Britain's oldest newspaper press to be restored

Pamela Mardle
Friday, April 27, 2012

Britain's oldest reel-fed newspaper printing press is to be restored to full working condition, 105 years after it was first built.

The Cossar printing press is believed to be the last of inventor Tom Cossar’s first editions in existence.

The flatbed press was donated to National Museums Scotland (NMS) by David Philips Printers, where it was originally built in 1907 and has survived four generations of the family-run business.

The 10-tonne press had to be dismantled and removed in parts in order to extricate it from the Crieff-based print facility through a standard-sized door frame.

NMS has put forward funding to move the machine into storage in Clydeside while money is raised by the Scottish Printing Archival Trust (SPRAT) to reassemble it for display in Edinburgh.

SPRAT honourary secretary Helen Williams said: "We would love to have it in a state where it can produce newspapers again, but unfortunately that depends on factors which could be out of our hands."

The Cossar press printed the Strathearn Herald from 1907 until production was converted from hot-metal letterpress to web-offset lithography in 1991.

Williams added: "It was a revolutionary technology in its day. It has to be rebuilt with certain refurbishments – although not too many, considering it was built over a century ago."

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