Hand Operated machine trimmers were used by wallpapers merchants. These were very often young assistants who very often did not get the trimming accurate enough, so you would be in trouble!! Surface preparation was essential to obtain a good paperhanging surfacing. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, some surfaces were highly suspect which then meant that the surface had to be hung horizontally with lining paper first and then vertically with lining finished paper. In the 1960’s, wallpaper manufacturers began pre-trimming wallpaper and wrapping each roll in cellophane. This was a big step forward, and the only papers that needed trimming then were the hand prints, but even there are pre-trimmed and wrapped today.
The advent of vinyl, and blown vinyl papers have greatly improved the quality of wall hangings.
In 1967 I was appointed lecturer in Painting and Decorating at a college of further education, rising to senior lecturer by the time I retired in 1995. During this time I made a visit to Leyland Wallpapers with other lecturers. Whilst we were touring the factory, a machine broke down which enabled us to see the various stages of printing. I collected several pieces of the papers and put together the four stages of printing. The finished paper was dark brown but the initial ‘ground’ colour printed all over was light green.
Unfortunately, these samples were thrown away but they created a lot of interest as to which colour would be printed first. I also obtained a pre-war pattern book, but again, it was unfortunatly thrown away.
I always say my that my only ‘claim to fame’, was that I had worked in the house that Jack Whittle, the inventor of the Jet Engine lived in at the time, which was then owned by a colonel Gadsby
As in all trades there are always jokes being told, one was a client who complained that she could see the joins in the paper, the hanger replied, ‘ Lady, wallpaper is like an oil painting, the further away you are, the better it looks’!.
And – A lady rang the decorating company to say ‘ If the paperhanger has lost is cap, he would find it underneath her wallpaper!’ (refering to the ‘bubbles’ in the paper.