From the Penrith Museum of Printing (Australia)

Request for help to document and preserve a Heidelberg Zylinder Automat press

As you may already know, the Penrith Museum of Printing (near Sydney) has been given a new lease of life in the form of a 3-year (at least) extension to its lease.

I has also acquired a 1939 (checked by serial number) Heidelberg Zylinder Automat. It appears to have completed manufacture about 3 weeks to the start of hostilities that created WW2. Herr Goebbels was not a fan of free press so sales virtually ground to a halt and we believe this press was put in storage. Heidelberg ceased all press manufacturing in 1942 and were ordered to make lathes. The clever Hubert Sternberg who ran Heidelberg and was anti-Nazi got all his employees registered as essential occupations and none were conscripted into the German army. Production resumed from 1949 under the US Marshall Plan.

There’s a bit of a gap until the next record of the press in question arriving in South Australia (imported by agents Seligson & Clare), in 1954.

The next record is when it was purchased by the Don Dorrigo Gazette (New South Wales) regional newspaper in 1970 (replacing a Wharfedale); where it remains to this day and will be collected by the PMOP museum on August 18th—we hope. The newspaper, the last letterpress one still printed in Australia, has closed.

Once restored, the Zylinder Automat will join other working presses at our museum: Wharfedale, Columbian, Common Press, Chandler & Price, Arab, Tiegel etc. Plus Intertypes.

In order to complete our documentation of the press we would be very interested to get in touch with anyone who knows anything about what may have happened to stored Heidelberg presses post-war? Did they have a structured ‘clearance’ that would explain the gap from 1949 to 1954 when we know it was installed in Australia?

A crowdfunding project to decommission and transport the press

The Museum has launched a fundraising project to raise the 5,000 Australian dollars needed to decommission and transport the press 575 kilometres from Dorrigo to Sydney. It has already reached over $3,500 and, needless to say, any and all contributions would be extremely welcome! If you would like to contribute you can do so via the the crowfunding site HERE.

Help us relocate a 5-tonne historical printing press to our museum

Thank you for your time reading this. Many members of our museum have visited the various European museums of printing and, with Drupa 2024 upcoming, intend to do so again.

Kindest regards

Andy McCourt
Publisher at
& PMOP volunteer