Clackity, clackity, clack

One of the things we’ve had in the back of our minds whilst building the Newspaper Club site, is that we want to honour the traditions and aethetic of newspaper production and distribution, but without pastiching or somehow sucking up to it.

Some of our inspiration has come from visiting the printing presses, which have changed relatively little in the last couple of decades. (You can see some photos from our previous visits in Flickr.) But the news-gathering, design and layout process has changed hugely, and it’s a bit of shame that it’s something that we can’t experience first hand anymore.

But still, there are some lovely pieces of footage. A friend watched Absence of Malice the other day, a 1981 film by Sydney Pollack, starring Paul Newman. And whilst watching the opening sequence he thought of us.

Clackity ticker-tape machines! Teletypes! Nasty chemicals! Lots of beeping! If we can evoke just the smallest bit of this feeling, then I’ll be a happy man indeed.

Merry Christmas from the Engineering Dept!

Note to the Sales & Marketing Dept: site does not include repetitive beeping noises.

Posted by Tom | Comments (2)

Filed under: engineering, printers

2 Comments

  1. Wed, 30 Dec 2009 at 11:19 pm
    Ivan Pope Permalink

    My dad was a newspaperman of the old school – Fleet Street (well, Shoe Lane actually) from 1947 to the early eighties. He worked on the Evening Standard mostly, also the Express, Mail, Paris Presse (how I came to be born in Paris, 1961). As kids we used to visit him at work and be taken down to see the compositors and the huge three story presses, the hot metal machines – the lot in a very old fashioned newspaper world where the papers were put together and printed in the same premises.
    He was Features Editor of the Standard and the Mail during his career. He loved the papers and the process, as did all his colleagues.
    He died on Dec 6th this year – we had a great turnout of the remains of a dying breed at his funeral.
    A few years ago I visited the Amberly Museum (http://www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/) including the Print Museum, which has a brilliant collection of newspaper machinery including hot metal machines and linotypes etc. They had an old flat bed press in the foyer with the ‘last’ page the Express made up on it – Charles and Diana’s wedding day front page. I told my dad about this and he calmly said, Yes, that’s my old press, I used to make up my pages on it.
    I suggest you contact and partner with the Print Museum at Amberly because they are great and will blow your socks off.

  2. Wed, 20 Jan 2010 at 1:53 pm
    Royston Permalink

    Re: “… the printing presses, which have changed relatively little in the last couple of decades”

    This is partly true: advances in conventional web-offset have mostly been in ease of use and maintenance – leading to “lights out” print factories controlled from the desktop, rather than fundamental technology changes. But a new class of press is emerging – based on high-speed digital inkjet technology – which are closing on the cost-per-page of conventional W-O, which can print on newsprint, and which, crucially, can produce a different impression on every page, transforming the economics of personalised newspapers such as yours. Agfa, Kodak, OcĂ©, and HP all have products in this category. I have contacts at HP, email me if you would like an intro.

    Nice site. Good luck with the launch.

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