Press Configurations, Manning, and Details
by Peter Greenhill
(A) Sun Engraving, early 1920s to mid-1930s
At present our information is sketchy concerning the early presses at Sun Engraving; the following has been gleaned from a variety of sources, most of the writers not positively identified.
In the early days many jobs were produced by means of a combination of sheet-fed and rotary printing: for instance, the Pickup and Knowles rotary would print two colours on one side (i.e., 4 pp) of an 8 pp ‘forme’ which was sheeted after printing. The sheets were delivered to the warehouse where they were pinned, and then trimmed to produce a consistent lay edge (which sheeting off the press couldn’t do) in preparation for 4-colour printing on the other side of the sheet (‘backing up’), on the Johannisberg presses. This produced 4 pp of 4-colour backed by 4 pp of 2-colour, such as the cover and centre spread of Weldons Ladies Journal.
Also of note is the fact that re-reeling (and automatic insetting) allowed the Sun to combine rotary gravure with rotary letterpress during the 1930s. Gravure pre-printed webs were run into, and registered with, the product of rotary letterpress presses. We believe the Sun was the first firm to use this technique by means of automatic register insetting, very early in the 1930s, allowing colour preprints to be combined with monotone rotary letterpress work. A separate article on automatic register insetting will appear soon on this web site.
Presses about 1920:
Marinoni (3 presses, sheet size not known) / Johannisburg (3 presses, sheet size not known)
Pickup and Knowles reel-fed 2-colour, with sheet delivery
In 1924 were added:
|[#1] Albert (?) Rotary, 2 units with folder )||These two presses could also|
|)||share a single larger folder|
|[#2] Albert (?) Rotary, 2 units with folder )||positioned between them|
In the late 1920s was added:
Albert Rotary, 5 units with folder, capable of 64 pp, of which 16 pp could be 2-colour.
About 1930 was added:
John Woods, 8 units (42 in) with Albert sheeter/collator at one end and Bell Punch rewind at the other, capable of producing 32 pp of 4-colour in one operation. This press produced colour sheets for Weldons Ladies Journal or 4 x 4 rewind reels (‘preprints’) for The Times of India in Bombay. This was probably the press designated #10 in our 1938 list.
In the early 1930s was added:
[Manufacturer unknown], 5 units (52 in) + 5 units (30 in) with Bell Punch rewind on the 50 in units which were capable of producing 32 pp of 4 x 1 as a rewind product in one operation. The product could then be run onto a magazine rotary letterpress machine so as to, for instance, form the colour content for Woman’s Own, which had a launch figure of 800,000 copies weekly. Note: The rotary letterpress machine was fitted with a Bell Punch insetting device which electronically registered the incoming preprinted colour web with the rest of the magazine.
About 1935 were added:
 [Manufacturer unknown, original configuration unknown] two 70 in units added in 1936 which permitted the capability of producing up to 88 pp of Farmers Weekly printed, folded, and stitched.
 Baker Perkins, 2 units (70 in) + 5 units (52 in) + 8 units (30 in), with Vomag folder; this press was capable of outputting 96 pp of Farmers Weekly (that is, a complete issue), or 112 pp of Weldons Ladies Journal (also complete).
To print Everybody’s, the following were installed late in 1937:
[Two] Vomags, combined letterpress/gravure units, capable of producing 60 pp 2-set (i.e., 2 up, one revolution printing 120 pp). These pages consisted of 40 pp of letterpress black-and-white, and 20 pp of gravure printed full colour one side, and black the other. These two presses could manufacture approximately a million copies of Everybody’s between midnight Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
(B) Sun Engraving 1938
The following were the Sun’s gravure presses immediately before World War II, listed numerically by press number. We show, to the extent we are able, the make, # units, whether equipped with folder or re-reeler, name of chargehand, principal job(s) printed. Thanks to Jack Garratt for helping to provide this information.
