A Tradition Ends

Another tradition at the Moorefield Examiner is about to bite the dust. As of July 31, 2013 there will be no more in-house commercial printing. It has been a part of the Examiner from its beginning, from hand set to linotype to cold type to computers and copiers.

In the early days, weekly papers had their own printing presses for producing the newspaper itself. Since the linotypes and hand set type were already in place, smaller presses generally were added so that commercial printing needed by businesses and individuals could be produced as an additional income stream.

Letterhead stationery, envelopes, tickets, sale bills, notices, business cards, statements, invitations, whatever was needed could be produced in-house. If it could be printed in the shop it was. Later if customers wanted four-color or bigger pages than our presses could handle, it was jobbed out to a larger print firm, usually in Cumberland. We could print, number, fold, collate and box it up right in our back shop.

One of our first real jobs in the Examiner was to learn how to run the smallest hand-fed job press. It ran slower than the other two job presses and was considered fairly safe for a youngster who was tall enough (standing on a wood block) to feed a sheet of paper into the proper slot and pull it out quickly. We even learned how to fill a stick with handset type or linotype slugs for some of the simpler jobs. However, we never learned how to run a linotype or the Ludlow (the hot metal casting machine for larger type) and never wanted to.

Hot metal became cold type in the Seventies for the Examiner. Content and layout were still done in the office, but the actual printing of the newspaper went elsewhere, first Keyser, then Strasburg and now Cumberland. We continued to use hot metal for commercial printing for several more years, but eventually graduated to a small offset press…

A Tradition Ends
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