Staley T. McBrayer
Inventor of Web Offset Press
Hall of Fame Class of 2007
Staley Thomas McBrayer, sometimes called "the Orville Wright of offset newspapers," revolutionized the entire newspaper industry through his development of printing presses.
While attending East Texas State Teachers College – now the Commerce campus of Texas A&M – he worked in the business department of the Commerce Journal. After graduating, McBrayer became its advertising and business manager and later began buying small newspapers in the Fort Worth area.
From 1947 to 1952, McBrayer Publishing Company conducted experiments in adapting an offset press to newspaper production. In 1953, McBrayer took the production specifications he had developed to the Grant Ghormley engineering firm and engaged them to build a newspaper offset press.
This first press, called the Vanguard Press, was the forerunner in the newspaper printing industry. His peers soon agreed the invention saved small newspapers across the country.
By the 1980s, the "whacky" idea of printing by offset had become the dominant process for newspaper printing worldwide.
In 1992, McBrayer received the American Newspaper Publishers Association Award, a rare honor. The award, only the fourth presented since it was established in 1965, was given "in grateful recognition of dedicated and distinguished service to the cause of a strong, free press."
Among the newspapers McBrayer published were the Arlington and Grand Prairie Daily News-Texan, a daily at Hurst-Euless; the semiweekly Irving News-Record and weeklies at Haltom City and Richland Hills.
He also served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, 1967-68. He earned the distinguished alumnus award from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1973 and the outstanding alumnus award in 1984 from the University of Texas at Austin College of Communication.
He was listed as of the "50 Most Influential Newspaper People of the 20th Century" by Editor & Publisher magazine in 1999.
McBrayer was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007, one of four pioneers composing the first class of honorees.