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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The "Visit To The Newseum: Part 1 - The Background" Story

Lobby in the Lancaster Newspaper, Inc. building.
It was an ordinary day.  Standing inside the Lancaster Newspaper building on West King Street talking to Nathan, my tour guide for the morning.  For years I have driven, as well as walked, past the newpaper's Newseum, which is located on South Queen Street, and enjoyed looking at the display of equipment that had been used in the production of the newspaper since it was established in 1794.  A month or two ago I attempted to take some photos of the Newseum, but the reflections from the windows stopped me.  
A very non-descript entrance into the Newseum.
So, I made a few photo calls ... and Nathan has just given me my ID badge to wear throughout my time in the LNP building.  Years ago, while teaching Graphic Arts and Photography in high school, I made quite a few trips to the newspaper with my classes so they could see first hand how the newspaper operated.  Trips through the newsroom, where the reporters worked, trips through the darkroom, where the photographers were processing film and making prints, and trips through the pressroom to see the actual printing of the paper, helped my students see what they were learning was practiced in a real-life situation.  Well, how the newspaper was printed back in the late 1960s and up until I retired in the late 1990s is quite different than how it is printed today.  Lancaster's newspaper isn't even printed in this building anymore, but outsourced to a printing company in another town.  But, my journey today isn't to see how the paper is now printed, but to see how it used to be printed.  
A wooden press such as this was used to
print the first 500 copies of the Lancaster
Journal in 1794 by William Hailton and
Henry Willcocks.  The press that they used
was imported from England about the same
time the Continental Congress was fleeing
Philadelphia from the British.  All newspapers
of the day had four pages.  The first and fourth
pages were printed on one side while the other
two pages were printed on the reverse side.
The single sheet of paper was folded to create
the newspaper.
And, I am enjoying myself tremendously!  The memories are flooding back as I walk, blue booties on my feet so as not to create any dust, past press after type cabinet after typesetting machine after proofpress after ...  And, I used to teach students how to use this stuff!!  A machine like the one piece of equipment on display, the linotype machine, which produced lines of lead type used for printing and later for making molds to make poured metal cylinders, once sat in my shop at Manheim Township High School, but was never used, since the school found out that I was going to have a pot of molten lead and nixed that idea before the students could use it.  In tomorrow's story I will include photos of some pieces of equipment that I saw today that I thought might interest you.  I haven't posted photos of all pieces of equipment, since it would be impossible to do so as well as it wouldn't help you understand the process any better.  I hope what I will post will give you a better idea as to how printing technology has changed since Johannes Gutenberg first invented movable type around 1450.  Amazing is all I can say after walking past all the items in the Newseum.  My thanks to LNP and Nathan for giving me the chance to relive history and some of the most memorable years of my life.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

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