Thursday, September 22, 2016


POLYCHROME People 4   as recalled by Mr. Bob Gumbinner

Charles de Rohan (Baron): When Mr. Berkey, the owner of Berkey Photo in Long Island talked to Mr. Halpern about joining with Polychrome, Mr. Halpern suggested he buy Polychrome stock. When he bought 11%, Mr. Halpern became concerned and made a deal with Englehard to buy this 11% back. He put a representative of Englehard on the Board of Directors and paid them several hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees. de Rohan was connected to the Englehards. He was mostly bluster. He asked Mr. Halpern for one hundred thousand dollars to buy Polychrome stock. He did not last long.

Dean Hennesy had been the Dean of Chemical Engineering at Columbia. Mr.Halpern did not realize that a Dean’s job was mostly administration and did not require research ability. After a time, Mr. Halpern asked him to resign. Dean Hennesy had a contract with Polychrome that required us to pay his salary for a number of years after leaving.

(Wes Hennesy became our 2nd president....for more detail see the blog article HERE ...KS)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jeff Jacobson to lead Xerox

Just learned that Jeff Jacobson who rose from HR of Polychrome to lead Kodak Polychrome now leads the Xerox Corporation.        Good luck and congratulations!

HERE is the announcement found in local paper

Thursday, September 15, 2016


POLYCHROME People 3     As recalled by Bob Gumbinner

Ed Fritz: He had been a Vice-President of Enco, a subsidiary of Kalle Germany who had invented the negative and positive diazos used as the sensitizers for the plates. Mr. Halpern let him make changes in our production processes. These changes resulted in a loss of three-quarters of a million dollars in defective plates. When I was allowed to check up on Ed Fritz, I found that he had been the sales manager and had never been involved with the manufacturing. He was let go by Enco because of excessive drinking.

Leon Katz: He was appointed a Vice President and research director. He had been a Vice President of GAF. He did not set up or direct our research. When I checked with some of the GAF personnel, they were unable to tell me of any contributions for which he was responsible.

(One of his contribution was the suggestion to use amphoteric surfactant in our developer, till then we had not investigated the use of this fourth kind of surfactant after anionic, cationic and nonionic.     The amphoteric surfactant have both anionic and cationic properties and we have since then used this extensively in our developer system......sorry too much technical stuff!        Ken)

Thursday, September 8, 2016



Mr. Halpern would hire people for top level jobs on first impression. He would never let me investigate their background before hiring them. The following are some of the people he hired at was essentially a Vice President level:

Colonel Fullerton: The most important thing to him was repairing the cracks in the courtyard. Fred Hozeny our maintenance manager was too busy to do this. When I left Polychrome 35 years later the cracks were still there and no larger. Colonel Fullerton dated Louise Rehm, Mr. Crabbs secretary.

Louis Esposito: He was hired as the financial officer. After we started to manufacture presensitized plates, he, together with one of our chemists, Mr. Cohen, and Mike Wasilko, Mr. Hozeny’s assistant, set up a competing plant in Mount Vernon, NY, Lith-O-Tech, while working for Polychrome during the day, duplicating our presensitized plate tank line. We sued them. Our attorney Jerry Wanshell put so many causes of action in the complaint that nothing was ever concluded.

Ray Townley: He had been an executive of Ilford. He did not accomplish much but did borrow $40,000 to buy Polychrome stock. He never repaid this loan.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Gregory Halpern:


Gregory Halpern:

Gregory Halpern studied Chemistry at Columbia University. Later he received honorary Doctorate degrees from Brooklyn Polytechnic and Beaver College, where he was a Trustee. He was from Danzig, Germany. His family owned a small forest in Germany which he sold. He never was involved with the Chemistry research or quality control at Polychrome. Marketing was his forte. He could foresee the future of office copying. He was an excellent salesman. When things were being discussed he was in charge. The only person I knew who did not let Mr. Halpern control the conversation was my brother Jack Gumbinner.

One year we spent considerable time looking for a plant site in Orange County. We met a contractor in Newburgh who after a short conversation was convinced that Mr. Halpern was going to give him a big job and for weeks showed us around the county. I did not see anyplace exceptional. However, the following year we looked at a 400 acre farm in Columbia County which had a well built stone barn, a house that could be used for offices, several ponds and NY State Power, which was much less expensive the power in Yonkers from Consolidated Edison, for fifty thousand dollars. I was disappointed that Mr. Halpern did not buy it. When Mr. Halpern had nothing else to do he would hold meetings many of which I had to attend.

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.