Lining the walls of the old Dawson Daily News building is a paper folder, a newspaper cutter and press, and a block printer — all dating back to the early 1900s.
Recently there’s been a push in Dawson City, Yukon, to see the old equipment, which is owned by Parks Canada, up and running again.
“It deteriorates every year,” says Peter Braune, a master printmaker based in Vancouver.
Braune became involved in the restoration of the paper’s old block printer — the Chandler & Price Print — back in 2012, when he was contacted by the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture.
A Parks Canada curator had found the printer in a storage warehouse.
“It’s kind of intimidating to start working on something you know doesn’t work,” Braune says.
Braune used YouTube to figure out how to fix the printer.
Every year the machine needs to be oiled and tuned before it starts working again. Braune’s been back to Dawson City six times.
‘Machines like this were made to be used’
Local artist John Steins says the machines aren’t rare, but they do have historical significance: more than 100 years ago, they were loaded on a steamship in Seattle, Wash., and hauled all the way to the Klondike.
“They mark a place for us in history,” Steins says.
He would also like to see the equipment restored.
“Wouldn’t it be something to see them up and running?”
Chelsea Jeffery, an archivist and print enthusiast in Whitehorse, had heard there was old printing equipment in Dawson, but didn’t see it firsthand until she went to the Dawson Daily News Print and Publishing Festival earlier this month.
“Machines like this were made to be used,” says Jeffrey.
She says it’s the only way to ensure their longevity and “maintain their relevance.”