Dr. Hell Marks 100th Birthday

KIEL, GERMANY—Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell, whose technical innovations and inventions helped pave the way for the fax machine and key telecommunications technologies, celebrated his 100th birthday on December 19, 2001.

Dr. Hell has touched more than the graphic arts industry; he has had a considerable influence on modern media tools. Among his many accomplishments:

* Joined Prof. Max Dieckmann in presenting the first television transmission and reception station at the Trade Exposition in Munich, Germany, in 1927.

* Received a doctoral degree for a dissertation describing a “directly indicating radio position-finding device,” a precursor of today’s autopilots.

* Invented the Hell writing telegraph system in 1929, also known as Hell Recorder.

* In 1948, he developed the first device for remotely transmitting images, which helped pave the way for today’s fax machine.

Turning Point

It was his Klischograph, a device for the electromechanical engraving of printing blocks, that revolutionized the printing industry. The machine hit the market in 1954 and made its industry debut at DRUPA that year.

Other inventions from Dr. Hell also left their mark, including the Colorgraph scanner in 1963, the Digiset for digital reproduction of text and pictures, and the Pressfax for remote transmission of entire newspaper pages. In 1980, he showcased the Chromacom electronic image processing system.

Dr. Hell’s company merged with Linotype AG to form Linotype-Hell AG, which was then acquired by Heidelberg in 1997.

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