#1 John Woods(?) / 5 units 24 in. or 25 in. / sheet delivery
#2 Baker-Perkins / 5 units / folder / Les Dolamore, chargehand
#3 Re-reeler / 5 units 24 in. or 25 in. / Bill Woods, chargehand, ? Murray, Jack Garratt / pre-war, printed Home Notes
#4 Baker-Perkins / 5 units / Bill Body, chargehand
#5 Baker-Perkins / 5 units / Peter Stewart, chargehand
#6 Albert / Wally Gravestock, chargehand, 3 others incl Jack Garratt / postwar, printed part of TVTimes
#7 [?] / re-reeler / 2 units monotone / Jack (‘cheerio bo’) Burdett, chargehand
#8 Baker-Perkins / 5 units / Harry Latham, chargehand / Mickey Mouse
#9 [?] / 3 units monotone / folder / Vic[tor] (‘Pedlar’) Palmer, chargehand / Farmers Weekly
#9a Baker-Perkins(?) / 3 units monotone / folder / Stan Civil, chargehand / Farmers Weekly
#10 [?] / re-reeler / Dick White, chargehand
#11 Baker-Perkins / 5 units 25 in. + 5 units 50 in. / Vomag folder / Ron Hardy, chargehand / Woman’s Own
#12 [?] / Harry Tilt, chargehand, with George Allen (jnymn, later chargehand)
#13 [?] / 4 units 54 in. / Fred Fisher, chargehand / Picture Post covers
#14 [?] / Norm Bagley, chargehand
#15 John Woods, 7 units 76 in. + 5 units 25 in. + reel-in / Vomag folder / Bill Munro, chargehand (sometimes Ron Hardy), with Wally Ebling + George Crunkhorn + Gordon Cornish / Farmers Weekly complete; Weldons Ladies Journal complete (112 pp) [baby, 4x1, main 4x1 + 1x1, for 3 webs]
#16 [?] / 4 units / Bill Godin (? Godden), chargehand
#17 [?] / Bert Rodwell, chargehand
#18 [?] / monotone / Bill Batchelor, chargehand
#19 [?] / 5 units main + 5 units baby / Bert Nockles, chargehand, Ron Hardy, F. Collins
3 Olympias under DeLyle, Eblin, and Hann
4 Palatias under Chapness, Willis, Innocence, Chapman, Wacket, Hudson
Sungravure configurations (as shown in 1937 brochure)
(a) John Woods, 5 units 76 in., plus Baker Perkins, 5 units 25 in., Vomag fixed folder
(b) Baker Perkins, 5 units 50 in., plus 5 units 25 in., Vomag fixed folder
(c) Baker Perkins, 2 units 50 in., plus 3 units 25 in., ‘baby’ Vomag fixed folder
(d) Baker Perkins, 5 units 50 in., Vomag variable cut-off folder
(e) Baker Perkins, 5 units 25 in., Vomag variable cut-off folder
(f) Baker Perkins, 2 units 50 in., Vomag variable cut-off folder
(g) Baker Perkins, 2 units 25 in., Vomag fixed folder and sheet delivery
(h) John Woods ‘Tiny’, 6 units 14 in., reeler
(C) Rembrandt Photogravure, 1956
We are grateful to Rob Clayton for the following information. If press numbers were used, they are not known to us.
John Woods, 2 units double width for 1 x 1 (i.e., perfecting) plus 5 units ‘baby’ for 4 x 1. chargehand on days was Bob Holden, Ken Anscomb was register hand, ink slinger not known. The two full-width units were supervised by an employee of The Times of India.
John Woods, 5 units ‘baby’ for 4 x 1. chargehand was Peter Mowbray, register hand Stuart Miekle, 3rd man varied.
Baker Perkins [Sungravure], 4 units with rewinder. Bill ? chargehand, Rob Clayton register hand, 3rd man not known, five assistants.
John Woods, 5 units ‘baby’ for 4 x 1
John Woods, 5 units ‘baby’ for 4 x 1
Vomag (2) high-speed, for monotone only; Palatia (?)
(D) Sun Printers, 1971
The following specifications pertain to the Sun’s rotary gravure presses as of mid-1971, and were prepared at that time by Bert Nockles. Dimensions on the original document are in mm. We have converted to show mm and inches, since the machines were engineered in inches and other articles on this web site explain the technology in those terms. There are some apparent anomalies in this information, and we will try to resolve these in the future.
