Mr. F. Dogilbert invented a machine in Paris in 1905. Two patents were taken out in 1906 and 1907. In 1910, the Dogilbert was patented in the United States. His plans later took him to Brussles in 1908. The process was called electrogravure. It was used to create a copy that could be reproduced by photo-mechanical process. The process of printing music with this method follows:
- Just as in engraving, the music was planned for any page turns and distances between staves.
- A white paper was ruled with blue lines in a grid according to the size of the note and musical symbols desired. (Using the methods of photography during the early 1900s, the color blue did not reproduce photographically.)
- The staves were then printed horizontally in line with the blue lines on the paper.
- The prepared sheets were given to the copyist who wrote the music in blue pencil or ink. The notes were written on the lines or spaces of the staves.
- The "blue" score was handed to the operator of the Dogilbert Music Stamping machine. The notes and symbols were stamped onto the paper with black ink. Only the most common musical symbols were stamped by the machine. Other symbols such as bar lines were done by hand. It was necessary for the operator to attach one stamp and print all the symbols with that stamp before changing it. For example, the operator attached a half-note head stamp to the machine and stamped all the half-note heads in the music before replacing the stamp with a quarter-note head stamp.
- Errors were corrected by scraping the ink off or by brushing blue paint over the error and re-stamping or drawing the new symbols.
- The text and words were preprinted on other paper and pasted in the proper position on the music.
- The score was passed to the photo-lithographer who made a blue print and sent it to the publisher or composer for corrections.
- Corrections could be made on the blue print or on the zinc plates from which the blue print was made.
- When corrections were made, the sheets could be mass printed on a lithographic machine.
The Dogilbert Music Stamping Machine. Note the light illuminating through the grid above.
Operating the Dogilbert
Operating the Dogilbert Music Stamping Machine was done as follows:
- The operator holds the paper on the machine’s table. The paper is held in place with both hands and by means of suction from a hole in the table.
- The paper was stamped by a vertical bar on which a stamp of a musical symbol was attached. The stamp was inked with two rollers.
- The spot on which the machine stamped the paper was determined by a lighted grid. The shadow of the grid was cast on the paper and the center of the grid was the exact spot where the stamp pressed the paper.
- The stamp was activated down by the use of electricity which was controlled with a foot switch.
The inventor of the machine commented that he could write a large amount of music per day with a better quality than hand engraving. During this time the machines were regularly used by a printing company in Brussels and Leipzig up until the beginning of World War I.
A blue grid is ruled according to the size of the music desired.
The staves are ruled in black.
The copyist writes the music in blue according to the pre-planned sketch.
The Dogilbert Music Stamping Machine is used to stamp the notes on the paper.
The blue lines do not appear when a photograph is taken of the music.