Throughout their production the multiple crown definitives with values from the ½d to the 1/6d were printed by Harrison and sons of High Wycombe under contract to the post office at the time, but the watermarked paper used to print the stamps was produced and supplied to Harrison's by the Stowford paper mill owned by Wiggins Teape.
The difference that I have noticed in a particular paper is quite unusual, instead of the normal mesh/weave design running horizontal/vertical or in criss-cross diagonals, I discovered only single lines running at a 45° angle, but what appeared more peculiar was the fact that some of the single-lined versions appeared to be running in the opposite direction on certain stamps and only a few values appeared to be so affected, namely the 10d, 1/- and 1/6d values.
I was of the understanding that De La Rue had taken over Harrison and sons back in 1997, so I decided to contact them with regards to the anomaly found and sent the details to their Basingstoke address, I received a reply from the archivist of DLR by the name of Mr Georgie Salzedo who quoted the following after consultation with their design team >>>>>
"It comes from the mould cover. Instead of the now typical weft of the wire and weave going horizontal/vertical. I think this mould cover would have been 45 degrees which adds bulk and less bulk. The GSM would have been so low that the wire would have been seen ".
GSM = The weight of paper is measured in gsm (grams per square metre). Effectively, this is the thickness of the paper: the higher the GSM, the thicker the paper. Most printing paper has a gsm between 60 and 120. 80gsm is standard.
This explained the single lines encountered but not the reversed single line versions that had been found, this lead me to investigate further.
It's possible that a couple of things could have happened during the production of the paper with it's watermarking, or possibly during the time the stamps were being printed in that the roll of watermarked paper was reversed, in essence (reversing the watermark).
However, when the multiple crown watermark is reversed it looks the same, and possibly the only way to tell is by the reversed 45-degree ribbing that can be seen on some stamps
Are there any other ideas as to what may have happened, and which paper do you think may be reversed ? WM.
You are correct in what you state rod222, the dandy roll was a fixed section of the mechanism and only the feed of the paper could have been changed, as I have already stated this is just 1 of the possibilities.
Was the paper roll reversed at the printers to give the reversed ribbing ? In which case the watermark would have been reversed when the stamps were printed, but unnoticeable due to the design of the watermark. WM
Quote: Was the paper roll reversed at the printers to give the reversed ribbing ?
Therin lies my lack of understanding. I would have thought the roll would have been cut into sheets prior to printing, (easily explained for sheets being printed on either side) I was not aware these stamps were printed from a roll
It's just dawned on me rod222 , that the second stage of the production of a stamps paper is the application of the gum, therefore it's possible that the roll was reversed at this stage in its production prior to being printed, which would again reverse the position of the watermark and also the ribbing in the paper. WM.
Paper is static when made, it will have a lead edge, a face-side, a grain, pulp-web belt variances, and if applied, watermarks. Until the paper is destroyed those characteristics will not change. As a sheet or roll of paper is further altered by cutting, those characteristics can become harder to determine. For stamp production, the paper will have two sides and at least three edges. While a single surface two sided mobius strip can be formed, it is not used in stamp or other printing and merely mentioned here to prevent the "waddabout" comment.
When the dandy roll impresses its watermark design, it is doing so NOT on paper. It is doing so on paper pulp. Only when the pulp is fully dried, does it become paper. It is then cut into sheets or rolls of paper. Pulp only feeds into a paper making machine in one direction. This dandy impression is unique to itself without regard to the design produced by the wire fabric upon which the paper pulp is spread. The wire fabric belt will leave some indication in the final paper. The variations within a wire belt, will cause variations in the paper, the easiest to see would be the stitch marks caused by the area in which the the two endings of metal fabric are joined to produce a continuous wire fabric belt. This is often called a"stitch watermark." Different belts with have different characteristics but also internal variations.
As to the wire fabric belts, they are made with small wire woven in different manners. The size of the wire, the direction and manner of weave all produce differences. A reference to "45 degrees" is not about the direction the paper pulp is spread on the wire fabric, but indicates the angle and direction of some wires in the underlying weave of the wire fabric belt being used to spread the paper pulp prior to the dandy roll impression. Wet paper making pulp, again, feeds in only one direction on the paper-making machine and its woven wire web belt.
As to using rolls of paper a roll can only be unwound in one direction (outside inward) with the paper being fed face-up or face-down producing either correct watermarks (paper viewed face-up side) or mirror watermarks (paper viewed face-down side). Sheet paper also has a face-up, face-down feed possibility, but also it can have the lead edge up or lead edge down. For square sheets the lead edge can be also left or right. Of course non-square sheets can be misaligned in error but such should be so obvious that such misalignment would not be allowed to be printed or culled if so printed. The viewing of the watermark on the final printed stamp would be impacted by any of the orientations, with combinations of regular or mirror watermark viewed in different orientations.
One could argue that this 45° ribbing being as prominent as this, could almost be classified as a secondary watermark being so vivid, in that it compliments the multiple crown watermark impression in the paper that was made at a slightly later time whilst the stamp paper was still in the wet stage of its manufacture.
From looking at the thread like impression made within the papers structure, it is quite obvious that some of these rolls have been reversed at some stage before the stamps were put to press, most probably during the application of the gum.
As to which is the reversed specimen, your guess is as good as mine ! I fancy the top left to bottom right version as seen from the reverse. WM
I would also like to thank parcelpostguy for the additional information given relating to the grain and the weave of the paper (ribbing) and the reference concerning the face up or face down relating to the stamp papers feed. WM.
IMO it did not matter a whit which way the paper "ribbing" was oriented during production because it was not a technical specification nor did it impact the final product in any practical way. In fact it is a step to far to use the term "ribbed" since it really is not. It has no surface amplitude, corrugations or parallel horizontal or vertical ridges.
All I am saying is that ribbed paper has an uneven corrugated surface created by passing the paper through ridged rollers. You do not have to "dip" a ribbed stamp to see that it is ribbed paper. That is not the case here.
Obviously, the lines you are showing and talking about were created during the paper making process. If there were no lines as with many other stamps you may not know what direction the paper was fed through the printing equipment in or if it was "upside-down".