Memo on Mailing Costs and Equipment Purchases

[Editor’s notes: The transcript of this document retains its original spellings, with corrections noted only where necessary for clarity.]

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11-2-77 [November 2, 1977]

To: Jim

Re: Moving Publications

We received the message when Sandy [Bradshaw] got back to include in the Xmas mailer and note saying that after that time all mail will be coming from and going to our Jonestown headquarters. This has raised some questions we would like to get clarification on.

[Handwritten circled “1”] Has consideration been given to using Miami as a mail sending and receiving point?[Eugene] Chaikin told me that theft was a big problem with international mail, and quite a few of our people do send cash. Also there is no reduced rate for non-profit organizations in international postal regulations. It’s going to cost a small fortune to mail form [from] Guyana our regular monthly mailers, at 30¢ per ½ ounce. Figuring 15,000 peices of mail that comes to $4500. We can mail in Miami at our non-profit rate of; $0.021 per piece at 15,000 pieces that comes to $315. Favoring airfreight rates at $.85¢ per lb., and an average week of 800 lbs. of mail, that would make an additional $680.00. We coild arrange a special call service at the Post Office where we could pick up mail twice a month and they would hold it for us until them. BWIA [British West Indies Airlines] lists round trip fares from Miami to Georgetown at $456. There may be something cheaper elsewhere.

Mail at International rates:
(.30¢ per ½ oz. x 15,000 pcs.)
$4500. Postage

Mail at Non-profit Bulk Rate from Miami:
Postage: $315
Frieght: $680
Passenger (2 trips/mo.) Fare: $912
$1907

There may be some other complications we haven’t included, such as – how long would overseas delivery take? But it sure looks a lot cheaper to go out of Miami.

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PROPOSED SCHEDULE

January is a good month in the mail. It would be good to have a mailer to cover that month before we leave. February and March have been typically low months in the mail ever since I’ve been working with it. A logical time to move then would be during that period of time (Jan.-Mar.) after the January mailer had been sent. That would give us 3 months to move and get set up again, and have time to get out a mailer for Easter. That should be enough time if things can be sorted out in Georgetown. That leaves November and December for you to work it out there. Is that feasible? [Handwritten circled “2” in margin]

SHIPPING PROCEDURE

[Handwritten circled “3” in margin] One of the major questions is whether adequate storage facilities have been arranged for the paper and equipment in Georgetown. There has been little communication about this, so here is some background into [info] on what we need:

1) Humidity-controlled atmosphere

High humidity has several detrimental effects on materials we use. Paper absorbs moisture and warps, often to the degree it cannot run through a press. Film in excessive moisture, develops fungus that attacks the emulsion and destroys it. High moisture also causes trouble with ink drying on paper, and performance of paper in the operation of the press and bindery equipment. The problem can be alleviated by the use of air conditioners or dehumidifiers. The relative humidity of the air (% of moisture present per degree of Temp.) should be around 50-55%. When it gets over that, troubles start. Therefore, a building will not only have to be dry as far as protection from rain, what have climate control inside for maintaining that 55% humidity level.

We could easily use 7000 sq. ft. of floor space with half of that space under the humidity control mentioned above. That accounts for paper storage, typewriter shop, and extended camera facilities for a

 

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photo lab. We found out in SF that we can cram into a lot less space than we thought, so we will certainly work with whatever is available. The 7000 sq. ft. allows for room to set up all equipment with good working clearances and storage space. We may want to plan for more space for expanded operations. There are many skills and services in the field of graphic arts, printing, and photography that we could offer commercially, and we ought to leave room to grow.

2) Government clearances

[Handwritten circled “4” in margin] Do we have proper clearance from Guyana customs to bring in the equipment and related supplies like paper? If not, what do we need to do to get it? We could suffer a lot of damage to the cargo, if it has to sit on the dock for months while we straighten out the paper-work.

 

[Handwritten circled “5” in margin] Is there going to be a limit on the amount of paper we can bring in other than what we can afford to ship, such as imposed by Import Regulations, etc.? What kind of paper requirements do you have there now or anticipate for school or administrative use?

Can we apply for an import license now, so that we will be able to establish a means to restock our basic supplies such as paper, film, chemicals and plates?

I would recommend not moving this department until the arrangements with customs and adequate storage have been taken care of. There is a lot of money invested in equipment and paper, that could easily be lost by poor planning. There may be other considerations that I am not aware of, but they ought to be carefully weighed against the losses we could have it [if] we do move before these arrangements have been made.

We are planning to ship all of the publications equipment and paper in containers. There are big 20′ boxes something like our freezers out back. They offer several advantages. One: They are waterproof, so we

 

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won’t have to worry about crates leaking. Two: they afford much better protection against damages in handling. This is very important as the presses, and much of our other machinery may be completely destroyed if handled separately, in crates. We load and unload the containers, and they are picked up by heavy cranes directly onto the ship.

