Heimtextil Blog

Thomas Brencick really wanted to become a priest. But because God’s ways are unfathomable, Brencick, born in the USA, ended up in a Bavarian community. There for more than thirty years he has been running a printing company for home textiles and clothing.

Over the last three decades Thomas Brencick has invested a large amount of money and time in the development of digital transfer printing. The aim of his efforts: he wants a return to analogue printing. Did I hear right? “Many people see the two types of printing as competitors”, explains Brencick, who has been running Transfertex, a small textile-printing business – which was one of the first to use transfer motifs for printing curtains and furniture fabrics – since the end of the 80s. It is rather the case, explains Brencick, that analogue and digital textile printing complement each other. For this purpose, quality and appearance must be nearly identical for both printing processes. When it comes to photo-realistic transfer prints, however, nobody has been able to manage it. “Except us”, emphasises Brencick, who came to textile printing by chance.    

From Chicago to Kleinostheim
It was an advertisement in a regional newspaper which, after he had studied philosophy at university in St. Louis, altered his plan to train as a priest and set him on a new track: the Chicago railroad was looking for people, it said. Brencick let chance have its sway. After a brief period with the railroad he moved, together with his former boss, to work for a paper-printing business. There work was in hand to set up a plant to produce the National Geographic, a magazine noted even then for its spectacular nature photography.

During this time, the philosophy graduate not only learned the printing business but also met his future girlfriend, a German. He went to Munich with her at the beginning of the 80s and applied for a job at the German branch of a small US company which had just sprouted up: Apple. The company was putting the first Macintosh on the market. “An exciting time”, says Brencick, looking back. But his girlfriend’s father had other plans for him. He had become a shareholder in Transfertex in Kleinostheim in Bavaria and asked Thomas Brencick to bring his experience to bear from the world of high-gloss printing.

In the beginning was a stripe
He could not say No, Brencick recalls, and in 1985 he moved to Transfertex – bringing one of the first Macintosh computers with him. Using which, the textile printer immediately set about producing digital artwork. The quality provided by analogue printing was regarded as unattainable, says Brencick, but he could see, for reasons of cost and speed, that digital printing was going to become more and more predominant. It took a long time, but in the end the initial model of a digital textile design was ready: a stripe. “That sounds perfectly simple, but it was a milestone”, emphasises Brencick. 

In developing the digital-printing design further, the Transfertex people relied on workstations produced by the then computer manufacturer Silicon Graphics, by which at the start of the 90s the dinosaurs had also been brought to life in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. At Transfertex they intend to use the know-how they have gained over 30 years to supply digital prints for patternings in future with the same quality as analogue prints.

Ronny Eckert

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