Lane Press turns 100

To celebrate its 100th birthday, Lane Press chose to present a gift to the community. Philip Drumheller, the president of Lane Press, announced the company's 100th anniversary by publishing A Celebration of Vermont Printers 1904-2004, honoring "the men and women who have contributed to the building of this great company and a flourishing printing industry in the state."

"... all of the men and women who have dedicated themselves to printing in Vermont."

True to its source, the 96-page book is a beautifully designed piece of work loaded with archival photos and well researched history. It was written by Chris Granstrom, edited by Julie Stillman and features photos by Michael Sipe.

The book was truly a community project. Tom Slayton, editor of Vermont Life, which has been printed at Lane Press since its founding in 1946, offered tips, ideas and suggestions of individuals to help with the undertaking. Oral history interviews of a stellar group of Vermonters with roots in printing and publishing were conducted by Jane Beck and Greg Sharrow of the Vermont Folklife Center in studio space contributed by Vermont Public Television. The Shelburne Museum helped document early printing methods; and the Vermont Historical Society and the Bailey-Howe Special Collections Library at the University of Vermont contributed illustrative materials. Burlington historian Lilian Baker Carlisle contributed her time and research to the project.

While it admittedly does not cover every printer in the state, but rather those "whom our paths have crossed," the book, in Drumheller's words, "applauds all of the men and women who have dedicated themselves to printing in Vermont."

The book opens with a foreword kind of a memoir by Sen. Patrick Leahy, whose parents published the weekly Waterbury Record until they founded the Leahy Press in Montpelier. Chapters are divided into eras, and each one ends with a series of oral histories.

Chapter one, "1894-1929," covers printing at the dawn of the 20th century, the advent of the Linotype in Vermont, newspaperman Frank Lane, and the early years of Lane Press. Chapter two, "1929-1959," covers the hot lead era and a change in ownership. Chapter three, "1959-1983," covers Oscar Drumheller's tenure, the move from letterpress to offset, the advent of the web press and the end of hot type. Chapter four, "1983-2004," covers the advent of the computer, Lane Press today and thoughts about the future of printing.

Queen City Printers donated the printing of the book's cover, and MeadWestvaco of Stamford, Conn., donated the marvelous cover and text paper.

Originally published in September 2004 Business People-Vermont