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Staley McBrayer, 92; Inventor of Offset Press for Newspaper Printing

April 18, 2002|From Associated Press

FORT WORTH — 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 the Fort Worth area.

For five years, McBrayer tinkered with the offset press process used to print books. Many people believed that it could not be modified to print a newspaper. 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 cost.

"It saved the small newspaper," Spencer said.

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

The group's 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."

To the end, McBrayer said his efforts with the offset press were performed out of financial necessity rather than any sense of altruism.

"I was sinking financially in the newspaper business. The development of offset was the way I survived," he said some years ago.

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

He earned a graduate degree in journalism at the University of Texas.

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

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