Step Back in Time - Volume 2 - Potpourri 

Volume 1 of STEP BACK, established that STEP BACK was a pause to glance back to earlier times in the paper industry. This volume, Volume 2 is titled potpourri: definition of potpourri being a variety of sorts of things, in this case a variety of machinery most pre 1960

Being a paper industry history junkie, during my mill visits, I kept my eyes and ears open for installations and designs that might have historical significance. I saw quite a few operations that had special interest. Some were unique in the their approach to problem solving, some were little known and in retrospect, there were others that contrasted greatly with how we do things today.

Around the mid 1950s there was an increasing need for printing papers and particularly coated and filled sheets. While winders at that time were not yet feeling production pressure there were concerns for shipping roll quality. With only two winding techniques available, two drum or centerwind, innovation at times became interesting. Shipping roll diameters were relatively small compared to today's rolls. The paper machines for the most part were still in the sub 1500 to 2000 FPM range. Winder speeds were generally in the range of 2 ½ times paper machine speed. If the machine was designed for 1800 FPM, a 5000 FPM winder was plenty adequate. A pinch existed in the ability of winders to structure rolls. As sheets got denser and finishes improved, hard roll problems were rearing their ugly head. Mills began to have hard roll problems on printing grades and particularly coated supercalendered grades.





One of the great winding challenges of the time was the windup of the supercalender. A variety of supercalender windups were in use. Waterviliet Paper in Kalmazoo used a centerwind turret as a windup to improve the super efficiency. During this era, Moore & White was a supplier of two drum winders. In the early 60s I visited one of the old New York & Penn Mills with Ed Klackawitz of Beloit Eastern and we saw a unique wind-up following a supercalender. The windup was a modified Moore & White winder. The winding sets were alternated between drum nips. If memory serves me, the super was in the rang of 170 to 180".A few years later a new salesman named John Manfredi came on board that had worked at M & W in the past. He thought the mill had two M & W 2 drum winders that were cannibalized to make the four drum windup


Harper FourdinierWhen visiting a mill on the west coast, I thing it was Crown Zellerbach in Camas, WA,  turned a corner and saw a fourdrinier running in reverse! What gives? I'd heard of a Harper Fourdrinier but never expected to see one. This was 1961 and most of the Harpers were built at the turn of the century. One of the main advantages of the Harper was real estate. Locating the press section over the fourdrinier and using stack dryers, reduced building length but added significantly to headroom. This particular machine had unfelted dryers. The Harper layout is similar to a cylinder machine, the main difference being the use of a fourdrinier as a former as opposed to vats



Coreshaft TransferShaftless winding was not used in the US until the mid to late 1970s. U. S. builders were slow to adopt this new concept. Core shafts, particularly as used on wide winders, were heavy and cumbersome. The system shown was used in the 50s through the early 60s. The winder bridge was lowered and the set discharged to the stripping conveyor (slat log puller). When the set ejected from the winder it would push the shaft hooks out (2 hooks located at the quarter points of the winder). The bridge is raised. There is a dressed core shaft ready in the pocket at the front of the roll out apron. The shaft lift is raised by the two cylinders, the action tipping the core shaft into the drum nip. Click here to see a photo of the system.

As the set is winding, the coreshaft anchor powered by an air motor engages a collar on the end of the coreshaft. Theslat conveyor started. As the conveyor drives the set towards the back of the winder, the coreshaft drops onto the hooks. The roller on the shaft hook minimize damage to the rolls of the set. The hooks then transfer the coreshaft to the core storage pockets where it is dressed, ready for the next winding cycle. (sequence is pink, orange and blue). The last of these systems were built about 1960  This installation is shown as a dramatic comparison of the mechanical winder operations of the past and the automated operations in place today. This operation would have been an OSHA inspectors dream! NOISY! PINCH POINTS! OPPORTUNITY FOR INJURY! The winder drums made a high pitched wine that varied with winder speed-probably up to 120 dB. The air motor on the shaft anchor made a low pitch noise of it's own. It was amazing the shaft transfer system held together. The winder bridge was counterbalanced but would slam up and down with a crash. When the conveyor drive started the noise added to the melee. When the roll was stripped to the back, first one then the second hook would crash down into the coreshaft. When the set was completely stripped from the shaft, the core shaft would drop a couple inches into the hooks with a resounding bang and whipping bounce. Then the transfer would start it's own racket as it deposited the core shaft in the dressing station. The only thing noisier than all of this was when the shaft lift mechanism as it raised the coreshaft and rolled it crashing into the drum pocket. The systems were a maintenance headache. The more the system was used the noiser it got. If technology hadn't replaced this system, OSHA would have.


