Print Cylinder

I have press cylinder which was produced on November 23,1963, the day JFK was shot in Dallas.
I am trying determine the kind of press that would be needed to make prints from the cylinder. I am attaching a photo of the cylinder.

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This was produced for use on a high speed, web (roll) fed newspaper press, which is about the size of a good sized house. Few if any other presses can accommodate this type of curved stereotype plate. And, since this was made close to 50 years ago, it is highly unlikely, even, that any newspapers use this type of plate (or this technology) any more.

This stereotype was used on a smaller web letterpress and not one of the larger style Hoe or Goss presses used in large daily newspapers. I supervised the printing of my college newspaper that used plates like this where one page wrapped almost completely around the plate cylinder. The larger presses used plates that were mounted in multiples around the plate cylinder. The press that I worked with was at the Western Newspaper Union in Pittsburgh.


Geoffrey and Fritz are so right, I image that press and all similar to it have long been melted down. The stereo was probably used on a newspaper press that was referred to as a tubular. Better to keep it as a piece of history, than trying to print from it. I haven’t seen a web letterpress newspaper since the early 1980’s.

almost posted twice.

almost posted twice

Fritz, thanks for correcting my estimation of the press size involved, from your personal knowledge. I think that all the members’ knowledge out there, (in this case yours), is one of the great things about Briar Press.

Justneedhelp, with this new information my curiosity is aroused as to what smaller newspaper this plate was from. Is the name and location of the paper, shown at the top of the plate, or anywhere else on it?

Regards, Geoff

Thanks to Geoff,Fritz1 and Chuck the Printer for your comments and information…
Geoff…The plate appears to be the original one used to print the Dallas Morning News front page of November 23, 1963…The vol.and number is correct…My son bought it about 30 years ago,for $10, at a swap meet…With the 50th anniversary coming in 2013, he wants to print copies as a poster and see if they would sell…

The only way I can think of to proof that plate would be to find a piece of plastic pipe that is a little smaller in OD than the plate is in ID and longer than the plate by at least a foot, lay a large offset press blanket out on a very flat surface, ink it up fairly heavily with a brayer, and lay your dampened sheet of paper to be printed out also on a large offset press blanket. Then carefully roll the plate across the inked blanket, using the pipe as a kind of rolling-pin handle and then across the paper, applying as much pressure as you can. But you will not get reproduction proofs that way, though with care they might be acceptable.


Why the inking blanket rather than using the brayer directly on the cylinder? There are any number of ways to hold the cylinder while inking directly. Am I missing something?

I was assuming one person, or maybe two, doing the proofing, and I thought it would be easier and perhaps a more controlled process, to ink the blanket and transfer the ink in one roll to the plate. Since it’s so large inking it with a brayer would require many passes being applied while someone holds the cylinder and turns it — he can’t set it down on something and roll it as it’s inked. My idea is sort of a reversal of the conventional flat plate inked with a cylindrical brayer. I also assumed that he wants to print a number of them, so a production-line approach seemed more suitable. But certainly not the only way.


Building on the suggestion of plastic pipe. I would suggest using 6” PVC pipe, then build up a couple of “rails” (probably 4) along the length of the pipe to close up the gap. Using end caps on the pipe you will be able to fill it either with water or sand for additional weight when rolling it over the paper you want to print on.

I think in comparison between hand rolling it or using the inking blanket, I would go with the blanket. Hand rolling won’t be production focused but would be ok if he was only planning on running a small edition.

If something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is. My best guess is that this is not THE original plate and that it is perhaps one of many duplicate ‘souvenir’ plates of this monentous page. Why on earth would there be only one page on the cylinder???????? One would assume that this would AT LEAST be part of a four-page signature and therefore be at least two pages side-by-side.

The other clue to it maybe not being “the original” is that it sold for only $10.


Unfortunately, 6 inch Sched 40 PVC pipe is more than 6.5 inches in outside diameter and therefore probably wouldn’t fit inside the plate, though if it did it would be a near perfect snug fit, probably necessitating expanding the plate a little.

I would also guess, Rick, that this plate is probably not from the Dallas Morning News press room, where they would undoubtedly have been using a bigger press. But you are right — it could be a souvenir cast from the mat used for the original press plate.


Good point about the OD on the pipe.
Could just cut out round blanks from a 2x8, center drill them and mount then on a threaded rod. washer/nut each blank into place and then you have a way to also put a handle to roll the cylinder.
Pretty much you would be making a large brayer out of the print cylinder.
Now I wish I had one of these just to give that a try!

They not just ink the plate, dampen a sheet of paper and rub it down with a baren?

I hope some with newspaper experience add to this, but where I’ve seen pictures of news stereos, they are single pages, not multipage forms.
Still, multiple mats and casts of such an important form aren’t hard to imagine. Whether or not this plate was used to print the actual paper, it must be contemporary.

Yes parallel_imp stereotype cylinder plates were single pages. Goss did make a smaller “Suburbanite” press that might have run a plate like this.
A copy of the November 23, 1963 Dallas Morning News sold at auction in 2009 for $444.00, including buyer’s premium. The plate could be an original and worth a few bucks to a Kennedy collector.
A copy of the page is shown here:
Auction on 11/19/2009 is here:

I have a 1964 Houston Press newspaper (one of Houston, Texas dailies), that has Oswald getting shot.
Is this newspaper worth any thing?

I was in High School when all this happened. We will never know the real reason all this happened.