Help needed to keep print skills alive

The Penrith Museum of Print is seeking individuals and organisations keen to help with its mission, as it aims to keep letterpress knowledge and technology alive.

It hosted the Society of Old Friends yesterday, and took the group of print veterans on a tour throughout the premises, laying out its vision for the future. The Museum has just reopened following a year of renovations, in which it added extra space to accommodate machinery.

Featuring a mix of tradesmen specialising in letterpress printing, and equipment maintenance, the team at the museum takes visitors on tours, and holds courses on basic typesetting and letterpress operation, to supplement the uptake and restoration of the equipment.

The older pieces date back to the 1880s, while many pieces are 1940s era machines.

As a team of volunteers without a steady source of income, the not-for-profit Penrith Museum of Printing Inc is looking for new partners to get involved, providing expertise and sponsorship.

Peter Buttersworth, Penrith Museum of Printing Inc, says, “It started 16 years ago when the Nepean Times closed, and the Wharfedale remained, along with a US-made Model 8 Linotype linecaster and a Chandler & Price guillotine.

“With the Linotype being out of commission, a chance meeting at a bank with a retired linotype mechanic set everything else in motion.

“We want to become a full-time professional museum, and preserve the dying craft of letterpress printing.”

At yesterday’s event a dozen former printers heard Stephanus Peters, managing director, Pegras, gave a speech on the origins of print as a craft, dating back centuries before Gutenberg’s press. Those attending included recently retired Steve Dunwell, as well as Greg Grace, Doug Alexander and Des Hayes.

If the preservation of print is something that you care about, get in contact with the Museum at 0415 625 573.

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