National Geographic : 1960 Dec
EKTACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERS NT- C- ATDWAT NnIHN F FFTCHFR() NCI With a Watchmaker's Touch a Pressman Adjusts a Plate Between brightly inked rollers of the open printing unit, the make ready man turns a worm gear to move a curved printing plate on the red cylinder just a thousandth of an inch. When he has brought its tiny dots into perfect alignment - or register-with those of the blue, yellow, and black plates, he will close the unit for a press run. White paper will then rush over these plates, moving from one color to the next in one-sixteenth of a second. Cylinders, each inked by its own temperature-controlled rollers, must exactly match the speed of the paper web. The smallest variation in speed or bal ance may blur the impression. paper problem by developing a radically new coating process with their giant North Star Coater (page 884). You can judge the engineers' success by your own GEOGRAPHIC. In an average copy the color register varies only two-thousandths of an inch. Yet the press was printing more than 10,000 pages per minute. When moving day arrived, your editors braced themselves for a new kind of Geo graphic expedition. During the next eight months, the magazine was printed in two different plants, one in Washington and one in Chicago. Parts of the same article were often printed 600 miles apart. To bind the issues, we shipped 138 truck-trailer loads of pages between the District of Columbia and Illinois. Yet we made every deadline, and members noted an improvement in quality. When the move was complete, yourBoard of Trustees traveled to Chicago for an inspec tion. During our tour we saw a dramatic, un scheduled example of quality control. Over the roar of the press, petite Mrs. Audra 878 Sherman, a Donnelley inspector, called to one of the pressmen: "Frank! You're running with a defect on page 75." With magnifying glass in hand she pointed out a pea-sized spot on a color page. The pressman dived for the electronic con trols, a bell clanged, the roar diminished, and the press stopped. A tiny woman had stopped this great machine so that a particle of dirt could be removed from a printing plate. The flawed pages were immediately set aside and flagged with a red sign, "Rejected." In moments the plate had been cleaned, and the press rolled again. Looking down from the upper deck, I saw the white web of paper pick up speed. Suddenly a ghostly yellow appeared on the pages -then a glow ing orange as the red roller came into play. A moment later the blue plate added realism, and finally- as the black plate began to ink I saw again the sharp, pristine color of a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC page (page 875). Then the web became a flashing rainbow rushing by at 1,200 feet per minute.