Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Additional memo from Mr. Gumbinner 19 Polcyxhrome GmbH

When we started to make the aluminum plates, we found there was not a sufficient flow of water.  Apparently the pipes were corroded.  We installed two 500 gallon tanks which were filled at night to have enough water to run the tanks line rinses.  Mr. Halpern hired a man in America from Germany to be the president of Poychrome Gmbh .  After a number of months we found the sales manager which Polychrome Gmbh  had hired was keeping some of the money the dealers paid and he was discharged.  A Mr, Richter was hired as the plant manager and Mr. Mintel as the company chemist.  

Polychrome Gmbh acquired an empty building In downtown Osterode which had been a furniture factory.  The  company then made the offset plates there and left Freiheiit.  I do not know if the tank line was moved there but they  built a copy of our C line.  Most of the line was built by Deprieux  which had experience building metal plate lines.  The anodizing section was obtained from Langbein.  We bought  from Deprieux two position unwind stands and heat seal units which enabled us to connect a finished roll of aluminum to a new one using a special two sided tape made by 3M.                 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dr. Ken Kuhn

Dr. Ken Kuhn appeared to Polychrome suddenly in 1979 soon after the DIC takeover  as the head of research laboratory but without any background in graphic arts industry.          His effort was centered around organizing thick reports on every projects we had.          Since Polychrome laboratory had been more focused on results rather than writing reports, I must admit our record keeping was less than ideal.      So we reluctantly (perhaps) started to prepare thick reports which he brought to the management meetings to show the "progress".           But the combination of his lack of understanding of our business and his interest in following rigid structure made him not the most liked R&D director in our history.        Since I was still the Assistant Research Director I had an opportunity to hear his view of our staff and his interest in getting rid of one particular senior person who made considerable contribution to Polychrome but simply showed his dislike of Dr. K.           Possibly as the result of my complaint to Mr. Iwata of DIC, Dr. K was abruptly dismissed right in the middle of DRUPA in Dusseldorf when Mr. Kawamura came to meet us on the boat hotel we rented for the duration of the show.
Clearly Dr. K was a successful businessman judging from his bio    HERE  but we were simply not ready for the "big company" operation he (and Joe Piot) tried to bring in.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Additional memo from Mr. Gumbinner 18 Germany

In Germany there was a large printing fair called Drupa held every five years in Dusseldorf.  There were many buildings on several acres.  To get a room in Dusseldorf it was necessary to reserve for the next fair.  Mr. Halpern met at the fair two men who were making electrolytic etched aluminum offset plates.  In Germany positive working plates were widely used.  Mr. Halpern arranged to buy their company.  I believe it was called Alpha.  At the same time he asked Gestetner to be part owners.  Mr Gestetner was not intererested in offset.  He then made an arrangement with Ilford which was the equivalent of Kodak in England to invest.  The owner of Alpha (I believe his name was Aurich was asked to find a site for a plant to make the negative working aluminum lithographic plates.  He told me he needed a large amount of water.  He chose Osterode, a city in the Harz mountains, a few miles from the East German border where there was a large reservoir.  I t was fairly near Berlin where he lived.    He picked part of an industrial building in Freiheit a suburb.  Ilford sent two or three of their employees to help set up the tank line. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Film Tech managers in front of Clark Tech Center

Joe Broschowitz contributed the following rare photo of  Film Tech Managers.      Since I do not have an extensive film business library, this is a very welcome addition.      Thanks Joe.



From left to right: Dave Maxey, Joe Broschowitz, John Raglione, Doug Benham, Mike Adelman (Director/Film Marketing), Don Pollack, Bob Pierce, Jim Fino (Film Marketing). This photo is circa 1987.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Additional memo from Mr. Gumbinner 17 Speidel and Sales

Until Polychrome was acquired,  Mr. Halpern's wife, Freda Bonime was the secretary of Polychrome. The two direct image paper coaters were moved to the Speidel plant in Fernwood. This also became the Philadelphia Polychrome office.  There was only a small market for our direct image paper plates.  One was for telephone directories .  Eastman Kodak had invented a gelatin and silver halide coated paper Verifax to compete with the diffusion transfer paper, which was at that time popular.  About ten copies could be made directly from the verifax master.  However the image could be transferred to the Polychrome direct image paper plate.  Because it contained gelatin it was difficult to pick up ink.  I invented a solution which made the image more ink receptive.  I then designed a desk top unit to enable the image to be transferred to the offset plate.  Polychrome arranged for this transfer unit to be manufactured by a company in Connecticut.  About this time Mr. Halpern hired  a man to be the Polychrome sales manager.  I was in Mr. Halpern’s living room when he hired him.  I believe his name was Horton.  Mr. Halpern said he would have free rein.  However, shortly after he started at Polychrome Mr. Halpern told him what to do.  Mr. Horton then resigned.  I do not know who were the sales managers between then and  time Elmer Crabbs left.  After that James Graves who had been the manager of our Baltimore office which was in Towson was hired as a vice president and sales manager.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Additional memo from Mr. Gumbinner 16 Speidel

Louis  Esposito was hired as the financial vice president.  He, Cohen and Mike Vasaliko (one of Fred Hozeny’s assistants) formed a company and set up a plant in Mount  Vernon which copied the Polychrome tank line. We hired a lawyer Jerry Wanshell to get an injunction against them. He was not successful.  Poychrome acquired a company in Fernwood Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia which made blueprint, brown print and diazo coated papers similar to Ozalid.  The directors were Ellington Beavers, who had been a vice president of Rohm and Hass, General LeBron, and Bruce Baldwin,  who had been an officer of a Philadelphia ice cream company  and was one of the managers of the agency that ran the housing development group. I do not remember the names of the Speidel president and vice-president.  One of their directors, Bruce Baldwin., Mr. Halpern put on the Board of directors of Polychrome.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Additional memo from Mr. Gumbinner 15 Fuji Photo Film

Using  their agent, Mitsui, Fuji Photofilm licensed the zirconium  patent and sent a crew to copy our plate line.  Among them was a chemist, Yonezawa.  My wife had the crew to our house in Tarrytown for dinner. We started to receive complaints that the image came off the plate in spots (walk off).  Mr .Halpern  knew a Mr. Moran who referred a chemist, Simon Chu, to him. He was hired.  He found that if a benzophenone was coated over the diazo it became water insolvent without changing the hardening by ultra-violet light. This solved the walk-off problem.  Later we found that if we used the benzophenone  to precipitate the formaldehyde condensed diazo we were making it could be used to make a plate which did not need to be lacquered to make many printed copies.