By Rosemary Pollock
LDS Man's Printing Museum Features Replica of Book of Mormon Press
PROVO, UTAH -- If you are looking for a historical jaunt through 500 years
of the printed word, you have no farther to go than Crandall's Historical
Printing Museum in Provo, Utah. Louis Crandall, formerly knows as Arizona's
Walt Disney, is having fun sharing his literary treasures with college
professors, students and hundreds of school kids and boy scouts. Crandall's
museum pays homage to three major events that he believes brought the world
out of the Dark Ages.
"It's the greatest invention in the history of the world," Crandall tells
museum-goers." "Before Gutenberg's invention, there were no printed books.
All books were hand-copied for the state, the church or for the rich. Within
50 years of when he began printing, it's estimated there were 12 million
books," Crandall explained.
There is a Johann Gutenberg Room that re-creates the world's first print
shop; a replica of Bejamin Franklin's shop where Poor Richard's Almanac was
printed; and the Grandin Room that duplicates the Palmyra, N.Y., shop that
produced the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in 1829.
"This is not a regular museum," Crandall explained. "Here, kids get to
handle and touch everything. Everything that is but an original page from
the Gutenberg Bible, worth $65,000. Gutenberg used a 42-line page in 1452 to
print his bible. Crandall or one of the museum guides will give you a
close-up look at casting type or operating a replica of the Gutenberg press.
"It's exciting to have a historical museum of this caliber in Provo," said
City Councilman Greg Hudnall. "It's the best museum of its kind in Utah,"
said Springvill resident Sheila Broadbent. "My children are just enthralled
by all the old machinery and the chance to learn how the Bible and Book of
Mormon were printed."
"We hope people will leave here with a greater appreciation for the
monumental change that the printing of the first Bible created in our world
because of Gutenberg's invention of printing with movable type," Crandall
said. Crandall, 72, and his second wife, Marie, share the museum/home. Mabel
Crandall previously died of cancer.
About 12 years ago, Crandall received a call from Elder Loren C. Dunn, then
a General Authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He
told Crandall that the church needed his press for the opening of a museum
in Nauvoo, Illinois. "I told him, 'Next to Mabel, Elder Dunn, that is my
most prized personal possession.' He replied, 'Then we'll call you and Mabel
on a mission and send you and the press to Nauvoo.'" Crandall willingly lent
the press to the church until they could find another. Later, Steve Pratt of
Cove Fort was hired to make a working replica of Franklin's press.
A replica of the Acorn Hand Press used to print the first Book of Mormon was
donated by Fred Schwendiman, now chairman of the museum's board of
directors. Through the years Crandall has added linotype machines, type
cabinets, paper cutters and other printing antiques to his collection.
History in the Printing
Salt Lake Tribune 9Jul01 A2
By Mark Eddington: Salt Lake Tribune