In September of 1890, the Board of Regents for the then State Agriculture College of Oregon accepted a motion by J.E. Cauthorn to purchase a “printing outfit” and the teaching of typography to the Mechanical Department. This was the beginning of today’s Printing and Mailing Department. The photo above shows the original Mechanical Hall building where the Printing Department was first housed. Printing was housed in the original Mechanical Hall until fire destroyed the building in 1898. Following the fire, the Printing department was moved to the new Mechanical Hall(now Apperson Hall) in 1898. From 1908 to 1923, Printing was part of the Production Technology housed in Merryfield Hall before being moved into Commerce Hall (now Bexell Hall). Printing and Mailing stayed in Commerce Hall until 1957 when it was relocated into an Industrial Building across the RR tracks from Campus(now Cascade Hall). In 1958, the Clerical Exchange(which would later become Mailing Services) was merged with the Department of Printing.
In 1965 most of the printing was done by the letterpress process on two Linotype machines with the larger type still be set by hand. The plant operated with a single shift and closed for two weeks every summer for vacations. In the years that followed the plant was slowly modernized to lithographic processes and the older letterpresses were replaced. The plant upgraded with installation of more automated processes of paper cutting, automated collating, plate making and folding. In 1990, the department installed the State’s most advanced computer assisted press.