I’ve been busy with work and traveling over the past couple of weeks – just now getting back to the blog.
A couple of exciting items I’m watching the mailbox for…This week I purchased, on e-bay, a THF with a date written on the lid and it was only $4.00! I know the date is 193? so I will have to wait and see what I can decipher. Also, after an exhaustive search, I believe I have found the book, “…Lane Company, The First 50 Years…” by Helen Hughes Lane. I have been able to view the book while in Altavista and I have excerpts from it but I will now get a chance to study it in detail to my heart’s content! It was also found on-line and is on its way to me. So, more to come on these two finds.
During my interviews with Larry and Bill, both employees of Lane and involved in the Miniature Department from the 1960’s, I learned something very interesting about the “branded” logo found under the lid of the boxes in the Girl Graduate Plan. The process of branding (with a heated branding tool) the logo and the retailer on the lid was not precise and time consuming due to the time to set up each run. Additionally, at times the process generated rejects that had to be fixed or discarded.
Bill had a background in the printing industry and he sought out an engineer that helped Lane develop a process of printing the Logo (with ink) on the lids instead of with heat. Although this process took some time to perfect due to the inks reaction with the natural oils of the cedar wood and the lacquers used to seal the wood, ultimately the ink logo process allowed the Miniature line to be much more efficient as there were way fewer rejects and the set up process to change from one retailer name to another was hastened dramatically.
Upon my return from Altavista, I was excited to inspect all of my Short boxes – made while Bill and Larry were at Lane – to see the difference between heat and ink branded lids. I have around 35 Short boxes and I have inspected them all for evidence of ink vs. heat. Unfortunately to my “aware” but untrained eye, I can’t tell a difference between any of them. So, for now, I will have to wait until my next conversation with these gentlemen to figure this out.
UPDATE: “Printing” the logos with ink started in the mid 1980’s (around 1985) the best I can tell. The ink process did create a slight indention in the wood but nowhere near as much as the burning process. Just something to keep an eye out for when assigning an aged to a short box.
Until next time.