History

Origins

Barbour Printing is named for Nick and Odell Barbour, the founders, who started the print shop upon retirement from the Rappahannock Times newspaper in 1971. Located in a 2-bay garage behind Dr. Lemings’ office building and what is now the Shell gas station on Church Lane, the fledgling business thrived in spite of the cramped quarters. The print shop offered letterpress and handset metal and wood type, using a Kluge 12×18 Letter Press, and a Linotype Model 8, supplanted with an offset printing capability using a Multilith 1250 press. Some of the original equipment is now on display in the lobby of our shop.

The venerable Chandler & Price letterpress, with its plain castings, is a heavy steel, low silhouette press, with a small straight-spoke flywheel and automatic feeder. This brand of press was the standard for high-quality personalized printing for over a hundred years.

Early History

E. A. and Shirley Reinhardt purchased the business in 1974, and in 1976 moved the shop to the corner of Prince Street and Water Lane, now the location of the Martin Sale Furniture Company in the historic district. With an emphasis on service, the Reinhardts attracted a loyal clientele almost immediately, and expanded the business to offer enhanced offset printing capabilities.

At that time Barbour Printing’s typesetting was created with “hot type”, using a Linotype machine (now in the front lobby), a cantankerous and loud contraption, but a workhorse of the printing industry since the late 1800s, used in almost every newspaper and magazine of the era. An operator typed out a punched lead type form in a single line, that is, a “line o’ type”, thus the name. This was an improvement over the previous method of manual, letter-by-letter typesetting using a composing stick and drawers of wood and metal letters.

But the use of offset printing, with its large negatives and aluminum plates, required a serious graphic arts photographic setup. E.A. managed to make quality offset plates using a “monster” 36-inch graphic arts camera, where the film was held to the platen with vacuum supplied by an improvised vacuum cleaner!

Beginning of the Computer Era

With the advent of computerized typesetting, type could be produced quickly and efficiently. In 1979 the company purchased a Compugraphic typesetting system, and offered its customers a significant increase in productivity and speed. Compugraphic lead the market in a revolutionary typesetting development known as “cold type”, where an operator could type directly onto a computer screen and then print long sheets of photographic paper with type in columns, ready to be assembled or “pasted up” into a layout later. The automated typesetting meant that the other parts of the process needed comparable upgrading.

In the 1980’s Barbour Printing purchased a 24” Stat Camera (for photographing art and halftones), a Davidson 701 single color press, and a 17×22” ATF Chief press. Joey Reinhardt, the owners’ son, joined the business in 1989.

In the late 1990’s advances in direct-to-plate technologies made it possible to further streamline the printing process. Barbour purchased the AB Dick 2340 capable of producing silver master plates.

In 1998 the company moved again, leasing a warehouse on Virginia Street. Technology played a large part in this era once more: The rise of the Apple computer as a professional typesetting system along with design software meant that Barbour could offer faster throughput with more customized layouts. Typesetting could now go direct to plate, while halftones were still shot on the stat camera. The enhanced productivity was yet another opportunity for Barbour to provide reliable turnaround at a competitive price.

Being willing to adapt to rapid advances in technology means Barbour Printing is always on the leading edge of state-of-the-art services, a benefit to our customers, who demand the finest in printing.

Digital Printing Arrives

When the opportunity to move to Prince Street again became available, the company jumped at the chance to occupy its current location.

As part of an initiative to offer superior service, Barbour realized they needed to expand their current capabilities to include a full-color digital press that would deliver fast, high-quality output with a variety of finishing options. In 2011, Barbour Printing enhanced its print operations with the Konica Minolta bizhub® C7000 Color Digital Press. Konica Minolta is a leader in advanced imaging and networking technologies for the digital printing industry.

Capable of printing razor-sharp color images in perfect registration on both sides of a sheet of paper, the bizhub Press can handle a variety of paper stocks for a multitude of uses, whether a newsletter, a full-color saddle-stitched catalog, or direct mail flyers with variable data. This digital press delivers exceptional digital color prints in short runs, with an environmentally friendly technology.

Barbour Printing was one of the first in Virginia to get this digital press. Leveraging fast output speeds and vivid color output, the business has not only broadened its services portfolio with their newest color digital press, but also realized time and cost savings for every customer.

Today

Printing has evolved to produce more selective, high-impact results. An important service offering is variable-data direct mail, a highly-customizable marketing service, perfect for local mailers who want to specifically target select customers.

Barbour Printing serves customers from Richmond to the Chesapeake Bay in a broad service area, especially the Middle Peninsula, the Northern Neck region and Middlesex County. Barbour Printing offers free weekly pickup and delivery to these areas.

Our personalized service, with custom design solutions and efficient production from our experienced staff, means you’ll get the professional quality printing you expect and deserve.