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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Monday, 19 June 2017

SOMERTON MAN: MICRO WRITING, HAY BANKNOTES & MICRO NEWSPAPERS



THE ECHO MARCH 3RD 1885



Someone very kindly gave me copies of 3, miniature, newspapers dating back to the 1880's and 90's. The copy of The Echo above is in fact an 8 page version, 1 sheet folded in 4 and then both sides printed. The examples I have show printed letters at a height of between .25 mm and .5 mm, interestingly you can actually make them out with the naked eye and quite clearly see them with spectacles or a small magnifying glass.

This conclusively proves that such sized lettering is not on the edge of perception as those lacking in knowledge would have you believe. Writing of this size is very definitely doable and legible.



All by itself it's very interesting to see the result of skills and a craft probably now long forgotten. But there are other aspects that will be of interest to the followers of the Somerton Man case.
First of all, how was this micro type actually achieved? It was a photo process, in fact it was called the 'photo-zinco' process first developed in the 1850s, there is some argument as to who developed it first, an Englishman, Sir Henry James or an Australian, John Walter Osborne. In the end it was all but a tie but Sir Henry won the day by a smidgen and he had to acknowledge the work of Captain A. de C. Scott head of the photography department at Southampton who had in fact done much of the research and development.

The motivation for the invention was Ordnance Survey maps, the long used method of pantagraphs were clumsy and often produced inaccurate results. 

Photo-Zinco Tools

It didn't take long for this new technique to spread across the printing world and many works of literature were quickly converted and in one famous example, The Domesday Book was copied in this way. Of course it wasn't long before the world of banking and banknotes were suitably enamoured with the development. One of the major drawbacks was the fact that the process only produced outcomes in mono tone, so no colour with early maps produced by the process being hand coloured.

The bank notes struck a chord, was this or a similar process used by George Teltscher of Hay Banknote fame? It seems to have been a fairly simple process and the basics would have been available to him. The banknotes at Hay were duo-tone as in Green or Red or Blue so that should not have presented a problem.

On another point for consideration, the process relied on a camera set up for certain but it also required zinc plate and a camel hair brush or similar. A screwdriver would have been handy and even a sharpened knife to trim and perhaps add some fine details. The sorts of things found in the Somerton Man suitcase.

Effectively, this was an early form of a photocopier, I wonder whether this method could have been used to copy and produce false imprints of well known books?

You can read more about Photo-Zincography here:



3 comments:

Unknown said...

I think we may be close to solving this.

I think Pavel may be our man. Let's go by what we know:
Jessica Thomson knew Russian.
Pavel Ivanovich Fedosimov was Russian as he was a KGB Office.
Russians love ballet and graduating from a ballet school is the equivalent of being in the Arts, and since he was physically fit and had high calves suggest he may have done the ballet. Plus, out of every hobby one could do... why would she have their son Robin doing ballet?
If we can get a clear, definitive photo of Pavel where he is smiling and he has dontitis, then I would say we have our man. How many Austrlians - particularly woman - know Russian, and why? If Pavel had met Jessica, then she either knew Russian before and the two became ingratiated or she learnt Russian from him.

As for Alf Boxall... I think that lead is a red herring.

As for the death of the Somerton Man, I think it was a suicide. Someone in the KGB would have knowledge of quick-acting poisons and in the 40s it would not have been hard to smuggle in. Maybe the extract from the book WAS the poison or was poisoned.

Btw: I am a former paranormal research who turned his sights into unsolved mysteries. (Dyatlov Pass, Zodiac Killer, Isdal Woman, missing persons and the supernatural things).

Cordial regards,
Ryan Preston aka Lion Plantagenet

Gordon332 said...

thanks for the comment Ryan, I think that Pavel is by far the best candidate we have had and I feel a very high degree of certainty about that. Whilst I agree with much of what you say, with regards to the high calf muscles, we know that Pavel was a 'toe walker' he walked on the balls of his feet which would by default contribute greatly to both high calf muscles and wedge toes. If we add to that the description given by Harry Gold plus the photograph, we have Pavel with large hands, and his teeth look to be close to the diagram provided by the pathologist. On that point, it is unclear as to whether SM had anodontia, this was I believe the view of Professor Abbott but not entirely born out by the description, I stand to be corrected on that point.I think Pete Bowes may have something to add on the Russian language issue.

Thanks again for your comment :)

peterbowes said...

Ryan, the thinking is Jessica picked up a little Russian while teaching languages, which could mean Pavel was either a fellow teacher or a student.