Backglass history of making a repro, how it all started.
Our new made Silver Sails backglass
The backglass is still the "face" of a bingo and certainly in the older specimens are the best windows no longer available. If you're lucky you can find a reasonable backglass, but certain types such as Beach Time and the Silver Sails are not easy (or nearly impossible) to be found. In England a man (Chris Dade) sells paper reproductions which you put between 2 thin glass sheets to bring this back to a usable backglass. I've seen a few of those backglasses and compared with the American repro’s they do look very well, but I missed something in the backglass. Through the thin glass with the paper behind it was as if you looked at a painting instead of a backglass. After consulting with my bingo buddy Frans Pilger we tried to make it something more "real'. We decided after some detective work to look for a print shop that could print on a transparent adhesive film so we could then put it directly on the backside of a new glass (with the originally 5 or 6 mm thickness). It was still hard to find a print shop who was willing to make those prints for us. Besides that, finding a printer who knows how to print the right colors was very tricky, because this appeared to be the greatest problem. Anyway we did find a print shop which understands our problems very well and they can deliver beautiful prints. After application of the print there is still special white film behind the colors needed to make colors visible and finally we have to stuck a black mask behind so that the correct details can be illuminated. The result what we have achieved is very close to the original. The only thing which we want still to improve is the mirror edges, which were original made in the older backglasses. We already did some test and those were pretty promising, but making the backglass in this way can’t be done as it took too many hours and the results were not to our standards.
Here you see how to put on the print on the glass, this to get an idea how they are made
After making several backglasses with printed film are we going to see if there was better way to make a backglass and we found a print shop which is one of the few in Europe who is able to print with solvent inks directly on glass. Our expectations were high and after making an appointment we could have come along. The company was not really nearby, so we left early in the morning with a few blank glasses in the back of the car. We have spent nearly all day long making various prototypes and the good thing in this printing this way, was that if we did not like it you could still remove it with a cloth with cleaning fluid. Finally after a long day we brought a Silver Sails backglass home. After putting on the white film with black mask we could compare to the Silver Sails we already had been with a printed film. After comparing the 2 windows, we decided to choose for the foil glass because the color was something more lively than the direct on glass printed backglass. This is a choice for now, as technology is going so fast in the printing industry that it is possible that we go further process of change
A few pictures of the printing directly on glass. With the orange lamp you see in the picture top/left you can determine the drying time of the ink so the drops can melt into one to get the best result. it was printed with 1440 Dpi
A few backglassess we made lately.
I also did produce mirror lines in the backglass, this is done with mirror-film with a computer controlled plotter which cut the right shape. It took too many hours to do it right and the result was not bad but we are still searching for a way to have the real mirror-lines made at reasonably affordable price
Click here form latest update on making a Silver Sails backglass
at the ´for sale` page you can order the latest style backglasses.
The perfect repro backglass and more.
It took us a few years of experimentation, but we can now finally make the perfect backglasses including the real mirror lines. We could already make backglasses with fantastic colors printed directly on the back of a glass sheet but to get the mirror edges we still had to rely on foils and that was already good but it was not so optically pure reflective than What a real mirror does. Now we can also make a real mirror directly on glass and this, combined with our technique of printing we have achieved our final goal, making the perfect repro backglass ..... We are very impressed with the results and will continue to examine whether we can improve this process so that it might be 'affordable' to do the same for other lovers of old arcade games
A few examples from our latest backglasses with real mirror lines in it. ( Click on pictures for details)