Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stencil Manufacturing ( part 5)

Stencil Manufacturing ( part 5)

Mr. Halpern obtained two major customers, who manufactured stencil duplicators. The first was Speed-O-Print. Speed-O-Print made a regular size and a small note size hand -operated Stencil Duplicator. Speed-O-Print had been mounting their stencils. Mr. Halpern sold Abe Samuels, the owner of Speed-O-Print, that Polychrome should do this. At the time Speed-O-Print was moving to a building at 1801 W Larchmont, Chicago, IL, which they purchased from Bell and Howell. Polychrome bought the equipment and stock. One
of Speed-O-Print’s employee who printed the scale on the stencil using a 11 by 19 Multilith which was converted to print from the blanket cylinder joined Polychrome.

Abe Samuels was a big time gambler. He had owned 15 percent of the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Los Vegas. He took us to dinner at Gibys a restaurant in the loop on the Chicago River. He ate little but placed bets. He gave college football players summer jobs.

Mr. Halpern had met Sigmund Gestetner. Gestetner was the largest seller of Stencil Duplicating machines outside of the United States. Gestetner had made an agreement with A B Dick in the early 1930’s whereby Gestetner would not sell in the United States and Dick would not sell in Europe. When this agreement expired, Gestetner arranged to work with Polychrome to supply them with Gestetner labeled stencils for the United States market. They rented space in one of the Alexander Carpet Shop Buildings on Nepperhan Ave. Later Gestetner erected a building on part of the property which the Boyce Thomas Institute sold, when they moved their research to upstate New York in conjunction with Cornell University.

Monday, May 23, 2016

stencil manufacturing 4

Stencil Manufacturing ( part 4)

I (Mr. Gumbinner) invented and patented a stencil with a yellow top coat and a heavier black coat on the underside. These stencils were sold to Weber Addressing and Sten-C-Label who made a small device to mark shipping cartons. They mounted the stencils to a backing sheet, which when the address was typed could be kept in the office and the stencil be sent to the shipping department to mark the packages. This reduced the possibility of shipping errors as well as saving the time of making a Marsh stencil. We used Marsh stencils to mark our shipping cartons. In the 1940s, much of Polychromes production was for the armed forces. An inspector would check the shipments before it was released. They always accepted our test results. When a new inspector came, he would make us remark the cartons. The inspectors weren’t consistent.
We were not patent conscious in the forties, so we did not patent several other of my stencil inventions. Two other products that we produced on the stencil coating machine were a clear stencilizing coating on a heavy tissue for strain gauges. This was for a company in Eddystone, Pennsylvania and a heat sensitive paper which was used in cardiograph machines and similar marking applications. The black tracing was made by a heated sapphire stylus.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

stencil manufacturing 3

Stencil Manufacturing ( part 3)

The coated stencils were mounted on a backing sheet. The backing sheet was a piece of Kraft paper that had been lightly coated with mineral oil so it would not absorb the oils from the coated stencils. Originally, we bought this paper from Link in New Jersey. The top of the backing sheet were printed with the name of the company selling the stencils. While we sold stencils with the Polychrome label the majority were sold to accounts that had their own label. Two duplicating machine manufacturers Gestetner and Speed-o-Print became our biggest customers. Holes were punched in the top of the backing sheet to match the clamp on the duplicator to which the typed stencil was fastened. The original Gestetner heading required a complicated die. Later they simplified it. After printing the backing sheet was perforated so that after the stencil was typed the backing sheet below the punched stub could be torn off. The backing sheet was then passed through a Pot Devin gluer and the stencil sheet which had been cut to the proper size was glued on. The assembled stencil was then imprinted with a ruler guides. Some special stencils, which were mounted on an unoiled backing sheet ha a piece of parchment paper inserted between the backing sheet and the stencil. To complete eliminate the typewriter keys from filling with the stencil coating the more expensive stencils were sold with a sheet of pliofilm, a thin chlorinated rubber film made by Goodyear. This was attached to the backing sheet stub with dots of a removable glue. To make corrections the typist would pull the playful down the pliofilm and apply correction fluid to the error and retype. We bought the correction fluid from Starkey. We purchased styli and lettering guides for resale were made by Monks operating as Technigraph. To prevent the stencil oils from wrinkling the pliofilm a parchment sheet was inserted between the stencil and pliofilm. Later the pliofilm was glued on a short piece of paper a tab which was folded over and could be place over the stencil backing sheet assembly. These could be put separately in the package and used several times. The stencils were packaged in quires. That is 24 sheets. Included with the stencils were 8 or 12 carbon coated sheets enclosed in a parchment folder which was sometimes printed. For blue and green stencils the carbon coating was white. For yellow and white stencils black carbon paper was used. These carbon papers made much easier for the typist to see what was being typed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Our old Yonkers headquarter building on the way out

Ron Muzillo  was at our Yonkers headquarter building site recently and found it is being demolished and writes

