QBARS - v18n4 Nickerson Color Fan

Nickerson Color Fan

The Munsell Printing Company of Baltimore, which has worked closely with Dorothy Nickerson, of the Department of Agriculture, has completed preliminary work on a revised version of the color fan which has been distributed by the American Horticultural Society. The new version is more extensive than the old, in that it incorporates additional light values of each hue so that far more accurate readings of lighter colors will be possible with the new fan than was possible with the old.

There will be a total of 347 color samples, as opposed to 262 in the original, it incorporates additional light values in each hue and adds new deep values so that far more accurate readings will be possible. The Munsell System, pre-eminent for color specification and teaching what is meant by "uniform color space," is in wide use internationally in science and industry. The Japanese have adopted it for practically every kind of color reference.

Work on the new fan has been undertaken by a non-profit foundation at the institution of the American Horticultural Society. The Munsell Company will produce it and its distribution pattern will insure that all parties will cover expenses, but little more.

The Company that produces this fan has gotten in touch with Dr. Henry Skinner, Director of the National Arboretum in Washington in an effort to ascertain possible demand.

The present concern is to obtain leads on how many fans should be published for costs and quantities bear an important inverse relationship. If an order could be placed for 20,000 fans, they could be sold to horticultural groups for about $3.00 each but if the edition has to be kept small, the present price of $7.00 or more must obtain. Even the last seems low compared with $25.00 for the British Horticultural Chart, but the American Horticultural Society is concerned both with the need for encouraging color standardization in the horticultural field and the importance of low color reference cost as encouragement to this end.

At but slight additional cost the new fan can include three scales in neutral and two colors which have been specially designed for teaching the three attributes of color, namely hue, value and chroma, or intermediate chips can be provided, separate or mounted, wherever a chroma transition seems a little abrupt in a hue important for a particular flower.

The new fan will be available sometime during 1966 but a mock-up sample is being made available for study and for suitability testing for descriptive, show and teaching uses with rhododendrons. If it can be fully approved by this society, efforts may be made to determine how many of our members may wish to sign up as potential purchasers.

The above information came from two of our members, partly from Reid M. Denis, Great Falls, Va., and partly from Dr. Henry Skinner, Director of the National Arboretum.

-- Ed.