The blueprint process was already known for decades, a method of reproducing technical drawings. White lines then appeared on a blue background. The problem was that the reproduction paper was very light-sensitive and had a limited shelf life until printing. Louis, one of the Van der Grinten brothers from the third generation, tackled that problem and found a way to make the blueprint paper durable for use for up to a year. He began producing it and, later with the help of his younger brother Karel, put it on the market.
The third of the brothers, Piet, was concerned with the finances and also with the very profitable production of butter coloring. The three brothers steadily expanded the company now that the first steps in the field of “document solutions” had been taken. And many more would follow! The Van der Grinten family continued to lead the company until the fourth generation.
Meanwhile, in addition to the blueprint process, a different way of reproducing (technical) drawings had now become known, with dark lines appearing on light-colored paper, which considerably improved the readability of the drawings. This process was known as a diazotype, also commonly known as “light printing”. Around 1940, it would completely displace blueprint. However, printing was a cumbersome operation in itself and it was Louis van der Grinten who invented a better quality and processing method. The paper processed with chemicals was first exposed in the copier and only then another (liquid) compound was added for development. That is why they called it new light printing paper: “O.C. paper “, an abbreviation for “Ohne Componente “, or: without component. It soon became the new brand: “Océ”, that was deposited in 1928 and which, decades later – in 1970 – was also to become the name of the company.
Already before 1940, the company had developed a technology and the associated process with which it was possible to make copies of non-transparent originals. The Second World War went through a successful breakthrough of this and afterwards people were too busy with the reconstruction of the company to enter the market again. Nevertheless, they continued to explore other areas such as the small offset and looked at office applications from diazo. In 1967 they entered the office market with an electrophotographic process for copying documents, that, however, required special, chemically processed paper.
During this period, the factory that built the machines for Océ was taken so that there was an in-house machine factory. In the area of large format copying, Océ was then one of the few remaining global suppliers of copying systems for the drawing room. When the company took over the almost equal competitor Ozalid in England in the mid-1970s, Océ suddenly became the world market leader in the drawing room market. Developments went stormy from that moment on.
1974 Plain Paper Copying
A breakthrough technology was successfully developed in Océ’s R&D laboratories for copying on plain, unprocessed paper. The extremely short paper path, the monocomponent toner and the method of image transfer were unique and ensured very reliable and virtually trouble-free processes. With this Océ could now also enter the very large and promising office market, even in the United States, at that time “the lion’s den”. Applications soon followed with plain paper applications for large format copies in the drawing room market. The various models of plain paper copiers succeeded each other quickly, with more and more possibilities and applications and, for example, increasing copy speeds.