By R. O. Vandercook, The Inland Printer October 1926
No one factor can be singled out as the sole cause of progress in any of the arts. Progress is the result of various factors working in harmony to bring about desired results. In the progress that the graphic arts has made in the last decade, no one factor has been more potent than the growing appreciation of the value of one one-thousandth of an inch. When most people who read this first learned their business one, one-thousandth of an inch meant nothing. Now one one-thousandth of an inch is, relatively speaking, as a mile to the more advanced workers.
In an address before the craftsmen’s club of Chicago, William Sleepeck said: “If printers had been on their jobs, there would not have been the need of the newer process of printing.” Mr. Sleepeck had in mind such processes as offset, intaglio, and rotogravure.
A short time before he made that statement, a testing press had been built for a type founder with the limits of toleration held to one ten-thousandth of an inch. No tympan was used on this press, the sheet to be printed being passed between the type on the bed and the accurately ground cylinder. The minutest defects of the typefaces were instantly shown, and correction in the mold and condition of metal could be made.
Accurate type and plates printed on the no-tympan press give most pleasing results, not only to the artistic mind but to the financial mind as well, for the method shows lower cost of production in fine work.
All who have preached the gospel of precision to printers have not done so from purely altruistic motives.
The idea started with the first of the modern proof presses; that modern press was called the Rocker proof press. When proofs from a proof press looked as good as a made-ready job, it started printers to ask the reason why. The reason was easily found, and manufacturers of producing printing presses saw if they would build their machines with greater rigidity and accuracy, the cost of printing would be decreased.