At the moment the longshoremen are on strike against container freight lines. They will not load the ships until they first unload the container then load it again. There are ways around this, according to our freight forwarder, but he suggested we wait until we are ready to ship and see if the strike hasn’t been settled yet. He expects container rates to go up but he is not sure hwo much. At the moment they are the same as for other cargo plus a special $3.00 per ton charge. Containers can be purchased used for $1500.00, they can be rented from companies that own them, or we can pay the shipping line to use theirs. The last method seems best, because we are ownly paying for their use as far as the freight to get the into container back to a US port.

 

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EQUIPMENT PURCHASES FOR CLEARANCE

[Handwritten circled “A” in margin] There are two pieces of equipement we need to replace before we leave, both are essential to the operation. We plan on financing their purchase through the sale of several other pieces of equipment we now have that we aren’t using like the roll converter for our big press and the paper stock we have for it. With the value of those items and the trade-ins from the old equipment we should have the amount we need to purchase the two items below.

a. Paper Cutter – $4500.00 – we want to replace our present cutter with a larger model that can handle bigger sheets of paper and larger loads. The one we now have is not designed to do the kind of work we are presently doing in the way of cutting down larger sheet sizes to fit our presses, and trimming finished press sheets for finishing operations with accuracy. As result we have all our paper cut for us by someone else if it has to be accurate. Over seas we will have to deal more in larger sheets of parent stock and be cutting them to size. We can save ourselves the cutting costs by having our own cutter capable of doing the job. The price quoted here is for a good used cutter.

b. Camera Lights – $2000.00 – the camera lights we have on our process camera are about 20 years old and worn out. The transformer smokes during heavy use. We would like to replace this system with one that operates on pulsed xenon, an arrangement that does not require light bulbs like the one we have now. The bulbs are a special order and will be very delicate to ship. The camera lights are essential to the operation of the camera, which makes all our negatives for the printing process. We have put off doing anything about them as with the cutter, because of the immediate availability of replacement here. Overseas this won’t be possible, so we feel it is important to take care of these two things now.

 

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[Handwritten circled “B” in margin]

FILM PROCESSING FEE EQUIPMENT FOR CLEARANCE

Commercial film processing and printing of color pictures in volume requires a heavy capital investment. Most places here that do this kind of work have chain stores all over the bay and use one central processing plant to do the work for all of them The major reason being the film processors require minimum loads of film, in the area of 40 rolls a day to maintain accurate color balance. Without that volume you end up with bad pictures. A volume processor will handle only one kind of film at a time, so you can’t run different films through it to make up the volume. There are different chemicals involved in the 3 major film processes for Kodak films and they require different chemicals and conditions. Changing a processor over from one set to the other is not practical because of the expense involved in flushing the chemicals and replacing them.

We could get started in this business on a smaller scale at considerably less expense. The equipment listed here is sort of a medium step. It will provide the necessary control to do color work, and be able to handle enough volume to get started in commercial work. We will be doing strictly manual processing of film an custom printing (of pictures), substituting labor for more mechanized equipment. We may not be able to do a lot of work, but what we do we could do well and with that I think we could build the kind of reputation that would build business to the point where we might be able to use more automated equipment and make it pay.

We are equipped now to do black and white film and prints in small amounts. Color requires a much greater degree of control in the processing and a different head for the enlarger. The following equipment would provide us with the basics of what we need to get started. [Handwritten addition: “over next page”]

 

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[Handwritten circled “B” in margin]

FOR CLEARANCE

1) Temperature controlled Developing Sink – $2200.00. This unit will be control source for maintaining the proper temperatures for developing films and prints. It heats of [or] chills the incoming water source to the degree required and recirculate the water in a continous bath two within a tolerance of ½ a degree, the required amount for many of the developing stages.

2) Basket processor – $250.00. This is an inexpensive processor that is operated manually but allows for 14 8×10 prints to be processed at one time rather than doing one at a time in trays. The baskets can be replaced with others to do different types of processes, such as from black & white to color.

3) Beseler Dichroic Colorhead – $550.00. This unit attaches to our present enlarger to give it the capacity to do color prints.

4) Beseler PM-2 color analyzer $339.00. This instrument it is used with the enlarger to analyze the proper exposure time for a given negative by measuring the density of the primary colors. It eliminated the hit and miss method we use now, and which would be extremely costly for any volume of prints. Again this is an inexpensive unit compared to the computer-controlled, $35,000 analyzers used by commercial color labs, but it will do the job as long as the operator knows what he is doing.

5) Patterson Print Washer – $115. This washer can handle a lot of prints at one time and keep them separated so that they all are washed clean of chemicals, an essential operation, or the finished Prince developed spots on them.