Camelot WinderI was involved in a winder rebuild in a southern linerboard mill (West Virginia P & P at Charleston, SC) in the late 1960s. The mill had a Cameron winder that ran reasonably well but needed a general upgrade. Black Clawson did a rider roll rebuild some time in the past that looked good and could be salvaged. The winder was about 240" face at 6000 FPM. The lead-in and slitter section were completely replaced.. The windup was rebuilt to shaftless. The unwind was "half and half"-half original and half new. The rebuild was to be installed on a 36 hour machine shutdown and several reels would be held over to check out the winder before the machine came back on line. It was going to be tight so a lot of site prep was done before the machine shutdown such as install baseplates, wiring, etc.

When the time came to crank up the winder-it ran perfecto! Not a pound of paper lost. Just a 5 minute torch job was required to clear a small interference. It was one of the smoothest rebuilds I was ever involved in thanks to an engineer named Ben Winkleman and a mill engineer named Gerry Lynes and a dedicated paper mill. Not a hitch. So much so, we renamed the winder "Camelot".


When we think of open side super calendars we normally think of the European open side design. While the European open side designs were being imported to the U. S. the local builders were still building closed stacks.

On another of my visits to one of the old New York and Penn mills, I came across the biggest pile of castings I ever saw or hope to see in a paper mill. This was a CAST IRON OPEN SIDE SUPERCALENDER. The super was about 180-190" face and had the name of Beloit cast into the massive vertical frames.Everything on the supercalender was cast iron including the top caps, the main frames, bearing housings and arms, fly roll brackets-you get the picture.

The real oddity was this US open side stack apparently was installed sometime in the 40s or 50s before we ever heard of a European open stacks. The best information I could find was that the stacks were sold by Beloit and the work sub-contracted to Black Clawson. Does anyone have any background information on these stacks?



One thing you could rely on before "silent" drum grooving was that if the winder was running when you walked into the machine room, you could hear it. And the faster it ran, the louder it got. The tour foreman could tell by the noise level how the winder crew were doing. In the days before there was an awareness of noise problems and the damage noise could do, winder drums used a nominal 5 degree chevron drum groove for traction. My first experience with this problem was in the very early 60s at the Port. Alberni, BC mill in Canada. As their newsprint winders increased in speed the noise became increasingly objectionable. Working with Bernie Dahl of research, it was determined that increasing the angle of chevrons decreased the drum noise. Installing 10 degree chevron grooving at the Port Alberni mill reduced the noise considerably without a loss in traction. Later working with Jere Crouse of Beloit R & D, 15 degree chevron grooving with a special noise reducing shape became more or less a standard until tractionized drum surfaces took over. One of the reasons I remember this trip was my discussion with a Mountie over the color of a traffic light on Vancouver Island.



FRONT DRUM WRAP WINDERFRONT DRUM WRAP did not appear to have great appeal yet became popular for a time in the late 50s.  The sheet run makes a de-energizing nip at the core shaft and the height of the winder impacts unfavorably on the winder CG, especially at high speeds and winding rough surface grades-not to mention the increased working height for the operators. It is difficult in my mind to find an advantage for the front drum wrap except the accessibility of the slitters.

Faster winder speeds and wider machine trims required larger diameter platen and paper rolls, raising the winder height to an impractical height. These factors also tightened the specs and increased the cost of the already expensive platen rolls and mill maintenance was critical to get good performance from score slitters. Further debate over the advantages of front slitters and score slitters were cut off as there use faded into the sunset



First Core Support WinderTHE LAST OF POTPOURRI! Unlike the previous designs, this is not an item I saw in my travels but something found in the archives. It was in a sepia tone photo that had the typical late 1800s or early 1900s look about it. It only proves the saying, "what goes around comes around".

The thing that struck me about this reel design is the concept similarity to the present core support duplex winder configurations. For those that think that the core support duplex is a new high tech invention, think again, this pours water on that theory. The origin or story behind this reel seems to be unknown. It is doubtful that the purpose for the design was roll structure as machines were narrow and reels were relatively small diameter but you could say it was the first core support winder (unless this design was proceeded by still another drum support design). Click here to see a photo of the reel.

BY Luigi Bagnato October 1997

Revised May 2, 1998-The First Core Support Winder. Image and text changed.

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