Ghosting on Image

Hello everyone,

I’m having a weird ghosting issue with this business card I’m printing. There’s a kind of a drop shadow effect in the image. I’ve read a couple of posts that I think are similar problems, but I don’t know what I should do.

I’m printing on a C&P 8x12. On Crane’s 220lb Lettra with oil based inks. I have two good rollers that I’m using. (I do have a crappy roller that I have used before to help distribute ink, but have not done so in this case yet…) I feel that this is a roller issue. I read a couple suggestions that said to rotate the image 45 or 90 degrees… I’m not sure about having room for my gauge pins if I rotate 45… Any thoughts out there? The image is a small circle, with crop marks (its a business card, 3.5” x 2”).

Thank you!!

image: photo copy.jpg

photo copy.jpg

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What’s happening here is that the ink is being transferred from your rollers to the plate, but when they ink the plate, no ink is taken off the rollers where the big letters are of course, because they are reversed out. Then the rollers go up on the ink disc when you make the impresssion, and while they are on the disc they should get completely replenished with ink. However, they aren’t getting completely replenished for some reason, and the areas where the letters were during the last impression still have more ink on them. Then the rollers come down on the plate in a slightly different position than they were in the last time. Since they are in a slightly different position, they deposit that heavier “ghost” image of the letters in that slightly different position.

This is similar to your problem of yesterday because in both cases the rollers aren’t being completely replenished with ink between impressions. Are the rollers contacting the ink disc well, and the whole time they are over the ink disc? Are the springs on the roller hooks strong, and pulling the rollers down on the ink disc? Is the ink disc lower than the rails, so that the rollers drop down on the disc when they reach the ends of the rails? Is your ink very thick and stiff so that it doesn’t transfer to the rollers well? Do the roller surfaces seem to pick up the ink well, with no spots which don’t pick up ink? Are the rollers composition or rubber? They should be fairly soft….can you squeeze them and deform them fairly easily?

In this case, I don’t think it would help to rotate the image in the chase. I would be sure the rollers are rolling completely over the ink disc and making good contact with it, and that the ink disc is turning a good amount after every impression, as it should. If the ink is really stiff, are you printing in a cold room? If so, can you position an electric heater on the floor so the heat warms the ink disc? If you are printing in a warm room and the ink is still stiff, perhaps you could thin it a little. I haven’t had to thin ink in probably 25+ years, so I’m not a good one to recommend a thinning agent, but as I recall this has come up before on this list, and I think you could probably do a search and find out what others have used.

Thinking *outside the box* and all that crap, and having seen several posts stating that “Cranes Lettra” is by comparison not that special/suitable, in some instances, for the current application, for example.???
Could this be one such case!!
Even a casual glance at the image on the computer screen suggests, something akin to rejection, non compatability, porous surface, cross contamination, (air, atmosphere born) etc.
I base these *suggestions* on just one tiny clue as printed herein!!!
Without resorting to a magnifying glass, even, as the Crop Marks, Alignment Marks, appear as rubbish and metaphorically, well beyond the reach and/or track of the rollers, so NOT influenced by, repeat marks, ghost images, ink distribution, roller pressure, etc etc, ad infinitum.
Horses for Courses, maybe and just maybe brand “X” paper, is not the correct Horse for the Appropriate course???
O.K. take me to pieces ON LINE (by all means) for silly observations, but somebody will appear out of the woodwork with the Real Deal, as the Good Buddy above has already implied!!!

good advice from Geoffrey, also Mick makes a good point, I have had same issues with lettra, I changed papers and had no problem, just for the heck of it try a different sheet and see what happens.

