National Museum of Industrial History Unveils Bethlehem Steel Printing Mosaics
BETHLEHEM, PA – The National Museum of Industrial History unveiled today two mosaics that have been saved from the former Bethlehem Steel printery building at the Martin Tower site in Bethlehem. The mosaics, one depicting Johannes Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing press, and the other depicting Stephen Daye’s first North American printing press, were installed in the entranceway, constructed in 1959.
The printery, located in an annex building at the Martin Tower site, was recently demolished. Operations ceased in the printery at the end of 1988. The 100,000 square foot building once house the company’s print shop, which printed letterhead, stationery, envelopes, and company publications. The building was the first constructed on the 53-acre campus, which went on to be the home of Martin Tower, the 332-foot-tall headquarters of Bethlehem Steel, the tallest building in the Lehigh Valley. The mosaics are on a 50 year loan from developers Lou Ronca and Norton Herrick, who own the Martin Tower site. The extraction and transportation of the mosaics was covered by two anonymous benefactors.
“This was a true community effort,” said Kara Cenni, interim President and CEO of NMIH. “The work on behalf of the building owners, the city, contractors, the Steelworkers Archives, our staff, and former Bethlehem Steel employee Carville Bevans is a testament to the interest in industrial history. We’re ecstatic that these mosaics have been preserved and will be used to educate and inspire.”
The mosaics will be on view to the public in the museum’s lobby. Concurrent with the unveiling of these artifacts which represent important milestones in the printing industry, the museum also announced its plans to host an exhibit about the printing industry in 2018.