Don’t Stop The Press: The Last Colorado Town Printing News by Linotype
A small Colorado town is keeping an old tradition alive by printing its news via Linotype.
According to a report from Smithsonian Magazine, the last linotype in operation in America and maybe even the world can be found in Saguache, Colorado.
What is A Linotype?
Before technology advanced to the point it has today, newspapers published papers by arranging metal casts character by character.
The Library of Congress explains that "letters of type needed to be individually cast in molds and put in order by hand, backwards and in reverse order."
Of course, that took an immense amount of time, but in 1886, German-American inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler, created the Linotype.
The Linotype sped up the job immensely by allowing an operator to type using a keyboard which would instruct the machine to grab a metal cast of each character from the storage magazine on top of the Linotype. A whole line of print would be created which was then cast by pouring liquid metal into the mold. That mold would then become a "slug" which could be placed onto a frame. After completing and placing the needed slugs, the frame would be put through a roller to create a page of print.
While the slugs still needed to be placed and arranged in the correct order, sorting and placing lines of print was much simpler than doing the job character by character.
The Saguache Crescent in Saguache Colorado
When computers were introduced, the majority of newspapers abandoned the Linotype for what was then called "cold-type" printing. "Hot-type" printing involved hot presses and metal while "cold-type" was simply computer and paper.
However, one newspaper has held strong to tradition and resisted the change. That newspaper is the Saguache Cresent which can be purchased for just 35 cents in the small town of Saguache, Colorado.
The paper is completely operated by one man, Dean Coombs, 70. The paper has been run by Coombs' family since its inception in 1921 when his grandparents purchased the Linotype.
Coomb's parents took over publishing when his grandparents passed, and Coombs took responsibility after his own parents passing. Coombs has no plans to change the way the Saguache Crescent is published, but he also does not have a predecessor in place for himself. The publisher doesn't recommend the job to others due to the time and strenuous work it involves.
While its time may be limited, for now, the last newspaper printing via Linotype lives on in Saguache, Colorado.