Here’s a possibility that has happened to me before. On the down-stroke, the plate takes ink off the rollers leaving spots of lower ink density on the roller. When the press starts the upstroke the rollers have slightly changed rotation relative to their position on the downstroke. This means the plate hits a slightly different spot when the rollers are going back up as when they were going down. The spots of lower and higher density aren’t lined up to the plate anymore. The only solution I know of for this is a distributing rider roller that will even out the density on the forme rollers as they’re coming back up.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

mephits hit it on the head. Unfortunately, there is no way to make to rollers hit the form in the exact same spot between down stroke and up stroke on a C&P or most other platens. Some have suggested using opaque white in the mix, double-rolling, etc, but nothing improves the inking of any platen more than a distributor roller. Even a simple rider would be an improvement, and Leonard Mollberg from Colorado once gave the info to do this without major metallugy; three piglets posted the pics but have not maintained them. Wayback machine or Interrnet Archive might reveal.

I’ve got a design worked out for a riding distributor roller for my 8 x 12 NS, but I haven’t had a chance to build it and verify the soundness of the design yet, so I don’t want to distribute anything right now. When I do, it’ll be released as a free design for anyone to use. It’s a pretty simple mechanism based on the old Acme patent, but simplified for manufacture from readily available basic components. I’m sorry that this doesn’t give you a solution to the problem you’re having right now, though.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Hi nikkitranchita, I can’t say if any of the suggestions above will solve your issue with ghosting but I can say that our shop suffered from the same ghosting issue repeatedly until we obtained and started using a rider roller for any job that has the problem. I have posted pics with and without the roller. These rider rollers also produce a flat-er more even ink impression on large images that pull large quantities of ink of the ink disc. They are an invaluable peice of equipment in our shop.

image: with out rider roller.jpg

with out rider roller.jpg

image: with rider roller.jpg

with rider roller.jpg

Not really a solution for this job, but, Golding developed another solution that addresses this type of problem on the Jobber line. Their rollers get ink added on both the down and up stroke. Ink disk for the down stroke as other presses, and a side to side moving secondary curved ink plate below the chase for the up stroke.


Didn’t the Jobbers also have distributing rider rollers as well as the double inking setup? I’ve always heard it said they have about the best inking capabilities of any platen press ever made.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Hi Michael,

Yes, I have seen references to them being available in catalogs, but, I must say I have never seen even a picture of the setup. There certainly isn’t a lot of room for it given the rollers path below the chase. It’s an option I have kind of been on the lookout for, but, it makes it kind of hard given I don’t know what exactly it looks like.



John, I’m curious about the Golding lower plate. The only Golding Jobbers I’ve seen were missing the plate, but I would think for the plate to be effective the rollers, or at least the lowest roller, must have a full revolution on the plate, which would seem to be a longer travel than other platen jobbers.
My Victoria platen has the fittings for not only two riders, but also two geared distributors below the form, and the possibilty of the upper two forms inking on the down stroke and the lower two only on the upstroke (with the riders). That’s why this was called an “art platen”. but unfortunately, none of these features are complete on my press, except for riders I made out of parts from the hardware store. I’ve seen other smaller Victorias that had the fittings for the bottom roller to ink only on the upstroke, but broken springs kept the rollers low up and down.

John, I expect they would be about the same as any of the other riding rollers available at the time. A solid, threaded shaft with a small, internally threaded steel roller that runs around it. The shaft would be held on and kept from rotating by either removable brackets on the roller arms (like the Acme Vibrating Rollers for C&P presses) or permanent mounts built into the roller hooks like Kluge seem to have done on some of their presses. The Acme design was very compact. It looks like it added about an inch in height at the roller hooks for the bracket and spring mechanism, but maybe only a quarter or half inch at the rollers. Bound Staff Press on Flickr have some pictures of their Acme Vibrating Rollers installed on their Craftsman.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN


This is from a Golding catalog and tells the story pretty well. I attached the pictures so you can see how far the rollers actually get onto the plate.

I would still put the Victoria, Colts Armory, and Universal style presses above this system, but, it is effective. I restored an Art Jobber (12 x 18) that had the system complete and I used it a lot.

