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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:55 PM
Clark7781 Clark7781 is offline
Paul Hawk
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Default Topics for discussion re: t206 Printing and errors

Fellow collectors,

I first want to preface everything that follows we the following disclaimer: I'm an idiot collector with no technical knowledge of how these things are done, but I think I know enough to get me in trouble....so here it goes.

I wanted to talk about the printing techniques of the T206 set specifically how they relate to the few big "printing error" cards in the set: Doyle, Magie and Snodgrass in one set, and Demmitt and O'Hara in another set.

First, let me make some observations based upon cards, errors and scraps that I have seen.

Theory: It appears to me that the printing technique used for the T206 set is "overlapping." That is, each color is printed one at a time, with each color over lapping each other to give the final product. I think this is the technique based upon some of the scraps and "ghost's that I have seen. It appears to me that for the scrap printing, the outlines of the subjects face is is clearly defined by black printing, with overlapping additional colors. I theorise that each color was printed seperately.

Theory: If printing is via an overlapping technique (I am a layman with his own terms), than there should be a printing plate for each color for each card, similar to the "printing plates" card companies release with new shiny products today. This would mean each card would have X number of printing plates to make the final product.

Question: Is there one master plate for each card, or there is master plate for a series of cards - e.g., a printing plate the size of ten cards high by ten cards wide? Or each card would be its own individual plate that could be interchanged? Would it be a printing type such as movable type, or one large sold piece of metal (or other material?)

Now here my brain goes crazy:

In regards to the Demmitt and O'Hara, if "overlapping" printing technique was used, what was the SIZE AND MONETARY INVESTMENT into these plates? If it was one large, deep relief/carved printing plate, I have to assume that:

1. It took a good amount of time to carve, and

2. If there was an error, it must have been of significant issue for the printer/investor to making a new printing plate. If each card had its own color printing plate, than making a change wouldn't be that significant in regards to re-doing all of the other cards.

Statement, these cards were inserted into cigarette packets to help sell smokes. Were errors of a significant issue to warrant investing significant $$$ to correct the problem?

Now, in regards to the "errors" with the names/teams printed in the bottom white border of the cards, I can only assume that the printing was done in a technique with movable type - e.g., each letter could be re-positioned with minimual effort. The Demmitt/O'Hara "errors", if done with deep relief printing plates would have warranted a larger monetary/time investment to correct.

Sorry, my prose with the English language isn't romantic, and I know I am not clear with presenting my ideas, but I hope you can get my thoughts.

I will never be offended with any feedback, so please blast away. I will close with saying that I'm an idiot who collects cards, who simply has a questions.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:14 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Hi Paul,

Some good questions there, and ones that can get pretty involved. I'll go for short answers, which will likely lead to more questions

Yes, they did it with overlapping inks. Most color printing is done that way even today. T206 is odd in that it appears that at least one dark color was done early (brown or black) typically black is done last.

Yes, one plate for each color. there are only a handful of high production processes that can do multiple colors from one plate and the process used for most cards isn't one of them.

For T206s the printing process is lithography which is done from plates of various sizes. The plates were originally limestone, with coated aluminum coming along right about 1910. I believe the T206s were printed from stones.

With this process you can do all one card or a variety. There are T206s showing parts of two different cards so we know they printed multiple cards on a sheet. The place I worked had presses capable of printing on envelopes or on paper up to 36" wide. Larger presses were available. It's a matter of some research just how large a T206 sheet would have been, and how many different cards would have been on it.

Once the plates have been made it's difficult to make some changes and easy to make others. Moving or replacing a player would be very difficult and the easiest way would be to make a new set of plates.


Demmitt and O Hara - The plates would have been costly, but not extremely costly.

The basics of the process is a medium that will hold water is coated with an oily substance where you want it to print. The plate is then wet and while wet inked with an oily ink that stays only on the greasy bits.

To make a major change like Demmit or Ohara the plate would have to be cleaned in the one section and redone.

Fortunately for the printers they were using lots of colors, and team names on the uniform were often done in brown, as were the captions at the bottom. so they probably made a new brown plate.

