This issue marks the centenary of Barron’s, and it shocks me to realize that my time in financial journalism covers a majority of that span, if only barely. It was almost exactly 51 years ago that I was hired by the
New York Times
financial section as what was called in those less-enlightened days a copy boy. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would become a witness to economic and financial history.
Part of that was the technology that changed so much of the U.S. economy. I vividly recall the newsroom of that era; it was much like those you’ve seen in countless movies, with rows of desks and typewriters (and bottles in reporters’ drawers). Less familiar was the composing room, where molten lead from linotypes would progress in various steps to the dark, satanic mills, to lift a phrase from the poet William Blake, where the presses ran. Except for actually printing…