ROBERT GINSBERG KEEPS an unusual souvenir of his first large newspaper project as a design engineer -- an almost two-inch-thick flip book that illustrates the construction of the Bulletin Building in Philadelphia 30 years ago.
Work on the building at 30th and Market Streets, across from the city's principal railroad station, was started in 1950 and finished in 1955. Less than a year after it was completed, Ginsberg recalled during an interview last month, an explosion that demolished a building on the other side of Market St. blew out the windows and wiped out the fourth floor executive suite of the Evening & Sunday Bulletin.
Fortunately, he recalled, the explosion came late in the day and there was no one in the offices. The demolished building was some sort of mill.
The Bulletin went out of business early in 1982, and its building, long since emptied of its presses, is being considered by the Philadelphia Inquirer for its editorial and business offices.
Ginsberg succeeded his father, William, as the head of the family firm, William Ginsberg Associates, in New York City, where he still has his office.
The father built the New York World-Telegram Building on West St., and in 1949 Ginsberg helped his father shoehorn the presses from the New York Sun into the building after a merger.
The Ginsbergs had a long relationship with Scripps Howard, which continues to the present. The firm also has done work for the McClatchy and Newhouse newspaper chains.
The past figures in Ginsberg's current project, a new plant for the the Gannett Co.'s morning Democrat and Chronicle and evening Times-Union, in Rochester, N.Y.
He said the job can be traced from 1970, when he interrupted a family vacation in Aspen, Colo., to fly to Rochester at the insistence of a friend, Alexander Trowbridge, who was on the Gannett board.
Ginsberg said he met with Allen Neuharth, Gannett chairman at that time, who told him, "the next time we do something in Rochester, it's yours."
These days, Ginsberg, a graduate of the Yale School of Engineering who served as a Navy officer in World War II, isn't seeking major design work, but will still take on consulting jobs.
For some people, the past is not something you put behind you. The Old Order Amish refuse to connect their homes or places or business to electric power or telephone lines. Despite this, they still manage to have weekly newspapers and even print monthly magazines and books themselves. This is usually done with mechanical presses, hydraulic pumps and diesel engines.
Marvin Wengerd, who runs Carlisle Printing in Walnut Creek, Ohio, uses a diesel electric generator to run a collection of 11-by-17 presses, but then he describes himself as "New Order Amish."
He also has a phone, which made him a source for information about Pathway Publishing, an Old Order Amish publisher of monthly magazines. A quarterly magazine, Keepers at Home, is printed at Wengerd's plant.
Wengerd said Pathway prints its magazines on a 19-by-11 Heidelberg press run by hydraulic power. A diesel motor runs a hydraulic pump and the only electricity generated is what is needed to charge the battery that starts the diesel engine, he explained. The press is started and stopped with a slip clutch on a belt-and-pulley arrangement, he added.
Pathway Publishing is in Aylmer, a community in Ontario, Canada. Unlike Wengerd, however, Pathway's best-known principal, David Luthy, cannot be reached by phone.
The Heidelberg press was one of the last purely mechanical presses made by the German company. Wengerd said it was bought in 1962 for $14,000, the price at that time of a 100-acre farm.
Pathway prints and binds 50,000 saddle-stitched magazines a month, according to Wengerd, with the bindery machines run by hydraulic power or compressed air and much work done by hand. …