Madison Street Junior High students inspect the Times-Gazette's press in 1958. That press is long gone, but today's newspaper is still printed in the same pressroom. (T-G file photo)
Subscribers to the Times-Gazette from 1948 to early November 1963 got their news from this press, known to industry old-timers as a "flatbed letterpress."
Students from the old Madison Street Junior High were touring the Times-Gazette in 1958 and got a close look at the press. Sorry the people in the photo can't be seen any better but apparently the lighting wasn't right.
The story behind the press is interesting. Franklin Yates, when he bought the weekly Bedford County Times, was stuck with a press which printed well for its time but was too slow for the daily newspaper he envisioned. So, according to what I've been told over the years, he bought the press above, even though it was already 50 years old, to get the faster speed.
The T-G was so much different then, with no color capability and, like most other newspapers of the time, much poorer print quality due to the press limitations. In those days a 10-page issue was big and many of the early 1950s editions had all of four pages.
I've seen our back copies from November 1963 and the sudden change from fuzzy-looking photos to those as clear as today's had to be amazing to readers.
But I look at the stories and photos (especially considering the equipment in use as compared to today's digital cameras) and in most cases they're as well-done as today's.
I'm planning to get more photos from the 1960s and 1970s in this blog within the next few weeks; the quality should improve since the equipment I'm using handles 35-millimeter negatives much better than the old large-format negatives from the film the T-G used in earlier years.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.