Mangaluru (The Hindu): Started in 1841, the Press printed the first Kannada daily, Mangaluru Samachara. The Basel Mission Press, the first printing press in the State to be established in 1841, celebrated its 175th anniversary here on Sunday even as its administrators have plans to renovate the press and introduce a three-year diploma course in printing technology.
Besides offering the diploma course, the Karnataka Christian Education Society (KACES), which maintains the Press, plans to set up a museum for the old printing machines and the paraphernalia.
The first Kannada daily, Mangaluru Samachara, came out of Bassel Mission Press in its initial days of working, followed by newspapers of other languages. The Press also printed the first English-Kannada Nighantu (Dictionary) of Rev. Ferdinand Kittel, who was a priest with the Mission in South India.
Also, Dasara Padagalu was got printed by Herman Friedrich Moegling, a German missionary from the Mission here. The Press had also printed Malayalam-English Dictionary of Rev. Hermann Gundert, another German missionary, scholar and linguist.
According to society secretary Rev. Hannibal Cabral, a host of activities are planned to commemorate the 175 years of the founding of the press during 2016-17. The Press is functional under the name of Basel Institute of Printing Technology offering two-year apprenticeship course in book binding and has 15 employees, he said.
Rev. Cabral said that the society would renovate the Press, introduce modern printing machinery and commence a diploma programme in printing technology besides offering more employment.
After the Press was opened by German missionaries from Basel, the print types were brought by Peblest from Germany in 1851-52. Till 1901, print types of regional languages and European languages were brought from Germany. The Press got its own unit of print type production in 1901 and another unit to design drawing and art map, etc., was opened in 1904.
Since the Press had its own publishing division, it printed and published hundreds of books even as it got orders for printing textbooks from the governments of Bombay and Madras. Colour printing started in 1904 after three new machinery were brought from Germany. Meanwhile, the Press also commenced training programme in printing technology and book binding for the youth, who later opened own printing units in the region.
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