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Further Experiments In Stereotyping

( Originally Published 1927 )

In 1900 FRIEDRICH SCHREINER, manufacturer of Stereotyping Supplies in Plainfield, New Jersey, offered matrix paper for "cold type stereotyping". To quote his prospectus: "Our Patent Cold Process Matrix Paper consists of a Plastic Face Sheet and a gummed Back Sheet. In making a Matrix the back of the Face sheet should be rendered moist with a wet sponge and then as soon as the sheet feels soft it must be beaten in slightly with Brush, it may also be pressed in or rolled in. Then the gummed side of the Back Sheet is rendered wet with a thin paste and with the coated side laid upon the already beaten Face sheet, and united to the same by beating, or pressing, or rolling in. Then the Matrix is lifted from the type form and dried upon a hot plate". This mat paper was designated a "cold type matrix paper". It was used by a few stereotypers for base-ball starters, but with the advent of the German dry mat, Schreiner's matrix disappeared from the market.

Since the beginning of this century, very few new inventions pertaining to the art of making matrices have appeared. Two developments merit being mentioned.

In 1911 NIELS BENDIXEN of Copenhagen invented a method of producing a special rapid drying mat for stereotyping of half tones. Bendixen made from a photograph an etching, coated it with a fatty paste containing paraffine, fish glue and pipe clay. A wet mat made with another special soapy paste was placed on top of the coated etching, covered with blotting paper and placed in a heated drying-press. The coating on the etching loosened itself from the etching and adhered to the paper mat, transferring to the paper all the details of the etching. In this manner a paper mat was procured, which was flexible, and adapted to be sent by mail and wherein, immediately after its production, one or several castings could be made, using stereotype metal.

The distinguishing feature of Bendixen's matrix was that it possessed the quality of drying very rapidly. The ordinary dry mat is much cheaper, simpler and better adapted for syndicate work.

A novel altho commercially not applicable departure from the hitherto universally used method of making dry mats was invented in 1912 by GLENN S. WILLIAMSON of New York. In his specification Williamson states that matrices have been heretofore molded from paper or other suitable fibrous material, previously impregnated with such condensation products of phenols and formaldehyde as may be rendered infusible by heat, the condensation product being transformed during or after the act of molding into hard and in-fusible condition.

Williamson finds that matrices of the above general character may be rendered more resistant to the effects of molten stereotype metal at high temperatures, by using in conjunction with above named phenolic condensation productions, certain structureless salts or compounds (silicates of alkali metals and the corresponding aluminates), which although soluble in water are refractory at the casting temperature of stereotype metal, say 550 Fahrenheit.

His procedure consisted in impregnating with the described liquid condensation product then baking for an hour at about 70 Centigrade. The sheet is then dipped in a fifty per cent. solution of sodium silicate, thoroughly dried at normal temperature and then baked for fifteen minutes at 70 degrees. The sheet is then faced with thin paper, as for examples sizal paper, pasted on with sodium silicate solution, and is also backed with from one to three sheets of similar light, strong paper, also applied with sodium silicate solution. The compound sheet thus prepared is then dried and molded. Sample matrices prepared by the above methods withstood the action of type metal introduced under pressure and at temperatures of 550 F. or upward, without necessitating extensive so-called "backing-up" which has for its purpose the reinforcement of the blank or projecting areas of the matrix.

During all this period dry mat manufacturers experimented on the simplification of manufacturing their product. The resulting methods have remained secrets of the individual factories.

To make dry mats by hand instead of on a paper machine was tried and the procedure generally followed was to use a hand sieve, scoop up the pulp, shake same, thereby felting the pulp. The material was then mixed with an alkaline solution and thereupon the sieve holding the sheet was dipped into an acid. This freed a great amount of carbonic acid, which inflated the sheet which was dried in the open air or in lofts. This method was too slow and too costly to be commercially practiced.

An experiment was a method of stereotyping designated as "Graphotyping", a process of coating a plate with a mineral substance bound with glue, producing a film and after this film was hardened, it was coated with a fatty, resinous pigment and the interstices were deepened thru brushing same with water. For the printing of music, so-called Pyrostereotyping was practiced. The characters were burnt in wooden plates with a heated steel tool and then stereotyped in the usual way; or a machine, similar to the modern sewing machine with a heated needle was used. Other innovations that appeared in the course of time were known as Lottinography, Monotyping, Cellulotyping, Cellography, Ikonography, Tachytyping, Gelationography, Photostereotyping, Gypsography, etc., etc.

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