“‘Here, take this. Wish you good luck!’
“Al handed the clerk the order and got his thousand papers at once. He hired another ‘newsie’ to help him down to the station with them. Long after this, he told the rest of the story:
“’At Utica, the first station, twelve miles out of Detroit, I usually sold two papers at five cents each. As we came up I put my head out and thought I saw an excursion party. The people caught sight of me and commenced to shout. Then it began to occur to me that they wanted papers. I rushed back into the car, grabbed an armful, and sold forty there.
“’Mt. Clemens was the next stop. When that station came in sight, I thought there was a riot. The platform was crowded with a howling mob, and I realized that they were after news of Shiloh, so I raised the price to ten cents, and sold a hundred and fifty where I never had got rid of more than a dozen.
“’At other stations these scenes were repeated, but the climax came when we got to Port Huron. I had to jump off the train about a quarter of a mile from the station which was situated out of town. I had paid a big Dutch boy to haul several loads of sand to that point, and the engineers knew I was going to jump so they slowed down a bit. Still, I was quite an expert on the jump. I heaved off my bundle of papers and landed all right. As usual, the Dutch boy met me and we carried the rest of the papers toward the town.
“’We had hardly got half way when we met a crowd hurrying toward the station. I thought I knew what they were after, so I stopped in front of a church where a prayer-meeting was just closing. I raised the price to twenty-five cents and began taking in a young fortune.
“’Almost at the same moment the meeting closed and the people came rushing out. The way the coin materialized made me think the deacons had forgotten to pass the plate in that meeting!’
“In those days they commonly called trainboys ‘Candy Butchers’; the terms ‘Newsies’ and ‘Peanuts’ may have been used then also but were not so common. They are not so common on trains nowadays, except in the West and South, but formerly they were even more of an institution than the water cooler or the old-fashioned winter stove. The station-shouting brakemen were no more familiar or comforting to weary passengers than the ‘candy butchers’ and their welcome stock.”
Paul Pry on wheels
“With all he had to do, young Edison found that he had time on his hands which he might yet put to good use. One would think being ’candy butcher’ and newsboy from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M., and making from $10.00 to $12.00 a day might satisfy the boy’s cravings. But contentment wasn’t one of Al Edison’s numerous virtues.
“He did not know it, but he was following the footsteps of that other great American inventor, Benjamin Franklin, as a printer, editor, proprietor and publisher. In one of the stores where he stocked up with books, magazines and stationery for his train, there was an old printing press which the dealer, Mr. Roys, had taken for a debt. Mr. Roys once told the little story of that press: