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The Remarkable Birth and Evolution The Speedmaster

By:  Nick Howard  |  Date: June 2019  |  Contact the Author

Inside the offices of Schnellpressenfabrik AG, Heidelberg frustration not seen since the firm’s founding in 1850, filled the hallways of power. A new crop of young executives grew impatient with their boss, Herbert Sternberg. The year was 1961. Heidelberg Druckmaschinen, as the company would soon be renamed, had never entered the offset field. Sternberg was stubborn and believed the future would always be letterpress. After all, Heidelberg was sitting on top in this key sector.

At the upper levels of management, Sternberg had a loyal following. Artur Büttner was well ensconced as chief designer, and between the pair, they shared almost 50 years of experience working for Schnellpress. It was Büttner who had led developments of both the T-platen and the OHC cylinder press. Schnellpress had recently added rotary letterpresses to its arsenal – using relief letterpress plates – but this didn’t qualm the younger executives. One who had experience and could see that the future would be in offset was Willi Jeschke. Jeschke had arrived at Heidelberg from MAN in 1956. Soon after, Dr. Wolfgang Zimmermann would be added, and the youth was about to force Herr Sternberg to make a radical decision — build a damn offset press!


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