Friday, December 2, 2016
Presensitized Printing plate 4
After we started to manufacture the presensitized plates we hired a number of chemists to do quality control and then to find another material besides silicate which could be used as the interlayer between the aluminum and the diazo coating. I worked with one chemist on organic coatings and with Ibert Mellan, who had published several books on chemicals, on inorganic coatings. He and I discovered that dipping the cleaned aluminum plate in a 2% solution of potassium zirconium hexaflouride at 160°F. made a good presensitized offset plate when coated with the diazo. We applied for a patent for this process on Dec. 29, 1958. We were granted patent #2,946,683 on July 26, 1960. We also received patents on this process in Japan and Europe. After the patent was issued in Japan, Fuji Photo Film, the main manufacturer of photographic film in Japan through the Mitsui organization licensed this patent for a one and two thirds per cent royalty and technical interchange. Over the years, Polychrome received over seventy million dollars ($70,000,000) in royalties While most of the improvements came from Polychrome, we did get from Fuji a formula for a positive presensitized plate coating which was an ester of diazo oxide with an acetone-pyrogallol polymer.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Presensitized Printing plate 3 by Mr. Bob Gumbinner
3M claimed that our plates really had a silicate interlayer. Their chemist, Case, did not believe we could make plates with zirconium fluoride. The Court appointed a master, Professor Lindford, to find out if this were true. We bought very pure potassium zirconium hexafluoride and he came to our plant where we made plates using distilled water and 0.1% of the zirconium fluoride and made plates that could be imaged and copies printed from. I then went to 3M in St Paul where they tried to make plates using a 0.1% solution of sodium silicate. These plates failed to print. About this time, the US Government sued 3M for anti-trust violations. Don Spille our attorney at this time got the presensitized plates included in the government’s case.
The government won, so Professor Lindford did not need to report his findings to the Chicago court. We later hired Professor Linford as our research director. Although I asked him, he never told us what he would have reported.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Here is another contribution from Al Wierling; thanks Al!
Hope you are well. Cleaned out my garage and desk and of course found some Polychrome memories. Some are in bad shape and I just do't have the will to throw out. I am guessing the newest of any of these is 20 years old. In this batch I have one of my favorites, a fabric Polychrome bag that was very versatile and a handout at one of our sales meetings, also a water metering kit which we used to measure conductivity and PH in Pressroom fountains. Polychrome box cutters, a 2 Polychrome sweaters given out at our national sales meeting and finally one of our famous Polychrome aprons which I use in the garage occasionally. If you look close you can see remnants of 922 developer on the lower right side. I hope you can use these on your blog.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Presensitized Printing plate 2 By Mr. Bob Gumbinner
The production process was to sheet and cut 3S aluminum to the proper size for the press on which the plates were mounted and to punch the heading or two holes on top and bottom. These were then mounted on racks with stainless steel springs--30 for duplicator size plates. These racks were then moved by hand through a series of tanks: a sodium phosphate etch, rinse, a 3% each of sulfuric, chromic, and phosphoric acids, rinse; a 160oF 3% solution of sodium silicate, rinse. The plates were removed from the racks and fed first through a distilled water spray and squeeze rollers, a drying tunnel; then through squeeze rollers on which 2% solution of the formaldehyde paradiazodiphenylamine condensation product with ¼ %of citric acid and 0.1% saponin was sprayed. The plates were carried on V belts through the drying tunnels which were heated with coated infra red bulbs. The plates were inspected and wrapped in paper to which was laminated black polyethylene coated aluminum. They were then packed in cartons. We were quickly successful in selling these plates, mostly through dealers but we also set up a number of sales offices to sell directly and service the dealers.
On July 26, 1955, a patent was issued to Jewett and Case which was assigned to 3M. A few weeks later 3M sued A B Dick and Alumolith for patent infringement. Three months later, 3M brought suits against a printer in Cleveland, who was using our plates, our dealer in Wichita, Kansas and three of our salesmen in our Chicago office. Because of this suit, very few dealers continued to sell Polychrome plates. Therefore, we established more direct sales offices. Our patent attorneys, Ostrolenk and Faber, assured us that the patent was not valid. However they were not a match for the 3M attorneys. They made the mistake of controlling the case against the dealer in Kansas which 3M won. When the case went to court in Chicago, we hired Don Spille to represent us. However, the Judge ruled in December 1961 that we were bound by the Texas decision. By that time we were no longer using the 3M silicate process but my zirconium hexafluoride process. Both the patent Court of Appeals and the Kansas court had ruled that the Jewett patent could not be broadened to cover any aluminum treatment.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Presensitized Printing plate 1 by Mr. Bob Gumbinner
In late 1951 or early 1952, Mr. Halpern met with Elmer Deal of Alumolith, which was making presensitized plates and arranged a license with Mr. Deal, who had brought to 3M’s attention the US Army BIOS reports about the German army use of the condensation product of paraformaldehyde and paradiazodiphenyl-amine for printing plates, to acquire his process for a 3 percent royalty on metal plates and one cent for paper presensitized plates. This Diazo was patented by Kalle in 1935. Fred Hozeny and I went to the Alumolith plant in Alhambra, California and made sketches of the equipment and details of the process. On returning we built the first tank line. I do not recall this line. It must have been in the original 2 Ashburton Ave, building. Perhaps we took down one of the paper coaters since our sales of paper plates was limited. We had erected a small building along Alexander St. to house the gas supply for the paper coater drying tunnels. Half of this we used for a laboratory. Later, when we made subtractive plates, this half was made explosion proof and used to make the coating solutions. About 1956 we enclosed the west half of the second floor of 2 Ashburton and installed lab benches.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
About Mr. Gumbinner 2 Ashburton building built
When Joe Roth was supervising the construction of the 12,000 sq. ft. building at 2 Ashburton Ave., I told him the contractor had not put reinforcing rods in the foundation. The contractor then took a barrel of nails and spread them through the concrete. When we bought the lot at 137 Alexander St., in 1968, I had Joe Roth design the building with the main entrance on the river side not the street. This had a number of advantages: the racks of stencils and skids of plates could be moved across the street and up the ramp into the factory, the offices on the second floor had windows that overlooked the Hudson River and Palisades, and visitors could park near the entrance. Our insurance company made us raise the floor level 2 feet to provide for a possible 100 year record flood. The Hudson River at Yonkers being a tidal river never floods in the usual sense but at high tide with hurricane force winds the water can be blown over the banks. This happened twice during my lifetime but the water was less than three inches deep. Because this land was on ashes which had been dumped in the river, Joe Roth had three eight inch steel pipes driven 110 to 125 feet down to the bed rock and filled with concrete where they formed the base of the columns and used grade beams. The floor was not on piles so over the years it sunk several inches. I had a wood end block floor installed in the factory area so we could shore up any machinery if the floor sunk unevenly. The staircase to the upper offices was suspended so it just required a little patching for appearance when the floor sunk.
When TOSCA and OSHA regulations became law, I took the responsibility to study them and ensure that we complied with the requirements. The inspectors who came to our plants only saw inconsequential matters such as having us put a railing in the middle of the front steps. One inspector made us lower the fire extinguishers in the plant. Another inspector had us put them back at the initial locations since the skids of materials blocked the lower level. When going around with the inspectors, I notice things which the operators were doing which I considered might cause an injury and had them corrected but were not noticed by the OSHA inspectors.