Scanning Around With Gene: Year End Grab Bag

I generally consider 12 images to be the minimum necessary to constitute a weekly “theme” here at Scanning Around With Gene, though I will admit to applying the word “theme” pretty loosely a couple of times over the years. But mostly I hold certain images until I gather enough to do the topic justice – in many cases I actually end up with quite a few more images than I can (or should) run.

So today, in part because it’s the end of the year and in part because I’m away from much of my material for the holidays, I decided to round up a few orphan topics and loose images in this “grab bag” edition. In some cases I’m sure there will never be enough images to fill out the theme, in others I just don’t think the images merit a whole column, and in a few cases I’ve lost the original image references, so I now consider them orphaned and unlikely to every show up elsewhere. Click on any image for a larger version – this first photo is, I believe, a picture of the world’s largest printed bible, though I’ve lost the caption and can’t remember where this illustrious edition resides or who printed it. But since we’ve seen various versions of the world’s smallest bible, I thought it was a fun image to regard.

Next up is a mini holiday theme – I tried to find enough images of champagne or people toasting to constitute a “New Year’s” theme, but I just couldn’t gather enough artwork. I’ve seen lots of photos of corks popping out of champagne bottles, but they get boring pretty fast, so I wanted to concentrate on the art of the toast. These images from the Library of Congress show various circumstances where someone is toasting another or a group. I love the idea of toasts and always wanted to be the kind of person who can dream up a witty one on the spot. Toasts, as we see from the pictures, can be joyous or even somber occasions. But generally they are, at least, important ones.

I started a collection of “colorful food” images, which mostly consist of photos of Jello recipes, but realized the theme was just a bit too loose to fill up a full column, so I gave up. It’s hard to come up with food-related topics, though vintage pictures of food are one of my favorite things.

I’ve done a number of columns on children’s safety booklets and the sometimes gruesome images they contain. But here are just a few posters designed to help educate kids with a little poetry thrown in for good measure. I particularly like the soap one.

And since I already did a column on astrological images, I didn’t want to repeat all 12 signs again, but came across these great Seventies drawings from some book matches and thought I should share a sampling.

Then a few single images that I just like for various reasons. The first is a logo for the Hill Rubber Company – I love logos that visually look like the company name.

I thought this type, which was likely hand drawn, was cool – I love the way the characters all fit together so well.

This photo of a happy pressman made the cut only because of his great newsprint hat, which was something many pressman at newspapers would make and wear on the job. I’m afraid I’ve lost the source reference for this, but I believe it was a brochure for a rubber-plate-making process.

Also from a brochure for printing equipment comes this photo of a top-of-the-line light table of the kind I lusted after back in the old paste-up days. NuArc was the quality brand in the field and sure beat most of the home-made light tables I worked on over the years.

Here is an image from a bar-b-que cookbook that shows a rather dubious product, Siz, which is a flame-starting foam you spray on the charcoal before lighting. God knows what kind of chemicals it sent into the food, but then in those days we didn’t pay much attention to things like that.

I also love artwork devoted to drinking, and this one is no exception. It shows the various stages of drunkenness, all the way through to coma or death.

And finally just a good character mascot from a recipe booklet utilizing Brazil nuts as the primary ingredient. It’s Kernal Nut of Brazil.

Thanks for indulging me as I clear out these images and clean the slate for a new year.

Posted on: December 28, 2012

Gene Gable

Gene Gable has spent a lifetime in publishing, editing and the graphic arts and is currently a technology consultant and writer. He has spoken at events around the world and has written extensively on graphic design, intellectual-property rights, and publishing production in books and for magazines such as Print, U&lc, ID, Macworld, Graphic Exchange, AGI, and The Seybold Report. Gene's interest in graphic design history and letterpress printing resulted in his popular columns "Heavy Metal Madness" and "Scanning Around with Gene" here on

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