McBrayer, Inventor Of Offset Press, Dies

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(AP) Staley Thomas McBrayer, a former newspaper publisher credited with revolutionizing the industry by inventing the newspaper offset press, has died. He was 92.

McBrayer died Sunday in Fort Worth, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“He pioneered suburban newspaper publishing,” said Otha Spencer, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University-Commerce and author of “Staley McBrayer and the Offset Newspaper Revolution.”

In the 1940s, McBrayer and his wife operated several small newspapers in Fort Worth area. For five years, McBrayer tinkered with the offset press process used to print books. Many people believed it could not be modified to print a newspaper. Finally, in 1954, he introduced the Vanguard web offset press. A plaque marks the site in Fort Worth.

With the new press, McBrayer moved the newspaper industry from “hot type” printing to a “cold type” process. Newspapers began to print from photographic images instead of hand-set metal type, cutting down on printing time and costs.

“It saved the small newspaper,” Spencer said.

The importance of McBrayer’s contribution to the newspaper business was recognized by the American Newspaper Publishers Association in 1989.

At that time, ANPA Vice President William Rinehart said that without the offset press, “There absolutely wouldn’t be newspapers, as we know them, today. It’s that simple. The press around the world owes Staley McBrayer much gratitude,” Rinehart said.

A native of Saltillo, McBrayer earned a bachelor’s degree in 1933 from East Texas State Teachers College, now A&M-Commerce.

McBrayer is survived by his two sisters, Elena Jolly and Mary Beth Hale, and an extended family.

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