Pressroom Pilgrimage

The Hartford Courant presses roll early on Thursdays. I was reminded as soon as I started walking downstairs. You feel a press run before you hear it. Your feet pick it up. The stairwells vibrate.

My intention was to get a soda. It ended up a pilgrimage to the pressroom. I hadn’t been there since before my surgery.

“I feel like a kid when I’m here,” I told Slim.

He’s a powerful man with rough workman’s hands. He was in blue coveralls, wearing ear protection and watching over a massive Goss offset press.

“That’s how I felt when I first walked in here 36 years ago,” he replied.

I suspect he still feels that way.

All around me men were getting dirty as they climbed on these behemoth machines making adjustments. There is pride in making sure the paper looks just right.

Nothing in the press room is said quietly. You’ve got to outshout all the machinery… and there’s plenty.

I walked around and said hello to everyone. This is their crunch time. I didn’t want to bother them or distract them. They work with equipment that is dangerous and unforgiving.

There is something pure in this massive three story space. They are making something. They are producing a real physical product. I’ve never been in a business where you could hold what we sold in your hand.

I love this place.

6 Responses to “Pressroom Pilgrimage”

  1. J. Ainsworth says:

    I remember the first time I went in the press room at the old Orange Street location of the New Haven Register and Journal-Courier. It was a pretty amazing sight. I was sad when I heard the Register wouldn’t print in New Haven anymore. I hope they don’t regret that decision some night when the trucks have a hard time getting to New Haven from Hartford because of an ice storm or raging snow storm.

  2. Lou Lange says:

    Those are incredible pictures, Geoff!

  3. Deb says:

    Would still like to see a science segment regarding the print process.

  4. Robert says:

    I have to agree with Deb on the science segment. I worked at an old tire plant in west haven. I was impressed with all the large equipment. Some cycles on the machines 2 minutes. I then went to a pen factory in Milford and cycle times were fragments of a second. Manufacturing is always interesting. I’m unhappy to see it moving out to other countries.

    • Deb says:

      Maybe if people saw how things are made, and the people doing that making, it would personalize the process and make folks more inclined to buy American products and keep that manufacturing here? Dunno, but it couldn’t hurt, and manufacturing is interesting.

  5. My Dad was a pressman at Eastern Color Printing Company in Waterbury. Eastern Color invented the comic book. In my youth, EC printed the Sunday funnies for various newspapers and a variety of comic books including the Marvel line. Everyday, Dad proudly brought home copies of what he had printed that day for his kids. IMHO, it was better than having the ice cream man for your Dad!

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