Page 6 - June 2014
P. 6

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   Things That Never Were...

                               by Bob Richardson (9718)

             HERE IS A MYTH that Adana shut        Reliefite machine, later renamed the
              down for the duraƟon of the Second   Thermograph. The machine was in
              World War. In fact the company       development by the end of the Second World
              conƟnued trading from their offices    War and Ayers carried out experiments using
and works in Church Street, Twickenham, but        the heaƟng elements from toasters and
had very liƩle to sell. Director Alan ‘Peter’      electric fires before unveiling the prototype
Holmes was at his desk each morning dealing        in 1946. The first illustraƟon to appear was
with paperwork and a small staff provided such      a very detailed wood engraving; something
supplies as they had available to hobby printers   which looked rather out-of-place, perhaps
who hadn’t been called up for acƟve service.       even archaic, in the brave new world of
The entries in the annual Post Office telephone      1946. Even before the machine went into
directory remained unchanged and the famous        producƟon, Ayers gave away packets of
Popesgrove 3655 number was published in            Reliefite compound with the May 1950
every ediƟon throughout the conflict. In a          ediƟon of PrintcraŌ. The magazine carried
post-war ediƟon of PrintcraŌ Peter Holmes          a noƟce staƟng that limited producƟon of
made reference to a 1942 visit from Norwegian      the compound would begin in June, with
agents seeking a collapsible press for resistance  full-scale manufacturing from the autumn
fighters. Clever adaptaƟon of an exisƟng flatbed     of that year. “The cost is trifling, but the
machine spawned the folding QFB-1945 press         saƟsfacƟon is immense” was how Adana
which went on sale aŌer World War II.              promoted the new process. “Eight expensive
                                                   ingredients, carefully blended and processed,
A few months aŌer the war officially came to         are compounded in the preparaƟon.” The
an end Adana produced a two colour leaflet          ‘recipe’ makes Reliefite sound rather tasty.
which outlined the company’s plans for the         The Thermograph was not yet ready, so Ayers
future. Managing director Frederick Ayers          recommended the use of a gas or electric fire
had great confidence in the future success of       to achieve the results required. Reliefite Fluid
his new company, which he had purchased
from the founder, Donald Aspinall, in 1940. He                                  was also promised,
went so far as to publish a list of forthcoming                                             allowing
products and innovaƟons which printers
could look forward to when the
‘industrial twilight’ of 1939-45
was behind him. Eight
items were listed,
but only four of
these came to
fruiƟon. Top of
the list was the
Adana patented

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