Heart of Louisiana: Herman Buch at the print shop

The economy really boomed in the small town of Jennings in 1901.  That's when they drilled the first oil well in Louisiana, just outside of town.  It's also the year that Buch Printing opened its doors, and printed that first oil lease.

"My dad said something about printing up the lease for it after they brought the well in," Herbert Buch told us.

Buch didn't start working in his dad's print shop until June 1, 1937 - the day after he graduated from high school.  75 years later, he's still here.  His workday starts at 7:30 a.m. - he'll break for dinner, and then it's back to the shop until 10 o'clock most nights.

When we visited Buch, he was making 500 custom notepads - he still likes to do most of the work by hand.  This shop has gone from the letterpress to computer.

Buch is not the only thing that's been around this printing company for a long time.  Some of the equipment that they still use today is older than he is.  For instance, Buch is still using a printing press that his dad bought in 1903. The paper cutter is also from 1903.

You get the idea very quickly that Herbert Buch never throws anything out.  He grabs a flashlight for a tour of his warehouse.

Tucked away between boxes and cabinets is his dad's very first printing press.  Somewhere under the boxes is a desk with a double keyboard typewriter

"One's all caps and one's all lower case, the 1914 model," Buch explains.

And then the first family electronics.  Buch shows us an old Edison phonograph that predates vinyl LP's, and even the old 78 RPM record player. He also has the first family radio -- they got it the year the stock market crashed in 1929.

There's the instrument his dad used to log the barometric pressure when he kept records for the weather service.  Want to know how cold it got in Jennings on February 13, 1899?

"It got down to three and a third degrees," Buch tells us after consulting his records.

He still has the invoice for his 110-year-old press, 1902 tax records, and a $3.40 electric bill from the same year.

At age 92, Buch is not even thinking of retiring.

"Well, I just worked all my life," Buch tells us.  "I'm just used to it."

Now, he works for his sons, the third generation to run the print shop.  Buch says, "I guess it's good as any job you get around here. It's steady."

And his secret to success -- "I tried to be a little hard to please, so when I got through it'd please the other fellow."

After 75 years on the job, it's been a winning formula for Herbert Buch. 

The only time that Buch was away from his printing business was when he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.