it affected Deaf printers.


Zilvinas Paludnevicius


Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center Collection




This Item has been made available for educational and research purposes by the Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center at Gallaudet University. This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You may need to obtain permission for your intended use if your use is otherwise not permitted by the copyright and applicable related rights legislation. For specific information about the copyright and reproduction rights for this Item, please contact the Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center:


American Sign Language

Moving Image Item Type Metadata

Video Description

A video featuring an ASL interview with Jan DeLap, an older white woman seated in a darkened studio.


Jan DeLap: Technology changes. It changed. When I entered printing it was hot metal lead processing. It was cool because it was recycled, we melted the lead and then then made new pigs with it, hung the pigs to use, which were melted. It was recycled, it was cool. It was hot and smelly, it was lead after all. In the air so I’m sure some of the printers have lung problems from all the lead in the air but there hadn’t been any research on it. Then they started paper type, well, film. Made film. Take a picture which would go to a developer and you had the film ready. You no longer had a frame full of heavy metal make up. Now it was a thin sheet of paper. And your ads were ready. You cut them out and put them through a wax machine. And pasted it. And that was it. Before you had to make the border, organize everything, cut out the ads now, you didn’t need to do any of that. It was ready. The ad makers were upstairs, on a different floor, they would type up everything. And that would become a picture, became film. So I saw that change. And then everything became more and more digital. You could send everything anywhere. It’s not the same you know, that’s change. And they didn’t “need” printers. They could bypass printers. Reporters didn't know how to do hot lead or linotype. They didn't know how. Now, they just typed their stories on the computers, laid out the columns and sent it to the printing press. Luckily we had, thanks to the union, a lifetime job guarantee. After one big contract negotiation, oh it was a lively debate. The company wanted to remove the printing machines and replace them with new ones. The union refused “those are our machines.” If they took the machines our jobs would be gone. They went back and forth on it. So they promised us a lifetime job guarantee, they would not well if they had a good cause to fire you they could fire you, but could not lay you off, or let you go. But there was a clear reduction in lead work. Paper became more common. And some of us started to sit back and do nothing. That was because one person could do the job of three to four people.




Zilvinas Paludnevicius, “Technology: Jan DeLap,” DeafPrinters, accessed May 19, 2024,

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