My attention was called recently to a new source of effective cuts which can be obtained free of charge for use in our handbill and newspaper advertising. Our local weekly newspaper here has a mat service which is paid for monthly. Each month or two this service company furnishes the printer with a large, newspaper-size booklet which contains printed illustrations made from these mats.
These mats, for the most part, are illustrations of ordinary commercial items, such as shoes, groceries, and hardware articles. However, interspersed with these pictures are a number of illustrations which, with a little imagination, can be used to set people thinking when printed in our advertising.
I have checked through all the cuts, and among the usable mats I found those picturing the following diverse ideas : Uncle Sam holding a bulletin board on which a subject could be printed; a sea battle; Liberty Bell and church with colonial soldiers (usable in religious freedom) ; four Americans saluting the flag ; a great tank and plane battle ; a soldier, a sailor, and their mother, who is holding a platter of tempting food (usable in a health lecture). Unwanted parts of the picture can usually be blocked out.
My initial use of these mats was with the subject, "Will Hitler Hold Europe ?" The mat was a picture of a farmer plowing a field. Overhead his thoughts were pictured in a great tank battle. Above this was printed, "Food Will Win the War." This superscription was cut off the lead casting, and in its place my own wording was inserted : "America Is Wondering." To offset the suspicion that our meetings were Rutherford, I used a small two-colored flag at each top corner of the handbill. The large cut of the farmer cost from six to eight dollars ; yet the mat was furnished free to me in connection with my printing.
On the back of this handbill I used a mat picture of a minister behind a pulpit with the open Bible before him. This illustration was captioned, "America Back to God !" giving dignity to the gospel appeal. I find it effective to use a colored ink, instead of black, for printing both the cut and the text
This newspaper has given me the mats on these illustrations and a number of others which can be used free of charge any time I choose. Such mat service is in use by most newspapers, and I presume it would be available to any of our workers who are willing to make a friendly contact with the printers. This is best done, of course, in connection with any printing work you might give them. Inasmuch as they receive a new sheaf of these mats every month or two, our workers should be able to obtain their old ones for permanent use.
If arrangements cannot be made with your newspaper, you may buy these mats direct at low cost from the Stanton Advertising Service, 369 Lexington Avenue, New York City ; or from the Western Newspaper Union, 1343 H Street, Washington, D. C. Each mat is numbered and dated. The one used here is S. N. S. 395-2-43 MF4 (the 2-43 meaning February, 1943 ).
In regard to the cost of the mat of the farmer, it was ordered by the printer here as an additional mat. He told me that they were allowed so many extra mats each year, so were not charged for this one. He estimated the cost of the mat at about twenty-five cents. (The cost of the cut itself, as made for the Ministry, was $1.87.—Editor.)
These monthly mat sheets come in a newspaper-size booklet. It appears to me that practically all the ones usable for our purpose come in the first few sheets, since the rest of the sheets are given to small mats for commercial items. If a conference could arrange with the mat company to get the first few sheets at a nominal cost, this would be of definite help to our workers. The conference could then order the extra mats thought suitable each month. It takes but a few minutes to scan a month's set of mats. I have checked over past months, and as far back as a year or two, and have a long list of new ones. Some of these are quite striking.
Some of these mats come in two sizes. They can usually be cut down to the size wanted. The sizes range from 6" x 8" to 2" x 4" with the various dimensions in between. As the mats wear out after a few castings, a worker could pay the printer for the thin lead casting, and have it mounted on a block to extend the life of the cut. There is certainly a great opportunity for use of these free mats in our advertising that is quite out of the ordinary in this field.