The Houston Herald’s last connection to the black-and-white era left the building last week.

After being listed on Ebay by Herald publisher Brad Gentry, the newspaper’s four-piece set of printing press equipment was purchased by two residents in the Philippines who have ties to the Chicago area. It was disassembled and loaded last Wednesday into a transport container for its eventual shipping overseas. The trip was expected to take 30 days.

Area newspaper publishers bought two Goss International printing units and the mechanized folder unit new from the manufacturer in the mid-1970s. The third print unit was then brought in used from a source in Illinois about seven years ago. 

It wasn’t the original press equipment at the Herald, as the first units arrived in 1960 with the changeover from letter-press to offset-press technology.

The latest equipment became expendable when the Herald transitioned to color in 2013 and printing the paper was moved off-site.

“It was like saying goodbye to an old friend,” Gentry said. “But at the same time, it didn’t serve any purpose being back there.”

The additional space gained by the departure of the press gear will help in the Herald’s mailing operation.

“We’ll have a lot more space for the insert business,” Gentry said. “There will be a lot more room for inserts that pile up to be sent out.”  

The monumental task of detaching the 10 tons of gear from its mooring in the Herald building on Grand Avenue and then loading it into the container was undertaken by workers from Grafix Plus Inc., a firm based in Kewaskum, Wis., that specializes in buying, selling and servicing printing equipment. 

The Herald is continuing its technological advancement with the launching of a project making its extensive collection of archives dating back to around 1880 more accessible. That project will debut online soon.

“It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.”

BRAD GENTRY

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