Old Gazette press headed to South America

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Thursday, July 23, 2009
— The three-story behemoth that has printed millions of copies of The Janesville Gazette will soon crank out newspapers in Chile.

Bliss Communications, the Gazette's publisher, has sold its Goss Metro press to Copesa, a Chilean media conglomerate.

Crews from Copesa and Janesville-based J.P. Cullen & Sons are disassembling the press for packing and shipment to Chile.

The Gazette installed the press in what was then its new downtown building in 1967. It printed the Gazette and a variety of other publications until October 2007, when the company opened its new printing facility on Janesville's east side.

The Chilean crew will be in Janesville for three or four weeks to take apart the massive press. Each part is labeled and loaded into a semi-tractor trailer that is taken to Cullen's lot. Cullen crews are loading and securing the heavy loads, which will make their way to Baltimore before boarding a ship for Chile.

"Everything is being labeled and strictly inventoried," said Chuck Flynn, Bliss vice president of technical services.

Taking the press apart is a game of puzzle moves. Floors are being removed so pieces can be disassembled and moved in relatively tight quarters. Each of the press' four printing units weighs 22 tons.

"The whole idea for us was to sell the press and get it out without destroying our building," Flynn said.

Earlier plans called for a hole to be punched in the Gazette's east wall.

When finished, Cullen will have 14 or 15 trailers ready for shipping. In Santiago, the Gazette press will be added to a much larger, 100-meter long press that prints a variety of newspapers.

After months of sitting idle, the Goss Metro was fired up in January by the Gazette's press crew and again for the Copesa crew.

"It worked just fine," Flynn said.

Flynn said that when the Gazette installed the press in 1967, it provided more capacity than the newspaper needed. But the Gazette soon started printing regional editions of a Chicago newspaper that helped pay for the press.

"There are a lot of Goss Metros on the market right now," he said. "We're getting about one-tenth of what we paid for it, but the value to us in getting it out of our building."

Flynn said the former pressroom would eventually be remodeled for other space-starved Gazette departments.

Last updated: 9:45 am Monday, December 17, 2012

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