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Dudley P. Barnette: 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 work.

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 thus produced.

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 enjoys today.

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 office.

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 general.

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.

In: “The Buzzard,” Vol. 18, No. 26, pp. 2-3. June 27, 1950.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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