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Corrections Donates Press to Baker City Museum
Picture of DOC Director Max Williams and Oregon Trail Regional Museum President Chary Mires
DOC Director Max Williams and Museum President Chary Mires
The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) donated an antique Chandler and Price printing press to the Oregon Trail Regional Museum in Baker City in a presentation held on Thursday, March 16, 2006. A crowd of museum volunteers, local government officials and interested citizens attended the unveiling of the press by DOC Director Max Williams and Museum President Chary Mires.
The Craftsman Model 10” x 15” handfed, platen press is estimated to have been manufactured between 1916 and 1925. This model press, known as the “jobber,” was the work horse of the printing industry from the late 1880s through the 1930s. Although the history of the printing press is vague, it is believed to have been originally purchased by a printing company in Baker City or the surrounding area. The press may have been part of a local newspaper’s equipment.
“As history buffs I am sure you all love a good mystery,” said Director Max Williams. “Our hope is that someday, someone will be walking through this room and say, ‘Hey! I remember that old press,’ and we will learn the true story of its history.”
Inmates at Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City refurbished the press in the late 1990s. It was then moved to a printing facility in the Salem area operated by Oregon Corrections Enterprises. The cabinet holding the original lead type came to Corrections with the press, leading researchers to believe that the press and cabinet were purchased together. The printing press was delivered to the Oregon Trail Regional Museum in late January. Since then, inmates from Powder River worked to refurbish the platform to which the press is bolted and designed a plaque to accompany its display.
“We believe the aesthetic and historical value of this printing press would be best appreciated by the community from which it is believed to have originated,” said Director Williams. “We are excited to share a piece of our joint history with the community, especially one as supportive as Baker County.”