That's complicated since those two are polar bear only. So it's more likely that the team names were changed on the original art and those corrected images were used on a sheet that included subjects in the 350-460 series.

Again, a subject for some research. Either scenario is a bit odd, but possible, the second being more likely.

So no moveable type was involved, but correcting the team names would have taken some effort.

Something like the Doyle would have been a much simpler correction, there's a special limestone crayon that can be used to fix stray lines or scratches in the plate, and the fix for something like having an unwanted "natl" would be to simply erase it on the plate. That doesn't even require removing the plate from the press.

Steve B
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Old 04-16-2012, 01:04 PM
t206blogcom t206blogcom is offline
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I wonder what ever happened to the original printing plates, machines and extra paper used during the T206 printings?
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:20 PM
Clark7781 Clark7781 is offline
Paul Hawk
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Steve B:

Thank you for that information. I love learning new things and to read your answer expanded my knowledge base on a subject I love (T206).

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:27 PM
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Runscott Runscott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t206blogcom View Post
I wonder what ever happened to the original printing plates, machines and extra paper used during the T206 printings?
Also, how did they survive until 1919 (when the same ones were used for Coupons)? If they were stones with an oily substance applied, and there were multiple stones for multiple colors, all for each card image, there must have been an awful lot of oily stones lying around. How did they keep them safe?
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runscott View Post
Also, how did they survive until 1919 (when the same ones were used for Coupons)? If they were stones with an oily substance applied, and there were multiple stones for multiple colors, all for each card image, there must have been an awful lot of oily stones lying around. How did they keep them safe?
I was trying to research a bit more on the printing locations/time of the coupons to see if somehow we could determine what might have happened to these plates/stones. I find it odd that no uncut sheets or stones surfaced when so many scraps, printer proofs and rejects are floating around.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:08 PM
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Scott...I doubt the same plates were used for t213-3 as were used for t206...as the image quality is very different and the type is different?
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:29 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Stones were and are expensive. So they typically were erased and reused once the job was over. If there was a print job that was ongoing, like a company ordering 10,000 letterheads every 3 months it would have been saved, but not a one time order.

What would have been saved would be the original art, the color separations, and maybe the transparencies used to make the matrix to layout the stone.

We saved our negatives for something like 10 years till silver went crazy in 81. Then most of it went to the recycler.

The machines would have been used until they either wore out or better ones came along. Considering how the technology was advancing I'd be surprised if much of it lasted into the 1930's.

Leftover paper? Not in a good print shop.
Any leftover would have been used-Either for press setup on later jobs if some parts had been printed or used for later jobs that required the same paper, like T205s or any of the large assortment of non-sports cards from ATC brands.

Steve B
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
What would have been saved would be the original art, the color separations, and maybe the transparencies used to make the matrix to layout the stone.

Steve B
Steve, I would like to see what this stuff would have looked like. The Coupon images actually are incredibly similar to the T206's - I have a Bender/trees from each set and have compared them very closely.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:51 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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If you've seen a type 1 photo covered with whiteout and pen lines you've seen a newspapers original art.

Most original art is nicer than that, we worked from originals of many types. Usually text arranged electronically, with photos pasted on. Or old fashioned drawn art depending on the customer.

In the 80's color separations were done by photographing the original through both the halftone screen and a colored filter. (Or just the filter for stuff that printed solid like many of the topps frames)

T206s may have been halftones taken from the horner etc photos with the rest painted on celluloid sheets.

The celluloids would have been converted to monochrome negatives and those used to make what were basically like iron ons which were used to layout the individual images on the stone. The little side and top center marks are remnants of the alignment marks during layout.

I think the largest single color image we did while I was there was a book cover for Navy recruiting. One image of a plane from above, which filled the entire book cover. The negatives used were full size, so picture a photo negative about 18x14 or so.

We did some maps in one color, non halftone that were roughly 28x34. again one negative for the whole thing. Yes, the camera was huge. and the room had to be kept very clean to avoid getting dust in the picture.

This page has a few pictures of the dept working on the negatives.
http://www.lithokrome.com/history.aspx

This one has a picture of a shop around 1910 showing the stones.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_frenkel/5145531535/

Steve B
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