My introduction to scanning...

Oct 13, 2021,02:11 AM

I did my first scanned halftone colour separations on a Hell Vario-Klischograph K 181 in 1966 or 67.  Before that our shop produced their offset colour separations via a film/filter methodology. Our first venture into mechanical scanning was supported by a contract with the local newspaper for a fixed number of colour separations for their newly purchased four colour press...  Using newsprint, we ran our separations at ~64 dpi. 

The Klischograph scans a picture line by line, and the resulting scan signal is used to control a steel stylus, which engraves shallow or deep cuts into the surface of a printing plate, depending on the grey tone value of the pixel being scanned. Colour-compatible thanks to the scanning head with colour filters.

Rather than metal we used orange coated plastic for the engraving and contact printed the results to film.  One scan for each of the colours plus black for offset printing... the CMYK colour model - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK.  The "controls" as I remember them were fairly basic.  There were multiple dials and an analog meter that we used to set the white and black points...  The control pannel was chuck full of vacuum tubes.

Note: all images from the internet

Vario-Klischograph was first presented at the 1957 Lausanne trade fair. Understatement: it was a fairly large machine at 2,320mm long x 800mm wide x ~1,600mm tall and weighed in at a hefty 1,100 kg.  The results were remarkable considering the times ;-)


Note: some material / images from "hell-kiel de"


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Don't even get me started on old print tech...

 By: mdg : October 13th, 2021-04:15
...I was speccing type and using wax and Xacto knives : ) ...even when Macs were available they weren't camera-ready yet : ) To this day I really miss the sound and smell of ink at a print shop during a press check...
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Once you have worked in a print shop, ink is in the blood ;-)

 By: cshimokita : October 13th, 2021-08:04
thanks for the comment... Casey
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I was an office slave doing the design...

 By: mdg : October 13th, 2021-13:17
...but I always looked forward to press checks and photo shoots...
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For me it was a small offset shop so I did a little of everything...

 By: cshimokita : October 13th, 2021-13:30
Photography, type-set, layout, copy camera, colour separations, film development, plate making, press operator (17x22 Consolidated Pearl), folding, binding, cutting, drilling, delivery... most of the time I was in the darkroom... it was a great learning e... 
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Thanks for the behind the scene look .......

 By: robmks1 : October 13th, 2021-13:36
That's amazing. I got into offsett printing in 1972, but only did black and white. We had a monster camera with the copy and camera outide and the film part in the darkroom. Now it's a whole new world. Bob
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Oh Yes... the monster copy camera...

 By: cshimokita : October 13th, 2021-21:08
I wish I had a photograph. Like yours, the camera back was in the darkroom and the copy frame was in the next room. We could process 17x22 inch film on the camera back and had development / rinse / hypo trays to match. All chemicals were hand mixed - most... 
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Yes doctor, that is INK in my veins

 By: cazalea : October 13th, 2021-18:28
This is motivated by Casey's scanning tale. Forgive me for being so verbose. My first job was at a newspaper, on a machine collating the sections before dumping them in a cart for delivery to the paperboys. It was there I was told "You can't trust the sal...  
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Great story and photos Mike...

 By: cshimokita : October 13th, 2021-21:09
I wish I had taken some photos in the shop, it was a life changing experience. Casey
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I remember another thing about film developing

 By: cazalea : October 14th, 2021-04:01
You reminded me … We ran galleys a few feet long on our typesetters. Then we ran them through a waxer, cut the film into pieces and stuck it onto the page masters. Illustrations were spliced in where they were needed. Razor blades assisted in the fine spa...  
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We used rubber cement for the paper paste-ups...

 By: cshimokita : October 14th, 2021-21:20
black paper was glued in place where the photos would be located and the half-tones were taped in once the pages (negatives) were shot. The 70s fashion photos are hilarious... Casey .
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