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History Museum Receives New Equipment

Book binding tools will be used for repairs and displayed for the public

By Harley Benda

MPB Print and Sign Superstore  donated old  equipment used for book bindings to the Morgantown History Museum.

Andy Walls, president and owner of MPB Print and Sign Superstore, said he’s happy to hand over the equipment.

“We had donated some other things to the museum before and know of the gentleman there that received it, Mr. Shaver,” said Walls. “Whenever we were going to get rid of the stuff, we gave them first chance before we would do anything with it. If there’s anything we can give of value to some place, or someone that can use it, I’d rather see it go to that.”

The equipment was used for various things, including binding and printing old books.

“There was some book binding equipment, and some hand type tools that were used in printing, and some metal type, which is the old-style font that was used when making hot-metal type. It was old technology from way back in the 1920s-30s.” 

Walls said the equipment was still used until it was donated.

“We had still used some of it for certain things, but we had got totally away from that.” 

Neil Burton with donated press
Neil Burton, historian and co-curator at the Morgantown History Museum, looks at a press donated by Morgantown Printing and Binding.
metal printing blocks
Metal printing blocks, part of the equipment donated.

Now, the equipment will be used to repair books at the Morgantown History Museum.

Harold Shaver, administrative assistant for the Morgantown History Museum, said he is happy to put this equipment to use.

“We have a good collection of books from various authors from Monongalia County that are in need of repair,” Shaver said. “We have a small, old time print shop set up at the museum, and the book binding equipment is a great addition to the equipment that we have, and we will take full advantage of [it] to repair our books that need repaired.” 

The museum will also get a lesson on how to use the equipment, thanks to some members of the community.

“WVU professor Joe Galbreath and an employee of MPB have said that they would help us learn how to repair books,” Shaver said.

The museum  already has plans for the equipment: A printing exhibit.

“We will be having a printing exhibit sometime in 2021 or beyond, and we hope to have it ready for that exhibit and demonstrate the equipment that we have.”

 Shaver said he is excited to show the community how book binding is done.

“We are looking forward to having hands-on experience and being able to demonstrate the trade to the public.”

MPB is at 915 Green Bag Road, with other locations in Bridgeport, Charleston and Steubenville, Ohio.  The Morgantown History Museum,   175 Kirk St., is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

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