As a kid growing up in Montreal, Que., my parents had a good friend who owned a French-made Citroën DS. Almost every time Mr. Hagen would come over, I’d run out of the house and plead with him to show me how his car would magically go up then down. The whole body of the car would slowly rise and descend with the turn of a knob. It was magic!
I was the only guy not in a suit. It’s 1986, and after picking up a bunch of executives at the airport, here we were all clustered around a press console of an almost-new Miller TP 104 five-colour press. The Miller, a 41-inch double perfector, had barely reached its first birthday. Pandick Inc. was the buyer and one of a close group of financial printers headquartered in New York City. Bowne & Co., Charles P. Young, Sorg Inc., Merrill Corp, and R.R. Donnelley were the other members of a prestigious and lucrative club — the voice of Wall Street. In Bowne’s case, a rich history going back to 1775.
Five years have passed since the dramatic announcement between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Ryobi Limited to form a unique partnership and combine their offset press resources under a new name: RMGT. Let’s look back at how this came about, and what the future holds for the steadily shrinking offset segment.
Standing outside my local coffee shop, I’m staring at a row of trash bins, each emblazoned with signs. One reads garbage, another, recycle, while a third says paper. Just as millions of people, I struggle to figure out which bin or bins my lunch packaging should go into. Even more annoying, some of my trash is made up of a combination of materials.
Inside the offices of Schnellpressenfabrik AG, Heidelberg frustration not seen since the firm’s founding in 1850, filled the hallways of power. A new crop of young executives grew impatient with their boss, Herbert Sternberg. The year was 1961. Heidelberg Druckmaschinen, as the company would soon be renamed, had never entered the offset field. Sternberg was stubborn and believed the future would always be letterpress. After all, Heidelberg was sitting on top in this key sector.
Epochal comedian George Carlin once discussed how the English language had expanded to create pointless new vocabulary. Carlin recounted how during the First World War, many servicemen suffered from shell-shock. During the second Great War, this morphed into battle fatigue. Finally after the first Gulf war, a newly penned description was wrestled out of dictionaries and we now refer to it as PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. The argument was why bother? Shell-shock provided a clear straight-forward description of mental suffering afflicting many who fought wars or experienced horrific events — and it’s a whole lot shorter. Who needs yet another acronym? Sometimes you need to step back and keep it simple.
Decades ago our company represented Brandtjen & Kluge stampers and embossing presses in Canada. The Kluge platen press, based on patents dating back to 1860, has managed to outlast everyone, including original inventors George Gordon and Chandler & Price. During the 1960s as letterpress quickly disappeared from printing plants, Kluge, who made its name in 1919 with an automatic platen feeder device, refused to go quietly and embarked on a road of re-engineering the iconic Gordon platen and re-emerged in the specialty segment long utilized but starving for a better and easier way of production — hot foil stamping and embossing.
In the sleepy Ohio town of Niles, brothers Alfred and Charles Harris owned a small jewellery store. The year was 1890 and after several blunders, including an ill-fated attempt inventing an automatic nail-feeder, both swore off any more financial fiascos. The 1972 book The Harris Story tells us what happened next. It seems Charles couldn’t help himself when he got to talking to the next-door neighbour — the owner of the Niles Independent newspaper. Mr. Smith boasted he had just purchased a new state-of-the-art cylinder printing press that was still fed by a boy.
Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 bestseller Outliers garnered worldwide attention, posing the argument that successful people needed more than brains, ambition, hustle and hard work to reach the top. Gladwell reasoned they also needed luck. Using various examples such as Bill Gates’ access to a university computer or the Beatles 10,000+ hours of practice, Gladwell postulated that luck combined with serendipity played a key role in one’s success.
If you take a drive west from the city of Quebec and cross the St. Lawrence River, you come across an unusual site. Two bridges come into view. The Quebec Bridge (Pont de Quebec) is starkly dissonant from its neighbour only 200 metres to the east. Completed in 1919, it’s a massive steel truss structure with a tragic past. Today it remains the largest cantilever bridge in the world.
Printed books are on the rise. I was driving home from an appraisal in central New York; it was September 11 and we all have that day etched in our collective consciousness. Bob Woodward was being interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR). What an opportunity to buy his book, which was being released that very day, so I made a quick detour into the picturesque city of Oswego to look for a bookstore.
On April 29, 1983, the palm trees were swaying on a warm Florida spring day. At its Melbourne headquarters, Harris Corporation’s senior management let out a huge sigh. After prolonged negotiations they had finally offloaded the massive Web business to a consortium of senior management, led by longtime Web division employee James Pruitt and several bankers.
There seems no doubt about it. Federal funds are on their way up from historic lows. Since any rise in the cost to borrow money has a negative effect, it’s important to realize that leases, as well as short term mortgages, are determined not as much by the Bank of Canada’s rate but by treasury notes (bonds). Just because the Fed rate rises, this does not necessarily mean a new equipment lease will follow in lockstep.
The drupa 2000 trade fair was electric. World economies were coming through five years of growth and the dotcom surge was just forming a bubble. At drupa 2000, Komori showcased a press called Lithrone S40 Project D. Earlier, Heidelberg introduced a similar hybrid offset-digital press in the 29-inch SM74-DI.
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ProMach acquires Jet Label & PackagingProMach has acquired Jet Label & Packaging, a move that…
Canadian Print Scholarships Launchpad Reception @ Ryerson
November 13, 2019
DIA Christmas Luncheon & Annual General Meeting
December 4, 2019
Digital Textile Printing Conference 2019
December 11-12, 2019
June 16-26, 2020
Labelexpo Americas 2020
September 15-17, 2020