Our July MAN OF THE MONTH is DUDLEY P. BARNETT, Chief of the
Reproduction Section of Charts Division, one of the busiest
men in the Coast Survey and one who has seen Reproduction grow
from a section of a half dozen men to an organization of about
250, equipped with up to date producing machines and materials.
Mr. Barnett, born in Catonsville, Md., July
24, 1881, served with several lithographic concerns in Baltimore
prior to his entrance in government service with the Reclamation
Service, Interior Dept., and later the Coast Survey, where he
was assigned to the Reproduction Section.
At this time, prior to 1905, the reproduction
of nautical charts was accomplished by printing from engraved
copper plates. There were five presses requiring two men to
a press, and due to complicated preparations involved to secure
prints from plates in sizes up to 36” X 48”, the
maximum total production per day from these presses was 500
charts in black only.
Some photo-litho charts were from time to time
produced by commercial firms on contract.
About 1905 the lithographic method of reproduction
was adopted by the Coast Survey to supplement the plate printing.
One flatbed lithographic press was installed requiring lithographic
stones as a medium for printing.
Here color could be used as the printing was
done on dry paper. Each color was on a separate stone and these
heavy stones, weighing about 500 lbs., had to be lifted from
the press after each color had been printed.
On these presses prints in a single color could
be produced at a speed of 1000 per hour.
One draftsman, one transferer, a helper and
one pressman and helper were the initial force for the lithographic
The speed and practical results in lithographic
reproduction made this method popular and many charts engraved
on copper plates were transferred to lithographic plates and
And so it went with Mr. Barnett in the thick
of the fight to make more and better charts. Year after year
new ideas and the addition of new equipment brought this important
work of the Charts Division to the high rank of efficiency it
The steady advance made under Mr. Barnett’s
direction may be seen from the fact that in 1910 36% of the
charts were produced by lithography. In 1916 a second press
was added to increase the output to 53%; 1919 – a third
press, an offset, sent the lithographic charts to 93% of all
charts produced at the Survey.
In 1932 when the Survey was moved to the Commerce
Building, three new offset presses were installed and the first
press purchased in 1905 was discarded.
As compared to the half dozen employees of
1905 introducing lithography in the Reproduction Branch, the
1942 lineup is amazing – 270 employees working in three
shifts – nine single offset presses and one two-color
press about ready for installation.
Mr. Barnett is, without doubt, one of the country’s
outstanding experts in the art of lithography and as he reviews
the wonderful achievements of his organization and the large
part he has played in its development, he has every reason to
be proud, for in addition to attending the many details necessary
in guiding such an organization, he has contributed many ideas
for improving the work, outstanding among them was his invention
of the Dubar system, a system that insures new work accomplished
on old plates holding up, equal to the photo-lith work originally
transferred to the plate. This system has proven to be a boon
to all lithographic work and is universally used commercially
as well as in government work.
It can be readily seen that a man directing
such a fast-growing organization and traveling some 35,000 miles
per year (commuting from Baltimore for 38 years) must have been
almost as busy as the one-armed paper hanger, yet he has had
time to indulge in several outside activities and has been as
successful in them as he has been in his daily tasks in the
The only activity in which he has indulged
where there is some doubt as to his success is golf, and we
must leave this decision to his fellow golfers.
The doubt comes up in this pastime because
we were informed that on a special occasion he drove 5 balls
in the river attempting to get on the green. However, we give
him the benefit of the doubt because with his inventive mind
he may have been trying to develop a new method of approach….
In: “The Buzzard,” Vol. IX, No. 28, pp.
2-3. July 9, 1942.
Mr. Dudley P. Barnette, 68, Chief of the Reproduction
Branch of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, will retire June 30,
1950, after 46 years of continuous Government service.
A native of Catonsville, Maryland, Mr. Barnette
attended public schools and the City College of Baltimore; he
completed four years of study at Maryland Institute, majoring
in art and design. After entering Government service in 1904
with the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior,
Mr. Barnette transferred to the Coast and Geodetic Survey in
1907 and has served continuously in the Bureau since that time.
As Chief of the Reproduction Branch of the
Bureau, Mr. Barnette has acted as a technical advisor and consulting
expert for the Director in matters relating to the field of
cartographic reproduction. His researches have resulted in improved
lithographic processes which have played an important part in
the great advancement made in the science of cartography. He
pioneered in the processes for engraving on glass negatives
and the use of plastics in reproduction and devised a new method
of preparing gradient tints for lithographic reproduction. The
far-reaching and progressive developments in lithographic processes
for which he is largely responsible are considered the basis
of modern lithography.
For service of unusual value to the Department
of Commerce during the past thirty years, Mr. Barnette was awarded
the Department of Commerce gold medal in 1949 by the Secretary
of Commerce. At that time attention was invited to his contributions
in lithographic developments to other agencies in the Federal
Government, to lithographers in private business, and to lithography
In addition to other technological developments,
largely the result of personal research, Mr. Barnette is the
author of many papers in his chosen field which illustrate the
various methods now in use which were developed under his direction.
He is the author of the following papers on reproduction procedures:
“Plastic Sheets in Lithographic Reproduction,” “Preparing
Gradient Tints,” “Revising the Nautical Chart,”
“Glass Negative Engraving,” and “Modern Reproduction
Methods and Materials.”
Among the organizations of which he is a member
are the Advisory Committee for Research on Lithographic Papers,
and the Baltimore Lithographic Club; he is active in church
and Masonic work, and has served for many years as Superintendent
of the Sunday School of the Church of Christ in Baltimore. Mr.
Barnette resides at 716 Dryden Drive, Baltimore, and during
his long years of service he has commuted daily from Baltimore.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. 18, No. 26, pp. 2-3. June 27,