by Jeremy A. Ingle
We Don't Have A Press Yet, But...
Dear readers, we would ask you to please pray for us here at Orémus Press as we discern the options and feasibility of actually obtaining our own newspaper offset web printing press, as seen in photos A-E.
Since 2010, we have printed with the wonderful folks about an hour south of us at the El Reno (Oklahoma) Tribune. As of August 2017, however, they will no longer be printing outside jobs.
This sudden situation spurs us to once again consider the dream we’ve always had - but never expected to reconsider quite this soon: Getting our own press.
We’re not looking to go hog-wild with some state-of-the-art, gold-plated, fully-automated behemoth.
We’re actually looking at some older models which are currently for sale around the nation, and even in Canada, including a 1986 Webleader press shown herein.
Currently, we have a 30x50 foot building on our property which is capable of holding a 6-unit press. It would be a tight fit, but it would work. Since Oremus is usually only 8 pages anyway, we technically could get by with just a 2-Unit press. (Each unit prints both sides of the page, totaling 4 pages per press).
Having been in the newspaper production business for almost 13 years, I have a pretty good understanding of how the process works - from computer, to press plates, to press, to printed paper. I even did a lot of this hands-on work myself over the years, working for a great secular small-town newspaper.
We have contacts in the industry we can most likely call on if we get in a bind and need assistance. We’re not too worried about that.
What we don’t have is the funding to purchase, move, install or supply the press with ink and paper, so this dream could be for naught.
However, — and let’s think positive here, right? — with our own press, we could print Orémus Newspaper on our own, on-site, as well as (in certain emergency situations) offer to assist in printing other small-run Catholic, secular and specialty newspaper jobs that larger press operations don’t want - or can't realistically bother with.
With all necessary equipment on-site, we could, theoretically, also open the shop as a way to teach the printing craft to others, and thus keep the art alive! We have had several former and potential press workers express an interest in this concept. The printed word, after all, will last far longer than the electronic word. Despite attacks from those who want it dead for nefarious purposes, press-craft must not be allowed to die.
We are gathering facts and figures on the various pieces of equipment we would need, but we are thinking, the less computerized the press is, the better (for the purposes of working on it).
One such press, as shown in these photos, is available in Liberal, Kansas for $20,000. Another is in Toronto, Canada. However, at least $50k would be necessary to move it to our location, install it, obtain the first runs of paper and ink, and locate a few other pieces of equipment that are also necessary in the newspaper printing process.
If anyone cares to donate toward the “Press Project” specifically, feel free to send to our usual postal address. Be sure to denote your check’s memo line as such. Donations are also accepted through this website when you use your debit or credit card or PayPal.
We will update you in each issue of Orémus on this adventure if - and when - developments occur.
Please pray for God's Will for this “dream,” as that’s all it is, at present. If God wants us to take this step, He will make it happen. If He doesn't, He won't.
We have a goal of $50,000 for our Press Project. We will update our balance as regularly as possible as contributions come in. NOTE: We will be depositing these donations in a special, common interest-bearing savings account specific for the Press Project purpose. In the event that the project is abandoned, we WILL return all donations to the donors by check.
No, it's not a massive press...but it's plenty big enough for our purposes here at Orémus Press Newspaper. We could actually get by without the two units on the left.
Will You Help Us Get It?
(Last Updated 5-31-2019)
Webleader Newspaper Press — A few of these older model presses, are for sale around the continent
AUG 9, 2017
We have begun receiving donations toward our Press Project and now have $1,000 in the piggy. We will be placing this and all other donations in a special savings account specific for this project, and after one year's time (on August 1, 2018), we will re-assess the project funds compared to any equipment we may have decided and located for purchase. In the event that the project is abandoned for any reason, we WILL return all donations to the donors by check.
Since we first announced this project we have been gathering information and doing our research on the reasonability of such an undertaking. We are well-aware that this is an odd time in history to consider starting up a NEW printing press operation, since the rest of the world is going digital. Some in the printing industry have even advised us of the foolhardy nature of this dream...but others have said that as long as we keep things reasonable, it might work.
While we are still weighing our options, time is a harsh taskmaster. We are keen on obtaining equipment that is older and less high-tech, and as time marches on, this equipment gets harder to find. Presses like we described in our introduction appear for sale regularly, even if their location is a great distance from our central Oklahoma location.
Most newspapers are produced on a "web press," which involves a nearly 1,000-pound roll of paper PER printing unit. Each roll (if unrolled) is some 9 miles long! Our usual 8-page (2-sheet) newspaper would require — at minimum — a two-press unit, and consequently, two of these massive rolls of paper. This point brings up a few real points of concern:
1. Our friends in the industry advise us that that cost of these rolls of paper have gone up by 30%.
2. A small printing operation like ours may not be able to order just two rolls, and if we could even find a supplier who would sell to us and deliver to our rural location, we don't have the means to unload or move these rolls. This would require a small forklift.
3. With our monthly printing schedule, we may not be able to use these rolls of paper before they began to age...to turn yellow and brittle from their acidity...as newsprint always does. (Try leaving a fresh newspaper in the sunshine for even an hour or two and you will notice the exposed pages have tanned considerably compared to the interior pages). Aged and brittle paper means it can - and probably will - break as it is running through the long train of presses.
While it is possible we could take steps to make each of these issues a non-issue (or at least less of an issue), we have also been looking at an alternative form of press:
A Sheet-Fed Press
In the days before the big web-presses, many small newspapers used a sheet-fed press which grabbed individual pages from a huge ream, pulled it through to the inking-n-pressing area, then released it on the other end. Obviously finding one of THOSE antiques in working order would be near impossible, and we do need at least some degree of reliable modernity in equipment, right? Many of those original presses actually had a row of gas flame (think pilot lights) which the printed pages were wheeled past in order to dry the ink. Dangerous? Nah. Fire hazard? Never.
Modern sheet-fed presses are efficient for smaller jobs - - like Orémus Newspaper - - though we would likely need to alter our format. We are currently researching such presses that handle newsprint paper in newspaper size, and which can accommodate a folding mechanism. This type of press also takes up considerably less space than the long web press, so that is another plus.
In our next update, we will talk a little about how newspaper presses work (lead-type of yesteryear as compared to offset plate printing of today.)
Please continue to pray for God's Will in this project.
If He wants it to happen, it will happen; if He doesn't, it won't.
A newer 1981 model.
Johann Gutenberg showing off his press work to a client.
PRESS PROJECT GOAL
Aug. 10, 2017 — The video shown here is a HEILDELBERG press of the offset, sheet-fed variety which we discussed in our last post. It is a reasonable size both in footprint and in capacity to handle the printing of Oremus Press Newspaper. Plus, it's got a really catchy, foot-tapping beat!
In earlier times, many newspapers used this sheet-fed method, including the small-town newspaper where I worked for over a decade. Of course, that newspaper today uses modern web-presses, but at one time, there was one guy operating a sheet-fed press.
Seen in the still photo are a bank of sheet-fed presses. Each press runs both sides of an opened-up sheet of newspaper. Pages are then collected from each press and inserted and folded together to make the complete newspaper.
A sweet 1950s model.
January 2018 — If you are among those praying for us to get a press, don't give up! We're still thinking and praying about it as well, and exploring different options. We have had several possibilities open come to the surface with regard to presses we might be able to afford - - even one press that was flat-out offered to us as a donation, provided we could go to Miami, Florida and get it. Unfortunately, none of these options has quite panned out as actually feasible at the present time.
That "free" WebLeader press sure would be a dream, if only we could afford to get the thing disassembled and brought to Oklahoma, eh? Alas, we're not quite in that position right now, and we well know it. The trucking alone would be an outrageous sum, not to mention the cost of hiring knowledgable press mechanics to travel for the purpose.
We've also still been looking at smaller single sheet-fed presses from the 1950s, like we discussed in our Aug. 2017 posting. Considering our newspaper is still hovering at the 2,000-impression range, and only 8 pages, this size of press is not too outlandish or unreasonable. It also doesn't require as large of a building. As one fellow said, "it's realistic" for an operation our size, and its something we could probably be comfortable with.
The Low-Tech Option
A third option is to locate a "Chandler & Price"-style press, in large format. These weren't capable of running a page as large as modern newspapers, but could accommodate, possibly an 11"x17" in some cases. This would mean a lot of work if used for Orémus Press Newspaper. For one, it would be an entirely different page format, and it would require handset-type. (Certainly not a feasible option for a newspaper at this time). However, having such a press on-hand would be handy for the Oremus Publishing side of the business...for use in smaller custom printing jobs such as prayer cards, and custom stationery and prints. We've shared a video of this type of press here:
~ Our Printing Press ~
Newspaper printing presses can get GINORMOUS.
We don't need anything this big. It's just silly.
PRESS PROJECT FUNDS GOAL $50,000 ... Can You Help?
September 23, 2017 — We currently have a total of $1,120 donated toward our $50,000 goal. We still have a LONG way to go, and a lot of research still to do. Please continue to pray for God's Will in this endeavor, not just what WE would LIKE to do, and please donate if you can. Thank you.