Rotary Printing Press and Autographic Printing History

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Rotary Printing Press and
Autographic Printing History

The rotary printing press and autographic printing (the mimeograph) are important inventions. The video below provides some historical insights…

Patrick Marchese and Ron Crandall are the founders of Markzware. They have a patent on the process of preflighting, which FlightCheck handles. It helps newspaper publishers and others in graphic arts, to stop problems before going to press. Preflighting is important in the graphic design, publishing and printing workflow. So are some of these inventions we recently came across in France. Among these inventions are:

  • the rotary press
  • cobalt blue
  • the mimeograph or autographic printing, aka the electric pen, by Edison
  • printing by monks before Gutenberg

Here is some information on the rotary printing press:

A rotary printing press is a printing press in which the images to be printed are curved around a cylinder. … Printing presses that use continuous rolls are sometimes referred to as “web presses”. Rotary drum printing was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843, perfected in 1846,[1] and patented in 1847. (Note – Some sources describe Parisian ‘Hippolyte Auguste Marinoni’, (1823, 7 January 1904) as the inventor of the Rotary printing press.[2])[clarification needed]
SOURCE: Rotary printing press – Wikipedia

Rotary Printing Press used by Hippolyte Marinoni in France, 1890
Marinoni’s rotary press printing the ‘Le Petit Journal’ in France, 1890

The trail upon which we stumbled was that of Mr. Marinoni, the inventor and publisher himself. One lazy summer morning, we were on vacation in the state, or department, of Saône-et-Loire. It is in the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy), France. The temperature got too hot and muggy to remain by the tent. So, we ventured out by car. We drove via small road after small dirt road, absorbing a landscape that has missed the march of modern time. After several “petite,” scenic farming villages, we came across a sprawling castle, or chateau, up on a hill… (story continues below embedded video)

Hippolyte Marinoni (1823 – 1904) was the disputed inventor of the Rotary Press. Here is an interview with his surviving family (Family THENARD at their castle, Le Chateau de la Ferté). Before Gutenberg’s press, this printing invention and monks were engraving images at their chateau…

Preflight for Adobe CC 2014 with Markzware FlightCheck v7.5

Chateau de la Ferté (Saint-Ambreuil) is the name of the castle, at which we arrived by accident. It is also known as Abbaye de la Ferté, and we got a chance to tour this wonderful step back into time. A family member showed us functional 18th century rooms. This family member was residing on the grounds and helping to maintain this once Catholic monastery. Louis Jacques THENARD (1777-1857) obtained the castle from the state. The French Revolution, the graces of Napoleon, Louis’ hard work, and his smarts all contributed. The largest room was like a museum. It held scientific instruments, astronomy tools and printing inventions from hundreds of years ago. (His great grandfather and his grandfather were amateur astronomers. See the pictures here of Castle de la Ferté in Burgundy, France!)

Yet it was the rounded printing plates that caught my attention, after the initial awe of the room and its amazing contents wore off. There had to be a reason why these plates were in this room. I just knew it would be interesting, like everything else in this castle and the family’s rich history. We discovered the printing plates were evidence. Our interviewee’s grandfather was the inventor of the rotation printing press. These inventions have helped countless large journals and newspaper publishers.

You can see in this video, and in a forthcoming video, that there is also an antique mimeograph from Thomas A. Edison. (A.B. Dick Company manufactured it and it is now owned by PRESSTEK). A.B. Dick termed the word, “mimeograph,” expanding on Edison’s “autographic printing” patent!
Hippolyte Michaud-Marinoni (1823 – 1904), aka Hippolyte Auguste Marinon, “also” invented the rotary press. It was independent of Mr. Hoe’s work, although likely a year later in 1845 (Source). The Thenard family has no doubt who owns many regional newspapers (publishing house Le Bien Public). These newspapers have a connection to this invention. There are interesting circumstances of that age involved, as you can hear and see in the video above.

Six-Cylinder Press invented by Richard Hoe in 1843

Yet, contemporary history names Richard March Hoe as the one who invented the rotary press in 1843 and patented it in 1847. There was more likely a simultaneous development by the two, merging into what we know today as the rotary press or offset web press. Or is there more to this story?

L.J. THENARD made a new invention to help sugar extraction for Napoleon. He was a judge, a farmer and the inventor of cobalt blue, the pigment and color that is a resource today for painting, ceramics, and such. This is what Napoleon used to restore many of the works that you can now see in Paris. The Thenard invention also made blue ink affordable in those days. Before that, it was only possible with an expensive stone out of Afghanistan. (It is interesting to note that it was the blue LED lights, which were the challenge for full color display boards, in our age.)

Talk about going to press! It was great to visit Le Chateau de la Ferté and to learn more about printing press history. It is also great for modern printers to use Markzware Products. Markzware FlightCheck, the prepress preflight solution for print file quality assurance, is one example.

Rotary Printing Press and Autographic Printing History

Title: Rotary Printing Press and Autographic Printing History
Published on: September 2, 2010
David Dilling

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