The Duplex Distributor (see Fig. 10) is a semi-cylindrical plate hanging directly beneath the bed, which receives the form rollers at the end of their downward movement. As the rollers
start upward the plate swings forward and retards their rotation so that their form contact is changed on the ascent. It also has a reciprocating motion imparted to it by a cam connection having a follower on the gear shaft. This gives a distribution in addition to and independent of the disk, and of a quality somewhat similar though far superior to that obtained from a vibrat-ing roller, for as the plate swings from side to side while the rollers are clear of it, it has all the advantages of a vibrating roller with none of its disadvantages such as friction, and wear and tear of rollers. The results obtained are better than double rolling on all other platen press inking devices.
The chief practical advantage of the Automatic Brayer Fountain and Duplex Distributor over any other system of ink distribution used on platen machines is that it is capable of doing better work and at faster speeds. It is possible to util-ize the entire chase capacity of the press, whether the work consists of type, half-tone or line engravings, or a combination of all, as the Duplex Distributor delivers a fresh supply of ink at the bottom of the form, in addition to the supply which comes from the disk at the top, and the press is thereby enabled to give a better quality of distribution at one rolling than any other ink distributing system can offer with double or triple rolling.

image: duplexdistributor2.jpg


image: duplexdistributor.jpg



Thanks for the Flickr reference. I’ll go take a look.


John and all,

I don’t have a picture of it on the press but my No. 7 has the duplex distributor. Here is the piece after it was removed. Once I can get the press up and running I look forward to trying it out and will post more pictures.


image: 9331562834_62921929cf_z.jpg


i also have ghosting images from my C&P 8x12. there is a bit of play in my derlin trucks that i think may be contributing to the problem. i can wiggle the trucks back and forth when in the roller shaft that i think is letting the roller change positions on the upstroke. i would love to see a roller rider setup thats on a C&P I’m a machinist so i have the ability to manufacture a certain bit off the setup. i would just need to see some things to get some ideas.

Machinehead323, the patent documents for a vibrating roller for a C&P are on line. Search for US patent 1559855 by A J Daane. This should give you the info that you are looking for.


Machinehead323, contact me off-thread and I’ll send you a synopsis of what I have been putting together. Maybe we can come up with a usable bit of kit together.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Does your ink plate counter rotate? Also and I might suggest setting your plate off center to the right side as far as possible for grearer ink distribution from the plate. Add 1-2 drops of boiled linseed oil on the plate. Dave

I’m having exactly the same ghosting issue. I have been informed of 2 things - 1. roller riders would be a good fix, 2. designs that avoid heavy colour should be avoided as we are sometimes asking too much of our presses with modern designs!

For me, avoiding point 2 is out of the question! I can get around the shadowing by skip printing (throwing the impression leaver off between prints to re-ink the forme properly) but this is time consuming!
Can anyone help with supplying a roller rider for my C&) OS, circa1913, 10x15”? I don’t think I’m after the challenge to make my own…

Bruce cpd, was yourse on a C&P?
Fluid Ink
Perth, Australia

Hi Davina, We do have a C&P 10x15 circa 1946 that exhibits this same ghosting image problem and I don’t yet have a rider roller for that press. The rider roller I do have fits our Brandtjen & Kluge 12x18 and that’s the press that made the before and after pics. So when I have a ghosting issue on the C&P I move the job to the Kluge. The C&P is very light and fast compared to the Kluge so it’s not an ideal solution for otherwise quicky jobs and doesn’t help you. But if you have near you a good machine shop it really shouldn’t take much to build one if your press’s saddles have something to mount it on. I have posted a pic of the saddle on out C&P which has two good sized threaded bolts sticking up that I’m sure were intended for just this purpose.
If anyone out there has a rider roller for a C&P I would appreciate it very much if you could post some detailed pics of it.
Thank you

image: CnP saddle.jpg

CnP saddle.jpg