The Typographic Hub

The H.P.K. Autoscan

28th July 2013

The H.P.K. Autoscan was developed in 1955 and manufactured by Hunter-Penrose Ltd.

The H.P.K. Autoscan was developed in 1955 and manufactured by Hunter-Penrose Ltd. It was an electronic scanning machine, designed to produce continuous-tone colour-separation negatives and to reduce the amount of colour correction required in most reproduction processes. The original was traversed with a spot of light for electronic and optical analysis; it was simultaneously photographed to produce a colour-separation negative. The intensity of the light spot was increased when a colour needed to be ‘corrected’. The distinguishing feature of the Autoscan lay in the stage at which the light spot was modulated for intensity. The original was scanned with a spot of light of fixed intensity while a separate synchronous light spot was modulated to record the photographic image. The Autoscan principle of reproduction had features that distinguished it from other methods. The basic detail of the reproduction was not limited by the size, shape or focus of the scanning spot, only the sharpness of any correction being affected by these factors. This was an advantage as it avoided any trace of scanning lines. Scanning was done at a pitch less then the spot diameter so that the soft edges of the scanning lines overlapped. This allowed faithful reproduction of all details of the original and gave added versatility in the range of sizes that could be handled.