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Printing museum re-opens after make-over

Wednesday, 30 August 2017
By Andy McCourt

(l-r) The museum’s Peter Butterworth, George Gearside, Ralph Bennett and John Berry with the 1880s Wharfedale cylinder press, still operational.

This is no static display of ancient machinery but a working, composing, printing replication of how a 1930s or 40s printshop would have operated.

Regular courses have re-started following the make-over and the museum is open to all comers every Saturday from 9am to 3pm. The oldest piece of equipment is an 1867 UK-made Albion lever press, loaned by PMP’s Michael Hannan, that still prints today.

Other gems include an 1880s Wharfedale stop cylinder letterpress, made beside the banks of the River Wharfe in Yorkshire, UK. Such was their popularity and durability, one was still in commercial use printing posters until 2007. The one at Penrith was used to print The Nepean Times newspaper. Two original Linotypes and an Intertype provide the typesetting, still clattering away after 100 years or more.

The volunteer men who keep the machinery in working order are lucky to work in the ultimate ‘man-shed’ in the shadow of Penrith Panthers football stadium.

The ‘Old Friends’ society tour was followed by a lunch and camaraderie, with Print21 proud to donate a small book from my own collection – the official 1955 catalogue of Australia’s first printing trade show held at Wynyard Concourse, Sydney. Member James Cryer was thrilled to discover a 2-page advertisement for his father and grandfather’s company inside! (see pic below)

Congratulations to all involved in the Museum of Printing, Penrith – it’s well worth a visit on a Saturday morning, or enroll in one of the re-started courses.

The energy-saving 1867 Albion lever press.

James Cryer discovers his past in the 1955 catalogue of the Australasian Printing Exhibition.

Guest speaker Dr Stephanus Peters with his favourite Heidelberg T-Platen

The world-changing Linotype typesetting machine

“Read all about it” – newsboy at the entrance of the Museum of Printing.

3 Responses to “Printing museum re-opens after make-over”

  1. August 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm,


    Congratulations to all involved, looks fantastic. Will get up to have a look at the museum at my first opportunity. I have just purchased an old Columbrian press from Weston Print in Kiama to go with an old Chandler & Price hand fed platen I have. Also have an old perforating machine from Wimble & Co. and lots of old wooden type, metal type, furniture, galleys, racks, setting sticks, lead cutters, etc. Plus a fully operational C4 Intertype with Mohr saw. Setting up a mini museum in my shed at home for something to do in retirement.

  2. August 31, 2017 at 11:33 am,

    Andy McCourt

    That sounds fantastic Ian. The wooden type is so scarce now – take care of it! Maybe you could arrange font-sharing/lending with the Museum? One thing I learned on my visit was that, in the USA, they are now re-cutting wooden type and also 3D printing it, such is the renewed interest in Letterpress. The Columbian sounds nice – do you know the year?

  3. August 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm,

    Neil Mulveney

    Calling ALL printers. Do not miss a visit to the Penrith Museum. Those who volunteer are passionate
    tradesmen, who have, and are still doing, a magnificent job, in keeping letterpress skills alive. They
    deserve our support. Firstly, the Museum needs money – urgently. Secondly, if you have any old letterpress
    equipment, no longer applicable to your day to day business, please talk to the Museum. This is a unique
    Museum. It is a working Museum, showing what was done on a day by day basis in our industry, and even
    more so, it is educating the present generation. With the exception of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz,
    Germany, I am not aware of another single working Museum anywhere in the world. So . . please help
    with Cash and Equipment AND above all else VISIT THE MUSEUM – SOON

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