By Dr. J. H.
Excerpt from an Article in First Annual Blue Book of the National Carborator and Bottler, February 1939.
ONE OF THE developments of the last few years has been that of permanent fused on labels on glass bottles. These labels are virtually non-removable, because they are made of glass, fused on the main body of glass by intense heat. The use of this material has enabled decorative methods hitherto impossible in character.
Method of Manufacture
The manufacture of applied color labeled ware involves a second step following the ordinary manufacturing process for bottles. The glass in a glass furnace is homogenous in character, all of one color and composition. The bottles must be made as usual, perfectly annealed and cooled before the second step involving application of applied color labels can be started.
When the bottles are ready for decoration, the color design is printed on them in the process that superficially resembles many printing or engraving processes. The color is applied in the form of a paste‑like material, through a screen of silk, in which the design has been formed. The bottle which contains the impression of that design must then be dried and then fired by conducting it through a lehr, which is a long, tunnel‑like enclosure through which the bottles pass at a carefully controlled rate of speed and in which definite zones of temperature are maintained. The maximum temperature chosen is such that the glass body will not melt, but the softer glass involved in the color will melt and rigidly fuse on the glass beneath it, This process also brightens the design through the melting of the super-imposed color material and results in .'he familiar colorfully labeled bottle that we see on the market today.
The process is not so simple as it sounds. The material referred to above as a paste actually consists of finely ground low fusing, lead, borosilicate glasses, to which an oxide or a salt or other mineral pigments have been added. After passing through the various processing steps in manufacture of the color, the finished product is produced as an extremely fine powder, for the product is ground through a paint mill similar to those used in manufacture of paint and enamels.
The basic color material, therefore, consists of a glass of low softening paint. This is a quality which calls for certain care in bottle washing which will be taken up in a later paragraph. While these colors may be painted on bottles by hand, and frequently were in the early days of this type of decoration, the present generally used method involves employment of silk screen of very fine mesh. The interstices in the screen, where no printing is desired, are filled With gelatin or similar materials. The portions of the screen where printing is desired, contain no gelatin but simply the fine mat of screen. The screen is so finely constructed that as a rule it would hold water without the use of the gelatin filling material, although oils and paste can be pressed through it.
In the beginning of the silk stencil process the designs were carefully cut by hand with a knife. The life of these screens were short and the method of preparing them made them quite costly. Later photographic methods were developed which allow extremely complicated designs, fine registers, the employment of several colors superimposed, and other great advantages at markedly reduced costs. These factors contributed much to the growing popularity of applied color labels.
In summing up the methods of manufacture, we can state that applied color letters are permanently fused onto the glass , and are composed chiefly of colored glasses themselves. They are applied somewhat as a printing process, after which the bottle is dried and then brought to a temperature at which these glasses will fuse to the glass body.
The colors that are possible to use include yellows, oranges, blues, greens, browns, blacks, maroons, and white. Because this industry is relatively new, great strides in improving colors have been made within the past year. Naturally colors differ in their characteristics because the colors are necessarily composed of different materials. Manufacturers of this ware are now able to offer applied color labels that will have extremely long life. The number of trips that can be expected without loss of brilliancy are practically on par with a number of trips that an unlettered bottle would take. We can look to the future with every assurance that applied color labeling will carry your advertising message, your name or trademark, with undimmed brilliance throughout its normal life.
It is difficult to describe in short space the possibilities of design. Like other advertising methods, display is the prime consideration. Only unusual amounts of straight copy should use fine print, and the capital letters less than eight point minimum should not be used.
Registration can be accomplished within reasonable limits. Superimposed on lighter colors. Contrast is desirable between colors used, and they must always be chosen with due consideration of the colors of the beverages which are placed in the bottles, or the color of the glass bottle itself if flint isn't used.
Applied color labeling is best confined to the cylindrical portions of a bottle and the lower, and upper portions of even the cylindrical portion cannot be used. It can be placed in panels provided that the color is not expected to go to the
edge of the panel, as clearance must be supplied on all edges. In general, fine lines of 1/64" width or less will not reproduce as well as heavier lines. All of these precautions, if carefully considered, will result in better designs. When they are met. the design that you wish can be faithfully transcribed into glass.
It is important from an advertising display standpoint to strive toward simplicity of design, structure and color. The greatest number of colors in any individual package is not necessarily the index of consumer interest and desire to purchase. Too many design elements, too much color, too much detail, is confusing to the average person.
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