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So Where Did The Name Fudge Funnies Come From?


Back in the days when newspapers and print shops used linotype machines to set type, printers physically placed lines of type into an open metal frame that looked much like today's picture frames, only much heavier. The frame held columns of heavy lead type in place by means of spring locks attached at each of the frame's four corners. If the type fit properly and was locked in securely, two printers could lift the assembled page and carry it to the press. On the other hand, if the fit were improper or the lock insecure, lines and lines of two-inch slugs of type spewed all over the floor.



Cascading lines of type across a print shop floor was considered bad form and seldom happened.



Editors and writers cared little about whether or not type locked snuggly into a frame. That was the print department's worry. Writer's wrote stories and news broke whenever it broke, sometimes even as printers busied themselves filling up a frame. Still, printers soon tired of hassling with the writers and devised a smaller frame that could fit inside the larger one, usually at the top of the front page. They kept this smaller frame open for late-breaking news.



The frame-within-a-frame posed one maddening problem. It was small, one size and one size only. Whatever copy went inside the frame had to fit--period, no exceptions. The writer wrote, and the linotype operator set the type. If it didn't fit the small frame, back it went for rewrite. And it kept going back until it did fit.



Printers called this small box a fudge box, or more commonly, a fudge.



Long before the invention of linotype machines, some newspapers printed a single non-news or feature page: poems, sayings, jokes, occasional drawings, odd facts, weather predictions from an almanac, etc. Insiders commonly referred to this as a funny page or the funnies. After William Randolph Hearst introduced the first comic strip the Yellow Kid, other newspapers quickly followed suit. The Sunday Funnies soon became a household phrase.



Although this is a site about fabric and sewing, it seemed appropriate that as we talk mostly about the history of sewing, we should include a little bit of the history of the blogs humble beginnings.