A Few of His Favorite Things -- CagleJanuary 2001
Among the pieces he has amassed over the years: an 1850 Imperial press hiding in the basement of a tobacconist's shop in England. He discovered an 1875 Grasshopper hand-powered news press in a run-down print shop in Calico, AR, and most recently he acquired a tough-to-find 1840 Columbian hand press, found in the basement of a print shop in India.
One of his most beloved pieces was a Potter press, which has been displayed at the Smithsonian and is currently on display at a Los Angeles Times facility. The Potter was one of the first presses to churn out that newspaper.
When he wasn't adding to his impressive laundry list of printing hardware, Ernie Lindner was busying himself with hobbies and pastimes most of us only dream of undertaking. His vast array of traveling experience includes a 10-year stint with a gas-balloon racing team, which flew over Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Australia and the United States. His adventurous spirit landed Ernie a spot as the national vice president of the Family Motor Coach Association, with his crowning glory a conversion of Gene Autry's tour bus into a motor home.
Prior to his 1,700-mile trip, he joined an expedition to the North Pole at the tender age of 70. Two years later, he ventured to the South Pole. Did he rest in that one-year interim? Pretty much, as he only co-piloted a MIG jet over Moscow.
Services were held for Ernie Lindner at the same church in which he married the love of his life, Harriet, more than 55 years ago. He is survived by his wife and their daughter Kris, along with several grandchildren. Essentially, he lived his life all over the world, without ever really leaving home.
While some people spend a lifetime accumulating wealth, it is clear that Ernie Lindner spent a lifetime collecting memories and stoking the fires of his many passions, including printing presses. In founding the museum, Ernie has left something for everyone to enjoy, even those who didn't know the man.
"Ernie's passion for printing and its history has been so evident in the collection of antique presses he built over his lifetime, a collection which remains unsurpassed in the world," noted Mark Barbour, curator of the International Printing Museum, in a letter announcing Lindner's passing. "The Lindner collection and the Printing Museum are a testament to his legacy within the industry."
Certainly in living such a full and active life, Ernie Lindner is someone who earned the right to rest in peace.
This column is celebrating its first birthday, and I'd like to thank all of you who contributed thoughts, suggestions and words of encouragement. Have a happy and safe holiday season, and here's hoping that 2002 will bring you much good fortune.
--BY ERIK CAGLE