Evolution of Color Proofs

JudP

Well-known member
Hi All,

I'm trying to put together a presentation for my staff of earlier proofing systems and I'm looking for any pics or videos of "historical" proofing systems - Chromalin, Colorart, Final Proof, Match Print, Color Keys, etc.

Does anybody have anything they can share? Or links to videos that show how these proofs were made?

I've searched online - Google and YouTube and I'm not coming up with anything.

Jud
 

gordo

Well-known member
Here's one:

Back in the day proofing was done on a dedicated proofing press and was primarily to proof type. But there were color proofing presses:

The Claybourn four color Proofing Press (c 1940s)
Claybourn 4C Proofing Press.jpg


The Vandercook four color proofing press (also c1940s)
Vandercook 4 Col proof press.jpg


Today press "wet proofs" are still being used - primarily in Asia - for important color work.

You might be more successful if you search for brands like Matchprint, Fujiproof, Cromalin Overlay proofs, Surlay proofing method, et al. Especially their patents.
 
Last edited:

marktonk

Well-known member
Hi Jud,

In the mid 80's Hell release the CPR 403 proofer. I believe this was the first digital proofer to the market. It used a Argon Laser that was filtered to blue or green light and a Helium Neon laser that was used for red to exposed color photograph paper. The proofer was driven by Hell Chromacom Data and did have software to color manage the proofs. This also was critical to HDP (Helio Data Processing) where Chromacom data was used to digitally drive the Hell Helio Klipshograph gravure cylinder engraver. I guess I would call this Computer to Cylinder or CtC. I do have a picture of the GATF Intertech award for the CPR 403. See below. Hope this helps.

Best,

Mark Tonkovich
Heidelberg USA
 

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  • CPR 403.jpg
    CPR 403.jpg
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kdw75

Well-known member
When I was little, back in the 80s, we used color keys. Each color was on a piece of clear plastic and since we only had two color presses, we could slide in a press sheet and then flip down the plastic with the remaining colors to see the finished result.

I don't even know what the correct term was, but that is what we referred to them as.
 

keith1

Well-known member
When I was little, back in the 80s, we used color keys. Each color was on a piece of clear plastic and since we only had two color presses, we could slide in a press sheet and then flip down the plastic with the remaining colors to see the finished result.
We did the same. That is, once the owner decided colour keys were a worthwhile investment. When we first started taking on 4 colour work he thought he could save a few bucks by skipping the colour key. I think they were about $35.00, or maybe $50.00. After a few reruns he came around. One job I recall was producing samples to match colours of house stucco - think paint chip samples. Genius owner didn't feel a colour key was required. Colours were a mile off but he tried to sell the job anyway. It was understandably refused & reprinted with benefit of a colour key.
 

Magnus59

Well-known member
Hi All,

I'm trying to put together a presentation for my staff of earlier proofing systems and I'm looking for any pics or videos of "historical" proofing systems - Chromalin, Colorart, Final Proof, Match Print, Color Keys, etc.

Does anybody have anything they can share? Or links to videos that show how these proofs were made?

I've searched online - Google and YouTube and I'm not coming up with anything.

Jud

Scitex Iris drum inkjet printer was groundbreaking.
It was slow and expensive, but made great proofs, I still have some lying around here.
The pens were a bit troublesome
I recall queuing up about 30 proofs to run overnight, only to find that a pen had failed part way through the third proof.
 

schenkadere

Well-known member
It was slow and expensive, but made great proofs, I still have some lying around here.
The pens were a bit troublesome
I recall queuing up about 30 proofs to run overnight, only to find that a pen had failed part way through the third proof.
I think the later Realist models were more reliable. I used one of their earlier releases and I get what you are saying.
 

warlegs

Active member
When I was little, back in the 80s, we used color keys. Each color was on a piece of clear plastic and since we only had two color presses, we could slide in a press sheet and then flip down the plastic with the remaining colors to see the finished result.

I don't even know what the correct term was, but that is what we referred to them as.
When I worked for a prepress service burough in the 90's, that was my first job. Making color keys and bluelines all day long. I remember not getting the last color down perfect before it went through the rollers would mean disaster and starting over lol Memories!
 

JudP

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies everyone! I also started working with film and making proofs when I was 16 - making bluelines and color keys and yes, I remember the pain of screwing up the last color down and having to start all over.

I'm finding it impossible to find any photos or videos of these earlier proofing systems online. I tried all of the names that Gordo suggested and all that I've come up with so far are Disney color keys that people are selling on eBay...
 

gordo

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies everyone! I also started working with film and making proofs when I was 16 - making bluelines and color keys and yes, I remember the pain of screwing up the last color down and having to start all over.

I'm finding it impossible to find any photos or videos of these earlier proofing systems online. I tried all of the names that Gordo suggested and all that I've come up with so far are Disney color keys that people are selling on eBay...

I think this was the progression:
Wet (press) proofs--->color key/overlay (1950s-1990s)--->die sublimation/dot matrix (1985-1990s)---->laminate (1980s-today)---inljet (1985-today)

I'll search my crypt and might be able to find or make some pics for you.
 

schenkadere

Well-known member
When I worked for a prepress service burough in the 90's, that was my first job. Making color keys and bluelines all day long. I remember not getting the last color down perfect before it went through the rollers would mean disaster and starting over lol Memories!
Not as bad as messing up on the last pull of a 7 color hand mixed/hand toned Cromalin.
How about the alcohol stink from the Matchprint processors? those were the good ole days.
I did all sorts of proofing and film contacting for about 2 years when I started in 1990 before I trained on the Scitex workstations.
 

JudP

Well-known member
I think this was the progression:
Wet (press) proofs--->color key/overlay (1950s-1990s)--->die sublimation/dot matrix (1985-1990s)---->laminate (1980s-today)---inljet (1985-today)

I'll search my crypt and might be able to find or make some pics for you.
Thanks Gordo. Anything you can find would be much appreciated.
 

JudP

Well-known member
Not as bad as messing up on the last pull of a 7 color hand mixed/hand toned Cromalin.
How about the alcohol stink from the Matchprint processors? those were the good ole days.
I did all sorts of proofing and film contacting for about 2 years when I started in 1990 before I trained on the Scitex workstations.
I never had the "pleasure" of making Chromalins although used to watch the guys mixing the powder and making them.
 

Repro_Pro

Well-known member
During the '90s DuPont sold a set of Chromalin powders (besides the basic CMYK) that were meant to be mixed for creating Pantone spot colors.
We always ended up with plenty of jars of the "not quite right" shades.
We had scores of jars with samples of the color shades stuck outside.
Even trying to match our own "successful mix" was tough.
And, those powders were priced much higher then their weight in Gold...
 

schenkadere

Well-known member
During the '90s DuPont sold a set of Chromalin powders (besides the basic CMYK) that were meant to be mixed for creating Pantone spot colors.
We always ended up with plenty of jars of the "not quite right" shades.
We had scores of jars with samples of the color shades stuck outside.
Even trying to match our own "successful mix" was tough.
And, those powders were priced much higher then their weight in Gold...
We had that big toning machine for CMYK. We called it the pizza oven. All the Pantones were done by hand.
 

gordo

Well-known member
Thanks Gordo. Anything you can find would be much appreciated.

Well, I have a garage full of graphic arts books - and couldn't find anything. I'm gobsmacked.
All I can think of is if you contact printing museums for their help and if possible Frank Romano the industry's history keeper. I have an email address for him which might work which I'll PM you.

The Museum of Printing, Haverhill, Massachusetts (where Frank has his own collection room)


 

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