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Nevada Appeal came of age 45 years ago

Chic DiFrancia
Special to the Nevada Appeal
submitted art Both Nevada Appeal and Territorial Enterprize began life on a Washington style press.
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In the decade of the 1960s, America severed its ties with its Victorian past and embraced a new world of pop culture and technology. It was the decade that ushered in a new age in this country and started us on the hi-tech journey to where we are today. New ideas in engineering and craft made major strides in the ’60’s and nowhere were some of those new ideas more welcome then in newspaper publishing.

The Nevada Appeal celebrated its 140th birthday in 2005 and threw a little bash in its new offices on Mallory Way. An antique table-top printing press was set up in the lobby and visitors hand set some type printing their names on a sheet of paper just like it was done when The Carson Daily Appeal first saw the light of day on May 16, 1865.

The Appeal isn’t printed by letterpress anymore and hasn’t been since the paper published its first edition by offset printing March 13, 1961. Refinements have taken place in the offset process over the years, but essentially the paper is printed today as it was 45 years ago.

The Appeal’s previous 95 years of publishing by letterpress was a laborious process. The paper was physically put together by hand setting foundry type and linotype slugs for each day’s run. In the beginning, the paper was printed on a Washington style press that operated in much the same manner as the one Gutenberg used in 1456. Later, when the flat-bed press came into use, two pages could be printed on one side of a sheet. The sheet would then be flipped and another two pages printed on its back, creating a four-page newspaper. The type forms were broken down and type was distributed back into the cases where it was immediately used again to set the next day’s edition.

A major move for the Appeal took place in August 1951 when it moved from its plant at 110 W. Telegraph St. into the old Carson Brewery building on King Street. More than $6,000 was spent refurbishing the old building. The Appeal also invested $12,000 in a high-speed roll-fed press that could print 3,600 eight-page newspapers an hour. The new press was light years ahead of the sheet fed press at the Telegraph plant, but its technology was still letterpress, which meant type still had to be set by hand.

At the time of the move, Appeal management also decided to go tabloid with the paper and reduced the sheet size in half from 17-by-22 inches to 11-by-17, a format it kept for almost 10 years. The first tabloid published in the old brewery building was dated Friday, Aug. 24, 1951, the last one Friday, March 10, 1961. The March 10 edition was the last Appeal ever printed by letterpress. The Appeal didn’t publish on Saturdays and Sundays at the time and the crew worked the weekend of March 11 and 12 making final preparations for the Appeal’s new look on Monday morning. Full page ads had been placed in the Appeal a week earlier announcing the change that was about to take place at the Appeal. A caption under the new press proclaimed: “The First Photographic Newspaper In Nevada.”

The decision to go offset with the paper in 1961 was a huge decision at the time, not the least being the cost of all the new equipment. On March 13, 1961, the Appeal published its first issue by offset. The highlight of that special 20-page edition was the Goss Suburban offset rotary press that could print up to 12,000 papers per hour. The Suburban was on line for 13 years in the old brewery building and when the Appeal moved to its Bath Street location in 1974 it began a new life there. Eventually the Suburban was replaced by a Goss Community press.

When the Nevada Appeal moved to its home on Mallory Way in March 2002, it also moved into the new millennium with the purchase of a new Dauphin Graphics Machines Press called the DGM 440. The speed of this press allows all seven Sierra Nevada Media Group newspapers to be printed on it. The press can print 56 tabloid pages or 28 standard pages at 40,000 pages an hour. And to think we used to print this paper one sheet at a time.

The Nevada Appeal has changed a great deal in appearance and technology in its 140-year history, but without a doubt one of its finest moments took place 45 years ago when the paper came of age with offset printing.