I was lucky enough to be invited to the MOTAT 3 site this morning for a tour of the new storage facility. MOTAT moved storage sites about a year ago and the new storage facility is still a work in progress. MOTAT’s entire collection was inventoried during the move (a considerable feat!) but further work is needed to assess every object. MOTAT for so long was a bit of a dumping ground for donations of objects the general public think is important (which is a special attribute in and of itself). So there are a lot of duplicates, and a considerable sample set of particular objects (lawn mowers and christening gowns are apparently the most common donations). I loved the sample range of sewing machines and typewriters. It was incredible to see the extraordinary breadth and depth of the MOTAT collection. It will be very exciting when MOTAT’s collections online goes live.
As a member of MOTAT’s print team, I was especially interested to see what print gear was in storage. The highlight of the visit was discovering we have a nearly operational Klischograph.
The Klischograph is an engraving machine – it produces half tone printing plates ‘cliches’ for letterpress printing. It was initially intended for small newspaper printing houses in place of larger and the more involved 3 step processes of producing photo plates for printing. The Klischograph combined the three step process into one machine: process camera, glass screen, metal printing and etching. It was developed the early 1950s, and we expect the version we have at MOTAT, the K150, was from the mid to late 1950s (we know that the the K151 was produced in 1959).
Today we use photopolymer plates in place of klischograph produced plates in letterpress printing. But if we can get this machine back into working order, we will be able to demonstrate how photo and image plates were made before photopolymer plates in our print shop – it is a question we are so often asked!
But even more exciting – we will be able to make new printing blocks to print!
(Photo from the manufacturer’s website – when our klischograph moves into the print shop, I can post a picture of it)