Friday, August 26, 2016

Attempt to enter press equipment field

Attempt to enter press equipment field

Offset Duplicator

Mr. Halpern talked to Sigmund Gestetner about the necessity of planning for the replacement of stencils with offset presses. Mr. Picking, the plant manager of the Totenham plant was opposed to it. He also opposed Gestetner getting the Xerox franchise for England. However Mr. Gestetner approved the project and put up 75% of the money Louis Mestre needed to design and build a prototype. Polychrome put up 25%. When the prototype was finished, Ray Lauzon went to Mr. Mestre’s place in the evenings and operated it and had Louis Mestre make whatever modifications were necessary. Polychrome was short of cash at that time and Mr. Halpern wanted his investment back. Mr. Gestetner bought Polychrome’s share. He offered Mr. Halpern 11%. Mr. Halpern declined this offer. So Polychrome was not involved in the sales of the Duplicator. Webendorfer licensed, made and sold this press under their brand in addition to Gestetner.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Polychrome lunches

Those who frequented Yonkers head quarter will certainly recognize some of the names of the restaurant Mr. Gumbinner mentions here.        One Italian restaurant he does not mention but vivid in my memory is Amalfi on South Broadway where Mr. Halpern first approached two DIC representatives  about their purchase of Polychrome stock.    (He of course did not intend to sell all the shares at that time but it turned out DIC purchasing entire Polychrome stock eventually.)

Polychrome lunches

Food being an important part of our lives, I will include in this Memoir what I consider interesting eating experiences. The first few years we ate in the laboratory. We sometimes made sandwiches. One day, Arnold Rose, an important dealer from Chicago, who had accounts such as Sears visited us. We asked him what he wanted to eat. He said he would like a drink. We had a half full bottle of rye which he finished. He said he was still hungry. Cort Briggs went out and bought another bottle which he drank. He said he had cut down on liquor. He use to drink a case of beer and four bottles of whiskey a day. Eventually, he died of cirrhosis of the liver and his son took over the company.

One of the restaurants we often went to was the French Chef on South Broadway near the intersection with New Main Street. The most famous of their dishes was stuffed clams, which was made with cheese and cream. We once had a visitor from a German photographic film company who ate four dozen of them. Other interesting dishes were clam manicotti, whale and turtle meat, cherries Escofier--a sort of trifle-and mint parfait pie. We went to a Chinese Restaurant on S. Broadway and Louies by Loews theatre on S. Broadway, an Italian restaurant, which had an Italian cheese cake with dried fruit which I liked. If we used my car to go there, our dog Trooper often was lying under the car. So we had to take him back to 10 Baldwin Pl. We also went to Manzi’s on Warburton Ave. There we often had his antipasto. The restaurant was moved to Hastings and Mr. Manzi sold it to Nancy where we often ate until 1990. On Thursdays, if I did not go to lunch with Mr. Halpern, I would go with Ray Lauzon to Central Lunch on Main Street for the boiled beef and horseradish sauce.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Offset plate (part 3)

Offset plate (part 3)
We bought one of the first models of the Xerox machines. This had three parts: a camera, a unit in which the toner and developer were cascaded over the exposed selenium plate and transferred to the copy paper or offset plate, and a fuser. We had to modify our paper plate to permit proper fusing. When Xerox produce the later models of electrostatic copiers without a camera and fuser, with the assistance of Ken Shimazu, we made a paper offset plate which could be used for this purpose. It required formulating the fountain solution with ferricyanide. We built a small building attached to the wall of the stencil coaters at the Alexander-Ashburton corner to install the coater.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Offset plate (part 2)

Offset plate (part 2)
Eastman Kodak had invented a copying process, which they named Verifax to compete with the diffusion reversal method. Addressograph Multigraph direct image plates did not accept the Verifax image which was a silver gelatin coating, but ours did. We developed a unit with the assistance of a company located at 8 ½ Orange Street in Bridgeport CT to transfer the Verifax image to our plate. I went to Kodak in Rochester several times in this regard. Kodak was not able to get the image on the plate to pick up ink on the
offset press. I invented a solution, patent # 3029727, which when applied to the imaged plate solved this problem. Kodak was very surprised how I did it. One thing I learned from the Vice-President of Kodak who was in charge of the Verifax project was to keep notes; previously I had relied on my memory. Kodak mentioned that they had an excess supply of letter size Verifax copiers but were back ordered on legal size. I told them I would expect this. Although over ninety per cent of stencil duplicating was printed on letter size paper, the only people who bought letter size stencils were companies that had letter size forms. Everyone else paid extra for the legal stencils just in case they needed to make a legal size copy. When we made the aluminum presensitized plates we coated the paper plates with the sensitizer and sold them as Polycoat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Offset plate (part 1)

Offset plate (part 1)

Paper Offset Plates:

Mr. Halpern even in the late 1940’s realized that offset would take over the stencil market. He hired Bob Teichner, who had worked for Remington Rand, the typewriter company that had made stencils and paper offset plates. He brought the Remington Rand stencil formula which was based on cellulose acetate, not nitrocellulose. We set up a pilot coater to evaluate it. They were not as good as ours. He gave us a formula for stencil duplicating inks base on derivatives of castor oil made by Hercules, which we manufactured.

He also had a formula for paper offset plates. Addressograph-Multigraph had patented casein coated direct image offset plates. The plate Bob Teichner developed was based on starch carbonate. We installed two coating machines with gas heated drying tunnels, which were built by Pot Devin in the space where the stencil finishing operation had been. The first tunnel was used for applying a ureaformaldehyde base coat on paper bought from Crocker Burbank, a paper mill in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, which I visited several times. The second coater applied the pigmented starch carbonate coating. The time between the two coats was critical. It had to be between two and seven days for the urea formaldehyde resin to cure, but before it became hydrophobic. We started to sell the direct image offset plates in 1950. Our largest customer for these plates was a company in Massachusetts that printed telephone directories. They set type in a proof press and printed it on our plates, which were then run on an offset press.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Opticopy System

Good folks at Heidelberg saved some of the videos from Opticopy.      Opticopy was acquired during 1980's and formed the basis of Polychrome system division.    

Opticopy made its name in providing sturdy film to film step and repeat exposure machine.    This video shows it in action.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A note from Ricardo

Hi Ken,

Was reading your blog on Polychrome and it brings lots of memories.

I started with Polychrome as an Office Manager in 1972 in Miami.  Went into sales
on June 1976. That year that only had six months, I ended up number one in equipment sales in the country and again in 1977  For those efforts, the late Larry Golusinski  took me out to dinner with the rest of the sales force at that branch.  In 1979 I became Polychrome Top Salesman in the USA, beating Bert Burros of Short Hills, New Jersey becoming a member of the Millionaire's Club in only my third year in sales with the company.

This time I was invited to dinner together with my wife by Mr. Enrique Levy, who was
running Polychrome at the time.

During my time with Polychrome, I've met many great people for whom I have very good
memories like Mr. Gregory Halpern, Mr.James Graves, Mr. George Dakos, Mr. Bill Young, 
Mr. Victor Tkachenko, Mr. Nick Izzi and others, who were so much part of success.

Polychrome was a great company to work for, until changes were made and Mr. Halpern
was no longer involved

Left Polychrome in 1980 to establish the Pitman Company Miami Branch, where I work
for 5 years as their active branch manager.
I'm still very active in the business, where I preside over my company with my son and we
are representing first line products for the industry.

Best regards
Ricardo 'Rick' Dieguez - President
Grafix World LLC
Manufacturer Representatives
and Printing Consultants