WOA 50th ANNIVERSARY -- An Industry Time Line
1935—Heatset printing inks and paper coated on a machine are developed, allowing for the production of high-quality, four-color images on webfed letterpress presses for magazine production. These wet-color printing methods were developed by Time Inc. The use of color photographs begins to appear in Life magazine. Eastman Kodak Laboratories produces a color scanner and Time Inc. develops an electronic scanner—called the PDI scanner—while others such as RCA, Fairchild, Crosfield and Hell refine the technology even further.
1938—American Type Founders (ATF) acquires the Webendorfer-Willis Co., therefore inheriting the web engineering from that enterprise. Around 1945, ATF starts to manufacture web offset presses designed to be used for printing catalogs, newspapers, magazines, telephone books and encyclopedias. In time, added features are available, including sheeters, full-width double imprinters, high-speed folders, two jaw cylinders for single and double parallel folds, choppers for right-angle folds, full-width cross-perforation and slot-type vertical perforation, and ribbon folders able to interleave color pages with black-and-white pages anywhere in the signature.
1939—As far as can be ascertained, the Hoe Co. transfers its affections from rotary to web offset around this year, producing a large four-color press carrying four plates across each cylinder and two around, running at speeds up to 15,000 iph. The press is equipped with a three-arm reel and a high-speed paster.
1940—During the early 1940s, the use of web offset increased in the printing of business forms. About a decade later, web offset was used more frequently for magazine and book production, as well as in the commercial printing field. Large print orders of 50,000 or more were considered suitable for these presses. They were equipped with ovens and dryers. At the time, some of them cost more than $1 million.
1949—A neat little web-to-sheet offset jobber called the ATF Green Hornet is introduced. By 1962, Solna has added the Super Green Hornet web-to-sheet offset-letterset press with multiple printing units and turning bars for perfecting. It is also capable of breaking the speed limit by churning out up to 21,000 iph.