Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The basic mechanics of the printing operation are the controlled transferring of ink to paper. It seems obvious, therefore, that performing this operation at peak efficiency is essential to competitive success. In letterpress printing this basic mechanical operation takes place in three steps: one, breaking the ink down into a thin, even film, two, depositing the ink film on the raised surface from which the print is to be made; and three, transferring the ink from the raised surface to the paper or substance being printed upon. Deficiencies in any of these three critical areas may result in a product of unacceptable quality. In letterpress printing, the second step, that of depositing the ink film on the raised surface from which the print will be made, is accomplished by means of an inking roller. It is with this aspect of the printing operation that this thesis is concerned. The ink roller is essentially a cylindrical object which must possess the following properties: (1) Inking rollers must be soft: this is necessary to insure that the roller can mold itself easily to small irregularities in the type surface and exert a uniform pressure on each part. (2) They must not swell or shrink when brought into contact with printing ink or cleaning solvents so as to avoid any change in pressure over the form during a long run. (3) They must have surface tack, i.e., the roller surface must have a high degree of affinity for the ink, which enables it to produce a very smooth film on the roller which is then transferred to the type surface. (4) They must be capable of being easily cleaned. Lack of any of these properties in a roller may result in breakdown of the entire operation, because the roller plays such an important part in the printing process. It has been estimated that as much as 70% of press down time may be caused by the rollers. The best presses and pressmen can be no better than their rollers, which actually perform the critical transfer function.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rollers (Printing)
Printing ink


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages