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Pen Ruling Pens

Started by stafford baker, November 02, 2012, 09:12:20 AM

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stafford baker

Particularly for Phil Ambrosi, where did you get made up pens from.  or did you make them from punched
blanks, and if so where did you get them from. Do you have a little guillotine thingy to press pens to shape?  I learnt pen ruling and a little disc ruling from Mr Robertson (who had purple hands) at the
old London College of Printing ca. 1954-55.  Unstruck work was stream fed and the oputput in sheets per hour was amazing.  In the UK Shaws of Honley made the mostly wooden machines  - in Canada also?.
The Rotaprint killed it off,  I think Plunketts at Camberwell in south London were the last trade house
using the old methods.


Dave Hughes

Phil has replied, via email:


QuoteAll of the pens we used were made by the Dredge Ruling Pen Company.  They made a very wide assortment of pens and I think I still  have a few left.  I have a lot or ruling ink in powder form and several ruling pen catalogues.

We also owned a Reinhardt Disc Ruling machine and had a good many discs.  This was a desktop machine and my Dad and I built an angle iron table for this machine to sit on.

We went to a great deal of work to rebuild this machine and spent a lot of money and time in the refurbishing, but we could not ever properly get this machine running.

My uncle bought this machine from us and likewise spent a lot of time and effort but he could not get this machine going either.   He eventually sold this disc ruling machine for scrap.
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Dan Williams

There is a ruling machine at the Museum of Printing History in Houston. A gentleman used to operate it up until ten or so years ago, but unfortunately he passed on.  I remember seeing it operate, but unfortunately that expertise has gone away.


Peter Luckhurst

I ran disc ruling lines producing work for the home office in the early mid 80s , dredge made the american silver tipped pens i think but the disc ruling machines were indeed built and supplied by john shaw and sons honley ltd of west yorkshire , at the time i ran them they were obsolete and shaws were supplying discs and plaastic rule spacers as well as ancillary rule twin discs the discs were numbered to indicate rule width and the spacers were colour coded for rule distances .
We ran three hand fed machines two colour and a huge 40+" wide beast with gfive or six colour troughs .
For pen ruling we had a hickock wooden and cast monstrocity the pens were twin header pre manufactured in nickel the ordinary rule s were hand prepared with a small former and a reel of brass tape it was about 13/4 inch wide and as long as you cut off the roll approx .008 thick , mark it out ant then cut and form with the tool ,after which you then had to close the foled halves where necessary and stone the tips to the correct angle insert all the woollens fit to the carrier beam, layer your felts sandwiched in polythene layers to prevent one layer colour contaminating the others . Oh it was slow and time consuming , discs were quicker . If you wound the press the wrong way and the pens were down the whole lot crumpled up the colours sometimes leached through and you just wanted to cry !!!!

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