Hot pots lead to museum reopening

They have been firing up the pots on three hot-metal linecasters at the Penrith Museum of Printing again following a major renovation and extension.

And there's the point: The museum - located in the western outskirts of Sydney - is one of only a very few in Australia with working letterpress machinery.

The museum reopened with a formal event attended by industry representatives this month.

The two Linotypes and an Intertype are only a fraction of the operational equipment, which includes Albion and Chandler & Price presses, Wharfedale and Miehle stop-cylinders, Arab (hand) and Heidelberg (powered) platens.

Much of the equipment on display originally started its working life at the local Nepean Times newspaper, and was saved as a result of the 1987 'vision' of museum founder Alan Connell. It took until 2001 - and a government Federation Fund grant - before that vision was realised, with the official opening of the Penrith Museum of Printing by then sport and tourism minister Jackie Kelly. Many other items have since been donated by printing establishments past or present.

Following an appeal and donations - including $75,000 from the newspaper-focussed Single Width Users Group - an extension has almost doubled space at the museum to 263 m2, enabling equipment to be brought out of store. Part of this is a foyer area housing a German hand press, letter case and a copper plaque depicting Gutenberg's workshop. Also on show is a large bookbinding press and the first stencil duplicator used in Australia.

The official opening was also an opportunity to renew the call for volunteers and donations to keep the museum running.

Pictured: One of the museum's Linotype hot-metal linecasters

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