• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Smith looking for new home for old machine

Terry Smith has an old sign machine he’d like to give to a good home … or business … or museum – one that he began to use as a child in his dad’s five and dime store. “My father would say, ‘I sure hope you can spell,’” Smith said, laughing. The device, which comes with letters and words, was originally in the predecessors to what became Terry’s 5 and 10 Cent Store. “We used that sign machine to make signs with sign holders, posterboard-type stuff for 50 years,” Smith, the longtime owner and operator of Terry’s 5 and 10 Cent Store. Most of the signs it produced marked holiday sections or specials – White Sales in January, Sizzling Specials for summer, Back to School for late summer, Smith said. The last time he used the device, which he estimates to weigh about 300 pounds with all the plates, letters, numbers, spacers and words, was around 2000, he said. (It was replaced by a more flexible, less messy computer and printer.) After that, he moved it to the back of his office, and when his store closed in July 2015, he stored it in the basement of his youngest daughter. It needs ink, but still works, he said. “You take the letters and use a mirror – hold the mirror down so when you look in the mirror, you could see what it was going to print,” Smith said. “And then you would have a roller, and you squeeze the tube of ink out, and … you just put your piece of cardboard down and you roll it down and roll it back and it prints it on there. Different colored inks – green for Christmas, brown for Thanksgiving – were part of Smith’s palette, but required frequent roller washes. Smith said he approached the Woodford County Historical Society about accepting the device, but was told they didn’t have room at the time. He’s hoping someone else will. “The worst scenario is just (to) melt the lead,” Smith said. “It’s a history thing. It’s something that you hate to just dispose of, if someone could display it. ”


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