The presses are listed numerically:
#36 8 Koenig & Bauer units Sun D3 folder, variable cut-off 16 pp 4 x 4, or 32 pp with 8 pp of 4-col Web width, 794 mm / 31¼ in. max. Strip width, 165 mm / 6½ in. min.; 381 mm /15 in. max. Cut off: 318 mm / 12½ in. min.; 540 mm / 21¼ in. max. #37 as above #50 8 Koenig & Bauer units K&B folder, variable cut-off 32 pp 4 x 4, or 64 pp with 16 pp of 4-col Web width, 1473 mm / 58 in. max. Strip width, 267 mm / 10½ in. min.; 462 mm / 18¼ in. max. Cut off, 432 mm / 17 in. min.; 559 mm / 22 in. max. #51 as above #53 4 Koenig & Bauer units Sun D4 folder, fixed cut-off [K&B folder?] 64 pp monotone Web width, 1473 mm / 58 in. max. Strip width, 280 mm / 11 in. min.; 356 mm / 14 in.max. Cut off, 510 mm / 20 in. #71 15 John Woods units K&B folder, variable cut-off 4 x 4, 1 x 1, 4 x 1 [2 webs only] 48 pp 4 x 4, or 96 pp 4 x 4 and 4 x 1 with 72 pp in 4-col Web width, 1867 mm / 73½ in. max. Strip width, 254 mm / 10 in. min.; 349 mm / 13¾ in. max. Cut off, 445 mm / 17½ in. min.; 559 mm / 22 in. max. #72 18 Goss units Goss folder, fixed cut-off 4 x 4, 4 x 1, 4 x 1 60 pp 2-set (i.e., 2-up), or 112 pp 1-set Web width, 1829 mm / 72 in. max. Strip width, 292 mm / 11½ in. min.; 368 mm / 14½ in. max. Cut off, 538 mm / 21¼ in #73 as above # 74 18 John Woods units Goss folder, fixed cut-off 4 x 4, 4 x 1, 4 x 1 60 pp 2-set (i.e., 2-up), or 112 pp 1-set Web width, 1829 mm / 72 in. max. Strip width, 292 mm / 11½ in. min.; 368 mm / 14½ in. max. Cut off, 538 mm / 21¼ in #75 13 John Woods units K&B folder, variable cut-off 4 x 4, 4 x 1 48 pp 2-set (i.e., 2-up), or 96 pp 1-set Web width, 1867 mm / 73½ in. max. Strip width, 267 mm / 10½ in. min.; 452 mm / 17¾ in. max. Cut off, 432 mm / 17 in. min.; 559 mm / 22 in. max. #76 10 John Woods units K&B folder, fixed cut-off 4 x 1, 4 x 1 48 pp 2-set (i.e., 2-up), or 96 pp 1-set Web width, 1867 mm / 73½ in. max. Strip width, 267 mm / 10½ in. min.; 452 mm / 17¾ in. max. Cut off, 541 mm / 21¼ in #80 5 John Woods units K&B folder, variable cut-off 4 x 1 48 pp Web width, 1867 mm / 73½ in. max. Strip width, 254 mm / 10 in. min.; 349 mm / 13¾ in. max. Cut off, 445 mm / 17½ in. min.; 559 mm / 22 in. max. #81 as above # 80 and # 81 could be run coupled together, giving 48 pp 4 x 4, or (? 96 pp 4 x 1, using 2 webs) or – Cerutti rewind, 4 x 4, 4 x 1, or 4 x 0 #82 5 John Woods units Sun D4 folder, variable cut-off 4 x 1 48 pp Web width, 1867 mm / 73½ in. max. Strip width, 254 mm / 10 in. min.; 349 mm / 13¾ in. max. Cut off, 445 mm / 17½ in. min.; 559 mm / 22 in. max. #90 13 Goss units Goss folder, fixed cut-off 4 x 4, 4 x 1 Web width, 2096 mm / 82½ in. max. Strip width, 292 mm / 11½ in. min.; 343 mm / 13½ in. max. Cut off, 536 mm / 21 in