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In the 1950’s, when André Geers hired his first employees, he never could have predicted the future growth of his company. Remi Van Hove and Lucien de Bourderé are inscribed in the annals among the first employees of the printing firm that would later become Graphius. Remi (90) and Lucien (76) could not have expected the organisation and the workforce to increase so extensively.

Sixty years after the day they first set foot in the firm, they paid a visit to the company they thoroughly enjoyed working in. Georges Reynebeau (72), number 6 on the list of employees, was also present.

The guests of honour were shown around by André’s son Emiel Geers and his wife Micheline. Emiel in particular has known the three gentlemen since he was 10 years old, and was happy to be reunited with his father’s employees. They were the ones who taught him the tricks of the trade. André’s grandchildren and the current Graphius managers, Denis and Philippe Geers, also took some time off their schedules to meet the former employees.
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From top left, clockwise: Emiel Geers, Georges Reynebeau, Micheline De Mey, Remi Van Hove, Lucien de Bourderé.
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During the guided tour, Remi came face to face with the Heidelberg Platen again. Today, this is the oldest remaining, but still working machine in the company. During Remi’s era the Heidelberg typo press used to print at a speed of 3,000 paper sheets an hour, and he was amazed to learn that contemporary presses run at an hourly rate of 18,000 while printing both sides of the sheet in full colour.

Not surprisingly the visitors didn’t know where to look first. The size of the production site has changed almost unrecognizably since the end of their time with the company. Even offset printing is new to them, as it has replaced the lead letters of typo printing. The memories were still very fresh, nevertheless. Lucien for example mused about the time when it was a lot of work to print mourning letters, because he had to place the text letter by letter.
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A valuable piece for a fictional Graphius museum: the names of the former employees were listed neatly in the staff register.
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The nostalgic company visit from our former colleagues is a flattering affirmation that retired employees look back on the printing firm with pride. After all, they helped build the media company Graphius has become.
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