Copyright © 2012 Chiswick Polish
Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish
Dan & Charles Mason, pioneers of the shoe polish industry in Chiswick
Around the Works,Tin Printing Department, Chertsey Road Factory
Little more than a quarter of a century ago the Tin Printing Department occupied the Hogarth Lane building which is now the Export Warehouse, and the Card Box Department was situated in the part of the Polish Department at present the Carton Store.
In 1923 a plot of land was purchased for future development of the business and two years later it was decided to lay out the Sports Ground and to build a Pavilion for use of the Company's employees's.
The phenomenal increase in boot polish trade, and the forceful selling and advertising campaign undertaken at very considerable expense for Mansion Polish, created a rapidly increasing demand
for that product- a demand which speedily exceeded the capacity of -
A view of part of the Chertsey Road Factory,
with the men at work on the huge printing machines
the Tin Printing Department and created many production problems in the factory. One such problem was to provide sufficient printed plate for tins which were to contain our products. Since we were unable to provide it ourselves, the work had to be handled by outside firms. At one time as many as five companies were printing tin plate for us
With the existing Printing Department already seriously congested, there was no room available for the installation of additional machines, and similar conditions prevailed in the Card Box Department. Indeed, in the latter case a new three-colour card-printing machine had to be housed in a corrugated iron shed, previously used for handling one of the polish ingredients.
There was, at that time, in addition to a rapidly expanding Home Trade, an ever-increasing demand for our products in Overseas Markets, and somehow or other this had to be met. It was therefore decided to build a modern factory on the site purchased some years before, and to transfer from Hogarth Lane the Tin Printing and Card Box Departments.
A Printer mixes his inks, while printed sheets pass into the oven
The tin printing machines--five rotary and one very old flat-bed, were, by comparison with our present machines, slow running; the sheets, having been printed in the first colour, had to be manually placed in racks which were then wheeled to steam-heated drying-ovens where they remained until ready for further printing process --the application of another colour. In some cases as many as ten colour's, plus varnishing, were involved and after each operation the sheets had to be stoved. (The old ovens are still to be seen at Hogarth Lane.)
The new factory, as it is still referred to, was opened in 1928, and what, at that time, was the most modern plant available was installed. Seven tin-printing machines (an eighth was added later), each with a capacity nearly twice as great as those previously used at Hogarth Lane, and with gas-fired traveling ovens attached, were erected and quickly brought into full production. To most of these, fully-automatic sheet-feeding devices were later added, and two varnishing units with similar ovens were also installed.
It is of interest to note that if all these machines were employed on printing our smallest lid in one colour only, more than seven million lids could be produced each working day, whereas the total output of similar production in the old department would have been under three million.
Briefly the printing process employed today is as follows :
Before each run, the machine plates from which the printing is to be done are carefully prepared in the process room and are taken from there to the machine in the sequence for printing the colour's necessary for that particular job. The man who controls the printing machine fixes the plate to the cylinder, and tests are undertaken to ensure that registration is correct. The method used is called
' Offset Litho' and is done by the process of transferring ink from the plate to the rubber blanket and, in turn, from the blanket to the tinplate.
The end of the printing process---- varnishing and stoving the printed sheets
The machine is started and sheets of tin, previously placed in position, are fed from the automatic-feeder at the foot of the printing machine. Each sheet is lifted separately by suction and placed on the moving belt which will carry it through to the printing rollers. Without any cessation of speed, the printed sheets pass into racks which lift them into an upright position and they then travel through a tunnel-like stoving oven from which they emerge in a continuous stream at a rate of up to 40 per minute. For each colour needed, the same process has to be repeated and the sheets must afterwards be coated with varnish. This varnish is applied by a coating machine with similar stoving ovens and is intended as a protection for the colour's. The sheets are then left to cool before being transported to the Tin shop for stamping into the tins that will take our products all over the world.
This article first appeared in the Vol. VIII No 5 winter 1953 ' Forward ' The house magazine of Chiswick Products Ltd,