Color Mixing That Can’t Miss (Sep, 1946)

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Color Mixing That Can’t Miss

With 12 ingredients, a paint dealer now can reproduce any one of 1,000 colors exactly in a few minutes.

GUESSWORK has been eliminated from paint mixing by a scientific system that gives each of 1,000 colors a number of its own and provides a foolproof formula for reproducing it. With the initial help of a novel paint chart on plastic, a paint dealer using the Nu-Hue system, recently developed by The Martin-Senour Company, can quickly reproduce any of the 1,000 colors from a stock of only 12 ingredients.

Nu-Hue utilizes six colors—red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, and green—plus neutral gray, white, an oil or some other extender, and a varnish. The colors were selected on the basis of what they do when combined, not what they are when used alone. Combining one or more of them with gray and white produces any desired color. And the formulas provide unvarying results after the paint is dry. They can be used to produce any type of coating from flat to high-gloss.

1. Selection of exactly the right matching or complementary color is made easy with Nu-Hue Custom Color charts. The transparent plastic sheets with painted chips embedded in them may be brought into the home and placed over any fabric, painted surface, or furniture.

2. Nine plastic plates contain 1,000 color chips, arranged in the order of the spectrum. The first plate’s colors are most intense; the others display lighter tints. Each plate is a standard color wheel.

3. A code number on the back of each chip gives the key to finding its formula in the directory, provides data for custom-mixing.

4. The card-type directory has paint swatches of all the colors, also arranged in spectral order, with the formulas printed on them. Then it is simply a matter of measuring and mixing.

5. For the paint dealer who handles a large volume of business, a dispenser for the colors and other ingredients has been designed. With a maximum of 12 containers and the formulas from the color directory, the dealer is then equipped to produce any color in the time it takes to stir paint before using.

  1. John Savard says: May 14, 201111:44 pm

    This article inspired me to do a Google search for more information about the Nu-Hue system. While I didn’t find anything too interesting about it, other than the name of its inventor, Carl E. Foss, I did learn about another color system, devised by Hilaire Hiler, an artist in California who painted a lot of pictures of sailing ships.

    This color wheel was different from the usual one used by artists, with red, yellow, and blue each 120 degrees apart. It had lemon yellow at position 1, magenta at position 11, and cyan at position 18, on a wheel divided into 30 colors. This spacing was similar to a color wheel I had devised in which I tried to space the common psychological primaries of red, yellow, green, and blue at distances corresponding to how different they seemed from each other.

  2. Barbara Loyd says: May 15, 20115:50 am

    What fun articles on mixing colors. I have a blog dedicated to color. May I use a link to your articles when I have a post on mixing colors?

  3. John Savard says: May 16, 20117:58 am

    It’s certainly straightforward enough to devise a color mixing system based on fully-saturated pigments that span the circle of hues, combined with white and black (in this case, a dark neutral gray). But for less-saturated colors, it’s wasteful to use expensive brilliant colors when more common but less brilliant pigments are available that could be mixed to produce the desired color.

    So a paint manufacturer could presumably save millions of dollars, and use cheaper and more environmentally-friendly pigments, with a more complicated color system which involved not just an outer circle of saturated colors, but an inner circle of less saturated ones.

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