Barclay, Robert

Barclay, Robert
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
b. c.1833
d. November 1876
English inventor of the offset method in printing.
Barclay, a member of the celebrated banking family, ran a printing business in the City of London in partnership with John Doyle Fry, of the (also famous) chocolate-making family. In 1875 Barclay took out two patents, the first bearing Fry's name as well, for printing on to tinplate by way of the offset principle. He recognized that transferring or "offsetting" the print on to an impression cylinder of a yielding material would give the best results. The cylinder would be covered with glazed or varnished cardboard, rather than the rubber that was later to be used.
Barclay disposed of his patents to Bryant and May, the match manufacturers, for printing decorative metal matchbox covers. It was recognized that the method had applications in other industries, and eventually the principle was applied in the currently most widely used method of printing, offset lithography.
Further Reading
Journal of Printing History 8(1972):60; 9 (1973):4 (brief details of Barclay's life).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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