In the printing and newspaper business, the old usually has to make way for the new.
And at Newspaper Agency Corp., which handles printing and distribution for the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune, the old in this case is a dinosaur - a huge Goss rotary letterpress that was installed in 1957 and is the last such press to be used in printing the two newspapers.Removal of the equipment, known as No. 1 press, by May 1, will end an era of printing at NAC. Three modern, high-speed offset presses now print the papers.
Each of the offset presses is capable of producing 50,000 to 70,000 papers per hour and up to 144 pages at the same time. The presses have unlimited features for color printing.
The No. 1 press is being dismantled by workmen from Bob Ray & Associates Inc., Algonquin, Ill., and will be hauled away for scrap metal.
"Mechanically, the Goss press is a dinosaur. The speed, the technology has all been outmoded. Letterpresses have been around for over 100 years. It's time to graduate to a faster, cleaner and more ecologically feasible system," said Jerry Stiers, superintendent of the Illinois firm.
The press is about 90 feet long, three stories high and weighs 250 tons. Originally, it was a 12-unit press with two folders, but in 1967 the press was converted to nine units with one folder. Three of the units used earlier were moved onto a new Goss letterpress, which was removed from the building in 1990, allowing total conversion to offset printing, said Mike Brennan, NAC's development director.
No. 1 press, which cost about $2 million installed and was used until about March 3, could print up to 112 pages of the newspaper at a time and was capable of producing 40,000 to 45,000 newspapers per hour.
Dale Blunt, Nils E. Lingwall, Newspaper Agency pressmen, and Doug Wretberg, a former pressman who now works in the offset plate room, reminisced about their work on the Goss press.
Blunt, who began work for the NAC about five years before the Goss press was installed, said it took about 7 1/2 months to install the equipment. He remembers working a shift when the press was first put into operation.
"It has been a very dependable piece of equipment. When it was first installed there were 12 printing units and two double folders on the press. For 10 years the press ran (almost) day and night, printing all copies of the Deseret News and the Trib," Blunt recalled. Lingwall, an employee of 45 years, including work for the Tribune and the NAC (he is now retired but works part-time), said he's heard the press for so many years that he sometimes even hears it in his sleep.
Wretberg, who started work in the press room nearly 40 years ago and now works in the offset plate room, said the press has been a "great machine. At the time it was installed it was the Cadillac of presses. It had a lot of color potential. It was noisy but a satisfying press to work on for a journeyman pressman," Wretberg said.