The entire 1st floor appears to be demolished- All of the walls havebeen taken out, one big hall!!
I'm not sure about the 2nd floor but the building is in terrible shape, both inside and out.
Its a shame, a beautiful location but there's not much you can do with the building or parking lot which appears to be a parking are for larger type trucks and large dumpsters. Looking at the mfg facilities across the street and thosebuildings are following apart...terrible shape. They need to be torn down and start all over.
Its heartbreaking to see-such great memories -
Ron M
I share Ron's fond memory as I have spent my days between 1971 and early 1990 there.     It was a beautiful and architect prize winning building.       Sun Chemical continued to own the building after we all moved out in early 1990 (some to Columbus, GA and many of us to Ft Lee or Carlstadt, New Jersey.    It was occupied by the Westchester Social Service agency for a while but after it moved out to a nearby larger building the building  as far as I can determine,  remained unoccupied for a long time.       It was built before the energy crunch and probably was not very energy efficient for  modern needs.      So it is not surprising to see it being demolished/renovated to a new version.         Ken

Saturday, April 30, 2016

stencil manufacturing 2

Stencil Manufacturing ( part 2)

We originally bought the nitrocellulose in the form of used motion picture film. A company, “Cellofilm,” removed and recovered the silver from the film reels. These rolls of film were stored in drums in a pit at the rear of the property. After one of the drums exploded we bought solutions of virgin cellulose from Cellofilm. This required adjusting the coating as the film had some camphor as a plasticizer. To make the coating solution, the nitrocellulose was dissolved in ethyl acetate and ethyl alcohol and the oils and pigments mixed in. The halowax and fatty amide were melted in a steam heated kettle before added.

When stencils were typed, the letters such as “e” and “o” on the typewriter keys would fill up with the stencil coating. This was worse after we started roll coating since the coating stayed on the bottom side of the stencil paper. I solved this problem by, instead of winding up the coated sheet at the end of the drying tunnel, adding a coating station to apply a thin coating of a nitrocellulose solution plasticized only with castor oil and carrying the web back through the tunnel and winding it in back of the unwind stand. Later, we put two coating stations in the middle of the drying tunnel. One coating on the first main stenciling coating was a casein solution, which would hold moisture and neutralize the electrostatic charge that formed when the stencil contacted the copy paper. This was particularly important for the Gestetner two drum machine. The other coating was fine diatomaceous earth which reduced the glare when the stencils were typed. This four coated stencil became the standard for the industry. For lower cost stencils we added the diatomaceous earth to the second coat.  

Tihe last Luth sponsored trip in 1992

Al Wiesling writes; these pics are from the last Luth sponsored trip this time to Vail Colorado.   We stayed at the Raddison in Vail in December 1992.

The trip was a five day events which featured unlimited skiing, one day of ski lessons, a snowmobile trip in the mountains and a sleigh ride at a Benos Cabin in the mountains for a sumptuous dinner.     As usual, our hosts from Luth could not have been more generous.

Pat and Al Wierling

Albert Garcia and his wife

Bruce Goodwin and his wife from Luth


Corey (?) from Clark

First night group photo

Our Luth hosts

Peter Bitten and Band Holm from Luth

Al and Pat Wierling

Rich Christancho and his wife with the record sales plaque

Robert Holis and his wife



Group photo from the snow mobile day

Al says further; most of the peoples I have identified, some remain familiar but I can't recall their names.     (Welcome to the club! Al.    I have the same problem!)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Polychrome as recalled by Mr. Robert Gumbinner...2 Stencil Manufacturing 1

Polychrome’s original business was in stencil. Here Mr. Gumbinner recalls early days of stencil manufacturing.

Stencil Manufacturing: (part 1)
Mimeograph stencils are made by coating a porous tissue sheet with a highly oil-loaded nitro-cellulose solution. When I started with Polychrome, a sheet of Yoshino tissue (hand made paper) from the bark of a type of Mulberry tree had been used. These sheets were mounted on a bar and carried by a conveyor chain through a drying tunnel. By this time the C H Dexter company, which was making tea bag, developed a Fourdinier paper making machine in which the Fourdinier wire instead of being horizontal was at an uphill
angle. In this way they were able to obtain squareage. That is, the fibers were dispersed in all directions. This was necessary for a stencil otherwise letters like “O” would chop out. Later we improved our stencils by having Dexter add a wet strength resin to the sheet. Since the stencil tissue was now available in rolls, we designed a method of distributing the heated drying air through a plenum to support the coated sheet. The stencil tissue in passing over the coating roll picked up five times its weight of the wet coating solution needed considerable support.

When I came on board, Polychrome was getting many complaints about the performance of their stencils. One month, more stencils than we made were returned including stencils made by other manufacturers. I worked on improving the stencil solution formula, which was basically eight parts of oil to one part of nitrocellulose plus pigments. I balanced the oils to about equal parts of oleic acid, ocenol (oleic alcohol from whale oil), and butyl stearate. We also included about 2 parts of castor oil plus the castor oil into which the pigments were ground. Castor oil was a plasticizer for nitrocellulose. Also included was halowax, and a long chain amide to prevent the stencils from sticking together and a preserv­ative. The pigment was initially iron blue for the standard blue stencil. Later we change to phthalo­cyanine blue. Chrome yellow was used for yellow stencils, titanium dioxide for white and phthalocyanine green for green stencils.