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Direct Paper helps save a piece of print history

Friday, 09 February 2018
By Print21

James Cryer with the Chandler & Price press at Direct Paper.

A 120-year old platen press is now in safekeeping at Direct Paper’s warehouse in Sydney after an ‘underground guerrilla army’ of print defenders swung into rescue mode this month.

Plans to move the rare Chandler & Price press from Mascot Printing in Sydney’s south to the Penrith Museum of Printing ran into a problem when the museum said it was ‘bulging at the seams’ and couldn’t take the machine right away.

The press, made in Cleveland, Ohio, was a mainstay of the industry in the 1890s and 1900s, mostly producing fliers and brochures.

With the future of the piece of printing history in doubt, a group of dedicated print history lovers associated the Australian Society of Old Friends (ASOOF) – including JDA’s James Cryer, industry analyst Glenn O’Connor and Stephanus Peters of Pegras – were soon on the case.

“One of the more romantic aspects of our industry is that this kind of situation seems to mobilize something like an underground guerrilla army,” says Cryer.

‘We need to keep our history going’: Steve Aglio, NSW sales manager, Direct Paper

The first person they turned to was Steve Aglio, NSW sales manager at Direct Paper in Ermington in Sydney’s west.

“A good friend of mine, Glenn O’Connor, asked if we could look after it here in the interim before it gets moved up to the Penrith museum,” says Aglio.“We were only too happy to help out because it’s a wonderful piece of old printing equipment and we need to keep our history going. In our industry, we see all of the new digital products coming out but we also need to go back and see where it all started from.”

The press is now sitting outside of Aglio’s office at Direct Paper, waiting for the next step in its journey. “It still needs some work to tidy it up but it’s a beautiful old piece of printing history and it’s not taking up too much room.”

Cryer is looking forward to seeing the machine in action soon. “We’re very happy we were able to salvage a rare, 120-year old platen press and look forward to eventually seeing it up and running at the Penrith Museum of Printing.”

Since the merger of BJ Ball and K.W. Doggett, Direct Paper has become the third largest paper supplier in Australia, behind B&D and Spicers.

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