Total Cost: $3514.00

 

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[Handwritten circled “C” in margin]

COLOR SEPARATION EQUIPMENT

To print a color picture on an offset press requires a set of color separation negatives. In other words, the original image is broken down into the proper proportions of the primary colors which when printed in sequence produce a final reproduction in full color. We have been experimenting with this process on our camera for the past few months. Much to the amazement of the Kodak technical representative we have been able to come up with some reasonable sets of negatives which we have used in our mailers. The process is a very technical one and like the reproduction of color in photography, requires exact control of processing chemicals and exposure times in order to get accurate results.

Since the introduction of offset printing, letterpress operations have become obsolete in many areas, and the requirements for color separations for trade color presses has grown tremendously. Enough so that a lot of research and money has been spent on developing equipment to make these separations by machine and minimize the operator’s time and skill involved. Laser operated color scanners and computer controlled enlargers have been developed to do this at a cost of nearly a quarter million dollars for a unit.

There is market for color separations wherever there are printers. I’m sure that in Guyana, especially there are few if any companies who do this kind of work. It is certainly a product with excellent potential for export to other Caribbean nations where the tourist market generates a lot of color advertising material.

We have a process camera that is capable of making separations. The temperature controlled sink unit proposed for film-processing could also supply the needed control for processing this kind of color film. Like color printing, the key to making good separations is being able to calculate the proper exposure for each of the different color negatives. The instrument used to do this is called a densitometer and it measures the density of the original piece to be reproduced and the transmitted

 

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[Handwritten circled “C” in margin]

density of the finished negative to check its accuracy. Without this instrument we resort to the hit-and-miss mehtod which is even more time-consuming in this process than in photography.

Again, a densitometer will not give us the instant ability to produce color separations in massive quantities. Instead, it will provide the necessary element of control needed to use our existing equipment effectively enough to do the work commercially on a smaller scale. I think this type of work has tremendous potential in South America and would be worth the investment in the equipment listed below to get started in it.

1) Reflection-Transmission Densitometer – $2200.00

2) Contact Point Source Clamp – $250.00

[Circled] Total – $2450.00

To help finance equipment purchases for photo processing and color separation equipment, I would recommend we sell our IBM memory typewriter that is used in the Letter’s Office to answer our mail. This machine, which we own, is constantly requiring service, which though available here, is not available without considerable expense in Georgetown. Also it is too complicated for Brian [Kravitz] to work on. Moving it to Guyana would be courting disaster, I think.

Laurie Efrien [Efrein] and Cathy Richardson [Kathy Jean Purifoy] both insist they can’t get along without the machine. They have a point, when the mail is coming in heavily it is a big job to individually type or write a response to each letter.

 

The mail volume has been way down the past few months and I think with the people we have there in Guyana we could easily handle that mail without the machine. It seems inevitable from the number of times the thing breaks down, that we will be doing just that anyway, while we are waiting for is to be repaired out of Caracas, Venezuela.

I don’t want to devalue the machine or its uses completely. It has been very useful for doing small quantity form letters with the quality look of an original letter. It is possible it could have some commercial

 

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uses in Guyana. However, it is not practical as far as being able to maintain it is concerned, and without that (maintenance) the machine is worthless to us.

The only way to get around this is to look into leasing a new machine that will do a similar job. In this way we would pay a certain amount to use the machine with service for the unit included in the contract. We can also find a company that might have better service connections in Georgetown than IBM. We are looking around now, talking to various dealers about this, so that when we get to Georgetown, we can make a decision.

We face the same type of problem with our composer that sets type. But it manages to stay in pretty good shape, we don’t have many service calls on it. And there is a chance Brian could work on it, as it is not so complicated.

There is a possibility we might be able to locate a unit that would accomplish both goals, both set type and be able to store codes in memory for use in typing form letters. We’ll see.

You might check with Laura Johnson [Johnston], Tim Carter, and Ruth Tupper who all worked in the letters office and might have some opinion on the matter. If it is agreed to sell the machine I suggest we wait until the last minute to do it, in order to diffuse any problems with Laurie  and Cathy. They both agree that that particular machine should not go overseas, what they want to see it replaced before we go. I’ve told them that it is a decision that should probably be made after we get to Georgetown and have had a chance to check things out there, but they are pretty set on having a machine to answer the mail. Both have been at each other’s throats lately, also.

Anyway, if we sell the memory typewriter we will have the additional funds from it, which IBM suggests as $3000, the active market value at the moment, to use for other equipment.

OVER

 

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[Handwritten: “last page”]

TOTAL PHOTO-LAB: $3514.00

TOTAL COLOR SEPARATION: $2450.00

$5964.00

minus sale of memory typewriter: 3000.00

Add’l funds needed: $2964.00

[Handwritten: “End”]

Originally posted on December 3rd, 2021.

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